On a previous post, Brandy commented,
"I think I *just* realized that you do a year in a year--I mean not Aug-May but Jan-Dec. That is very Australian of you. ;) Have you always done this? If not, how did it happen? Do you take time off for summer? How could I possibly have not known this???"which I thought was a perfect way to introduce our "new" year.
As I studied and we talked about what we hoped our children's education would look like, fairly early on Jason and I decided that it would be a year round endeavor in our home. Our hope is that learning is just the way we, as a family, live life. Going about our day we want our children read books, try things, test ideas and generally seek knowledge and wisdom every day as we walk by the way.
We also knew that our kids were unlikely to work on a "regular" slotted grade schedule. Three months off in the middle of third grade math is not the same as at the end of second grade math. This way, we just keep going and pick up where we left off.
As we talked, we decided that the traditional schedule didn't make sense for us, while a "calendar" year made a great deal of sense. Start with the start of the year. End with thanksgiving.
There are practical considerations, too.
We knew we wanted to take a very long winter break: from Thanksgiving through Epiphany or so. We call this our Yuletide Session and it is the only really different time of year for us. N-boy's birthday is early in January, and it doesn't make sense to have a day off that early in the new year - plus it gives me some time after most of our holiday things are done for planning (unless I get sick, [ahem]).
We knew we wanted freedom of schedule. We're required by the state of Ohio to provide 900 hours of instructional time, but we wanted to be able to take days off when it fit our needs. We were able to take a week to go to Hilton Head in November with my parents this way.
It also fit well with birthdays and school district cutoffs for our children. Our local schools would have kept M-girl out of Kindergarten until she was two months shy of being six. While we didn't want her to go to school, she would have been completely capable of starting at 4.
There's a little bit of silliness with this schedule as everyone else runs on the public schedule. We submit our Notice of Intent to Homeschool in August with everyone else. We "promote" for Sunday School in September. We tell our children to answer, "What grade are you in?" with "I'm *** years old."
I also find that being on a schedule every day is vastly superior - in lots of ways - to being off schedule. I get more done. The children's time is filled better with less arguing and fighting. Summers off would be a complete travesty - especially as we can finish most of our work in the mornings and spend afternoons at the pool.
I don't really schedule weeks on and weeks off as others do. We work until we need a break, then we take one. We do have a couple of scheduled vacations each year, but otherwise, we go as we need to. Even if that's three days a week in July.
This year we are going to do our schedule completely differently from how we've done it in the past. I hope to write more about that tomorrow.