I get a lot of questions about our homeschool schedule. It’s pretty simple really and it works amazingly well for us. We school on the 6:1 schedule.
What’s that you ask?
The 6:1 schedule means we school for six weeks and then take one week off. We do this from August until June and then take the month of July off entirely.
Sound interesting? Here’s how it works.
A homeschool schedule that works
Several years ago I was homeschooling my two young elementary kids and we were adhering to the public school schedule. The problem was that we were all getting burnt out, me included, and when summer rolled around all I heard after the first few weeks was, “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do.”
I started thinking this was totally lame. I mean seriously, I’m a homeschool mom. I can do anything I want, however I want to do it. So, what do I need to do to make this experience fun for everyone again?
After doing a little research I stumbled on an article that laid out several different methods of establishing a homeschool schedule. One was called the Sabbath or Term Schedule. Moms like it because you can move subjects around and do unit studies during each term.
I like it for the simple reason of having a beginning and an end. See, I’m a project gal. I like a definite start and a definite finish. I’ve always worked well in jobs with this kind of schedule (like legislative sessions and campaigns) and I use this type of mindset in my workouts and my blog projects and even in my free time. It’s the way I’m wired.
After reading about this method I knew I had to try it. Low and behold, my kids are just like me. They love a beginning and an end. They like to have something to look forward to and they relish their free time when we have our week off.
Granted, many of our activities still follow a public school schedule like sports and AWANA and our co-op. But we have great freedom at home in our 6:1 schedule.
Each summer we start before anyone else in our neighborhood. But so far, this hasn’t been much of an issue. While the kids don’t look forward to starting school once they are back in the swing of things it’s a very easy transition. This year I even heard my 4th grader say, “How do public school kids take three months off from math? I’d forget everything if I did that.” BAM! Mom win.
The best part is when everyone else is just getting back to school in September we are taking our first week-long break. We sleep in, read books, watch movies, hit the beach or the river, and stay up late. We relax.
And we continue to do this all throughout the year. Now, I don’t get tired of teaching. The kids don’t get bored or burnt out. We’ve always got our break to look forward to and it’s longer than just one day.
What it looks like over the year
Here’s the breakdown:
Around Aug. 1 we start our first block of 6 weeks “on.” We ease into it for sure but it doesn’t take long and there are rarely tears.
2nd week of Sept. we take our first week “off.” Usually, the kids are in sports so we stick around home and relax. I use the time to get projects done and transition our house from summer to fall/winter.
Mid-Sept. thru the end of Oct is our second block. Getting back to work is easy and this block always seems to be very productive.
The first week of November we are off again. This is an important break as we usually use this time to prep for the holidays. We determine what gifts we need to make, plan for Advent, decide holiday parties, concerts, and activities we want to attend, write down the movies we want to watch, get our list together for baking, and finalize our travel plans. I can’t tell you how awesome our holidays have been since we’ve started doing this planning ahead of time.
During our next block we hunker down and the kids are pretty self-sufficient. They get their work done and we sometimes do a special unit on art or music.
We take two weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s.
After the holidays we get back into the swing and back to our co-op. Our next break comes in February. We try to travel or see family during this break.
Our spring break comes at the beginning of April when everyone else in our area is back in school. It’s a good time for us to head to the coast or go on an overnight trip.
Our spring term is usually spent finishing up our core courses like history and grammar and testing. Our last break is in late May. We use this time to plan for summer, sign up for camps, get the patio and yard prepped for warmer weather, and make our summer bucket list.
For the month of June we practice independent study since we are usually done with our core courses – history, grammar, bible, and our electives. During the month the kids are responsible for completing their math and spelling units and doing some reading. Once they do their work for the day they are free to play or explore their hobbies and other interests. It’s like pre-summer. We usually do this for four weeks then we’re officially off.
I love this schedule. It works well with all of our personalities and the kids know exactly what to expect. We are able to plan, relax, travel, and enjoy each other in a relatively stress-free environment.
The freedom of a 6:1 homeschool schedule
The beauty of this schedule is we can modify it to our needs. If we want to travel we might push our week off up or back a week without issues. If there are unforeseen emergencies we can skip a day or two without feeling the crunch of a deadline to get work done. With this homeschool schedule we are always ahead. When we finish a book or grade level the kids just keep moving forward and go on to the next book.
As far as national/school holidays like President’s Day or Veterans Day we can choose to work through them or take them off. We usually work through them because we also school on a four day week and we hate doing school on Fridays.
Finally, this schedule feels much more balanced to me and closer to real life than a public school schedule. Of course, teachers work on a different schedule but doctors, electricians, writers, and entrepreneurs know that life happens year-round. This schedule is definitely not a “real life” schedule but it’s closer than anything else I’ve found.
I believe this homeschool schedule will help my kids for their whole lives, to work and rest at regular intervals. It will lead to lifelong success.
I recently made this video explaining our schedule if you want to hear how it works for us.
What do you think about this homeschool schedule? Would this make a difference in your homeschool classroom? What would you change or add?
I’d love to hear your input. Please leave me a comment below or join my FB group and we can talk about it.
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