Our family has built a “custom school” around our 14 year-old child with hired teachers, and it is working out fantastically well. He is learning more than his former classmates, according to his former teachers that have evaluated him. He is excited about reading a wide range of books, which is new. And I am glad he is learning the beauty of mathematics, not just the mechanics he was taught before. Together we decided to continue for another year at least.
But what should we do about the school year? Should we match his older brother’s high school schedule? We started out the year that way, but have changed. He now takes a class whenever both he and his teacher is in town, and we feel free to have him take trips with us all through the year. Right now is now at a 2 week birder camp which he saved his allowance for. The teachers have been thankfully flexible with our schedule, and it we are flexible around theirs. So we have adopted a flexible schedule that has many weeks off each year, but not all gathered together.
This has allowed us to go on trips together, for his teachers to take him on field trips, and for him to stay learning more consistently. A language teacher complained that the summer months set students back by many weeks.
There is value to having time off to play, relax, and develop hobbies, but is our spreading this out throughout the year a better course? It is too early to tell, and I am not quite sure how we will be able to tell, but our son does not seem to feel that he is being cheated out of summer vacation– he is getting trips and independence sprinkled throughout the year.
If anyone has any experience with this, please comment here, or write to us.