Now that you have begun your homeschooling schedule, there are various questions you may have. Should you study continuously, take a number of short breaks or a long vacation? What about public holidays? When should you take a break?
The answer to these questions and many more like these are actually quite simple: Do whatever suits you best. This is one of the appealing benefits of homeschooling. You do not have a set pattern to follow. You do not HAVE to take that autumn break, or close shop for a prolonged summer vacation. Flexibility is the key here. For some practiced unschoolers, even a definite curriculum is not necessary because lessons are a part of their day- to-day life. But this will not be the case for all families. You may need or want to chart out their activities to fall into a pattern.
Before you plan the structure of your year, consider some of the most important issues. What method of homeschooling will you be following, what is your teaching style and your child's learning style, what are your work and play schedules, what are your vacation plans. Some families plan small 1-week vacations at different times of the year. Other families prefer to go away for a month or more. Elicit input from the whole family, and chart out a holiday schedule that most suits you.
What we do:
In our home, we homeschool year round. We fall somewhere between unschoolers and eclectic homeschoolers. We don't have a set curriculum, we use workbooks, the internet and lots of hands on. I set up a rough schedule for our school year. On holidays, we usually do activities that are focused on that holiday. Their birthdays become holidays and we typically take Thanksgiving day and Christmas day to spend with family. We usually take our family vacations during the traditional school year, benefits of this, it is cheaper and less crowded. This schedule works for us, it would not work for everyone.
Summer activities, classes and camps:
I have been asked if my children participate in any summer activities. The answer is yes! They go to camp and they have done various activities and classes. We simply put it in the schedule. Remember, homeschooling does not mean you are sitting in front of your books 6-7 hours a day. Rather it is a lifestyle of learning.
What makes homeschooling so great is that you and your family are in charge. Taking care of the individual needs of the child is the primary focus. So, tailor the school year to suit your child's needs. Periodic evaluation is a must. Set some realistic goals and see if you are able to achieve these goals. Most importantly, avoid burnout - both in yourself and your children.