When we first started homeschooling, I tried to follow the public school schedule.
I know. I know. What was I thinking?
I soon learned that this was not feasible for our family.
Plus, one of the benefits of homeschooling is flexibility.
When I threw the public school schedule out the window, I went with no plan.
Like the say: “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Yup. That happened. With no plan, I felt out of control.
So one plan was too rigid and one was too flexible.
Let’s see what I did to find a plan that was right in the middle.
Some call it Year Round Schooling or Sabbath Schooling.
Both are sort of misconstrued names because we are not really doing school for the whole year. We still take a big Christmas break and at least a month off in the summer. Sabbath school is also not a perfect name because we are not doing school on the Sabbath. but rather taking breaks when needed.
For this post, I am going to refer to it as Sabbath school, but I wanted to clear up the different names first.
Sabbath school is a simple concept where you do school for 6 weeks and take 1 week off.
Just as God created the world in 6 days and rested on the seventh. Just as God commands Christians to work 6 days and rest on the seventh.
Our school schedule is modeled off of this pattern.
Flexibility in Homeschool Schedule
We certainly do not follow the 6 weeks on and 1 week off schedule to a tee.
It is more of a guideline.
Especially during the football season, we plan our break week around my husband’s bye week.
I also plan our break weeks around vacations we will be taking as a family.
The interval can sometimes be more like 7-9 weeks, but we always know there is a break week to follow.
The Sabbath school model is very flexible and can even be changed as the year goes on.
I like to start our school year with a “plan” but I know that break weeks and school weeks can be moved around when needed.
What Happens During Break Weeks
It is really not a complete break. At least not for the mom! However, change is always good when things are becoming mundane.
The kids are required to spend one hour each morning of the break week doing a specific chore.
These are things that have accumulated over the weeks that need to get done.
Examples of these chores:
- Organize and declutter toys
- Clean under beds
- Fix closets and refold clothes
- Clean out school desks
- Clean under couches
Once the kids have helped for an hour, they are then required to do some reading. My goal is for them to finish an entire book during the break week. I will often break this into chunks for them so that they know what is required during that break week.
Once the chore is done and the reading is completed, they are free to play, watch a movie, and just do something that is fun for them.
Keeping Track of the Schedule and Tasks
There are two ways that I keep track of the Sabbath schedule model.
First, I use Homeschool Planet to block off our break weeks and our school weeks.
Watch this short video to see how simple this is with Homeschool Planet.
If you want more information on Homeschool Planet, here is my full review. CLICK HERE (I have some great videos on this page as well).
I also use a printable year at a glance calendar to help me decide the best break weeks for our calendar.
I learned this trick from Mystie Winckler at Simplified Organization.
If you are new to year round planning, I highly suggest you check out the resources she has to offer.
The course that talks a lot about year round planning and interval planning is called Work the Plan.
Prevents Burn Out
My favorite reason for following this planning method is that it prevents burn out.
Both the kids and I look forward to the week of rest and change.
I also am excited each break week to look back and record all that we have accomplished. Plus, I spend time planning for the next interval.
Allows for Interval Planning
Interval planning is breaking up your calendar into intervals.
This is another skill I learned from Mystie Winckler in Work the Plan.
I first created my vocations:
- Follower of Jesus
- Christian Wife
- Faith Filled Parenting
Then, I break each interval up into goals for my vocations.
Here are my Fall 2017 Interval Goals:
- Work through the book of John in my bible study time. (Christian)
- Make a weekly date night happen each and every week. (Wife)
- Work through the Power of Moms courses on Family Legal System. (Mom)
- Keep incorporating Charlotte Mason techniques in my teaching approach. (Homeschooler)
- Finish my Disney castle cross stitch project (Mom)
- Add one ebook to my weekly reading schedule (Mom)
- Decorate for fall (Homemaker)
- Plan Kinsler’s birthday (Mom)
- Plan fall outings and follow through (Mom)
- Finish Pinterest course
- Finish writing my ebook
I keep these goals in Evernote so I can go back and look at them from time to time.
The last step is to plan these goals into my week by consistently doing a weekly review.
During the weekly review, I see what goals I am making progress in and how I can improve for the week ahead.
Let me show you a glance at what this looks like in my planner:
Here is a closer look of each page:
Looking back at the goals, you can see how I am working towards some of the goals in this interval.
I have my bible time marked off, as well as date night.
I have also blocked off our school time so I know not to plan anything during that time.
Then, I found an hour to work on Power of Moms goal and an hour to read an ebook.
I also found time to work in the Pinterest course and writing my e-book.
The last step for our family is to mark off when our Au Pair will help. (If you are interested in learning about the Au Pair program, we are using Cultural Care Au Pair.)
As a homeschooling family of 7 and a husband who travels and has to work odd hours and weekends, we have found that having an Au Pair has been an amazing help for us.
We love the fact that she lives with us and helps with the laundry, cooking, and keeping up with the kids.
It allows me to be a better wife and mother at this stage in our life.
I highlight her help hours in yellow.
This year the planner I am using is the Living Well Spending Less Planner found HERE.
Keeps the Focus
When I know what I want to accomplish and I take steps to make it happen, I am able to keep the focus.
I get into trouble when I have no plan.
The best way to keep the focus is to hone in on your interval planning skills.
Remember: you can learn so much about interval planning from Mystie Winckler in her course Work the Plan.
You will be amazed at the planning systems she can help you put in place.