It is 101 degrees on my outdoor thermometer right now. We are in the heat of summer, and it is not even July yet. Actually, it is not too bad in the shade with a light breeze blowing. It is definitely summer time.
Summer means a break from school for my kids to attend Vacation Bible School, youth camp, library summer programs, and Shakespeare based theater camps. For me, it means time to reset our school room, plan the details of next year, and acquire needed supplies. This past weekend, we successfully painted our school room, something that needed doing for the past three years. It is like having a brand new room, the walls look so good! I still need to organize the main book case and designate wall space for US and world maps, a periodic table for chemistry, and a word wall for Spanish. Luckily, I still have July.
Our planned start day for next year is August 8. I found a 2022-2023 school calendar that I liked here at TinasDynamicHomeschool.com. The colors go well with the rainbow of pastels that I chose as the theme for this year’s planner. I will make a separate post about the planner resources I used, it is just too much to include here.
When the girls were smaller, we did more of a year-round schedule, only taking off the whole month of June. The rest of the year, we did school three weeks a month and took a month off. The monthly break was definitely needed by all of us, and helped keep me caught up with planning. As the girls got older, the week off became harder and harder to recover from. Instead of being a helpful break, it became a hinderance to our momentum. Now, with one starting middle school and two in high school, our school year is broken roughly into four quarters with breaks between.
The first quarter will runs 9 weeks until mid-October, with a week long break in September. The next quarter will run eight weeks, include a one week break for Thanksgiving, and end right before a three week Christmas break. The third quarter will run nine weeks, until mid-March, and end with a one week break. The last quarter will run till mid-May, where we will end for the year. Usually this date is flexible and depends on when curriculum is completed, not on a number of school days. If we start and end as planned, we will complete our school year in 35 weeks.
Our academic calendar is guided by our family’s schedule for vacations, holidays, and anticipated time needed to complete our chosen curriculum activities. Unless my husband has a one-day holiday from work, we usually take breaks in week long segments. Sometimes those weeks move a little, depending on vacation plans. We do take time from our regular studies to allow for time for educational field trips, co-op events, and special projects around the holidays. So, since we are planning 35 school weeks, I will most likely attempt to adjust lesson plans to around 32 weeks to allow for those breaks in our regular lessons on scheduled school days, such as the aforementioned field trip, etc.
One may ask why all of this day-specific planning is necessary. My state, Texas, does not require a specific number of days of homeschooling or track attendance. The main reason is that I am a Type-A mom who needs to plan. I want to make sure my high school students are able to complete their subjects before next summer, without rushing, while still leaving some breathing room for other equally important educational opportunities that come up. I need the structure of a start date, and an end date. And quite frankly, as a list-maker and box-checker, if I do not plan for it, it probably will not get done, even the fun stuff.
As of today, I have five weeks to finish preparations for the next school year and enjoy the slower pace of summer. Honestly, I feel pretty prepared. All of our curriculum is purchased, I have made tentative plans for the year in each subject, and set up binders for the girls to organize their work for each subject (another topic that I will leave that for another post). I still need to find back-to-school deals on all of the little items needed for daily assignments, such as markers, colored pencils, paper, etc. And, I need to enjoy the rest provided by summer break without guilt. Wish me luck!