4 Benefits of Starting the School Year in January

By Melissa Batai

Homeschoolers have the freedom to start and end the school year whenever they would like, but many of us continue to adhere to the public school schedule and start in August or September. There are valid reasons for doing this. Maybe you only homeschool a few kids, and you want their schedule to match their sibling who is in public school’s schedule. Maybe your kids enjoy doing summer camps, or you travel in the summer and want those months off. However, if you don’t have those constraints, consider the benefits of starting the school year in January.

You Can Buy Discounted Curriculum with Black Friday Sales

One of the best reasons for starting your school year in January is that curriculum providers offer so many fabulous sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For instance, one popular curriculum provider, Veritas Press, offers their self-paced curriculum Buy One, Get One Free. Their self-paced history and religion curriculums cost between $199 and $249. 

Their middle school and high school self-paced curriculum costs $349, so with every purchase, you get one free and save between $199 and $349!! Sure, Veritas lets you schedule when you want the curriculum to start, but if you’re like me, once you buy it, you want your kids to use it right away. A January start date makes that possible!

Avoid the Fall Rush on Curriculum

If you follow a traditional school calendar, chances are, you may have to wait a few weeks from the time you order your curriculum until the time you get it. This situation got even worse over the past two years when many people started homeschooling thanks to COVID. This past year, some people ordered their curriculum in July or August and didn’t get it until October!

You can avoid this problem by buying your homeschool curriculum out of season, in time for a January start date. Some publishers encourage this by offering a discount if you buy your curriculum during the winter months.

Your Child Gets More Time to Mature

If you use a January start date when your child is in high school, you will likely want her to graduate in May (though she could certainly graduate in January). If she does graduate in May, she will have an extra semester in high school. This can allow an immature or younger student to have time to get a bit more mature by taking an extra semester.

You can also use the extra semester to include a work-study program in her curriculum or to space out high school classes so she has a longer time to complete them.

You Can Enjoy the Weather If You Live in a Hot Climate

If you live in a hot climate, you might prefer to take a longer break in the winter months rather than the summer months. For instance, we live in Arizona, and June through September, the temperature is usually above 110 degrees. We rarely go outside; instead, we just hibernate in our air-conditioned home. That’s why we usually school all summer long.

By starting your homeschool year in January, you can take time off between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the weather is nice. For us, December usually has temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees, which allows us to go outside and enjoy nature and take field trips in comfort.

Final Thoughts

You can start your school year whenever you would like, but if you’re open to an alternative schedule, consider the benefits of starting the school year in January. You may find that doing so not only saves you money but also offers you several other benefits.