We’ll be starting our sixth year of homeschooling on Monday, July 30. Lots of people ask us why we start so early, especially since we choose not to homeschool year-round. (We take June and July off for our summer break.) The simple answer is: We love starting early!
- It’s hot. July and August are the hottest months in our part of the country, and by the time our school year rolls around, we’re happy to see it. We stay inside and enjoy the air conditioning, and then we take our nature walks and outdoor field trips when the weather turns cooler.
- We need a running start. Because of out-of-town specialist appointments, we have several days each school year that we’re not “at the books.” I usually work in a field trip on those days, but it’s still nice to have a “cushion” of days built up by the time the public schools around us start.
- The Olympics are starting on July 27. No, that reason doesn’t work every year, but we’re going to definitely start off our social studies this year with a look at the history of the Olympics, country studies of the participating countries, and this year’s Games (events and results).
- We like to finish up by the end of May. We take field trips—lots of them. We love the hands-on learning experiences and connecting what we’ve studied in books to the real world. I also want the girls to finish their book lessons for the school year, so we need lots of days to do it all! By the time it’s all said and done, we log close to 190 days a school year, and we enjoy (most of) them!
- We take a lot of field trips. Yeah, I’ve mentioned that. See #4.
- It cuts down on the “I’m bored!” whining. By starting in late July/early August, I get them busy and back in the routine before they have time to get bored with our summer routine and activities.
- We can ease back into our school year routine. We often start with four-day weeks, finish up our summer activities (like the Summer Movie Clubhouse at Cinemark and the Kids Bowl Free program), and spend time with friends who are still out of school before they get busy again.
- Our schedule can flex with my husband’s schedule. If we’ve got our “cushion,” it’s easier to be flexible when my husband is off work. We can enjoy our day as a family and not worry about getting behind.
- We can take mini-breaks. Sometimes we just need a break that doesn’t coincide with a “scheduled” break. If we get sick, stressed, or just frustrated with our schooling, we can set it aside for a few days, read, watch documentaries on Netflix, play educational games on the internet, and relax for a bit. No stress! (Yes, our “cushion” comes in handy in SO many ways!)
- Because I’m the mom, and I said so. That’s partly true. My children are not actually jumping up and down excited about starting up again in three weeks, but they will start anyway. By the time we get into the school year, they’re glad that our family made the decision to have a ten-month school year. The extra few weeks help keep us more relaxed, which helps us enjoy our lessons—and each other—more!
- Bonus (in case you thought “early” meant early in the day): I do not require a super-early start to the school day, but I do have an early bird who is usually up, dressed, and halfway through her core subjects (math, language arts, and reading) before I roll out of bed. (We’re talking 6:00 am, and she’s going!) While her sister and I are getting our eyes open and eating breakfast, she usually wraps it up. Then she plays educational games, reads the book of her choice, and waits for us to get ready to do science, social studies, and Bible. Later in the day I help her correct the work she did independently. It works for us!