Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Step One - Annual Calendar

In my homeschool planning, I usually reach a point when I need to sit down and map everything out. Prior to this point, I have lots of brainstorming papers, lists of resources for each subject, etc. Once everything is decided, I move on to what I call Step One (because it is the first step towards the end of planning). Step One involves looking at a calendar and mapping out our time frame. I plan the entire year in advance, but I don't use dates - I simply number the weeks. Last year, we did 40 weeks of instruction and each week (for each child) I made a file folder with all the materials to be covered that week, plus any supplies we'd need. This year we will do 36 weeks, but follow the same format. Despite the fact that I don't date the weeks, I still like to look at the calendar, figure in vacations, etc., and see the target date for ending the school year.

When I first started homeschooling, we took the Year-Round approach. Then, for the past two years, we switched to a traditional schedule. I felt behind on the year-round schedule, but looking back I think it is because I only mapped out one quarter at at time (and I only planned a week in advance, which proved to be a method that does not work for me); and I didn't map out break weeks so much as we just took off days here and there. Under that approach, we ended in July and took off August. But I always felt messy and behind - I think because I couldn't see where we were going. We switched to the traditional schedule for a number of reasons (summer activities, travel plans, etc., etc.) and it's worked fine (mostly because of my increased planning and preparation) but twelve weeks off feels like a long time. I thought we would still do some homeschooling, but in all honestly we really have not (a few things here and there, but not what I had in mind).

This year, I am going back to the Year-Round approach but have mapped out the entire year. I was working on my calendar yesterday and happened to read this blog, which solidified what I had been thinking about our schedule. We will still end in July and have off the entire month of August (actually, the last week of July as well so it will be six weeks off). This works out well because there are more activities available in the summer and the kids can still enjoy them. They can go to camp, we can take family trips, not miss out on the summer fun, etc., and the kids and I will feel like we've had a long time off (which we will have as six weeks is a decent amount of time). Of course, despite the handy map, I am thoroughly aware that things never go according to schedule (hence the lack of dates on my planning folders). In that case, I can easily move things around as need be (e.g., the break week in November is close to Thanksgiving break; I'm leaving it in, but in reality we may very well school through that break week and end our school year a week early or take more time off in December). The point of my calendar is simply to be a guiding tool - not a bible. It helps me see what I want to do and it helps me get there.

9/6 – 9/10 school
9/13 – 9/17 school
9/20 – 9/24 school
9/27 – 10/1 school
2/28 – 3/4 school
3/7 – 3/11 break
3/14 – 3/18 school
3/21 – 3/25 school
3/28-4/1 school
10/4 – 10/8 break
10/11 – 10/15 school
10/18 – 10/22 school
10/25 – 10/29 school
4/4 - 4/8 school
4/11 – 4/15 break
4/18 – 4/22 school
4/25 – 4/29 school
11/1 – 11/5 school
11/8 – 11/12 break
11/15 – 11/19 school
11/22 – 11/26 Thanksgiving break
11/29 – 12/3 school
5/2 – 5/6 school
5/9 – 5/13 school
5/16 – 5/20 break
5/23 – 5/27 school
5/30 – 6/3 school
12/6 – 12/10 school
12/13 – 12/17 school
12/20 – 12/24 Winter break
12/27 – 12/31 Winter break
6/4 – 6/8 school
6/13 – 6/17 school
6/20 – 6/24 break
6/27 – 7/1 school
1/3 – 1/7 school
1/10 – 1/14 school
1/17 – 1/21 school
1/24 – 1/28 school
7/4 – 7/8 school
7/11 – 7/15 school
7/18 – 7/22 school (week 36)
7/25 – 7/29 break
1/31 – 2/4 break
2/7 – 2/11 school
2/14 – 2/18 school
2/21 – 2/25 school
8/1 – 8/5 break
8/8 – 8/12 break
8/15 – 8/19 break
8/22 – 8/26 break
8/29 – 9/2 break


  1. I do the exact same thing - calendar out the entire year, including breaks. It makes lesson planning that much easier!

  2. Ditto that for us - I LOVE seeing how the mind of a homeschooling mom works! Our calendar for next year will look very similar, but we'll have more time off around Christmas and less of a break in the summer.
    Thanks for linking back :)