How long is the typical school year? For how many weeks should a homeschooling family plan to do school?
In the United States, the majority of states require their public schools to do 180 days per year. (You can see your state’s public-school requirements here.) However, homeschooling laws aren’t always the same as public-school laws. If you are an American, you can check your state’s homeschooling requirements here.
Most curriculum supplies 36 weeks (180 days) of curriculum per year because most curriculum publishers originally wrote textbooks for schools.
This doesn’t mean you have to have 36 weeks in a school year.
It takes a lot of pressure off to realize that you and your spouse are the “administration” for your school, and not just the teachers. You are allowed to set “policy” for your school’s calendar.
However, common sense tells us that children learn better with a consistent schedule and frequent review. Almost all authorities agree that a 3-month summer break is one of the biggest hindrances to young children’s learning to read and remember math facts.
Your school year doesn’t have to be 36 weeks long. Your school year doesn’t have to start in September and end in June. You don’t have to take 2 weeks off for Christmas.
Take the following things into consideration when planning your calendar:
- Do you have the approximate dates of all the biblical feasts that your family observes?
- Do you have any other travel or vacation plans?
- Are you expecting a new baby this year? (Plan 8-10 weeks off, or plan easy ideas for school during this time.)
- Do you prefer to have school 4 days, 5 days, or 6 days per week?
- Is it possible to do school on the day you prepare for Sabbath?
- Does your local weather (long months of cold or heat) affect your school year?
- Would you prefer to take a short break every few weeks?
- Does anyone have chronic health problems? Should you allow extra time for doctor appointments and sick days?
Each family does school a little different. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. You can start school whenever it works best for you!
In our curriculum, we have scheduled 36 weeks for the following subjects.
- Independent Bible-reading schedules
- High-school Bible-study schedules
- Together school
- Oral Language
You can start at any time. Each month you’ll be able to access more curriculum. You’ll be able to access your curriculum for as long as you are a member, so there is no rush to get started.
If you decide to school year-round, you can finish one 36-week course and immediately get started on the next level, without having to wait for a new school year. On the other hand, if you decide to do school for less than 180 days per year, there is no reason why you need to be finished with your subjects by a certain date.
The bottom line? It’s up to you.