These and other homeschooling choices are explored here, as well as some new ideas on how to change the way you homeschool. You'll also find great suggestions for sneaking in a little -- or a lot -- of learning along with vacation and summer fun.
School at Home
Families who use a prepackaged curriculum and set up a "school at home" learning style generally follow the traditional school schedule with weekends, holidays, and summers off. If the 180 days of schooling are not satisfied, they often will work through part or all of the summer until the requirements are met.
Other families have found an alternative to the school model and practice unschooling. These parents provide a learning-rich environment and trust that their child's natural curiosity and desire to learn will provide the building blocks for an education. Unschoolers take advantage of learning opportunities all year long, and view summer as an extension of that process. Learning becomes a part of daily living, and is not something from which they want or need a break.
Most homeschoolers fall somewhere between these two philosophies. "Eclectic homeschoolers" best describes families who reject prepackaged curricula, but incorporate both structured learning and child-led learning. Each family decides where the emphasis will lie. On a typical day, maybe math or spelling is taught. The family might later decide to work on a special science project. Schedules are flexible, and while workbooks or textbooks may be used, they are not the focus of the learning process.
These families have developed unique homeschooling calendars that suit their children's needs. For instance, one group of homeschoolers reported they do academic work for three weeks on, one week off, all year long. When working on a challenging or time-consuming project, they know a little "vacation" is just around the corner.
Other moms felt it would be difficult to get their families back into the swing of things after a week off each month and described how they preferred the "three-days-a-week" method. Each family works toward specific goals during those three days, and has the other four to follow-up and/or pursue their interests. In both these examples, children do work during the summer, but the sacrifice is small compared to the freedom the family enjoys throughout the year.