Even for veteran homeschool parents, choosing a homeschool curriculum for the new school year can be a wrenching decision. Recently I was faced with a tough decision: Would I choose a 4-day curriculum or a 5-day curriculum?
I provide daycare for at least three children each day. On Fridays I have six extra kids on top of my own five children. As you can imagine, doing school on that day is impossible. There is far too much going on to be able to read over all the little ones I'm caring for. Plus my children don’t retain what we are studying with all the chaos going on. Taking Fridays off each week has been a relief! Plus the extra day gives us a long weekend which we all love.
So I already knew that we would be homeschooling four days a week, but the question was whether I would buy the 4-day or 5-day Sonlight schedule.
Pros and Cons for the 4-Day and 5-Day Curriculum
My fear of purchasing the 4-day curriculum was that we would miss out on amazing stories and great lessons. If you have ever used Sonlight before, you understand just how wonderful every single one of the books is. I had a major case of curriculum FOMO (fear of missing out).
On the other hand, if I purchased the 5-day curriculum, how would I manage to get through the program when we have homeschool lessons only four days each week?
Such a tough decision!
One Solution: Buy the 4-Day Program and 4-Day Bonus Books
My curriculum FOMO is not unique to me! So many people had this same fear of missing out on great books that Sonlight now offers sets of the books removed from the 4-day programs.
My Solution: Buy the 5-Day Program and Shift Our Schedule
In the end, I decided to purchase the 5-day curriculum and adapt it to our four-day-a-week homeschool calendar. The way I see it, I get the best of both worlds.
I can rearrange the Instructor's Guide, getting all the amazing resources in the full 5-day program but homeschool my kids only 4 days a week like we have for years.
How to Fit a 5-Day Schedule into a 4-Day Week
Once I decided on the 5-day program, I had to plan our year. There were a couple of scenarios I considered.
1. Spread the Fifth Day's Work Among the Previous Four Days
One scenario is to simply split the reading and work from day five into each of the other 4 days. The extra work isn't a burden when spread out like this.
2. Homeschool 4 Days a Week and School Through Summer
The second option is to go through the Instructor's Guide day by day (not worrying about weeks) and then continue into the summer as needed.
In the end, we chose to go with option #2. I homeschool my children year round, so doing the extra day throughout the summer isn’t a problem at all for us. It keeps the kids from getting bored and prevents summer slide.
Always Be Flexible
This is the schedule for us at this stage of our homeschool. There were other times that this schedule would not have worked for us, and admittedly it may not work in the future. One thing I have realized with a few years of homeschooling under my belt is to be flexible and take each year as it comes, being willing to adapt to new circumstances and needs.