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NCAmusings

When do you start / end your homeschool year and why?

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My ds and I started K4 at the beginning of September and I have his lessons planned out for the next 40 weeks (including 3-4 weeks of vacation time). However, I've noticed that some do their homeschool year quite differently. I've read that some start their year earlier than September (planning w/40 weeks as well) and others school all year around.

 

So I'm curious... when do you start/end your homeschool year and why/how do you choose to do it that way?

 

Please share your experience as I would like to explore our options or, rather, possibilities for the future.

 

Melissa

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Melissa,

 

We school the last week of August through the end of April. I chose this schedule for a few reasons. The first is that we do state testing each year and it is always the second week of May. I like to have our school year done before testing otherwise we lose our motivation to school when that final test is taken. Second reason is that we get spring fever horrible here and want to be outside enjoying things instead of inside doing school. And finally, we don't do a lot in the dead heat of Summer in late August so we might as well spend our time inside an air conditioned room learning something great. It has worked for us for three years now. You are right that each family has their own plan and reasons for that plan. :001_smile:

 

Oh and I should add that we stop schooling the week of Thanksgiving and don't start up again until the first of the year. That is our extended vacation instead of spring break and days here or there.

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Hi! We start at the beginning of August. We do 6 weeks of school and then take a week off all year. We are done by the first of May. That way we can go on vacation the middle of May and not have to worry about school when we get back. And the week off every 6 weeks is a God send!

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Whatever you do, try to find a plan that will work for you. I tried six weeks on/one off--but I found that the week off totally disrupted our rhythm--and it stretched and stretched. Nine weeks seems to work better--I'm going to try that this year and see if we aren't ready for school after a "light" week. (I'm loathe to take it off entirely as it is so hard for all of us to establish our routines once we're "out" of them. But we do need a break of some sort.)

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school in Australia starts at the end of January. . I school all year round. I 'start ' the next school year when we start on the next years history. with subjects like science, math, grammar, we just start on the next book when we finish one, so are all over the place, with a not very clear cut grade level for each child, just a general, around grade 4, or 8 or whatever .

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We begin our year around mid-August and homeschool throughout most of the year. I have found that spreading out material and having the flexibility to take days off here and there works better for us than trying to cram it all into a neat, short school-type schedule.

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We school year round from July 1 to June 30. We do this mostly because it gives me time to get in around 200 to 220 days of school with plenty of time to take off on a whim (as we did this week...I'm calling it Fall Break).

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We pretty much follow the public school schedule, since we've got one hs'er and one ps'er right now - so for us, it's the first week of September until the last-ish week of June, with the same Christmas break, March break, etc...though we do some 'school lite' in the summer & on holidays too and involve ds9 in that. :)

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This is our third year homeschooling, and we, too, school year round. Our first year, we kept inline with the local ps system (began in August and finished in late May). With the kids having the ENTIRE summer off, all they did was NOTHING!! We're in the DEEP south, so playing outside in the heat of the day is not an option, and there's only so many things you can do inside for 8 weeks!!

 

So, we now school year round. I have young ones, so we do a 3 week on, 1 week off rotation. This gives them a shorter period of time to do their best on their work to "earn" their week off. There have been times when, if dd didn't complete her work in that 3 week time frame, we had to use a day or two of her week off. She was NOT happy, and it's only happened twice :)

 

Plus, our church does ALOT during the holidays. Schooling year round gives us an opportunity to alot more periodic time off during holidays, family functions, etc.

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I try to finish the school year by the 2nd week in June. That's when our state's annual homeschool convention is scheduled for, and purchase all of my curriculum for the coming year.

 

I also have to submit standardized test scores to our county by August 1st, and that gives me time to give the CAT tests in mid-June, receive the scores by the 1st half of July, and get them mailed to the county.

 

We don't do school from mid-June through mid-August. My hubby's family is big on summer vacations (both my SIL and my MIL have beach houses and they want my children to join them). I also then have time to look through the purchases I made at the homeschool convention and to write lesson plans and pick up all of my school supplies (not only paper and pencils, but any items I need for science experiments, any books I need to purchase for supplementary reading, etc.)

 

By the middle to the end of August, though, even my kids are getting antsy! They want to start school. The new books are sitting on the shelf and they've been playing video games all day for 2 months and they're bored!! :)

 

During the school year, we take a week off in October for our own family vacation -- we're going to Myrtle Beach in 2 1/2 weeks!!! :w00t: We take a week off at Thanksgiving, two weeks off at Christmas, and a week off at Easter.

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We start/stop our year in May when we have our vacation. We take 3 weeks off at that time and start fresh at the end of May on the new year.

 

Of course, I do slowly build up the material and don't start everything all at once.

 

It works well for us.:001_smile:

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This year we extended our start date because of TOG:

1. Year 3 Redesigned has a supported start date of Aug 18, I figured waiting until Sept. 15th would give me plenty of time to actually be ready.

 

2. This past year was rough on our schedule, a lot of life happened so we were still doing 2nd grade studies in July-September lightly.

 

We started this year on September 15 (yep, Monday) and we'll go 9 weeks on and 1 week off (plus holidays) through July 3rd, our math will actually end on July 31. I hope to take August off and start again in September of 2009.

 

Our studies really do not end, they become lighter.

 

We have lessons Mon-Thurs with a light Friday, Friday is our field trip/nature walk day so every week we get a break plus our formal studies end around lunch everyday (we have fun stuff after). This makes a difference. We cannot take too much time off without consequences.

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We had no reason to follow the public school schedule, so I didn't. There's nothing special about September through May or June, after all.

 

We took off a couple of weeks in the spring (I always get spring fever), a couple of weeks in late August/early September (usually hot weather, no AC, too lethargic to work, lol), and then whenever else we needed a break (to go to Disneyland in the middle of the week in May, for example). We put our books away at Thanksgiving and took them out around the middle of January.

 

For the sake of Sunday school teachers and grandparents, I "promoted" the dc in the fall. I did this by looking dd in the eye and saying, "You're now in 4th grade. Congratulations.":D

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We school year round, taking breaks as needed. Some seasons are lighter, some heavier, and just keeping going lets it all even out. We don't count weeks, though we're always way over 40. I find there are things I mean to get to during the school year and don't, so summer gives m a chance to change pace, keep math skills fresh, but get those forgotten things done (art, science, etc.).

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This is our first year of formal homeschooling (ds 1st grade). We're planning to school year round for 40 weeks. That way, I'll have 4 weeks wiggle room. My starting date was Aug 25 (like ps in Tx), and we're going to take a break every 5 weeks or so. So we're going to finish mid July. Then take a break for 1 month except for reading, then go on to the second year at the end of Aug next year.

 

Dian

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My oldest daughter's birthday is at the very beginning of september, so we start our school year the first full week after her birthday - this week that was 9/8 (I think it will be 9/10 next year). We have to do 174 days of school in CO. We take off time for birthdays and holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter), and generally end our official year in June. If we have not finished things like math, history, grammar, writing (anything with specific lessons and a specific end) we will finish those through the summer, but we only do school-lite in the summer - maybe 2 days a week. I just don't want them to have too long of a break during the summer.

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I like to start mid August or slightly later. It has not happened the past two years. I like to start slightly earlier than the local schools so I can end in late May. At the very least I want to start and end when the ps do. I don't get much done once other friends are out of school and I am not disciplined enough to keep going into the summer. I WANT a break. :D

 

I know people that are on all types of schedules. One friend goes 4 weeks on one week off. That schedule would never work for us since it seems to take a week to get organized and the week before a vacation I have a hard time keeping them focused.

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We run from July 1-June 30. This splits the year into two 6 month semesters, with the first semester ending at Christmas time (we take off 2 or so weeks at Christmas). We go year round, but once we hit our required days, I lighten up on what we do. In the past we've taken the whole month of July off.

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cause that's when NC says I can. I have to school 9 months with reasonable breaks and holidays starting July 1. We tend to start the first Monday after July 4. The we finish when we are out of curriculum.

 

We school 9 weeks on, 1 week off. In addition, we take a week at Thanksgiving, 2 at Christmas, a week at Easter.

 

Last year, 4 weeks from the end of the school year, dh looked at me and said "I need a vacation." I asked if he could wait until we finished school, he said no. So then that was another week. I think we finished in May.

 

I haven't counted to see when we'll finish this year.

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I take it year by year. Last year, we followed the PS Track 4, because they had October, January, April, and July off, and I was having a baby in October. This year, I didn't have all our curriculum until late August, so we are following the traditional school calendar.

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. . . our schedule is determined largely by my daughter's college calendar. We found out last year that it is next to impossible for my son to concentrate and do any meaningful work when his sister is home. And, obviously, there is a limit to how much we can get done while I'm driving to and from Virginia. So, this year I just planned for those things.

 

She was due back on campus on August 21. So, we started our academic year the following Monday, August 25. She will be done on May 19. So, the plan is for us to be done the previous Friday, May 15.

 

We'll also take off any weeks when she is home on break, which makes for a very compressed year for us. We'll have only 30 full weeks.

 

Of course, that doesn't count the field trips and projects and educational DVDs and stuff that will happen during those weeks "off." But I planned all of our formal curriculum over those 30 weeks.

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We go from the beginning of September through the end of May with a couple of breaks thrown in. I love long, lazy summers. Plus, we belong to a charter school so we follow their calendar a lot (though we stop a week or so earlier than they do).

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We start the day after Labor Day and finish at the end of May, with a week off for Christmas and days/weeks off when needed throughout the year. Also, we're on a 4-day schedule with Fridays for co-op, and when co-op isn't in session we can squeeze in an extra day if we need to, or take the day off. So we'll definitely have 36-40 weeks.

 

We like taking summers off because you have to take advantage of nice days in Washington! We'll take half-days in September to go to the zoo and things as well--in the spring it's overrun with field trips and the summer has day campers, so Sept-Oct is by far the best time to visit our zoo.

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We go mostly year round and take a week or so off when we need it. I'm due with #5 mid Nov. so we'll take a week or two off then. Dh will be doing the lessons with the kids through Dec. this year. :001_smile:

Some times I'll take a month off in the summer if we are really busy. But we still do some light work nature studies, some math etc. The one year we took all summer off the kids had forgotten a lot of what they had learned before break.

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We follow the local 10 month school year, which is rougly August 1 - May 31, and we take off all school holidays and 1/2 days. Why? The kids are miserable not being able to see the neighbor kids every minute of every day...

 

In the summer, I do toss a math fact sheet out now and then, and we do a lot of summer workshops, and camps for fun (erm...also with their friends).

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For record keeping, we count July 1 to June 30 (per state regs).

We school year round, because I like the consistent schedule - but we're only doing sit down school work about 3-4 days a week. So when we start or end a book, or a curriculum, or a unit is not defined by the record keeping calendar - when we finish it, we start anew.

We moved last year, so it threw life for a curve ball... seems like each year I get a curve ball, so it's easier for us to school year round - and not worry about whether we are behind or ahead of the calendar.

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We hs year round also but our schedule is a little different from others. We go from Jan. to Nov. breaking for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in between years. We also takes breaks through out the year for vacations, etc. We are finishing some subjects a little earlier so we are gradually flowing into our new year.

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We usually start the first week of Aug, school for approx 6 week followed by a week off. We take 2 off for Christmas. Typically our yr is finished by mid-May and we have a 11-12 week summer vacation.

 

Our schedule fits my needs. I need the down week for life and planning. I need the long summer off to keep me motivated and going yr to yr.

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July 1-June 30 just because it works out that way. The main part of the year goes from mid August to early June. But the whole year counts.

 

As to why--it just sort of evolved that way. We start two weeks ahead of the public schools to give us some wiggle room for vacations during the school year. Over the summer we do school-lite to give everyone a break without forgetting everything.

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Our year starts July 1 and goes through June 30 of the following year. Because I work 3 days a week, I build in the extra time just in case we need to take of more time than a September through May year would provide.

 

I don't have to start declaring our intent to home school until the 2009/2010 school year, so I have time to work on the plan I just mentioned, if I need to.

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We are in the southern hemisphere. Our school year starts at the beginning for February, after 7 weeks of Christmas/Summer holidays. We have 4 ten week terms, with 2 weeks of holidays in between each term except for the longer summer break. We coincide with the school terms because it works for us. So basically our year is 10 weeks on, 2 weeks off, with a longer summer holiday- but not as long as Americans seem to have. I do prefer our holidays spread out over the year rather than all at once.

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The "plan" is to take off when we need it, school most of the time, and keep on going when we finish.

 

For instance, I plan to take off 2-3 weeks around Christmas as it is always hectic, we want to visit family and enjoy all that surrounds the holidays. Then my oldest son goes to his dad's for a week. When he returns, we will start back up. After we do, we will likely finish in late April (we started in July). We will take a few weeks off, then start back again in say, mid-late May. We will just keep on keeping on in this fashion and not really have those big 3 month long type breaks.

 

This is the PLAN. I'll let you know how it works! LOL

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DH is currently a graduate student and when he completes his Ph.D. the plan is for him to be a professor. We will follow his school year so that we will have time off when he does. I hope to also do light school over the summer but that will be determined when we start more formal school. My oldest just turned 4 so we haven't officially started anything yet.

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Our summers are on our boat - Mid May - Sept 1. During that time, we do all sorts of hands on sciences. Then we do academics from Sept - mid May four days per week. Fridays are project days.

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We have always started our homeschool in the beginning of August (although next year we might try starting closer to mid July). This allows us plenty of time to take off for vacation, holidays, birthdays, etc. and still finish by mid-May. Truthfully once the nice spring weather arrives no one here wants to work on school so we spend as much time as we can outside. This also gives me a break for a couple of weeks to research any curriculum that I want to look at more closely when our state homeschool convention happens in June. Then a few weeks to gather things together and plan before starting up again. I personally need the summer break to recharge and refocus. HTH

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Our school year starts September 1 and ends August 31. I had to pick a day for Home School Tracker.

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We start mid-July if we can (this year we didn't start until August) so that we can take more time off during the year and still be done by the end of May. Several advantages:

 

Breaks for travelling to dr. with Dad

Breaks in December when we do more baking/decorating--so we don't have to feel harried!

Breaks when mom/kids need them

 

Shorter summer break (6 weeks) means kids don't forget as much too!

 

Merry :-)

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We start a "grade" in September as we are required to send in forms to the school district two weeks before we start school. But we take a substantial break at Christmas time which has on occassion included parts of November. So we start up our review in January and we keep going during the summer since it is so easy to get school done then without outside activites to change our routine.

 

I generally dislike the review period *we* have to take when we take more than a few days off so I avoid long breaks unless absolutely neccessary. I feel very tired and unmotivated during the holidays so that is like our long break for the year. Although, dd does a page or two of math here and there when dd will do it without complaint. :tongue_smilie: So we are just wrapping up in two months and we just go started in August!!!!

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We go year-round. With kids aged 5, 3, 2, and 1, it's really nice to not worry about it if a day goes kaplooey. :) We take off all the Jewish festivals and holidays. In August we did a pretty light load. In the summer we do a lot of outdoor learning. I read of a family that schooled 9-12 every day that the father of the family was working. They even did this in high school. I think it's a great system if it works for you. We're at the beginning of this journey, so we'll take it year by year.

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Years ago I started when the local schools started, but then one year I noticed that my kids were sad and bored after summer swim season ended and some friends were on vacation. I decided to start school then. We start school at the end of July when summer and USA swimming end/break. We get alot done because everyone is taking last minute vacations so there are no distractions and it is usually quite hot, sometimes stormy. We school for 4-6 good weeks, and then we would take a trip in Sept. We would take little time off for Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas, and we would go away in the winter to a warm island. NOW we take breaks at Christmas and go to Florida, because February is full of high school state or USA championship meets. We take a week off in the spring so we will be finished the 2nd or 3rd week of May. Last year, we schooled through alot of the holidays so we could be finished May 4, and we left for Europe for the rest of May.

I think that is one of the great things about home schooling - flexibility to your own family's schedule. My husband has odd hours working in the Emergency Room, but when he is off, he is off. As the kids have grown older our schedules have changed because of their interests, but we still try to plan a big family trip once a year - something that we can all talk about and remember for years to come.

ReneeR

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