My decision to school year round initially went over like a ton of bricks with my kids. They were not happy when I excitedly said, "Hey guys!?! Guess what? We are going to do school ALL YEAR from now on!" They replied, "What? Even in the summer?" "Yep! that way we can take off when we want and not have to worry about catching up - and we can go on more field trips!" Here I was excited and all I was seeing was blank stares and disbelief on their faces.
I will admit, the first summer was a little rough on all of us. After several years of it we are definitely in a groove and for the most part the summer is spent finishing up whatever we have left of our 36 week curriculum. Other than that we continue with math and reading until our "new" school year begins in August. Really all that means is we start our new TOG year in August.
Here are my top five reasons for homeschooling year round:
1) Freedom - I don't feel locked in to any hours or even days. We have been known to do school work on the occasional Saturday and it is totally okay. If we need a day off due to burnout, needing to grocery shop, going to the library, the movies or on a field trip I don't need to stress and think, "We should be home doing school." If we would rather watch Netflix all day or read all day - we do that without guilt. Sometimes, the Netflix viewing isn't even educational and I still don't feel guilty!
2) Flexibility - Our main curriculum is Tapestry of Grace and it runs 36 weeks. It is fabulous and I love it, but sometimes I want to spend more than one week exploring certain topics and since I have 52 weeks to complete a 36 week curriculum I can do that. TOG spent about three weeks on the Civil War - we spent two months on it. It was great and so fun! Noodle can tell you the top Generals, some of the battles, lots of facts about Lincoln - he really enjoyed it.
3) Less Stress - When we tried to follow the public school schedule we didn't have a lot of fun. It was rush, rush, rush and I seemed to always be saying, "We need to get this done! We are behind!" I seriously forgot that one of the reasons I was homeschooling was so that I could customize the children's education and so that we can spend time on mastering skills. Finally, one day I realized I was acting crazy. Why was I rushing? How did it become all about checking the box? I learned that I run the curriculum, the curriculum doesn't run me.
4) Variety - When I am not locked in to a tight time frame, I can keep variety in our homeschooling. We can bake, make messy projects, read more books, watch movies after reading a book, go on field trips, have friends over or even just lay around playing Legos or Wii Tennis.
5) Convenience - It is convenient for me to have the freedom and flexibility to spend longer periods of time on topics we are enjoying. I can plan getaways and not worry about "missing" school. It has become a lifestyle of learning. It is who we are - a family of learners who can learn any where at any time. We are never off school, even over Christmas break. I recently announced to Noodle that instead of doing school the week after Christmas that we are going to have "game week" which of course will still be educational as we play games like Yahtzee, Headbands, Name That Country, Great States and the host of new games we are getting for Christmas. He thinks he is playing and I know he is learning. Win-win.