How to Plan When to Start and Finish Your Homeschool Year

When I was new to homeschooling everything seemed overwhelming. Trying to decide when to start and finish our homeschool year was no exception. I remember just staring at a calendar and wondering what day we should officially start.

How to Plan When to Start and End Your Homeschool Year blog post and video

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I sat down a few days ago to plan out our new homeschool year and decided to take you along with me. I recorded all the steps to choosing when our first and last day of school will be for the upcoming school year. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on my YouTube channel.

Planning Your Homeschool Year

For those of you who prefer to read things, I have outlined all the steps below.

Before you get started you will need to have a year-at-a-glance calendar to work with. I like this free school-year calendar from She seems to update them each year so hopefully there will be one for the current year you are in.

You will also need at least two highlighters in different colors and a pen to write with. I am loving these erasable gel pens. They are easy to write with and erase every last mark which makes lesson planning (and re-planning) a lot easier.

Now you are ready to start planning your school year.

Highlight Days With No School

First, use one of your highlighters to mark off holidays, vacations and other days that you won’t be having school. If you plan on doing a 4 day school week then make sure to highlight each Friday (or whatever day you are taking off).

Choose Your Last Day of School

Second, decide when your last day of school will be. Think about when you’d like to be done with the school year. Are there summer activities your kids like to participate in that you should factor in?

It can be helpful to pick a date that allows you to go over a week or two if needed. That way you don’t have to stress about school work when illness hits your home or fun opportunities arise.

Determine How Many Days of School

You will need to determine how many days or weeks of school you would like to accomplish. This might be determined for you already based on the state you are homeschooling in or the homeschool program you are using.

I like to plan for 36 weeks of school but we usually only homeschool a total of 34 weeks. I could just plan for 34 weeks, but having 2 extra weeks in my schedule allows us more wiggle room throughout the year. And, occasionally we have needed all 36 weeks.

Start Counting

The last thing you will need to do is start at your end date and count out the number of days or weeks you are hoping to homeschool. Where ever you land on the calendar will be your first day of school. It really is that simple!

Watch Me Plan

Come along with me as I figure out when our first day of school will be.


  1. Coral Martin says:

    Thanks for the tips! Printed off a school year calendar!

  2. Jennifer Davis says:

    I plan for 36 weeks because that is what our core curriculum is set for. However I give LOTS of wiggle room. Our official start is the first full week of August. However we do a “soft opening” actually starting school loosely the beginning to middle of July. We start slow adding in subjects so that by the first week of August we are in full swing and starting the year “ahead”. We take Thanksgiving through New Years and the month of June off. So our end date will also be June first. No school after that even if we don’t finish. Then, because there are actually about 40 school weeks in that time I divide the extra days between each month listing the lesson number we need to be on for each subject at the beginning of each month. Then we have extra days where life can take over each month and at the beginning of each month I can see if we are on goal to finish on time or if we need to prioritize certain thing to stay on track. I hope that made sense. This works really well for me giving me peace when we have lost days and helping me stay focused.

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