our homeschooling journey (part 2)

As promised, here’s my next post on my homeschooling series.

Specifically, I want to show you wonderful people what our homeschooling calendar looks like because it’s not you typical school calendar. I’m the type of person that if something is set in stone, I’m going try to take a chisel to it. Why? Well, I guess I’m just not satisfied with how things are “supposed to be,” especially if they don’t work well for me or my situation. And to me, the typical school schedule just makes no sense. At all.

So here goes, the Merrill homeschool calendar. Expect your mind to be blown. Okay, maybe not blown. But hopefully you’ll reconsider some things that were set in stone, especially if they’re not working for you.

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Our school calendar begins in January and ends in December. Really, that just makes so much more sense to me. In one single calendar year, you go through one single school year. Tah-daahh!!! And also, there’s lots of really good homeschool curriculum sales late in the fall, after the typical school year has started, but before OUR school year has started. Win-win situation right there!!

17760432_10154972308496043_932638606_nSecond, we do school all year long. That just means no excruciatingly long summer break, which, to be honest, is both as painful for parents as it is for the kids. However, this doesn’t mean that we’re doing school ALL YEAR LONG. It just means we’ve scheduled in plenty of well-deserved breaks throughout the year.  My OCD brain loves it (loves loves loves LOOOOVES) when things with numbers and dates work out perfectly, and this, my friends, makes our homeschooling year work like a well oiled machine.

Our year is divided into four quarters. Each quarter is made up of three “sets.” Each set is made up of three weeks of school, and one off week. At the end of each quarter, you add an extra off week before you begin the next quarter. Magically, that adds up to an even 52 weeks, and the two off week period at the very end of the school year (in December) corresponds nicely with Christmas and New Year’s. It’s a beautiful thing!

As a visual, our first quarter in 2017 looked like this:

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The second through fourth quarters look exactly the same, just the dates, of course, are different. And do you know what makes this schedule work so well for us? It allows us time to do school but not burn out. And we have a lot of perfectly spaced and scheduled time off, but not so much all at once (like the typical summer break) that kids get restless, forget everything they’ve learned and drive mama crazy. Those off weeks also are great for scheduling doctor and dentist appointments, or mini vacations, or once-a-month shopping/cooking days. We still schedule in federal holidays into our calendar, so when daddy is off work, the whole family can still go out and enjoy the day off.

17690779_10154972313501043_662679573_nFinally, one of the greatest things about homeschooling is the fact that it’s a flexible lifestyle. This past winter we had a few weeks of sickies and yuckies running through the Merrill house, and we inevitably got behind with our schoolwork. Lucky for us, our calendars aren’t set in stone and we were able to catch up on missed lessons during our most recent off week period, only doing one or two lessons a day.

As I mentioned in my previous post, homeschooling offers you an amazing amount of freedom. Thinking outside the box in order to create a routine or schedule that works for you is one of the perks of that freedom. Our calendar works for us. The kids can look forward to our off weeks, but they also don’t experience the burnout of too much school or the boredom of too much time off.

If you’re a homeschooling family, what schedule works for you? If you’re considering homeschooling, I hope this new way of looking at a calendar helps you think of the endless possibilities that are available for you. Also, if homeschooling is something that you feel is out of reach for you because of financial issues, please read this. It just may be the ticket you’re looking for to help you stay home and homeschool your kids.

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