I vividly remember my first *real* job. At 22 I had secured an office job working in accounts payable for a national magazine distribution company. I had my own office space (well, cubicle), benefits like health insurance and a 401k, and I got paid vacation time. This was exciting! A real grown up job experience. I was a far cry from my past work experiences like McDonald’s.
I started in October. Winter came and went. As spring approached I started getting spring fever. It was that time of year when the weather started getting warmer and I started thinking about summer. Except…
Except that summer when you’re an adult doesn’t mean the same thing as it did when you were a kid. There’s no summer break from being an adult. You don’t get to take 3 months off to hang out with your friends or go camping at the lake or go to the beach. Nope. Bills still have to get paid, so adults still have to work.
Dang. Adulting is hard.
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Fast forward to today. Adulting can still be kinda sucky, but I guess I’ve gotten used to it. It’s just that thing I do.
So, what does this have to do with year-round homeschooling? It’s about preparing our kids to be adults. My friend Kristie says to me all of the time, “We are not raising children, we are raising adults.” In other words, the end game is to have adults, not children. (She’s pretty brilliant like that.) Year-round schooling is preparing our kids to be adults that function all year.
I gotta be honest. It’s more than that though…
A 1996 study done showed that students lost an average of one month’s worth of instruction over the course of a summer break, particularly in the area of math. I found this article done by the Institute of Education Science to be interesting with regards to Summer Learning Loss. I also found this article a good article —> Summer learning loss: What is it, and what can we do about it?
Consider that schooling year round is a relatively new idea. Compulsory education was on a seasonal schedule allowing kids to take time off to work in the fields during planting and harvesting times. This was when the majority of school-aged children were living in rural/farming communities. As compulsory education became more regulated, schools worked on a 9 month schedule to accommodate for lack of means to regulate the building temperature especially during the summer months.
We all know that our education system is one of the slowest systems to change and adjust for new studies. Lack of funding I guess? Anyway, year round schools have become more popular over the last decade. School systems are finding that year-round schedules allow for better use of school resources. Staggered schedules reduce over-crowding as more children are funneled through the school system. And of course, with shorter breaks between sessions, test scores are more stable across the board.
So, what about us? I think for us, I find that the kids do better with the consistency of continued learning. Not keeping to a 9 month schedule means we can spread our breaks out more. We have more opportunity to participate in our local homeschool group’s 5 week co-op in spring and fall. When family visits for the holidays or just because, we have the freedom to take a little extra time off. And I never feel like we’re behind because the noro-virus makes a round through the family wiping us out for a week.
School seems to just flow from one week to the next, one month to the next, and one year to the next. The kids don’t lose their momentum as they are moving through their subjects. There may be some plateau in learning, but never back-pedaling. Plus… did I mention all of the awesome learning opportunities summer brings? Ocean studies? Water science… in the pool? Yes please!
And in the end, the kids will be better for expecting to work all year long.
So, do you homeschool year-round? Why or why not?