We live in New Jersey; our public school system runs from after Labor Day until about the 3rd week of June. It can be easy to have a mindset that this is when school needs to be done, but I have realized God has given us 52 weeks a year; and for that I am thankful!
Last year we started school the 3rd week of August. Our curriculum was planned for 180 days. I figured I would plan on doing five day weeks, but I wanted the flexibility to take off when things came up and take vacations as needed. I am glad we started then, because we are finishing our main curriculum this week. I never felt stressed this year when something came up, or like we would get behind.
This Year I am due with a baby the beginning of October, so I am going to need time off for our precious arrival. I don’t think this should stress me out, but rather I should utilize all the time God has given us for schooling. I also realized I want to switch to a 4 days school week, so we can have the fifth day for special projects, field trips, people, catch up if we had a bad week, or just a free day.
Our new curriculum is scheduled for 33 weeks, which would be 165 days. It is also labeled Monday- Friday. Monday- Friday school doesn’t work for us; Monday is my husbands day off. I also know having a bunch of little ones, it will not be practical to take 5 days of school work and cram it into 4. I plan on labeling all my lesson plans day #1-#165. I do think it is good to have a start goal for each school year; ours will be August. 165 days divided by 4 comes to a little over 41 weeks; so lets call it 42.
My plan is to block out in pencil 42 weeks I plan on doing focused lessons with my kids Tuesday- Friday; notice I say pencil. I know these weeks will probably change.
When we plan on taking off: 1 Week in August for a Vacation that is already planned, 3 Weeks in October, 1 Week for Thanksgiving, 1 Week for Christmas, 4th of July Week (next year), VBS week (next year), this still leaves us two extra weeks. This is good if my husband wants to take a vacation or if we have a three day week here and there for something that comes up. I know this doesn’t leave much time in the winter and spring months for off days, but I feel by having this flex day, it can really help guard against burnout. Also my family thrives on routine; so it is better for us not to take long periods without it.
Let me know how you plan your school year!