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  1. #1

    Default Should we Homeschool Year Round?

    Hello all! This is our first year of home schooling. We will be using a combination of methods, but primarily Unit Studies. After searching everywhere for material I ended up creating my own using topics my daughter choose to study this year. Originally we intended to stick with a somewhat traditional school year schedule. However, when she did her assessments for math we found some major problems. I've posted about this before, but part of the reason we decided to home school her was because the public school was just pushing her through and she wasn't actually grasping some of the concepts. They kept telling me she was progressing just fine. Turns out they lied. We choose Math Mammoth for her after she tried some of the sample worksheets and seemed to actually enjoy them. She did the assessments for 5th, 4th & 3rd grade levels. She is actually at a 3rd grade level! After spending weeks assuring her that she is not stupid (which completely breaks my heart!) and that this is not her fault we finally have her at a point where she's starting to work on filling in the gaps. We have all the workbooks to cover those gaps and the complete 5th & 6th grade curriculum. She already has low self-esteem when it comes to math and I'm afraid that if we push her to catch up in one year it will become overwhelming and we're looking at months of fighting and meltdowns. We're considering home schooling year round for 6th, 7th & 8th grades to allow her the time to learn at her pace and be able to catch up before high school. Has anyone had experience with home schooling year round for middle schoolers? Do the kids seem to respond better? When should we schedule breaks and for how long? Everything I'm reading pertains to young kids and really won't work for our family. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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  3. #2

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    I'm sure you'll get responses from people who actually know what they're doing. I'm just starting to homeschool my kiddo, but I wanted to wish you luck. Catching her up is totally do-able, and I do agree that you're best off doing so at a reasonable pace, instead of trying to push her through ASAP. I hope this year is the start of a much better path for your daughter. Good luck!

  4. #3

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    We have never homeschooled year round, or attempted to. For us, there are too many things on in the regular school year breaks for my kids to attend and enjoy. Play dates with friends who are in school, holiday activities we pay for such as horse riding camp and swim lessons (we do blocks in the school breaks rather lessons year round), activities that are free and run by local art galleries, museums, libraries etc. (these are only put on for kids in the school breaks). One of my children also has exam prep dance classes most school breaks where they go to a class every day for a week. So to have school on top of that would be too much.

    Mentally, we all also need a regular break/breather from school work to come back refreshed and motivated. At the start of this year, because of Covid, my kids wanted to extended out our first term rather than having a break when we were stuck at home. So we did 14 weeks instead of our usual 10, and it was a killer. Both for myself and them. We were all seriously dragging our feet and just going through the motions at the end of it. For us, 10 weeks with a 2 week break is optimum for 4 terms a year, and then a 6 to 6.5 week summer break, which is what the NZ school year is.

    So before you embark on year round, I would think about two things: 1) are there friends/activities that you would like to do in school breaks with the traditional schoolers (may be a post-Covid consideration), and 2) do you/your daughter need a mental break or do you think you could tolerate schooling year round.

    Also, from what I understand of those I have chatted with that school year round (only met one family IRL), is that they don't do school work at the level/pace of those that take breaks. Instead, they do the same amount of work but at a slower pace and spread out over the whole year. So even if you homeschool year round, you would not be fitting in any more of the math curriculum than you would if you homeschooled with breaks.

    My daughter also came out of public school with a lack of math confidence. I would not push to catch up. Just take it at whatever speed your daughter needs to enjoy it. It is better to have confidence and a love of math and be slightly "behind" than to be stressed out and lacking confidence with all the required grade level skills packed into a brain that cannot utilize them.

    FYI, if your daughter is lacking on basic math facts (which my daughter was), it can make math more stressful and slower for them to learn. We really liked the math facts series from Kates Homeschool Math Help (Books). There are also free resources on there to print out math facts tests and lots of math games. Math games are great for kids who are lacking in math confidence.

    If you need to work on multiplication, Natural Math has a fun multiplication course (https://naturalmath.com/multiplication-explorers/). One other thing I found for my daughter to learn her multiplication facts, which may or may not apply to you, is that my daughter is visual spatial and its apparently easier for such kids to learn multiplication by understanding the whole table. So one time, she filled out a multiplication table every day for two weeks and tried to do it different ways and identify different patterns. We found that did far more for helping her remember those facts that the traditional ways of learning multiplication facts by saying them or songs.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  5. #4

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    We do less homeschool in the summers, and maily do it to keep DS having something productive to do.

    I wouldnt schedule breaks in a rigid way (like 12 weeks on, 3 weeks off), but organically take breaks and vacations when you want, when you need them.

    Like NZ said, when we school “year round”, we do the 36 weeks of traditional school work. Any stuff we fill in is extra, like drawing or swimming lessons.

    For my younger kid, I give him an extra week’s break whenever he finishes a major workbook or unit. Because if as soon as we finished one thing he just got more new work, it was a bit demotivating.

    You will get a feel for how much, how long, and what you want “breaks” to look like.

    Sometimes also throughout the year, I will have periods where I take fridays off, and go have lunch with a friend, or spend the day doing things I want to do.

    Be flexible with yourself, learn what works!

    Also, there are archived threads with this topic!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  6. #5

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    When my son was younger (elementary-aged) we did unschooling during the summer -- which was really just picking things he wanted to do, an us doing them.

    He is in high school, now and I let him do his own thing, and that works for us. It is a combination of educational/noneducational stuff, and that is fine with me. The reason I don't do full-year, full-on school is because he ha never had the stamina for it, and he really does need a break. He needs a lot of decompress time, in general, so it makes sense, he would need this time to recharge.

    That said, some kids would rather do it year-round in exchange for a more low-key schedule that gives them more time to master particular topics without feeling rushed,; and/or in exchange for a shorter day. It really is one of those YMMMV things, I think.

    Have you asked your daughter what she thinks? I think if you do opt for year-round, you really want to make sure you get buy-in, because kids often really look forward to summer break. If she wants to try year-round, I would still try to give her some kind of break (two-weeks, or more) before the fall.

  7. #6

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    Thank you so much for responding! We really don't have that much scheduled right now other than Girl Scouts and hopefully a couple of camping trips. Most of the extra curricular activities she participated in were through the school. Unfortunately, with Covid nothing is open or taking registrations right now, but it's definitely something I will keep in mind. Each unit is planned to be 5 weeks long, but it's flexible allowing her to finish early if she wants or taking an extra week if needed. I planned a one week break between each unit which is also flexible. She can choose to move on to the next unit and "save" that week for during the spring or summer when we're going to want to do more activities and trips. I also have 5 weeks scheduled off in July and August to allow for a real summer break, but not as long as a public school break. Math doesn't correlate to any of the units, but is still part of the schedule for consistency. Thank you for the links and suggestions! I really liked the Kate's Homeschool Math Help and we'll looking into natrualmath.com if she requires more help

  8. #7

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    Ah, lunch with friends... I miss those. Showers are my alone time now LOL Thank you for the response and for the reminder that mom needs a break too!

  9. #8
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    We've always schooled year round. We usually take 6 weeks off for the summer, a few weeks off in the fall, winter, spring. We usually start our school year after Independence Day, but we start with school lite (reading, math, stuff we didn't finish from last year because we couldn't stand to look at it anymore). We usually start our full schedule about the same time the local kids start. I've found that I like our fall, winter and spring breaks to be at least 2 weeks long. Seems we always use 1 week to run errands, MD appointments, do neglected chores / yard work and then a week to do nothing. Then we also do random three day weekends we when we feel a bit toasty (burnout).
    Last edited by RTB; 08-24-2020 at 11:11 AM. Reason: clarity
    Rebecca
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

  10. #9

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    So, what is schooling year round classified as? Because we do much the same as RTB (a 6 week ish summer break, and three 2 week breaks during the rest of the year), and taking random days off or 3-day weekends when we feel the need or an interesting opportunity pops up. We also base it round finishing off a book as AM mentioned. When DD12 did Beast Academy, which has 4 books, her natural pace was perfect for finishing off a book per 10 weeks. Sometimes she finished 1–4 days earlier than expected and we just started our holidays slightly earlier but would add that on to the 2 weeks as a bonus. Now she is finished, BA, we base it round DD6's math books.

    And does your public school really only do 36 weeks per year? Is that US-wide? That's 4 weeks a year less than here. Well its 38 weeks of learning + some days off for random mid-term public holidays and teacher only days, but the in-term total is 40 weeks.

    How long are your summer holidays? 10 weeks? That would be insane. There are calls to make the summer holidays even shorter here so it is not so difficult for parents who work to find childcare.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by NZ_Mama View Post

    And does your public school really only do 36 weeks per year? Is that US-wide? That's 4 weeks a year less than here. Well its 38 weeks of learning + some days off for random mid-term public holidays and teacher only days, but the in-term total is 40 weeks.

    How long are your summer holidays? 10 weeks? That would be insane. There are calls to make the summer holidays even shorter here so it is not so difficult for parents who work to find childcare.
    Yes, 36 weeks or 180 instructional days is considered a school year here in the states. Summer vacation is about 10-ish weeks give or take. Most schools start mid to late August and let out late May to early June. Generally there are 2 weeks off at Christmas/New Years and a week in March or April for spring break. Some schools have more three day weekends than others but most have at least 2 - 3 per semester. Oh and Thanksgiving, the last week in November, is usually a 4 day weekend for most schools (Thursday through Sunday off). Some schools give Wednesday through Sunday off and still others just take the whole week off.

    We've always schooled year round very similar to the way you do NZ_Mama. We end up with more instructional days than a typical school but not by much. Schooling year round gives us the most flexibility to take days off when we need to and not get "behind". We have to turn in a notice of intent every summer between June 15 and August 15. Technically our school year "starts" on July 1 but that is just on paper. We go through our books and curriculum at our own pace and pay no attention to the date on the calendar. When we finish one, we start the next.
    Last edited by MapleHillAcademy; 08-24-2020 at 05:42 PM.

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