After 8 years of homeschooling, I’m giving up

by Elizabeth

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I give up. After eight years of homeschooling, I just can’t take it anymore.

Wait a minute, WHAT?!

No, I’m not giving up homeschooling.

But I AM switching to a different kind of schedule.

For years I avoided the way “expert” homeschoolers scheduled their school year, with six weeks on and one week off.

I was afraid that kind of rhythm would make the school year last forever and that I wouldn’t have a significant enough summer break to recharge.

Who wants to do school all the time?? And school all the time is exactly what that approach sounded like. I opted for the “traditional” school schedule instead.

Practically speaking, what that meant was that we plowed through our weeks and plowed through our months and plowed through our years, desperately trying to get to that elusive “perfect” summer.

(And also, it meant desperately trying to squeeze in as much school as possible before that very interrupting excursion known as the missionary furlough.)

But what I’ve discovered (took me long enough, huh?) was that going without adequate breaks is just not good for us, even if those breaks, when they come, are adequately long.

One simply cannot push hard for 12 weeks straight (or more) without a break and not lose some small part of their mind.

I had avoided the six-weeks-on-one-week-off approach out of fear that I would feel like we were “doing school” all the time, yet ironically, what I felt in going the traditional route was that we were doing school all the time.

So even though I’d heard about the 6-on-1-off approach before my oldest was even in preschool, I rejected it out of hand.

And lived to suffer the consequences.

This year I hit a point when I realized enough was enough. I couldn’t take any more hustle. I couldn’t take any more hurry. I was done with the way we were doing things.

That’s part of the reason we’re extending our third term by half a year: to be able to get into a better rhythm and routine with school and ministry.

(And also, because I was tired of feeling like my toes and fingers were freezing off in that blasted Missouri winter.)

Next school year, we’re doing things differently. We’ll take a pretty short summer break and start our next school year soon after finishing this school year.

But then we’ll take much more regular breaks throughout the school year, before heading back to the States for a few months – this time without school work.

(Why did it take me two entire home assignments to figure out that meaningful school work is just NOT going to get done while dragging a family of six across the United States?? What can I say, I’m a slow learner.)

The upside of all this? Many Cambodian and international holidays fall easily into a 6-week rotation (we have a lot of holidays here), meshing our schedule better with both father and friends.

Another upside? Getting to skip half of hot season next year.

I only wish I had listened to the experts earlier.

Some people call this approach Sabbath schooling, as it mimics the Biblical pattern of six days of work followed by one day of rest.

Others call it year-round schooling, since it stretches the school year out longer (though it doesn’t quite reach the level of studying the entire year).

Whatever you call it, I’m claiming it as my own.  I’m giving up my entrenched public school ways and adopting newer, more sustainable ways.

And if you, like me, are worn out and exhausted, maybe you need to, too.

7 thoughts on “After 8 years of homeschooling, I’m giving up

  1. Haha! I hear you on those winters! We are trying to get our home assignment deferred half a year, also, for many of your same reason (we switched projects and are starting new ones, so it seems silly to leave 6 months after really beginning). We do school when we can, non-stop, without scheduled breaks here since we seem to have so many breaks anyway. Holidays, visitors, etc…. When I looked at a calendar, I realized we had basically unintentionally followed a 6-week schedule!

  2. Great post! One thing that helped me was keeping the school day to about four hours. That left afternoons for reading, hobbies, the park, or field trips. And one day a week was co-op or just down time. As they got older, they had to spend more time on dual enrollment anyway, so it was great to have that flexibility early on.

    As I look back (they’re 25 and 20 now) I realize the thing that stuck was a sense of curiosity. More than all the facts or lessons, they’ve continued to teach themselves. Yours will be just fine. 🙂

    • I love having free time like this to explore. With 4 kids to teach, it doesn’t happen every afternoon, but we love it when it does happen! And they do seem to have an insatiable curiosity (kind of like their parents . . .).

      I love that you have this long-term perspective that you can draw on and encourage younger parents with! Thanks for dropping by!

    • That’s neat, Pam, that you’ve know about this approach for so long. It seems gentler and kinder than the “old” system. So it makes me wonder why more schools are not implementing it! But then again, change is usually pretty hard to implement system-wide.

      I hope you’re doing well!

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