When to Take Homeschool Breaks

By Melissa Batai

When your kids are in a traditional brick and mortar school, you don’t have much choice in when school breaks are. You receive a yearly schedule, and you plan your vacations and other family activities around the assigned school breaks. However, when you homeschool, you are free to take breaks whenever you want. You just want to make sure you get in 180 days of learning or the number required by your state. Otherwise, you choose your homeschool yearly schedule.

When To Take Homeschool Breaks

There are several popular schedules homeschoolers follow when deciding when to take breaks.

Follow the Brick-and-Mortar School Calendar

If you’re a family who has some children who homeschool and some who attend brick-and-mortar school, you may follow the traditional school calendar just to make life easier. Then, all of your children have days off and vacations at the same time, so you can easily plan family vacations and other events.

School Six Weeks and Take a Week Off

Many homeschoolers enjoy schooling for six weeks and then taking a week off. Using this cycle, you would teach six 6-week sessions, each with one week off in between for a total of five weeks off between sessions. Then, you could use the additional 11 weeks off whenever you choose such as taking the month of December off or taking an 11-week summer break. The choice is yours.

This schedule works particularly well for those who do unit studies (complete a unit study in six weeks and start with a brand new one after vacation) or for those parents or kids who tend to experience burn out quickly.

Work Through a Season and Lighten the Load Later

Another, non-traditional option is to work hard through one season and then lighten the load throughout the rest of the year. For instance, we live in Arizona where the months from June through August are regularly 110 degrees or higher. Also, all of our social activities cease over the summer. Since the weather outside is so miserable, we buckle down and get a lot of school done. Then, in the late fall and winter, we slow down on school so we can enjoy the cooler temperatures. This is also when we get busy with homeschool group activities, so it works perfectly.

Take a Day Off Every Week

In homeschool circles, schooling for just four days a week is becoming increasingly popular. Following this model leaves room to have one day for errands, chores, or just a three-day weekend every week. People who follow this schedule school for more weeks per year. If you follow a traditional five day a week work week, your kids will be required to do school for 36 weeks of the year. If you follow a four-day per week schedule, you’ll school for 45 weeks of the year to reach the required 180 days.

Decide As You Go

If you and your kids don’t like to follow a strict schedule, you may enjoy a decide-as-you-go approach. Using this approach, you decide on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis what days you will school. If your spouse has a Wednesday off and you want to spend time together, take the day off. If you know you’ll have a busy day taking all the kids to the dentist and a social group, take that day off. If it’s a rainy Saturday and you don’t have plans, school on that particular day. You decide.

Final Thoughts

If you are new to homeschooling and preparing for when you will homeschool, know that there are many schedules you can follow. Which one you choose is based on what you and your children prefer. And, if that style doesn’t work out, you can always choose a new schedule. That is the beauty of homeschooling.