What is a Sabbath Schedule for homeschool? Do you need to be a Christian to do it?
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Have you ever wondered about alternative school schedules for homeschooling? My family has been using Sabbath Schedule for years, which means we take every 7th week off as a break! It is a great rhythm for us. The kids have more time to play that week, and I have time to rest and regroup. I use my week off to make sure I have all the books and resources I’ll need for the next term!
What is a Sabbath?
It’s our week off of homeschool here: we do 6 weeks on, 1 week off. We leave a little leeway to make that align well with our lives so our “sabbath” week (or I like to think of it as a sabbatical!) can fall in a convenient place like the week of Canadian Thanksgiving, or the week of the octave of Easter!
Is Sabbath Schooling only for Christians?
A lot of people think sabbath schedule is only for Christian homeschoolers, but I have never heard of tenured professors refusing their sabbatical year on that basis. Scheduled rest (or different work) is good for everyone.
What does Sabbatical mean?
Did you know sabbatical means seventh?
“Recurring in sevens or on every seventh”etymonline.com.
See? It doesn’t say anything about being a Christian (though we know the Good Lord approves of scheduled rest, too!).
Why Should you consider a sabbath homeschool schedule?
- to avoid burnout, a major homeschool pitfall
- to enjoy the school of life
- for a slower pace
- to make more time for adventure, family, or other non-academic things
- to catch up on housework, meal planning, or other obligations
Do You Always Take the Seventh Week Off?
Sometimes when our sabbatical comes around I am not quite ready to stop for a whole week, but other times I am beyond ready. I try to use it as a discipline and stick to what we have planned, within reason.
Reasons I may change the plan:
- if we were just sick and got nothing done
- if there is another good reason to change the plan
- If we are truly on a roll academically and no one is ready for the break yet
However, most of the time I find that at least a couple of us need that sabbath rest when it comes.
What do you do on your homeschool sabbath week?
What do we do during this seventh week?? Play outside, visit friends, bake, clean, read… All the normal things but without official school work.
A lot of the time, our Sabbath week manages to fall on a holiday, so we can spend extra family time. I like to read some fun fiction for myself during the week off of homeschool (and maybe even stay up late reading it!). Reading for pleasure is one of my favourite hobbies, but I can’t read really bingeworthy books during homeschooling. I simply stay up too late!
Here are some ideas of things I have done on weeks off:
- Decluttered the house
- Deep cleaning one or more rooms of the house
- Spring Cleaning
- Spring Planting
- Batch cooking
- Preparing for a big event like Christmas, a new baby, a trip
- Taking one-on-one time with each child
- Reading a good book
- Watching a series together
- Garden or homestead chores
- Painting a room or other household upkeep
NEWSFLASH: You Aren’t Married to Your Homeschool Schedule
I’m not married to my homeschool schedule, and neither are you! Just because we have been doing Sabbath Schooling for a few years now, and it has been working for us, doesn’t mean that this isn’t the year we will change it up!
I’ve actually been considering trying a new schedule this year since we are so much busier than other years! I will keep you posted if we decide to change it up. (The best way to be in the know is my Instagram stories!)
Alternative Homeschool Schedule Ideas
If you don’t think a Homeschool Sabbath Schedule will work for you, why not try out some of these other alternative scheduling ideas?
1. Homeschool year-round
2. Homeschool January to December, with a lengthy Christmas break
3. Schedule in breaks more often, like in the UK school system
4. Try 4-day, 5-day, or even 6-day homeschool weeks. We actually used to do 6-day homeschool weeks when my husband worked shift work. We needed the structure while he was working nights.
5. Use the Liturgical calendar to dictate your breaks by taking the quarter days or the quarter and cross-quarter days.
The quarter days, close to the solstices and equinoxes:
- Lady Day (25 March, the Feast of the Annunciation)
- Midsummer Day (24 June, the Feast of St John the Baptist)
- Michaelmas (29 September, the Feast of St Michael and All Angels)
- Christmas (25 December, the Nativity of our Lord)
The cross-quarter days, four holidays falling in between the quarter days:
- Candlemas (2 February, feast of St Brigid)
- May Day (1 May, traditonally a time of celebrating Mary)
- Lammas, or Loaf-Mass (1 August, this used to be the Feast of St Peter-in-Chains, but I think it was a time of bringing the first fruits of the harvest)
- All Hallows/All Saints (1 November)
What do I use as a Homeschool Planner for My Alternative Homeschool Schedule?
The best planner I have found for my alternative homeschool schedule is the schoolnest Homeschool Lesson Planning Notebook. It is 52 weeks, undated and fully customizable. The pages are nice and thick! You can be as artistic as you like!
My only problem was that it was too big, so this year I got the Minimalist version. I love this planner so much and I will never use any other!
What do my students use?
Free Printable 4-day and 5-day week student homeschool Schedule
One of the harder things about homeschooling is getting our students to know the plan and schedule! It is beautiful that home life and learning bled so well together in homeschool, but it can also be really helpful having some visual tools on hand to help keep our kids on plan.
These 4-day and 5-day planner pages may help!
You can personalize them as much as you want as they are undated. These are great for atypical homeschool schedules.
Also, make sure you check out my Daily and Weekly Waldorf Rhythm Charts printable.
No Matter how you Schedule your homeschool, remember…
- Education isn’t a race
- Breaks teach, too
- Rest is necessary
- Play is the work of a child
Are you a homeschooler? Check out my post on how to curate a home library for your homeschool.
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