When I tell people that we school year-round, I get a few reactions. Some tell me they wish their children schooled year-round. Others simply raise their eyebrows, nod and continue. Some people look at me as if I have horns. Why in the world would I torture my children and teach them all year?
What saddens me about some reactions is the idea that learning only happens in a classroom. Before the development of schools, people learned without sitting behind a desk. Learning happens everywhere and anywhere, and it doesn't have to be drudgery.
People typically want to know how we make this schedule work for our family. I particularly love schooling year-round. Instead of focusing our vacation in a three-month span, it is broken up throughout the year. We do take a summer vacation. Our middle child's birthday is July 4th, so we have a birthday party and try to camp that month or take a vacation.
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Throughout the year, our vacations are more spread out. We take off the entire week of Thanksgiving. Christmas is a three-week break when we focus on the nativity and the birth of Jesus. Easter is a weeklong vacation. I also take time off around the beginning of May when I put in our garden.
Why We School Year-Round
Why don't we go with the normal schedule created by schools? It doesn't work for our family. Christmas is a huge deal for our family. Our activities naturally switch to family-centered activities. Instead of trying to stuff school into those weeks as well, we relax and have fun. The same goes for Easter!
Our family has a small homestead with a large garden and chickens. Spring time is a big deal around here. I have to get everything planted on time. We produce as much of our food as possible. Taking time off for our family to focus on this makes sense and means I still get some sleep during the busy time of year.
Summer is different for our school. We switch our schooling time to the afternoons because the temperature outside reaches its peak. During the morning time, we have breakfast and try to spend a few hours outside in the garden and playing.
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As the temperatures increase, we head inside and hit up some of the books. I limit our schooling for our summer break. Instead, we focus on a lot more reading. We read extra history books, play games that double as math lessons and try different science experiments. Our summer school is far from boring; it is when we make some of the best memories!