Heart of Dakota Blog

Things to Consider When Choosing the Days You’ll Homeschool

Heart of Dakota - From Our House to Yours - Things to Consider When Choosing the Days You'll Homeschool
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Consider the weather when you choose your days to homeschool!

One of the many blessings of homeschooling is we get to choose when we will homeschool! We can choose when we want to start and when we want to finish. Our family likes to homeschool as many days as possible in the winter. South Dakota winters are long and c-c-cold! We love to be indoors homeschooling in the winter. Turn on the fireplace, cuddle up with our Heart of Dakota books, sip some hot cocoa, and get to work! Our summers are short, and they are our busiest work season at Heart of Dakota, where our family works. So, we try to be done with our homeschool year in early May, as we like to take our summers off. So, how does the weather impact your homeschooling? Do you have hot, unbearable summers? Maybe summer is the time to homeschool! No matter where you live, you may want to consider the weather when you choose your days to homeschool!

Consider other reasons you’d like to take days off from homeschooling!

Weather is just one thing that impacts when it is best to homeschool. There are many other reasons to consider taking days off to homeschool! Before the start of the year, I like to make a quick list of the reasons we’d like to take days off from school. For us, that includes time off for hunting, fishing, traveling, holidays, and family visiting. I also like to take off Valentine’s Day and each person’s birthday. If someone’s birthday falls on a weekend, we choose a day during the homeschool week to take off instead. On birthdays, the person whose birthday it is gets to pick what to have for meals, for snacks, a movie to watch, a game to play, things to do, and even a place to go (i.e. Dairy Queen for blizzards – we LIKE that kind of blizzards).

Consider mapping out the days you’d like to homeschool on a one-page calendar!

I like to use a one-page calendar to map out the days we’d like to homeschool. Once I total the number of days in the guide(s) we’ll be using, I begin with the month we hope to start to homeschool. For us, that is September, usually after Labor Day. So, on my piece of paper, I jot down the month ‘September.’ I label the left margin “# of Days.” Then, I look at each week of September on my one-page calendar, noting days we would take off and days we’d homeschool. I write this down one week at a time. Then, I total the number of days we’d be doing school in September and put a square around it. I move on to October, and do the same. Working through the months, I continue until I reach the total number of days we need to homeschool. At the end, I add 6-7 days for make up days (i.e. sick days or days we sporadically take off). Likewise, I add a handful of days for standardized testing. As you begin your year, consider mapping out the days you’d like to homeschool!

Consider hanging a calendar for all to see when you’ll be homeschooling!

Everyone likes to know when we will be homeschooling! So, I like to create a final calendar I can hang for our whole family to see.  I color-code days we are homeschooling yellow. Then, I color-code the days we are taking off pink. I note on the left monthly listing side why we are taking the days off.  Then, I mark off the make-up days or testing days at the end. We all reference this calendar throughout the year many times! It is easy for everyone to see when we are taking days off. Likewise, everyone can see if we are progressing toward ending our school year on time. Of course, things don’t always go according to plan. Even through life’s hardest times these past 20 years of homeschooling, I can look back and confidently say it was always a good idea to MAKE a plan! It gives us a measure to see if we are on track, and everyone is thankful to be in-the-know about that. God is the ultimate planner, and His plans are always best! So, though we make our plan, we know it may not always go just-so. However, one of our ultimate goals in life is to become more and more like the Lord – and He is definitely all about making plans.

In Christ,

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