Please visit the first post, about school calendar options. Then come back here and we will wrap up your calendar planning for the year.
Time to cross off!
Here are some templates I like to choose from. The one I used in 2019 was from the Yearly School Calendar section of that page. You can even edit these templates in Word, including adding your school name at the top.
OK now it's time to print a calendar and mark off the holidays and vacation days your family will be taking. I absolutely have heard of families doing school on Christmas Eve, on Thanksgiving morning before family comes over...oh my. Let me just say now that our position here at Busy at Home is that families should have days off of school! If you don't celebrate Christmas, that's fine. But mark off some special days now. Would you like to make a rule that everyone gets their birthday off? Cross those off. Having a family reunion this fall? Mark it off. Planning a cruise in the off-season? "X" those days off and send me pictures. Don't forget to mark that first day of school you decided on in the previous post.
On this calendar, you can see that I marked our first day of school last year in blue. Also, our first day of co-op is marked. Red boxes indicate a holiday or vacation. You can see we took a week for spring break in addition to holidays.
How many days do you have left now? Remember to leave some days for field trips. I realize you might not know when those will happen just yet, but your budget will probably dictate about how many field trips in which you can participate in a month. If you have any standing appointments on your calendar that will take more than an hour or 2, you could go ahead a plan to be off those days as well. Understand, however, that there is such a thing as car school! That school work can be packed up and taken with you. My children have done school in the car, in waiting rooms, at Chick-fil-a, and even in parking lots. Life happens and school can go on.
Now on the calendar, you can see that I have added our co-op days in purple. Co-op days are counted as school days since they are taking classes. I consider that to be part of our homeschool.
Now begin at your start date and count the number of days you need to complete school. You will need to refer to your state laws. Here in Texas we don't have to complete a certain number, but I always schedule around 180 days, or 36 weeks. That gives us time to complete our work and take some days off for other things. Now you should have a rough estimate of your ending date.
If we used this calendar as it stands, we would finish up in early May, supposing that we never missed a day and that everyone stayed well all year. But in our house we like to spread things out a bit more.
Have you heard of year-round school? It sounds crazy when you hear that because it makes you picture kids doing school 365 days a year. But what year-round really means is that you have simply spread the traditional 9 months of school over 12 months to give you more time off. I know many families who do "year-round" school but they are often not doing school at all. This is because they have given themselves the flexibility to do half-days, take days off, and just generally not be in a rush. Their children have time for gymnastics lessons, time to go canoeing with friends, time to spend at the beach, and even time to take off and help others. It creates a slower pace of life, and it's nice.
In our home, we like to have a break. We like to have a start to our year and an ending. I don't like the thought of just doing school all year. So we use what has been called a "Sabbath Schedule". I originally got the idea, and the term, from the August 2010 Home Educating magazine. Unfortunately, I no longer own that copy and it was an actual magazine (not digital) or I would give you a link and credit the author. What it means is, we do school for 6 weeks and take one week off. (Get it? Work 6 days and the 7th you shall rest?) Those weeks off in between school sessions give me time to plan, make copies, order or check out books, organize the school cabinet, and take a breather. We still end up with about a 6 week summer break, and holidays. It works out great! The yellow days mark our weeks off. Yes, co-op days interrupt our weeks off sometimes but that's OK. Between the red and yellow days, we have time off about every 6 weeks.
There was a week in February where we were due a week off, but didn't want to take it because it would cause us to get out sometime in June. We normally do that, but this year we wanted to finish up sooner. So, I colored in some "flex days" to be used in case we had a big illness or some other interruption during the year. (Like...oh...I don't know...a pandemic?) And doing things this way gave us a 7 week summer. And here is the finished product!
There are so many ways to customize your school calendar to fit your family. The only limits you have are your state laws. Other than that, use your imagination and make that calendar fit your family!
Also, it's perfectly OK to get a calendar and a pencil and start figuring this out. I used to do that for years. I've had a lot of practice now, but I used to do a lot of scribbling and erasing to get to the final result. Another good tip is to mark off Christmas break, if you take one, and count backwards from there. If you'd like to be half-way through with the year by Christmas, that will tell you when you need to begin. As always, if you need assistance or have any other questions, feel free to use the Contact form at the top of the page!