Monday, July 27, 2015

A glance at schooling year round

School in July? Why yes, we have chosen to homeschool on a year round calendar.  As I've seen the trend exploding in areas around us and spoken with seasoned year-round friends, I like what I see and am excited to incorporate it into our own homeschool. Of course, this break from the traditional school calendar is brand new to me, and as such I anticipate regular pauses throughout the year to evaluate if it's working for our family.

I realize that not every type of calendar or style of school is ideal for each individual family-homeschooling year round is what we've chosen as best for our family in our current season of life, and I'm so excited to share our journey with you sweet readers here on my blog!
A nod to Pinterest for keeping our calendars cute!
Mainstream public schools often utilize the year round calendar to accommodate more students where overcrowding is an issue. Here are some of the benefits we hope to reap by schooling year-round...

More time, less stress
A traditional calendar lends 36 weeks to schedule your school year, where a year round schedule generously offers you 52! That's a lot of time to get your schooling in! For myself I know I have about 30 more days planned than the state required 180, which gives me the freedom to take off an extra day here or there(for sick days, impromptu playdates, and say, having a baby) without feeling like I'm getting behind. And yes, those 30 days are outside of my already scheduled track outs, family birthdays, and holidays. #breathingroom

Also, that extra time allows us to really stop and explore areas of interest that arise. Whether it be dinosaurs, the solar system or subtraction, homeschooling in general-and especially on a year round calendar-will give us the flexibility to really camp out and dive into those subjects. Conversely if Evan turns out to be a struggling student in any particular area(ahem-reading!), we can take the extra time to master that skill without feeling hurried.

Vacation and breaks
(Otherwise captioned-...because summer in NC is just too hot-I'd rather be inside!)
Who doesn't love a good break? I do! And by year round schooling we can have even more of them. For myself I know I prefer smaller breaks spread more often and evenly throughout the year verses one or two larger ones. I think that consistent, little breaks over the year will also lend itself to less "burn out" on both student and teacher ends.

And if we were more of a vacationing family(never say never), we can take time in the off season. Read-generally cheaper rates, and fewer crowds!

Ideally we won't experience as much summertime learning loss, which means less time in review and more productivity moving forward. There are basically less adjustments of getting back into a "school" routine because we never left it in the first place. Even with smaller breaks spread evenly throughout the year, school will inevitable become part of our normal, year round lifestyle.

which brings me to...

Real Life! 
I envision learning and growing and exploring together to be part of our natural everyday lifestyle-more than for just 180 days or 8-10 months of the year. One blogger said it like this..."Real life is happening all around us – things like moving, babies being born, job changes, sicknesses, vacations, and holidays – homeschooling year-round allows us to live life, enjoy it, and learn from it as well."

And P.S.- when my boys are all grown up and functioning as adults in the real world, they won’t be taking 2-3 month long vacations from their jobs(most likely), so why would they do it for school?

Last but not least, here are some basic facts(most NC specific) on the year round calendar for your reading/learning pleasure...

  •  Year-round students are in session the same number of days as traditional calendar students. All North Carolina pupils receive 180 days of instruction; the difference is the way the vacation time is allotted throughout the year — either in a large block during traditional summer or more frequent breaks on the year-round calendar.
  • As of 2014, 46 states offer schools with year round calendars.
  • Wake County year-round schools utilize the 45/15 calendar. 45 days (or nine weeks) of instruction followed by 15 days (or three weeks) of vacation. Students enjoying the 15-day vacation periods are considered “tracked out.”
  • Holidays, such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, are generally shared between year-round and traditional calendars, but be sure to check your specific track for any possible changes. 
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