Year-Round School

The middle boy in the blue coat is my husband; the boy in red on the left is his twin brother.

One benefit to homeschooling is that we do not need to be bound by a traditional school schedule.  Our family has been starting school in July for a few years now so that we can have longer breaks at Christmas and in the spring.

It has blessed our family in many ways to set aside the traditional school schedule and do what works for us.  I have found over the years that my kids often do their best work during the summer.  We live  in the south, and it is too hot to play outside during the summer months.   We do take a long lunch break almost every day to swim at a nearby pool.  This motivates them to get up early and get their work done so they can have a nice “recess” at the pool.
We don’t have sports in the summer, either, which means we can come home from the pool and finish up anything we didn’t get to in the morning.  With four boys active in sports, the school year schedule can be stressful at times…..but during “summer school”, we don’t have anything else we need to focus on, aside from school.  It’s a very productive way to kick off the new year!
The holidays are often a stressful time for families, but that stress is minimized for us, since we take a full month off from early December through early January.  The kids enjoy lots of special holiday activities, and I don’t feel too rushed to bake cookies or decorate Gingerbread houses.  By late April or early May, we are usually done with school, just in time for the onset of spring fever!  It feels wonderful to get outside and enjoy the nice weather without having to worry about finishing school work first.
This schedule has been great for our dyslexic son—really, for all our grade-school aged kids—as we do not have to waste much time reviewing, since we are taking frequent short breaks throughout the year instead of a 3 month long break in the summer.  A shorter summer break means less time to forget what they learned during the year.
This year we are expecting a new baby in September.  The traditional schedule certainly wouldn’t work for us this fall!  If we lived by the public school schedule we would just be getting started when our baby is due.  Instead,  we’ll be doing school all summer, beginning  the second week in June and working until the baby arrives…then taking some “summer break” in the fall.
If you’ve never considered a non-traditional schedule, you may want to give it some thought and prayer.  If the thought of starting school in June or July seems overwhelming, consider starting in early August.  Just 2 or 3 weeks of school in the summer could give you some flexibility at the holidays, or an early “year end” next spring!


  1. Love the pic of hubs. Reminds me of a teenager I know!

    Summer school has always worked great for us, too. This year we won’t start until August, a couple weeks later than normal. But those few weeks in August do make for a nicer December.

  2. I did exactly this last year because I was expecting a baby in September:) It worked so well, that we’re doing it again this year (summer school – not having a baby!). It keeps us more in the habit of doing school and we get a lot out of those breaks – no time to get bored!
    Love your blog!

  3. I agree, one of the beauties of homeschooling is to work around our own schedules. =) We start Aug. 01, and do 9 weeks on, 2 weeks off. June & July is our summer break. ofcourse, subject to change whenever life needs it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. We have done this very exact thing for about three years now and my children love it. Instead of the whole month at Christmas, we take off some in September, a week at Thanksgiving, almost 3 weeks at Christmas, and about 2 weeks in April. We live down south (hot, hot, hot) so we like our off season breaks. I like your blog so I have added you as a friend. I am looking for some Charlotte Mason blog friends. Traci

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