How do you plan your year?
I have two things to fit in to my year-plan, interval planning (as suggested by Mystie Winckler at Simplified Organization) and homeschool terms. I’m using the idea of Sabbath rest, so 6 weeks on and one week off. Interval planning has the same time-frame. I plan which books I want to read, which hobby activities I would like to complete, budget and homemaking progress I want to make and more for the 6-week interval. After each interval I get a week of holiday and plan what I want to achieve next interval.
This method makes planning the year into a mathematical and logical “problem” to solve, which is right up my street! Here comes the maths…
6 weeks on and one week off add up to 7 weeks.
There are 52 weeks in the year so I could fit this in a maximum of 52/7 = 7 remainder 3, so 7 times.
This gives 6 school weeks x 7 terms = 42 school weeks, and 1 holiday week x 7 terms + 3 remainder = 10 holiday weeks.
This is slightly fewer than state schools have, but for me it means more potential grace days if one or both of us is ill, and it just really helps me to be intentional about how I spend my time in a school week and in a holiday week. I started my school year on 1st August, when schools here tend to start in the first week of September. It is so far quite encouraging and is creating a routine for me when normally the usual weekly activities stop for school holidays.
So now I have the start of a plan: 7 terms of 6 weeks each, with at least one week of break between them. There are three weeks of break which I need to split between the other holidays, so I chose to put an extra week (2 in total) at Easter and two extra weeks (3 in total) at Christmas. My next step is to look at the state school terms in my area. There are a few reasons behind this, one being I need to know when Easter will be… this seemed the fastest way to figure that out! Another reason is that the mums and tots group and bible study group I go to stop in the school holidays, so it is good to be around for most of those. Finally I want to have some holiday weeks outside of school term.
Now comes the pretty part with felt-tip pens and a customised printable calendar! You can download it in purple, blue or green and each file has the choice of school year from August 2016 – July 2017 or September 2016 – August 2017 within it.
Fill in the calendar with the state school terms and any important dates you want to have off from school or from your interval (religious holidays, your birthday, any vacations you have booked from work). I used green for school holidays and put a key at the bottom of the calendar so I wouldn’t forget what green meant. I also used blue for bank holidays, pink for terms and orange for breaks once I was happy with my terms.
You know you will want some of the time around Christmas off, so start there and work backwards. I put the week beginning 12th December as week 6 of a break and worked backwards from there, writing 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, B (for break) in pencil until I got to August which gave me a start date for Term 1 of 1st August, 19th September for Term 2, and 7th November for Term 3. So far, so good. It also gave me a break in September and one in November.I started off with a two-week break at Christmas, and counted forward until I got to the Easter holiday. That made our Easter break align exactly with the school holidays, so I decided to put another week in the Christmas holiday. Now I have Term 4 starting on 9th January, Term 5 starting on 27th February, and two weeks break at Easter gives a start date of 24th April for Term 6. Counting forward, Term 7 starts on 12th June, and the final break week of our school year coincides with the start of school summer holidays and church holiday club. All done!
Next task: check these dates with my husband. He approved them and used them to plan out his holiday for the year (his work year happens to run August – July which was another reason to start school earlier than most people would), and now that has been approved by his work so our dates are set in stone!
1) Plan how many school weeks you want to have. You could use the 6-week interval/Sabbath plan and have either 6 or 7 terms/intervals to your year. If you chose 7 terms/intervals then you could make your summer (August) term a bit different from the others, more of a rest and including summer and outdoor activities.
2) Work out how you want your terms/intervals to match up with state school holidays, religious holidays, planned vacations and birthdays.
3) Start with the first holiday you know you want to include. Pick a week and count back from there (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Break) until you approximately reach your desired start date. If it isn’t quite right, add break weeks in to adjust the terms to align better with your start or holiday date.
4) After your first holiday start counting forwards. If dates aren’t quite working for you then add in break weeks in different places until they do.
5) When you’ve got your terms/intervals check them with any other important party in your household who might have valuable input.
6) You’ve finished!
Let me know how your interval or term plan is going!