Why Do We Homeschool Year Round?

I have a friend who homeschools her kids and she sticks very closely to a traditional school schedule. “Classes” in the mornings, extracurriculars after lunch, summer break, Christmas break, and four days off for Thanksgiving. She plans her schedule out for the entire year in advance, how many lessons for each subject, which days they will do them, and so on. We’ve had the discussion about how the thought of this kind of planning totally stresses me out. Here’s why:

I had planned to start back up with our schooling last week. We returned from our vacation on Sunday the 8th and I thought we’d just need a day or two to recover and then we’d hit the ground running. Instead what happened is that we returned to mountains of laundry, no food in the house, Christmas decorations still up, and other various things that needed to be done. And two children coughing badly. Then we left town for another three days, when I also caught a cold. We returned to more laundry, another empty fridge, and children who were still jet-lagging from their New Years’ trip to Europe. Sunday the 15th we spent the day preparing for the week and went to bed feeling good about the week in front of us.

And then the tummy bug hit. First Shannon. Then Lane. Then me. Then Noel. Only Raye has escaped it. We canceled dinner plans twice this week and moved a birthday party. I’ve washed more laundry than I can remember ever washing in the winter when it takes a whole day to dry. We survived, but that’s about all I can say for the week. I did manage to read some Story of the World and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to the girls. And Lane did a math lesson and read a few chapters of Mercy Watson. And that’s it. That’s all we done for school in the last month.

So although we’re a week behind in math, two weeks in phonics, one read-aloud, and countless science experiments, I consider that all is ok. Because when I plan the year, I plan us to finish almost everything in only 7 months. September-May with a month off for Christmas. All math and Story of the World done by April. Only read-alouds and phonics to go for May, and that only because we’re trying to finish three years’ phonics in two.

So we may be behind, but I have time to catch up. And I’m not even very stressed about it. A few small tweaks and our schedule is back on, just maybe going a week or two further into the summer than I had wanted before starting new material. My friend with the highly-detailed schedule? I don’t want to think about how I’d feel if my schedule looked like hers and we were thrown so many curve balls. While I wish for (long for, actually) a more normal schedule, the bottom line is that three small children and living in a foreign country means that our lives are very fluid and I need to maintain flexibility. Homeschooling year round does that for me.

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