Our Year-Round, 4-Day Homeschooling Schedule

I wrote this post several years ago, sharing all about how we do our homeschooling year round with a 4-day homeschooling week. You know what? It’s such a fantastic fit for us what we’ve been doing it all these years! So I decided to update the info here with some new insights and tips I’ve gleaned on this approach.  

Many homeschoolers do the year-round model. One thing we’ve learned in this process is that we HAVE to have a good rhythm for our weeks and build in breaks to avoid burnout. Whenever you tackle a new season in your homeschool, including curriculum, planning, and scheduling, it’s a great time to evaluate your routines as well.  

Weekly Routine for 4-day homeschooling week schedule

Our Year-Round Schedule

There are many ways of doing a year-round schedule for homeschooling. Some folks do “sabbath schooling,” which means they do 6 weeks of homeschool followed by 1 week of rest. You can adopt a similar approach but with a 4-week cycle instead. This is how we started out our year-round routine. We went four weeks on and one week off, using the “off” week for planning and doing fun activities that may or may not be connected with school.

Over time, it evolved to an even more relaxed routine. We just assume that a typical week will be a school week, then handle breaks in two ways: 1) build in planned vacations, and 2) take a week off when we really need it for sanity or character training. Things just sort of even out with this approach, and we always get a full year’s worth of work (and then some) every year with breaks when we need them most and less planning stress. 

I tell ya, moms… we have a tendency to make things too planned out or ditch the plan all together. This way of doing things is the happy medium we’ve found that works so well for us!

A Typical Year 

Generally, we “start” our year in July and end in July. This is when we say that our kids have moved up in grade level, and we base that on their age. Of course, for math and some other grade-based curriculum, they do tend to move up to the next level when our new year starts. But the rest of it is more fluid and we choose subjects and curricula that best fits their needs and interests. (Side note: you always want to consider your state homeschool laws. Thankfully, Oregon has no requirements on what we teach for each grade.)  

As far as breaks, we like to take time off in September (when everyone else is back to school), during Christmas and Easter, 4th of July, and then we just pick a week or two to break up any large blocks of homeschool weeks so we know we have fun vacations built in.  

Planning your year round homeschool schedule with a 4-day homeschooling routine

How do you plan a schedule like this for yourself?

Get out a calendar that gives you a year’s view, and we’ll do it together. Here are the steps:

  • Mark your first day of school.
  • Mark off your known vacation weeks.
  • If you’re doing a 4 week on 1 week off thing, start counting from the first day for 4 weeks and then mark off the fifth.
  • Adjust around holidays or other major events. Some cycles may be 3 or 5 weeks long. That’s ok. 
  • Have a PLAN for those off weeks: special activities, schedule dedicated days for your planning, etc. 

I plan a quarter’s worth of work at a time in a rough outline, and then put more details in for each of those 4-week blocks. It works so well!  The planner I use is the Rhythms & Routines Homeschool Planning System, available here at Proverbial Homemaker. You will love this valuable resource that walks you through setting up a rhythm-based homeschooling system that works just for you and your family. It includes a customizable planner and a video course. FIND OUT MORE!

Frustrated with homeschool planning and need something more flexible? Come check out why this mom doesn't do ANY detailed lesson planning and how she uses rhythms and routines for homeschool planning! A great use of loop scheduling, too!

Our 4-Day Homeschooling Week

Our homeschool week is a little different than most because my husband has Sunday and Monday off. So our days for dedicated learning time are Tuesday through Saturday. But this 4-day homeschooling approach will work no matter what days you have available.  We do our “normal” school time Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Saturday is our “Home Blessing” day, which is basically housework, meal prep, character focus, and life skills. I take the time to teach my kids specific tasks that are life skills, including cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, etc. It’s technically school in my mind but they don’t know that. πŸ˜‰ You can find out more about Home Blessing Day here and download my free planner.

Home Blessing PIN SQ

4-Day Homeschooling Week: What We Do Each Day 

The 4-day homeschooling week fits really well into our weekly family rhythm. Tuesday through Friday we always do our Bible lessons, catechism, history, math, and reading. The remaining subjects (science, nature study, poetry, geography, music, language arts, electives, etc.) we have in looping schedulesMany people use block scheduling or do all the subjects every day. This did NOT work for us. Loop scheduling has been a game changer for the things that don’t need to be done every day but we still need to make weekly progress on.

For example, you could do a week’s worth of science followed by a week’s worth of history and alternate them in a short loop that way. Or you could have a loop for group work and loops your kids do on their own in addition to their daily work. It’s very helpful. Loop scheduling keeps us moving forward without stressing over rigid schedules.   

Here’s what we do for ALL the days of the week for our year-round homeschooling schedule. 

  • Sunday – Sabbath
  • Monday – Family day
  • Tuesday – Standard lesson day
  • Wednesday – Standard lesson day
  • Thursday – Standard lesson day + Choir (when in session)
  • Friday – Standard lesson day + Library
  • Saturday – Home Blessing Day (housework, character, life skills, art, etc.)

What I love about this schedule is that I KNOW the basics will get done with our regular routine. The rest will keep progressing and adjust to life situations without derailing us from the plan. 

Our yearly and weekly homeschool schedule is flexible, conducive to low-pressure planning, helps us get things done without being a slave to the schedule… and I love it. 

How about you? What does your homeschooling week and year look like? Do you wing it, schedule it, or have something in-between? 

You Might Also Like… 

My Loop Scheduling Workshop will provide you with several templates to get you started as well as a guide to begin implementing loop scheduling in your home right away

Loop scheduling can help you with: 

  • Housekeeping
  • Kids’ chores
  • Menu planning
  • Homeschool student work
  • And more! 

This Post Has 122 Comments

  1. I’m thinking about how to change our schedule. I’m leaning toward a similar month on/week off plan.

    1. I really like the week off plan. I just can’t go longer than that. I have a short attention span. Lol!

      1. Like the month on week off plan a lot. My favorite subject…hmmm…it’s a toss up between history and physics. love both!

  2. After talking with you about it, I decided to start our new school year off with a 4 day week too. We’re only one week in and it’s going so well! I love that tomorrow I can focus on housework and hair cuts for the kids and we won’t miss an entire day of school. Math is the only academic subject left on our agenda for this week. I also decided not to go “all in” this first week either. We’re adding a subject next week and one more the following week. It’s making it less overwhelming on all of us to have a gentle start for our school year.

    1. I’m so glad it’s working for you as well Gabby! πŸ™‚

  3. We are doing very similar.
    We are fairly new to homeschooling so still finding our rhythm really.
    We do a four day week. Mon-Thurs one week, then Mon, Wed-Fri the next. The first week Fridays are reserved for shopping, errands and library visits, the second week we have our fortnightly homeschool meet on the Tuesday.
    I have recently decided to follow a four week on, one week ‘off’, plus the usual school holidays (we are following school terms roughly for now, school terms here are usually 10 weeks long).
    The ‘off’ week will be used for teaching life skills, have a bit of down time and as I’m still working out what workload works best for us, a little catch up work too.

    I too like that I can plan for four weeks at a time., We do literacy and numeracy each day and the rest of our studies are done as unit work. So I can do two shorter units in the 4 weeks, or one bigger unit. I think it will work well for us.

    The main reason for having that 5th week off is that I find my boys do need a mid term break. So this is a way of having a break but still learning.

    1. Yes that is very similar! I love your week for life skills and such. Sounds like a great rhythm for your family and your school year. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Homeschooling needs a perfect schedule, planning and organizing. You have scheduled the 4 day homeschooling in a greater way. This serves like an inspiration for many of the homeschoolers. Great work.

  5. I tried a six week on 2 weeks off, but my 9yo is so hard to get back on schedule after that long. Maybe we will try the 4 day approach again. It was great when we did it!

    My question. .. with the year round schedule, do your kids ever wonder why they are in school and none of their friends or cousins are in school? That is the only hold back I have. We have tried just June and July off.

    1. Not really. They also know that they are on vacation when others are in school. And if they don’t remember that, I remind them. πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Tauna,
    I found your blog through Pinterest and I just wanted to let you know what a blessing it has been to me! My husband and I have prayed for a long time about homeschooling our kids and I’ve been so excited about this chapter in our lives but haven’t had the slightest clue where to start! Pinterest makes it look intimidating and overwhelming! Thank you for sharing your planning and year. It sounds like a great fit for us! I am ordering that planner today πŸ™‚

    1. I am so glad Danielle! I am praying for this new adventure. It’s wild but worth it! πŸ™‚

  7. I had a great time with my oldest child last year teaching creation v. evolution science!

  8. I like teaching earth science the best.

  9. I like teaching anatomy and physiology!

  10. My favorite subject to teach is science!

  11. I am getting ready to teach biology, so that is my favorite science at the moment. πŸ™‚

  12. I like teaching life sciences best, humans and animals.

  13. My favorite science topic to teach is chemistry! My kids love doing all sorts of experiments and learning the periodic table.

  14. In regards to the Super Science giveaway question – “Tell me . . . what is your favorite science topic to teach?” This is going to be my first year homeschooling my son. He’s in the 6th grade. Since I’m new to homeschooling and too old to remember my what I learned in science, I don’t know my favorite science topic will be. I’m just excited to be homeschooling and relearning all the subjects right along with my son.

  15. What a fantastic giveaway! All great items that would be wonderful for our homeschool. Thank you for sharing the planning info, as this is always a challenge.

  16. My favorite Science topic to teach is zoology.

  17. I have a 5 yo that I will be kind of homeschooling this year as we are waiting a year to send him to kindergarten–I’m looking forward to teaching all sorts of science (in a more organized way than we have been), but especially chemistry as I was trained as a chemist and some days I do miss it. Hmm and Marine biology. Also, I’m trying to learn more ecology/botany/soil chemistry myself so perhaps I’ll see what he can learn beside me.

  18. I love anatomy

  19. Thank you for the post. I am looking forward to getting the new relaxed Homeschool mom calendar. I am year round home school mom. We live in the sunny south so we have visitors quite often. We take breaks as we have visitors which probably works the same as 4 on, one off. It has been working well and gives me and my girls a break from school so we can enjoy our family and friends and really focus on school when needed.

  20. Thank you very much for sharing your schedule with us. I plan to use it as a guide. I’ve for so long have been wanting to do this, but just didn’t know how to make it happen (more so, if it could realistically happen). Very generous of you to help those of us who are lost in this journey we’ve taken on.

    1. You’re so welcome! We all get there eventually – just need to find what works for us! Definitely some trial and error involved. Hope you have a blessed year!

  21. I love reading about how you make “school” work around your schedule. I am getting excited to jump back in. And not sure if this is where I leave a comment for the science give away or not, our fave subject to teach is the human body.

    1. You’re welcome! This is the place to comment for the giveaway, so you’re good! πŸ™‚

  22. I love astronomy.

  23. I used Apologia’s Astronomy book with one of my children last year and we loved it. Thank-you for making this giveaway available.

  24. My favorite science topic to teach is all of it πŸ™‚ my kiddos love science!

  25. Well… I don’t love Science so I cant say I have a favorite, but I guess I like Astronomy better than the other stuff πŸ™‚

  26. Anatomy and biology

  27. This is our plan for the coming year too. A little less stress to go all year and 4 days a week. I like the idea of Saturday being a home day.

  28. My favorite science topic to teach is animals!

  29. This is great! Thanks for another chance to win homeschooling material. My favorite subject to teach is Bible and character lessons. My second favorite is reading. It’s such a satisfying feeling to know that you have helped your child learn to read… without having a degree! πŸ™‚

  30. I love teaching Bio and Earth Science

  31. Right now my little one loves reading. I also love your post on the 4 day schedule and the picture you put up may come in handy for us. I’m just starting out so we have yet to find our routine.

  32. I like teaching anything about animals, it seems to keep both of our attention.

  33. My favorite science topic is anatomy! My kids love it! We’re really delving deep into this topic from a very early age, because we just don’t want to stop learning. And THAT is the true marker of homeschool success!

  34. Would love to win! Our favorite science is currently the human body. So much information!

  35. Favorite science topic: anatomy. We are really digging deep into this topic at a very young age, because none of us want to stop learning. And THAT is the true marker of homeschool success!

  36. I haven’t found my favorite science topic yet. Hopefully this year will be it!

  37. We LOVE Astronomy. Learning about space is so much fun.

  38. Hi Tauna,
    I am a homeschooling mama of two high schoolers that has used year round schooling for years. We live in the deep South, and summers are a miserable time to take time off if you want to enjoy the outdoors. So, we switched to a different schedule that makes the most of the weather where we live and our needs and wants! As my children have grown up and become more independent, we now let them help plan out their own personalized school year including when they will take breaks, what subjects they will take, and what curriculum they will use. We have also made it a family tradition and a “gift” to have No School during the week of our birthdays (both theirs and mine too!) They enjoy having the freedom to control their schedules, and it also teaches them how to be better stewards of their time. For the most part – they work together and try to come up with one schedule that works for both of them – and is easy on mom! But occasionally they take different weeks off and we just make it work. Our main requirement is that they have a full 36 weeks of school scheduled throughout the year and they must accommodate big events on Mom’s schedule. If unexpected things come up that derail us from completing a full week of school – the kids and I get together and adjust our schedule by changing their days or weeks off to accommodate. This flexibility also helps my 9th grade daughter to keep on track as she works through her high school classes while managing a chronic illness. This approach has eliminated much of our stress and burnout, keeps us sane and even sweet, and lets each of us focus on enjoying our school days rather than simply enduring them!

    1. This is great! Thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚

  39. Is the “I believe in Homeschooling” bag available for purchase somewhere?

  40. Anatomy is my favorite subject to teach, and Astronomy is my student’s favorite subject to learn. πŸ™‚

  41. What an interesting post. We are just about to start our second year of homeschooling and this really gives me a lot to think about. We have done a bit of schooling here and there over the summer as we are also expecting a new little one this year. I wanted to feel like we’d somehow banked some hours of school and thus could take time off when baby came guilt-free. There really is not reason why I couldn’t adopt a similar four week on, one week off schedule with my clan as we don’t do a whole lot of traveling during the summer. Anyways, lots to think about – thank you!
    What an awesome science giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win! I always really enjoy anything involving Anatomy and Physiology and experiments of any variety! πŸ™‚

    1. You’re so welcome! I hope you have a blessed homeschool year!

  42. I would love to win the science package. My daughter loves biology and microscopes but does not yet have such a nice setup!

  43. I just started looking into science curriculum and equipment. This would be an awesome giveaway to win. I enjoy teaching anatomy, nature and earth science. Thanks for the opportunity!

  44. My 5-yo is fascinated with space and wants to be an astronaut. I love looking at how fearfully and wonderfully we’ve all been made.

  45. This blog is encouraging and helpful to us! We are
    Embarking on our homeschool journey and so thankful!

  46. Thanks for sharing your schedule! Great ideas! I enjoy teaching nature and getting to go outside and experience it. My girls love going out and learning about bugs.

  47. Hi! What a great giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity to win! So, I was a high school English teacher once upon a time, but now, I find surprisingly that I enjoy teaching physics, the food chain, and habitants! An odd combination of studies, but my elementary kiddos really get into the learning process, which makes it all the more fun!

  48. My favorite topic has to be the human body and how it works so amazingly that God had to be the One Who designed it!

  49. I have enjoyed teaching my children how science and faith go hand in hand and compliment each other. In particular researching particular Christian scientists in whatever field we are studying really gives momentum to what we are learning. My end goal objective for when my children leaven the nest, is that they witness to their circle of influence that faith and science are not at odds.

  50. Biology is the one for me. Thanks for the giveaway.

  51. I like teaching all of them but biology in particular

  52. I like biology

  53. Outdoor Ed

  54. I like zoology.

  55. Biology is my favorite science!

  56. I love teaching many parts of science but intertwining Gods creation and creativity is what really fuels me along!

  57. I love teaching any hands on science, we love doing projects!

  58. We like most every science subject but Chemistry. That is in the ‘not so much’ category…

  59. I like teaching Astronomy and Geology.

  60. I enjoy teaching anatomy and physiology! The way God designed our bodies is amazing!

  61. We homeschool year round starting this year and loooove it. We don’t have as much rhyme or reason to our schedule. We are mostly doing four day weeks. We figured out an avg per month and penciled in days through the year around stuff we knew we would want to do. It’s great for us being military. We can take days off whenever family happened to come around or dad is getting ready for deployment.

    My favorite science part to teach is biology. I’m halfway done with college and starting back up finishing a biology degree. Had to pump the breaks to figure out how we were going to homeschool a while back. My oldest son (probably a future little scientist:)) is intensely interested in space. All other aspects of science are a close second to him though! Lol

  62. Hi! Thanks for the schedule advice. We might try a 4 day too.
    On science, my fave is weather! We live in Oklahoma so ours is interesting!

  63. My BS is in Biology & Chemistry, but my Favorite to teach is Physics! So many “hands on” to **wow** students, very much like magic!

  64. My favorite science to teach is anatomy.

  65. Actually, I have not taught science yet! We are starting Apologia’s Flying Things this year for my K/1st grader. However, I just can’t wait to get to astronomy! Apologia looks excellent!

  66. I’m considering a 9 week on 1 off with a month at Christmas plus 2 weeks elsewhere…

    My favorite science subject is geology. I can’t get enough of rock samples! So fascinating. Maybe I’ll be a young earth geologist once I retire from homeschooling.

  67. Our favorite science subject to teach is the human body! We love to learn all the ways the body works and how each piece of it fits together and work together.

  68. Our favorite has been General Science so far πŸ˜‰

  69. Gosh, I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one field- there are so many fascinating things to learn. Though, if pressed, I would choose archaeology…, or astronomy, or perhaps zoology, maybe anatomy, or paleontology…. I just love them all!

  70. Hello Tauna, I love your site/blog. I like the advice on how to schedule homeschool. I am still trying to get things in order. I love this Science giveaway! Thank you so much!

  71. My favorite science to teach is human body.

  72. I love teaching about plants!

  73. My favorite science to teach is astronomy and a close second is biology. I love all the fun projects you get to do with both of those!!

  74. I enjoy teaching anatomy.

  75. Excited about the possibility of winning the science bundle! Would love all the helpful products!

  76. Biology

  77. My favorite science topic to teach is chemistry.

  78. I really like Biology! It was my favorite Science subject as a kid and it is still my favorite to teach and to study!

  79. I must admit that I look foreword to the emails that I get every now and then from proverbial home maker because I know there will be something new I can use for myself or my kids. Being a home school mom can be tough sometimes but with all these great resources and advice it makes it easier. I love the printouts, ideas, and even the other websites she recommends. As for my favorite topic to teach it is science and I really cant choose my favorite topic within science but my kids sure can. My son loves learning about space and weather. My daughter loves learning about the ocean and animals. As for myself I love learning about everything.

    1. Thanks Darlene! So glad you find it helpful πŸ™‚

  80. We tend to do a 4 week schedule in our homeschool as well. Favorite science subject to teach is nature and creation!

  81. I like to teach biology.

  82. My kids love learning about nature and animals!!

  83. My favorite science topic to teach would probably be anatomy.

  84. Thank you for all of your freebies, advice and guidance.

  85. We’re just finishing up Kindergarten so everything is exciting!

  86. We love life sciences and astronomy!

  87. I love doing exploration-type science experiments. Biology, chemistry, or earth science are all fun!

  88. We are trying the 4 weeks on and one week off this year as well. Next week is our week off!

  89. My kids really excited to try out chemistry this year. I like teaching biology, or anything nature related.

  90. I don’t have a specific science topic that I have loved, but I have loved every single Apologia book we’ve done over the past 4 yrs!

  91. Our school year is kind of naturally shifting to a 4 day because of therapy and such!

  92. For science, I like to teach anything that is hands on. We like to do lots of science experiments.

  93. For science, anything hands on. We like to do a lot of science experiments.

  94. This was such good information for me. Thank you for sharing. I need to work on planning breaks better.

  95. This is really great. Thanks!

  96. Looking forward to teaching astronomy for science

  97. This is great. We’re moving to a year-round schedule this year, and will be schooling 4 days a week due to co-op classes.

    1. It’s such a nice way to do things – less stress and somehow easier to organize!

  98. This is a wonderful idea! I was just explaining how I prefer to school all year (two to two and a half months off in the year is too long for my kiddo and we both do so much better with a routine!); but there are moments where I stuggle with falling behind in one subject or more because there might be a lesson that is particularly challenging for that day and then I feel like we never catch up. I love your idea about looping subjects – I’m going to have to see how I can make this work for our schedule! I also love the thought of doing 4 weeks on and one off (to allow for field trips, relexing, exectra), but I’m not sure that a whole week would work for us because I’d be worried that I wouldn’t have enough for my kiddo to do during those weeks. What does your schedule look like on the week off?

    1. Hi! I’m so glad it’s been helpful. πŸ™‚ We’ve actually morphed to a 6 week on 1 week off schedule that’s similar to what other homeschoolers call “sabbath” scheduling. We usually go back to 4 week on 1 week off when we’re coming back from an extended break. Those weeks we catch up with household things, do home projects and planning when we’d normally be doing school, etc. I do have a few bins in the school room that have activities for all my kids’ age ranges that I’ll pull out if they need to keep busy so I can work on planning.

  99. Thanks for this! My husband works 4-on, 4-off rotating each week. I really want to get the bulk of our core subjects done on “on” days since we do lots of hands-on and field trips on his days off.

    You’ve given me a good jumping off point and it is gratuitous that I found you so early in the school year. (We are doing year-round, July through June).

    1. Hi Danielle! I’m so glad it was helpful πŸ™‚

  100. Thanks for this timely post! You have shared some great ideas here. I am also trying to simplify my homeschool schedule. It’s really important to have a scheduled plan to stay organized. I would love to be implement your ideas.

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad it was helpful πŸ™‚

  101. This is great! This is our first year homeschooling (first and second grade as well as preschool) and I’m still trying to figure out what works for us. I just googled “year round homeschool schedule” and your blog popped up and I really like it!! I’ve mostly been winging it, figuring I’d take a break when I needed one (we started after labor day and have done about 35 days of school)

    For example, this week I’m just focusing on getting caught up somewhat with history, science and art/music because those are the subjects I tend to ditch when I or the kids have “had enough” for the day. I think looping them like you’ve suggested would be a LOT less pressure, plus I feel like we wouldn’t be jumping around so much. And my preschooler tends to get left in the dust as I focus on the other two….I still don’t know what to do about that.

    I have my 5th baby due in January so may use that as an opportunity to re-organize our schedule and start fresh after a little bit of a longer break. I am not an organized person anymore since having kids so this has proved very challenging for me!

    1. Hi Jocelyn! I completely understand those challenges. πŸ™‚ It sounds to me like you’re already doing fantastic! Let me know if you use loop scheduling! I’d be interested to see how that goes. Perhaps using it just for the preschooler might be useful! I tend to do things with my preschooler while the other ones do independent work, but there’s not much of that until 2nd grade and up anyway. πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful year!

  102. I homeschooled 7 children for many years. We also did a 4-day school week, but we did ours a bit different. We homeschooled Monday through Thursday and took Friday off each week. Friday and Saturday were used to do the “extra” things. It could be cleaning, cooking, sewing, woodworking, yard work etc. Some days we would just take a complete day off and go somewhere special. We mostly did our holidays the same as the other children around us. There were times that we would decide it would be nice to have some extra days off for vacation and we would work extra hard and finish up our schooling ahead of time. We always took three months off for summer. I needed that break and so did our children.

    1. Sounds like a great system. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  103. I like this a lot! Thank you…we are going to be schooling year round this year. I’ve been thinking and praying about it and I see the benefits. I’ve been planning on doing the same thing from now on. Just taken breaks here and there for various family things.

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