You are using an unsupported browser. Please update your browser to the latest version on or before July 31, 2020.
Home > Academics and Advising > Organizing the School Year
Organizing the School Year
print icon

Typically, the school year is organized into segments (quarters or semesters) for a total of 180 days of school attendance per academic year. This structure is designed to ensure a balance between instructional time and breaks, facilitating effective learning and academic planning. It allows for the necessary coverage of the curriculum while also providing students and educators with periodic breaks throughout the year. State requirements may vary. We recommend checking with HSLDA and your state's Department of Education to understand homeschooling laws in your state.  You may also wish to reference our Help Center article on the topic of Meeting Individual State and Secondary Institution Requirements.


Please note, Kolbe course plans and tests are organized with 36 weeks of instruction divided into four quarters (for grades K-5) or into two semesters (for grades 6-8 and high school). If you prefer to establish your 180 days differently or add more days, you are completely free to do so.


Many Kolbe families, especially those with students in one or more online courses, like to follow the Online School Calendar. If your student is taking courses in other formats, you will want to keep in mind that the online calendar has fewer weeks each semester than our traditional homeschool (as well as Digital Homeschool and Asynchronous Online) course plans and adjust according. Not all courses need to begin on the same day. It is often helpful to begin the year with a "soft start" by starting a few classes and then building up to the full schedule. If your student is taking a mixture of online and homeschool courses, it would make sense to begin the homeschool courses in advance of online classes so you can finish all classes before Christmas break.



A good general practice is to look at a calendar for the entire academic year and work backward to build out your schedule for the school year. It is advisable to schedule some grace days each semester to account for illness, emergency, and unforeseen schedule disruptions. You will also want to take into account school breaks such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Some families like to schedule an additional fall or spring break to travel in the off-season.


Kolbe Academy also has many military families who will begin their school year 4-6 weeks in advance to accommodate a PCS (permanent change of station) during the academic year. This same principle can be applied if your family is moving, expecting a baby, or anticipating another major life event during the academic year. It is usually better to build in flexibility on the front end than attempt to play catch up on the other side of the academic year.


Some may balk at the idea of scheduling. If this does not suit your style or makes you feel constrained, then you will want to find a way that works best for your family. Paradoxically, most parents find that more scheduling and organization ultimately reduces stress. When you have a plan for the year, you will not have to worry about if you are on track, if you can take a break, or if you will finish on time. Although what is "on time" is determined by you, most families benefit from a roadmap to reach their goals.


You can consider your homeschool schedule as the roadmap to meet the educational goals for your family each year. At the same time you are scheduling your year it would be fruitful to break down goals for each of your children. This will ideally include goals beyond academics and capture your educational goals for your children as whole people. Therefore, this may include goals related to social, spiritual, physical, and emotional development. Then, at the end of the year, we encourage you to take time to reflect on the year. Some questions you may ask yourself are:


  • Where did we feel God's presence in our homeschool and lives this year?
  • What coursework or activities drew us closer to one another?
  • What coursework or activities drew us closer to God?
  • What did I learn about each of my children this year?
  • What did they learn about themselves?
  • Which special goals or accomplishments did each of my children make this year?
  • What am I proud of this year?
  • If I could write myself a letter at the beginning of this year, what would I say?
  • What were our challenges this year? How did we learn from those challenges?
  • What am I relieved has come to an end?
  • What lessons do I want to take with me as I move to the next academic year?
  • How have I found God in the mundane and ordinary aspects of our homeschool, such as daily routines and academic tasks?
  • What moments of reflection or contemplation have we incorporated into our school routine to connect with God and with one another?
  • In what ways have we practiced magis* in our academic pursuits, going beyond the minimum requirements to seek excellence?

At Kolbe Academy we believe that salvation is the ultimate goal of Catholic education. It is always good to keep that ultimate goal in mind when you look back over your school year to evaluate the hits and misses, then move on to plan for the new academic year ahead. In addition to reflecting on the year from your perspective as a home educator, you may wish to ask your children to reflect on their year too. This can be as informal as a conversation or something more formal such as writing repsonses down in a journal/keepsake each year. 


*Magis is a Latin word that means "more" or "greater." In the context of Ignatian spirituality and education, the concept of magis encourages individuals to seek the greater good, to go beyond the minimum requirements, and to strive for excellence in all aspects of life for the glory of God. It is one of the key principles of Ignatian philosophy and informs the way Jesuits and Ignatian institutions approach their work. 


Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

0 out of 0 found this helpful

scroll to top icon