Our home school operates on a year round schedule that gets broken up into three trimesters. I do this because I don’t like the back slide that summer vacation brings, and the summers here are just not suited for outdoor time. I remember struggling with the summer slide as a child, and just hated fighting it in my own children.
That’s not to say that I work the boys constantly. Our trimester schedule is wonderfully open and includes plenty of break time. We still do only 36 weeks of school and three ‘finals’ weeks that include very little real school time. Each trimester lasts 17 weeks (one lasts 18) and each has four weeks of break time (one has 5). The break time is usually scheduled to line up with holidays and birthdays.
As a result, we usually have a week off after every four to five weeks of school. This keeps us all from burning out, it allows me to catch up on projects, and allows for Daddy’s vacation to not be bogged down with schoolwork. Best of all, if somebody gets sick, or life happens, we just push a break around and we’re not even behind. Genius!
In all honesty, we do have a modest summer break for most of the month of June. In the month of June we have birthdays for both of our children, a birthday for Daddy, a birthday for a grandfather, a wedding anniversary, a week of vacation for Daddy, annual check-ups at the doctor and optometrist, and a few outings to zoos and museums. There is just no way I’d try to schedule school around that mess!
Year round school may not be for everyone, but it works wonders for us. I love that I can be lazy for a short month and not have to worry about backslide. With a more traditional schedule, I know I’d feel pressured to add educational activities to our summer break, and just add more work for myself. Also, when it’s 98 degrees outside with 80% humidity, and deer flies attacking you relentlessly, it just makes more sense to stay indoors. We’ll save that time off for fall and spring when the weather is much more enjoyable.