We've been homeschooling for five years, and in that time we've experimented with a number of different school calendars.
We started off following the public school calendar, beginning and ending at the same time, and taking the same breaks at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break.
Then in 2008 we changed it up a little, moving to three 12-week terms, taking the entire month of December off, and schooling through mid-July. We loved the longer break in December, but soon discovered that the 12-week terms were just too long and stressful.
So for this school year we shortened the terms to 6 weeks, planning to take 2 weeks off between each term, then schooling during the month of July. This schedule went well for most of this school year; the shorter terms relieved a lot of stress for the kids, and I really enjoyed being able to plan 6 weeks of school at a time. But I felt that the frequent 2 week breaks were too much. (I'm never satisfied, am I!)
As a result, since Christmas we have changed to 6-week terms with only 1 week off in between. And this finally seems to be the right fit for us.
So for the 2010-2011 school year, we are planning 6-week terms with 1-week breaks. With the calendar I've set up, we have some flexibility that will give us anywhere from 180 to 200 school days.
Here's a look at our school calendar for the 2010-2011 school year. (Click the image to view full size.)
I'm thankful we've finally found a school calendar that works for us. I'd love to hear what works for you.