Annual Scheduling

I’m debating what type of schedule would be better for us. I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to two options: 5 days a week with 6 weeks on, 1 week off (3-4 weeks off in December and 4 weeks off in summer) OR 4 days a week but for this option I don’t have a plan as far as weeks on/off.

I like the idea of a 4-day school week with that extra day being available for errands, kid’s activities, appointments, etc, but it would mean more weeks out of the year to finish the same number of lessons. On the other hand, I like the idea of 6 weeks on/1 week off because it would allow for built in breaks to help stave off burnout.

Has anyone used either and/or both of these options? What was/has been your experience with it?

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On a completely separate note, I’m also debating between using Heart of Dakota or BiblioPlan. Starting in 3rd grade, HOD is set up with a 4 days a week schedule already, and though BP only has 3 days a week in their plans, I think I would stretch it out to 4-5 days a week anyway.

We did traditional school schedule for the most part our first two years. Next year I’m planning to do 6weeks on, one week off starting mid-July with most of Dec and June off. I’m thinking that will allow us to do appointments, get recharged, catch up on housework, etc. Hoping to hear from others who have actually tried this schedule.

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We are actually going with a 4-day a week schedule and also doing 6 weeks on and 1 week off. We’ll take 4 weeks off for summer and 4 weeks off in December. This works for us because we can “comp” some school hours from extracurricular activities, church, evening and weekend independent reading time, etc. (we count this as P.E., Bible time, reading, etc.) and during our “1 week off” we plan to do one “field trip” afternoon to count for one technical day of school, though this will be an outing to a kids museum, maybe a library program, a nature preserve, etc. (somewhere we would probably have gone anyway but that has learning opportunities involved). I laid it all out, and this allows us to work in the “Sabbath method” with 6 on and 1 off while also doing a 4-day school week. We’ll keep our summer to 4 weeks and keep a month off for Christmas. No major spring break, but honestly, we’ll get a week off anyway in the spring on a Sabbath week, so that pretty much covers it. After I did the math, we’ll still get in our 180 days! We’ll work hard to complete our curriculum in this amount of time, but I think we’ll be able to manage just fine. :slight_smile:


Wow! I’m pleasantly surprised that 4-day a week schedule still allows for 180 days of school with the 6 on/1 off schedule. I think I may look into this. So are the 4 weeks in summer and 4 in December the only times you have more than 1 week off at a time? And does that come out to 52 weeks total for the year?

Ok so I’ve been thinking about this for much of the evening and I’m wondering how this actually would work. Let’s say for exampl that I decided to go with HOD as my curriculum. Up through 2nd grade there are 170 lessons per grade. Doing 4 days a week, that would come out to 42.5 weeks of school which leaves less than 10 weeks for time off. If you throw in the 6 weeks on/1 week off schedule, you wouldn’t have enough time left in the calendar year to have 4 weeks off in the summer and in December. I know you said you are planning on having some sort of fun activity one day on your off weeks, but that wouldn’t include a lesson from the curriculum, so I guess I’m confused as to how there would be enough time in the year to fit in all of the lessons.

Starting in 3rd grade for HOD it wouldn’t be a problem because it’s already scheduled for 4 days a week but for younger children, I’m not getting it.

I’m curious about what happens when something disrupts the six weeks on (ie. out of town guests, illness, etc.)? I can’t remember who posted the “Sabbath Rest” article link but I went to the author’s blog to read the article & that was one of the comments. I can’t seem to find an answer to that. Does that mean you skip the seventh week off & have to rearrange your weeks?

This is one reason I could never get a 6 weeks on, 1 week off schedule to work for us. Something was always disrupting it, we’d need to take time off–so then we’d come back to school not really rested because of the interruption but no longer having time to take time off etc… I know some people make it work though!

What we tend to do is 4.5 day weeks. On Fridays, we do just a couple of subjects (half-day) and then spend the afternoon with friends. I generally start the 3rd or 4th week in July, and end around the end of May, so we take about 6 weeks off in the summer, 1 week for Thanksgiving, 2 weeks at Christmas, and a shorter break around Easter.This seems to allow us enough wiggle-room for those emergency days off, sick days and the like, plus we usually have something fun to look forward to on Fridays then.

On the subject of curriculum–I have a strong preference for curriculum that schedules only about 150 days worth of lessons, but it’s harder to find that it seems! I like the freedom to be able to be able to spend more time on a subject if needed (or in elementary school, to do more fun things like games/activities). What I learned over time was that it’s okay to adjust curriculum to our needs and not “do it all.” Sometimes this meant I took more than a year to do a curriculum (we did some Sonlight cores over 2 years, a grammar book over 2 years, took 15 months for a science course one time, etc…) Other times it meant I dropped lessons or books. I evaluated what my kids needed most and what was most beneficial at that point in time, and let some things go. Don’t be afraid to adjust curriculum to do special/needed things like field trips, extra review, nature walks (one of my favorite memories is a day we took off, the whole family, to splash in a creek, hike around, and write Psalms of praise. I wish we had done more days like that.)

When you look back over the whole of an education…those individual lessons that seem so important at the time that you try to cram it all in fade away and become not as important.


We do a 6 weeks on 1 week off schedule but we do 5 days a week. Fridays are usually a lighter day for us though so we finish off anything that needs finishing or do art etc… @RubyJane with Sabbath homeschooling you end up with at lest 7-8 weeks you can still schedule for time off. We don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter over here, we celebrate the feast days which may make a difference as to why the Sabbath schedule works for us as most feast days are only a day or two Passover is one week but it happened to fall on our week off anyway. I usually schedule out of town visitors during weekends because thats what works for everyone. If my parents visit though we can do it anytime and still get some school done because my Mum loves that stuff and she would help. If my Hubby’s parents visit we take the time off the days they are there (and once again they would probably do a weekend over weekdays). The schedule can get disrupted somewhat but I usually carry on as normal with our Sabbath week, it is only a couple of days difference and so we don’t get completely off track. As I said we still have about 7-8 weeks to schedule and I don’t schedule them too far in advance to make sure that if there is illness, unexpected visitors etc… we slot those days in. I know in July for example we have a week that my hubby took off and 2 weeks later is a Sabbath week it also happens to fall on his short week (he has an alternating schedule) so we will take that week and have some more fun. You can still make the 6 weeks on 1 week off work for you according to how you want to schedule everything else. If you know you want to take 4 weeks off for summer then if you already have a sabbath week in there you can include it or if you have a sabbath week a couple weeks after that you can count 6 weeks starting at your first day back to school etc… there are different ways to work around it according to what you know you want to do with your family.


Hi @DeannaForgard It took me a few runs at the numbers to come to my conclusion that we could work with this schedule for next year. And I will say, we’ve tried a 4-day school week the year before last and we also tried a “Sabbath” type schedule (revised) somewhat this year, so we’ve tried both methods before, and so our decision to combine the two is coming from my experience with both. I tend to agree with @Merry when it comes to a preference for curriculum with more of a preference for a 150-day schedule. We have a subject or two that has even 160-day plans, and it is tough, even when keeping to a strict 180-day schedule to make sure every lesson gets completed. Because the truth is, you are just going to have sick days (or weeks). We ran into a complication this spring when both of our children came down with bacterial eye infections (nasty stuff!) and HAD to take 10 days off of school to get their eyes healed with aggressive eye treatments (we were treating with 21 drops a day between the two of them!!). So those things happen. Typically though, we tend to run into what happens when we need a day off here, or a day off there, or Daddy is off work a day here and the kids (or Daddy) wants a day off of school on that day, so the 4-day week is great for that, because our schedule can flex for that and allow for the incidental Dr. appt. or random day off, and it doesn’t throw things greatly. We don’t take a lot of vacations or big long stretches of time off usually, so the 6 weeks and 1 week I think is going to work well.

As far as running the numbers, here’s how it works for us. We are able to comp some time from reading time in the evenings and church time on weekends. Other than that, the 4-day weeks with the 6 and 1 plan (while keeping to a month off in summer and a month off at Christmas) only allows for 144 days of actual classroom instruction days (textbook days at the table). Some days we do more than 4-hour school days because we need to in order to finish our work. But my kiddos aren’t big into extracurricular activities and we are a one-car family, so we do very little driving around town from one activity to the next, so this works for us. The other days of our required 180 days (at least in our state) come from the combined hours during our evening/weekend reading, church activities, field trips during our Sabbath weeks (and don’t forget that reading and church continues during the 4 weeks off during summer and December). Participating in the library summer reading program counts too. It’s amazing how quickly the extra stuff adds up. We are a little “non traditional” too in that we count holidays as school days. Thanksgiving, Christmas day, etc. I figure, my children are learning traditions, lessons about the holiday, faith, about our family, etc. and that is important to us. In my opinion, I think they are learning on those days more than some other days when we are at the table working on worksheets. I hope this helps! If you have any more questions, please feel free to send me a message :slight_smile: Sorry it took so long for me to respond!


We do a 4 day schedule year round. We do not schedule time off. We take it as needed. I find that life is too unpredictable to try to make a cut and dry schedule a year out.


@jeremmy Agree 100%!


We start mid-July and do 6 weeks on, 1 week off. We have a co-op on Fridays, so no actual school work gets done on Friday. I basically take a week’s worth of school (5 days) and get it done in 4 days so that we can attend co-op. We have 1 week off at Thanksgiving, 3 weeks at Christmas, and about 6-7 weeks in the summer. My kids prefer to have their Sabbath week and start in the summer when it’s too hot to do anything outside anyway.

When life happens and we need to take days that aren’t scheduled, we just take it. I schedule about 10-12 days more of school than we actually need, so when interruptions arise, it’s no big deal for us to take a few extra days. If we happen to get in a tight and need more school days, I can add the time in May to the end of our schedule. The kids don’t know our last day of school anyway, so it’s nothing to add it to the end of the year. This year, we took our Sabbath Week in February and had a great week off. On Monday, two kids got up sick. That week, the sinus crud went through all four kids and me. I think through the entire week, we might have completed one day’s worth of school. We basically took the whole week off (so two weeks off total). I ended up counting one school day and the other four days we will just took from the extra 10-12 days I had scheduled. It really didn’t affect us school-wise and we had the time we needed to recover. It all works out. :slight_smile:


This is always the tricky part for me! My son likes to have a summer break. We tried a more year-round schedule but both of us were stressed by that. This year we are ending in two weeks because he worked ahead and our state doesn’t have a minimum amount of days. He is doing 150 school days this year. Next year we are starting in August and plan to go to the beginning of June for 170 school days. That gives us about 54 days we can miss school while also taking a Thanksgiving and Christmas break. We need a big buffer this year because we have a baby due at the beginning of October but honest I think I will continue our schedule this way. August is typically ugly around here anyway and my son and I would both rather end earlier in the spring when we tend to have the best weather. All this to say we’ve learned to make a very loose schedule that allows for a lot of life interruptions! Good luck finding your scheduling happy place!

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We have done 5 days a week for 2 years now - with breaks at Thanksgiving, over Christmas and New Years as well as Easter week. Because of the numerous medical appointments at our house, we miss a day per week. For this next school year, 2015-2016, I am planning a four day week. I am planning on keeping our break time the same because even though we break from the book learning, we study the reason for and meaning of the holidays, foods, music and traditions.

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I’m with @jeremmy on this one. We do a 4 day schedule year round with no real scheduled weeks off. My husband has every other Friday off, so trying to do school when he is home is impossible. Add that with helping to take care of my elderly parents, and having something cut and dry just wasn’t working for us. I like the flexibility of being able to take time off when needed and still be able to make up those days throughout the year without really having to worry about whether or not The Monk is getting enough hours of education.

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I tend to stick to a traditional old-school schedule with summer break. But I also like to do a 4 day week because it gives me a day to do errands, catch up on housework, etc.

In our state we are required to do 174 days of instruction averaging 4 hours per day. So I just take that amount of days and spread it out between August and June giving myself a spring, fall, winter, and summer break each year.

I will say that scheduling Friday’s off can lead to students forgetting things over the weekend, and sometimes on Monday I have to do a quick review of last week’s lessons before moving on. But so far it’s worked for us :smile:

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