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Year Round Schooling—Is It Good for Your Family?

Are you trying to decide how you will spend your time this summer?  Summer is typically filled with many activities, but many often ask the question: "Is it a good idea to continue to do school during the summer?"

This question may be of legal significance for some families. To answer it, the answer depends on your state’s laws. At the Center for Homeschool Liberty, we want to make sure that you know your state’s attendance and record-keeping guidelines for homeschooling. If you are required, let’s say, to do school 180 days, you can choose when (and how) those days are spent. Twenty solid days of academics invested over the summer “count” as much as solid school days in winter. If you don’t know your state’s requirements, you can research them by clicking here to visit our website at NCLL.org.

Realistically, there are some years that, for a parent, the mere thought of more schooling is exhausting! But some families might thrive with a consistent schedule year round. Some might define that as six-to-nine weeks in a row broken-up by a two-week break. It is yet another blessing of homeschooling that we have the freedom to choose and schedule accordingly.

What are the advantages of either?

Keeping kids learning year-round can be helpful when:

  • They forget a lot over the summer. Working through the year might increase knowledge retention;
  • If your student needs extra help in an area, summer is a great time to give that help when spare time is available;
  • There are some kids who just do better when they are busy, engaged, and on a schedule.

Disadvantages of year-round education include:

  • Makes it difficult to participate in special summer-only activities like camps or competitions;
  • Presents challenges when your child’s friends are out of school and they are in school;
  • Some families need that length of time to rest, regroup, and refresh.

If these ideas don’t resonate with you, how about finding middle ground? In our family, summer vacation has been a time of unlimited and unfettered reading. We might require a certain number of books to be read, but let the child choose the genre (with some guidance). We also did minimal math to keep the facts and skills sharp. Sometimes that was a workbook; sometimes it was a computer program. Each fall, the math muscle was still sharp and we were able to start the year strong.

Summer is also an excellent time to practice writing. Keeping a journal or scrapbook is a sort-of sneaky way to get your kids to practice this skill. A nature journal with sketches, a scrapbook of summer activities, or a self-produced book on a topic of choice (like Legos or Lord of the Rings) will be a treasured memento and a painless writing exercise.

From all of us at the Center for Homeschool Liberty—have a safe and happy summer!