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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Why We Don’t Homeschool Year Round

Emma knocks on the door and says, “Peter, do you want to take a trip to Oz?”

The summer pretends are in full swing here at our house.  The children spend most of these hot, sultry days pursuing their personal interests. The 17-year-old is writing a short story and reading Flannery O’Connor when he’s not super gluing his drone back together, practicing driving, or helping with yard work. The youngest has pulled out another board game and made up her own rules to play it with the stuffed animals. She loved spending the week at VBS with her friends. The middle kids have disappeared upstairs and are working on something. I’m sure I’ll hear about it eventually. Or not.

Why We Don't Homeschool Year Round at Homeschooling Hearts & MindsAs important as it is for our family to make sure that our children are well-educated, I realized a number of years ago that becoming educated doesn’t just happen in the planned moments. In fact, most of education probably happens in the unplanned moments.

Now, the word education means different things to different people. For some, it will mean being able to read, write, and do arithmetic. For others, it mean being trained for a profession. But there is a whole spectrum of meanings and connotations attached to the word (and more than one official dictionary definition), so I’ll share with you my working definition of education (courtesy of

the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge,developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life

Notice that education is as much about becoming educated as it is about being educated. And that it’s not all about academics. Sure, academics play an integral part, but are they the most important part?

Is learning to care for others less important than learning the math facts? Certainly not, and yet that’s something we learn by being with others and not necessarily through a lesson plan. That’s not to say that math should be neglected in favor of developing compassion---it’s not an either/or proposition. Rather, either family needs to find the right balance of academics and daily living.

For our family, that means we take a summer break from homeschooling.

That doesn’t mean that we abandon all academic pursuits for a couple of months. It means that the academic pursuits take a backseat to other things. So, while we may play some math games or read some history, these are just a small part of what we do all day.

Other families will have different ways of finding this balance, and that’s as it should be. Part of the reason we homeschool is because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to live and learn. There was a time that we did homeschool year round and with younger children having that predictable routine in place can be a real blessing.

As the children have gotten older, though, it has been an equal blessing to give them more and more free time to pursue their special passions and interests. Change can be a good thing, so be sure to reevaluate your homeschool each year to see if what you are doing is still working for your family.

Do you homeschool year round?

I’d love to hear what works for your family---please share in the comments!


  1. We will be trying the year round thing this year. I find the 6 weeks on, one week off very appealing. For the past few years, we've used a more traditional calendar, but the downside of that is that all of your long breaks happen during holidays, and they are usually so busy that it is not much of a break. After summer vacation last year, everything spelling leaked out of dd's ears and it took months to bring her back to the point she was at in June.

    1. Good luck with trying your new schedule. I hope it works well for you. I love it that we can customize how and when we learn to fit our families. :)

      Ah, yes, the summer brain drain phenomenon. I'm familiar with that! I try to counteract it by continuing with learning activities of some kind year round. We do some math, for instance, but it is different from their regular program. My kids sometimes have some leakage, but it's not too bad. I've also seen the opposite happen---where at the beginning of summer they don't get something at all, but it's child's play to them at the end of summer, even if we weren't working on it. I think that's due to just growing up a little.

      Blessings to you as you start your new school year.


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