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    Published on 04-18-2017 10:51 AM
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    Ever feel like hitting the “reset” button on your homeschool? I’ve asked myself many times throughout this journey, “What would I do differently if I could do this year over again?” I’ve become convinced, though, that the one thing I would consistently change is how much time we spend out of doors. I think I have created far too many excuses over the years for why we couldn’t go out, instead of excuses why we could.

    But, why?

    Hopefully, you don’t need too much convincing that spending more time with your kids outside is a good idea, but just in case…

    • getting enough vitamin D is essential to hormone production
    • studies have shown that artificial light can contribute to nearsightedness
    • our circadian rhythms are tied to sunlight...more outside time could mean better sleep!
    • indoor air-pollutants are 25-62% greater than outside levels
    • sitting too much results in impaired fat-burning capacity
    • spending time in nature has been linked to improved attention spans and boosts in serotonin

    Oh, and I almost forgot this one. Getting outside is FUN!!!

    But, I live in ________.

    Yeah, we can fill in that blank too. The city? An apartment? A dangerous area? None of which should prevent us from high-tailing it to our nearest park, greenspace, safe neighborhood, or athletic field as often as humanly possible. If you’re still struggling, plug in your location to this resource and let it find outdoor havens for you. Think of those spaces as a “shared backyard” and make the most of them. Bring along your favorite books or an ongoing project and read and work with the birds and bees as your background noise instead of the A/C. Visit a farmer’s market or outdoor flea market and sample some of the wares. Take a walk on a pier if you live near enough to a waterway. Watch a community softball team practice; you might just inspire the next little pitcher!

    But, we don’t have enough time.

    I’m about to speak to you as a fellow secular homeschooling friend, instead of as a blogger, here. You ready? If you are homeschooling and you don’t have time to go outside, you are DOING IT WRONG! If you’ve been homeschooling, even for a New York minute, you realize that education at home takes
    ...
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    Like this post? You may want to read: Year-Round Homeschool Schedules

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    1. Categories:
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    The word “schedule” is so tricky. Because, as we all know, the quickest way to ensure that everything will go off course is to make a plan, eh? What we can seem to sometimes accomplish, though, is to find a general outline for what we want to get done, and when. Finding the best homeschool schedule for your family can at least start there.

    In our years of homeschooling we’ve definitely tried it all in terms of how we scheduled out our year. Sometimes, we steadfastly followed the general school-year schedule of 180 days scheduled into roughly nine months of dedicated schooling with the summers off. Other times, we did a four-day homeschool schedule that seemed to push us more into a 10 ½ month run, with still about six weeks off for summer. And one year, we aimed for a three-week-on/two-weeks-off experiment throughout the whole year, just to see how that felt.

    One thing I discovered, though. Since we were always in the “homeschool mindset,” there really was never a choice about whether or not to homeschool year round. Learning seemed to happen even when we were devoutly “on vacation.” I stopped fighting this after the first couple years, and gave into the idea of year-round homeschooling. The trick was simply figuring out which approach was going to serve us best year-to-year.

    Here’s how different year-round approaches might look, and the pros and cons of each.


    Dedicated Summer Subjects

    With this plan, you keep a fairly traditional school-like schedule, but you save one or more specific subjects for the summer months. For us, the summer focus was science. We’ve always loved to do science outdoors, anyway! Leaving science for the summer meant a little more free time in our nine-month daily schedule, and then we could experiment our hearts out at least couple hours a day during June, July, and August.

    Pros:

    • fewer subject-focused hours during the traditional school year means shorter homeschool days
    • saving a subject kids look forward to for summer means no balking at year-round learning
    • if you’re using curriculum for all subjects, you can spread out your purchases across the year
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