(I really love this part.)
(I fully acknowledge my nerdiness.)
If you have made it this far on my website, you must have decided to go for it! Yay, you! I am so excited for your homeschool journey. Even if you have been homeschooling for some time, you might not have made a school calendar before, or you might want to tweak how you have done it in the past.
Why are you making me do this?
Many states require a certain number of instructional days, or some may require instructional minutes. You need to be sure you can fit all that in and not miss out on life in the meantime. I would hate for you to leisurely go about your school year, only to find out near the end that you must work 8 hours a day to get caught up. Let's divide that year up, shall we?
And yes, I know it's not going to go exactly as planned. Someone will get the stomach bug. The air conditioner might break and you will have to go spend a day or two at Grandma's house. You might even have a hurricane come on the first week of school. But if we simply make some place holders for ourselves, we can get back on track.
When will you do school?
Do you want to do a traditional school year? Most places I know of go to school from August through May. (Although my teacher friend in California never gets out of school until mid to late June.) Some families prefer to follow the local school district's calendar. Perhaps they have a child in public school and other children at home. It would be better for the family if their schedules all matched so they could have the same days off and plan vacations, etc. Maybe one of the parents works for a school district and they would like for their family to follow that calendar.
Other families prefer to NOT follow the local school calendars on purpose. They want to be out and about at museums, parks, and field trips while public school is in session so they can avoid busy crowds. Then, on days when public schoolers are out, those homeschoolers stay home and do their work.
Some families base their school calendar on the weather. Down south, it is too hot to do anything except swim during the summer months. So some families prefer to start their new school year on June 1 and stay inside in the air conditioning doing school. Then, when fall comes around, they can take a school break and enjoy mild temperatures and being outside.
Perhaps you need to think about a parent's work schedule. We have a friend who is a barge captain and is gone for several weeks at a time and then off for a while. To make the most of your time with Daddy home, you could easily schedule school based on his work shifts.
Or, your family might have other concerns such as medical appointments, therapy, and other things to work around. Did you know you don't have to do school 5 days a week? In fact, some curriculum companies give you a choice of doing a 4 day week or 5 day week schedule. When my children were younger, we always tried to do a 4 day week in order to leave one day for errands, house work, field trips, or just fun. As the high school years approach, that may be more difficult to do, but only if you are trying to do a traditional school calendar. If you are willing to spread school out over more months, you could get away with a 3 or 4 day week, leaving time for your teen to pursue hobbies or hold a part-time job. Flexibility!
So your first job is to decide when your school year will start and how many days a week you want to work. Once you have those two things figured out, we will color-code your calendar. Here's the next post where we finish your school calendar.