How do you schedule a homeschool year, especially if you’re schooling multiple ages and grade levels?
I don’t have the answer, despite having 5 children in school with 2 younger ones underfoot.
I have not found the magic answer to effectively scheduling a homeschool year.
In fact, each year our schedule is adjusted and tweaked in order to fit everything in. This only gets more challenging each year.
So, I’m trying a completely new scheduling plan. I’ve thrown out the traditional school view and am adapting a sort-of block schedule – but nothing like what traditional schools use.
We are going to a year-round trimester schedule. We will have a short summer trimester with two longer trimesters during the regular school year.
This will allow us to take more time off during the school year for activities, sickness, or simply for family time.
It will also allow us to split up the subjects that we study each trimester. Some of our subjects will be completed in one trimester.
This is important for a few reasons:
- We will experience the satisfaction of completing some subjects in the middle of the traditional school year.
- We will have the excitement of looking forward to starting something new in each trimester.
- We will have more time for individual subjects, allowing us to go deep instead of wide in our study of all the subjects in our homeschool.
- We will have less to cover each day during our homeschool, and I’m hoping I feel a little less scattered as I work with each of my children.
Here is our current plan:
Summer Trimester – May, June, July (9 weeks of school time)
- Literature studies
The summer will be a short and focused time to work on things that are less intensive than some of our core subjects.
We will do a focused Bible curriculum, Latin curriculum, and a logic curriculum along with some fun logic workbooks. We’ll learn vocabulary and Latin and Greek roots, as well as study literary analysis.
My older children might also work on completing some elective credits as they get closer to high school.
Will we finish the curriculum in these short weeks? No, I plan to break up the curriculum and aim to complete half of a level of some subjects in our summer trimesters.
Year-Round – for the fall and spring trimesters only
A few subjects will be done over the course of the fall and spring because they require daily study. All of my children will work on math and Spanish throughout the year. The older ones will continue to practice spelling skills while the younger ones focus on learning to read.
Fall Trimester – August, September, October, and November (13 weeks)
My kids will each work through a grammar curriculum individually. Then for our group school time, we’ll cover history, geography, and apologetics.
History and geography will flow seamlessly together. We’ll do our history readings with narration and outlining and additional reading. For geography studies we’ll learn about different countries and cultures and practice drawing the continents.
I’ve decided that we’d like to focus more on apologetics and deeper Bible studies rather than just a Bible curriculum. So our Bible curriculum has been moved to the summer – that is when we’ll learn Bible stories and read through books of the Bible. But in the fall, we will question our faith and learn to answer difficult questions.
December – (2 weeks)
We don’t do much school in December, so we always look forward to our mid-year break. I’m hoping to add some interest-led learning in the month of December as my kids have unstructured time to pursue their passions.
But we’ll also be able to count a few of our days as school days toward our yearly attendance. We’ll do artist and musician studies as well as art projects. We’ll listen to music and maybe do some hymn studies.
Our December will be filled with lots of projects and even more wonderful read alouds and poetry.
Spring Trimester – January, February, March, and April (13 weeks)
- Finances and Life Skills
Instead of working on grammar, my kids will begin to apply their grammar skills to their writing as we focus on developing writing skills and writing paragraphs and essays.
Instead of exploring history, we’ll jump into our science studies. It will work well to study science in the spring when we can be outdoors more often and it will be easier to do experiments and study nature. This will be part of our group school time as we study science together and complete experiments as a family.
I’ve been wanting to focus more on government and citizenship, so as another facet of our group learning time, we’ll learn about our government, elections, and good citizenship.
I also plan to add some life skills to our group school time. We’ll learn about finances and stewardship for this year. Later years might include some etiquette or cooking and baking. This part of our school will be different each year, but I hope to make it fun, hands-on, and something we can pursue as a family.
For our fall and spring trimesters, we plan to complete this curriculum in that one trimester. We’ll often double up on the lessons each day.
But my kids and I all voted that we’d rather spend longer on our subjects and cover fewer subjects each trimester than our old plan of covering all the subjects throughout the entire year. We found that it has been difficult to shift back and forth between all the various subjects during a school day.
I’m striving toward more restful learning.
Focusing on a smaller number of subjects each day allows us to follow more interest-led learning and dive more deeply into each topic, knowing that we have fewer items on our to-do list that day.
I’m looking forward to our more focused learning times with our new plan.
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