Friday, July 9, 2010
Why Start Now?
Of course, like all things having to do with homeschooling, every family has to do what works for them. There are as many different ways to homeschool as there are homeschool families. Some of the homeschool families I know choose to school sticking closely to the 9 month school calendar, using their summers for sewing or crafting projects, household projects, and other things they might find hard to fit in amongst their school days. Or it might be just because they need that three month summer break to recharge their battery and get prepared for another year.
I have a few reasons for having a shorter summer and starting school early and I'll share them with you today.
To be honest, one of the biggest draws to this kind of schedule is the ability to take vacations off-season. The lines are shorter and the rates are lower. When we went to Disney World, we went during the month of September. Kids across the country had just started back to school so there were virtually no lines for the rides. The longest line we waited in was about five minutes. Often, we were able to get off of a ride and then get right back on. We rode Expedition Everest no fewer than twelve times one day at The Animal Kingdom. We were also at Disney World at a time when we could take advantage of one of Disney's most appealing offers...lower rates AND free dining!
Because of our schedule we are also able to take advantage of things like spring or fall camping trips when the weather isn't so hot. Camping in the deep south in the middle of a summer heat wave is not my idea of a good time!
But aside from vacations and camping trips, our flexible schedule has other benefits. We've been known to decide at 8 am that it's just too pretty outside to do school. When the weather is gorgeous and the temperature is perfect we take a "Sun Day". Or we might decide that today looks like a museum day or a zoo day. Because we have such a flexible schedule we have the freedom to take days off of our book work without worrying about whether we are getting behind.
Yes, it can be hard to listen to the plaintive cries of my middle child as he is tormented by the sight of his friends walking down the driveway with their shoulders slumped after being told he couldn't play. But, let's face it. I need routine. My kids need routine. Ben, particularly, needs routine. Without it everything around us is chaos. Maybe it's a personality flaw of mine, I don't know. But the fact is, I get more done when our days are ordered.
Please don't feel sorry for Ben, though, as you imagine his angst over doing school while his friends play. The mom of his friends (they are brothers) is kind enough to keep them from knocking on the door any further during school hours and, even better, she makes them wait until the afternoon for fun things like balloon fights and swimming in the swimming pool. Every afternoon this week, as soon as Ben was finished with school and chores, he made a bee-line to his friends' house for some summer fun!
Continuity of Learning
Because we never stop for longer than about six weeks, there's not a long summer break over which to lose or become weak in certain skills. Most textbooks have about 4-8 weeks of review built into them to compensate for summer gap. By not taking a long summer break, we are usually able to breeze through these or skip them altogether. This makes a year round schedule a little more efficient for us.