Scheduling a School Year

The calendar is printed.  You know you need to plan, but a full year seems so overwhelming.  Where do you start?  Where should you start?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

When I am scheduling for a new school year, I start with marking our school days.  Here’s what works for us, and I’ll share a few ideas that others use!

Determine The Number of School Days

Some states require a certain number of days, and you should first make sure you are at least meeting that requirement.  Some umbrella/cover schools also set an attendance requirement.  I have lived in several different states, and 180 days of instruction is a standard for a school year.  So…180 it is for us!

Most curriculum will have between 120-140 lessons, and I know some families that simply gauge their school days by the completion of their curriculum.  They don’t really worry about the total days at all!

To tell you the truth, if I marked every day that was educational, I would probably get into the 200’s!

Start in the Summer

I learned early on that starting in July was better for us.  If you have the flexibility to adjust your school calendar, you can start when the “iron is hot” or when the weather is too hot to bear being outside.

Most children enjoy the first part of summer with all the activity and bustle, but by mid-July the party has died down.  You start the hear the “I’m bored” call, and it’s time to bring back some routines and structure.  My children welcome it!

Plan for Breaks

I try to plan a break every 5 to 6 weeks.  Why?  Basically, because I am the one who needs it!  My children also need time to relax and just be…without structure, free to create (or re-create).

I’ve done it.  I’ve tried pushing my children through that 7th week of structured schoolwork.  It was disastrous.  I was angry.  My children were left with fried brains that needed to be gently massaged back into normal function.

Breaks are healthy and revitalizing.  Try one and call me in the morning!

It has worked well for us to take a week off usually Labor Day Week, then the last week of October (for a family birthday week), and of course Thanksgiving week.  We take 2 weeks off for Christmas/New Year’s.  Our next break is around Valentine’s Day week, then the last week of March (for a family birthday week), wrapping up the school year by mid-May.

I have friends who really enjoy taking the whole month of December off for holiday activities.  Others also plan for special time off for children’s birthdays or special family events.

Remember Special Days

It is good to take a good overall look at the year before you start planning lessons and activities. Don’t forget to add in pre-planned vacations or special events that will require some time away from the books.

Be Flexible

If you can, don’t worry about a missed day here or there.  If your husband gets a Monday holiday off from work, then put the books aside and enjoy time together!

As long as you don’t take a day off every day, then you will keep moving forward and keep your children on track.

So…ready to start planning for next school year?  Start with the calendar, then…well, that’s another blog post…

Let’s Chat:   Does scheduling a school year scare you? Or do you have another idea that helps you get it done?  Click here to share your thoughts.

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Disclosure:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.