Two years ago the Wildwood Halls of Ivy (that’s our fancy registered homeschool name) switched it up.
We started doing school year round.
I’d say the year round aspect of school has been a complete success. I’m so glad we made the shift. I only wish I had done year round school always.
The first year we tried year round our schedule (and our life) was in quite a bit more upheaval than it currently is and our weeks off were wildly flexible. God was gracious and that free time fit our needs more organically and fluidly when the occasion called for it. It worked, but I wouldn’t call it an ideal year and I’d love to never repeat it.
This year we’ve been much more capable of sticking to a more consistent routine. Pretty much right on target we’ve attended school for six weeks on and one week off, Christmas break being an exception.
I tell you what, every six weeks, on that one week off, I am convinced that this schedule (and that one free week) are literally saving my sanity. (And therefore rescuing the sanity of my children as a byproduct.)
It’s a geniu plans for our house right now. A perfect fit. (The troubling truth about perfect fits in a homeschool rhythm is that they are not eternally perfect. Much to my disappointment.) But, for right now, it’s just what we need.
At the six week mark in home educating, I’m not completely spent, exhausted, burned out or frustrated, but I’m anxious for a break and just shy of several of those adjectives.
During the previous six weeks I’ve had time to delve into subjects and to see where the gaps are in each student’s particular areas of weaknesses and the beams of sunlight in each student’s strengths.
My finger is on the pulse, so to speak. And I’m ready and capable of doing the fine tuning. A week off to plan and to reorganize and to redirect is well timed.
At six weeks a couple of household chores have stacked up and I am actually motivated to conquer them. I’ve got a handful of recipes I want to cook, stories I want to tell, letters I want to send, long phone calls I want to make, mornings I want to sleep in, board games I want to play, Netflix series I want to introduce the kids to.
And for a few days we sleep in or stay home or take a trip. We clean up or make piles for the thrift store. The kids play Legos for hours on end. We plan elaborate meals (like an entirely homemade burger and fries dinner I’ll surely share in a Five Finds Friday post soon).
During the week off I spend a little time regrouping and adding in structure where it’s been lost and taking out extras that have bogged us down and pinpointing some special areas the kids need to progress in.
And then I spend several days NOT thinking about school at all. I write and dive into larger projects. I organize the kitchen pantry. I sit on the porch and read extra chapters of the book I keep forgetting about.
And by the week’s end, I am ready to ramp up for six more weeks. I’m encouraged to hold tight to what works in our routine and to let go of what is tedious and unhelpful. I’ve got an energy boost, like drinking a five hour energy beverage or something, but less weird and scary.
If I could have a homeschool do-over, I’d start right from the beginning with this six weeks on and one week off routine. But I don’t have a do-over. (Not for school. Not for life.) But I have this school year, this next six weeks, this schedule right now.
And it is saving me, saving our homeschool, empowering me as a teacher and as a human, protecting us from burn out and fatigue, from despair and slack.
Hooray for a week off. And hooray for six weeks on. It’s working so well for right now.