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Just Have Fun With Year-Round Homeschooling

We are at the end of our 10 Day Series already!! I hope you have found some information that you could use these last 10 days when it comes to homeschooling year-round. Today I have the most important tip of all when it comes to homeschooling year-round, just have fun! Let me tell you how!

Having Fun With Year-Round Homeschooling (1)

Plan Your Breaks

And when I say to plan your breaks, I mean, plan your breaks. Make them fun. These are the times when you get to do nothing and have fun doing that. We like to plan any get-aways during this time. Whether you get out of town or just down the block, take this time to have fun with your kids.

Plan Fun Summer Units

While you will be doing summer lessons, plan some fun units to work on during the summer. Amanda Bennet has a fun Roller Coaster Unit Study to use while having fun. Who wouldn't love to learn about Roller Coasters and maybe check one out after learning about it? This is a great way to continue learning, yet make it really fun while you do so during the summer months.

Use Your Library

We love our library, and our library loves us. This is the one place that mommy is able to talk about homeschooling without getting funny looks or weird questions. I can even talk about year-round homeschooling and they don't blink an eye. Our library always has something for the kids, whether it is the summer reading program, or LEGO building adventure, or even preschool story time. We make our trips here and make them fun.

Just Have Fun

You have to just have fun when you homeschool, no matter what your schedule is. You need to have fun. Your kids need to have fun and you need to have fun. Include them and let them have fun planning with you. Let them help plan the fun time during the breaks, let them tell you what they want to learn about. When they pick, they have more fun learning and more fun learning is more fun for everyone!

Thank you so much for following along these last 10 days! I hope I helped you understand a little bit about homeschooling year-round. I hope I answered some of your questions, and if you have more, let me know!

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Have you stopped over at any of these other blogs to see their tips? Which one has been your favorite (besides me, haha)? I am going to head on over and spend some time reading through these tonight and can't wait to see what wonderful tips they hold for me!

10 Days of Homeschooling Tips

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Year-Round Homeschooling FAQs

So, you have been reading all I have to say about year-round homeschooling. You think it might be a fit for your family, but you have questions. This is normal and I have been there. I didn't know if year-round homeschooling was a good fit, and I wanted to know more. But this was all right before Pinterest and Facebook groups (or at least before I found them), so I didn't know where to look. Today I want to take those top questions and I want to help you find the answers to them!

HomeschoolYear-Round

What Do You Do To Prevent Burnout?

My first and most important answer to this, listen to yourself and your kids! If you feel like you need a break, take it! We do a 3 weeks on 1 week off cycle. This gives us breaks as we need them and allows us to recharge. Another tip, don't over plan. You have all year to learn, don't try to get it in the first 9 months.

Do You Have Issues Getting Back on Track After A Break?

No, not really. Nothing like having 3 months off and trying to get back on track. Knowing that we have 3 weeks to go before out next break helps. We just had a 2 week break for "summer" and our first Monday back was just another day. You get into a habit and your kids do also.

What Do You Do When The Neighborhood Kids Are Outside Your Door?

We are in a neighborhood that likes to sleep in. The local pool doesn't open until noon, so we don't see many kids until closer to that time. During our "on" weeks, we get up by 8:30 and start school by 9 or 9:30. By the time the other kids come out to play, we are almost done with school. The friends we have know we homeschool year-round and are polite enough to wait until noon before knocking on our door. This is always nice. Other families have put a sign on their door stating they are busy and to please wait before knocking.

When Do You Change Grade Levels?

This is a simple one. Whenever we want! I set a time, usually August when we start our new grade levels. This is also the time we take those back to school photos like everyone else and make a big deal out of it. This throws a fresh breath of air into our homeschool when it needs it most.

These are the top questions that I am asked whenever I mention that we homeschool year-round. Between these questions and my previous posts, I hope that you have all the answers that you need to help you in your decision on whether or not you want to homeschool year-round or not. If you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them for you!

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I have been participating in a 10 Day Series full of homeschooling tips for moms. Have you checked out these other blogs? If not, hop on over and check them out with me!

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Organizing Your Year-Round Homeschool Room

When it comes to the difference between year-round homeschool and traditional homeschool, one main thing you will see is the lack of time to organize your homeschool room. When you follow the traditional school calendar, you have time off during the summer to step back and revamp your homeschool room, but when you homeschool year-round, you miss out on this time. What in the world do you do with your homeschool room? I want to share my tips with you today!

Organizing Your Year-Round Homeschool Room

Pick One Month to Update Curriculum

I like to pick the month that we "level up" in our grades. Yes, we have our "back to school" month, usually in August when each kid moves up to the next grade. We do the pictures and make a deal out of it. This is also the same time that I like to go through the curriculums. I find the ones we are done with and get them out of the room. Usually they go to the basement on a shelf so that I can use them again later. This gives me room for the new things that we need to use and helps to just make the shelves look a little better.

Pick Two Months to Declutter

Now that we are using current curriculum, we spend some time decluttering. What does this mean? Well, mom takes some time and gets rid of all the paper we no longer need. I don't actually get "rid" of it, I add it to the reuse drawer. Do you know what it is like to have TONS of paper that has only been used on one side and 4 kids who love to doodle? Well, a reuse drawer is awesome! I spend time going through the kid's folders and taking out the things they don't need anymore. This makes finding papers a lot easier. Now, we actually go through and declutter at least twice a year, but if I notice too many papers, we do it again.

Update Wall Decorations

Those fun wall decorations. Every month we update our calendar and anything that might be seasonal. Every year I analyze what each child will be learning. I like to find something for each one of them to go and look as they need to. Moe Man has been working on his presidents while Little Miss is working on the alphabet, both ends of the learning bridge.

General Cleaning

The schoolroom is one of the rooms on our daily cleaning list. This room gets one day each week when we dust and vacuum as well washing of the windows. This helps keep the room clean and makes it easier when I have to go about changing things or updating bookshelves.

How do you keep your year-round schoolroom organized while using it all year?

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Join me in visiting these other moms and checking out their tips during these 10 Days of Homeschooling Tips for Moms!

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Switching to Year-Round Homeschooling

So you have been homeschooling for a while. You follow the traditional calendar and take the summer off. But now, you notice that your kids want more time off at other times. You need more time off during other months. Something has come up and you took too much time off during the middle of the year and you want to catch up. So how do you go from traditional year homeschool to year-round homeschool? Let me give you a few tips.

Switching to Year-Round Homeschool

Decide On Your Schedule

First and foremost, decide on the schedule you are going to want to follow in your year-round homeschool year. Do you want to do 3 weeks on and 1 off? Do you want to do 6 weeks on and 2 off? Figure this out first. Once you figure this out you will want to plan out the year. Remember this post of planning your year? Do this, planning the first week or two as being your off time. Give your kids that time off.

Inform Your Kids

Tell your kids of your choice. Tell them your why. Let them know they are going to start off with a break. That they will have a break in so many days. Ask them if they have any questions and do your best to help answer those for them. They are your number one priority and you want them to be as comfortable as you with this.

Pick Your Curriculum

Yes, you pick curriculum no matter how many months you homeschool at a time. Now you want to step back and make sure the current curriculum you have will still work for you. Most will, but for us, we loved the Nature Study for science. Yes, we will still use a "regular" science curriculum, but not all year. While we focus all year on our subjects, we tend to lighten up slightly during the summer months, so you will want to make sure your curriculum gives you the option to pick and choose activities.

Get Started

You have planned, you have informed, you have picked. Now, you are ready to start! Your week or two of break is over, now go. Just do it go for the full time that you have planned. Adjust as needed, but keep going! When your fist time on is done, weather 3 weeks or more, take your break! Do it! Have your kids free read, and work on Bible, but give them that time off. Ask them what they think. Evaluate what you have done, how it has gone. Find out what has gone good and what needs to change. Take this and plan your next time on. Don't make your kids do anything until the first Monday back on and go.

Congratulations, you have switched over to year-round homeschooling! Do you have any other questions on how to make the switch? I would love to answer those for you, just leave the question below!

This is Day 7 of 10 of homeschooling tips for moms. Have you seen all of mine so far on year-round homeschooling? Have you checked out any of these other topics?

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The Frustrations of Year-Round Homeschooling and How to Deal With Them

When it comes to homeschooling year-round, it is not all rainbows and lollipops. What!? Did I really just say that? Yep, I sure did! There are many days that one or more of the kids get frustrated, as does mom, but you know what? We find a way to get past this and continue on our way! Here are some of the frustrations we have dealt with and what we did to overcome them.

Year Round Homeschooling Frustrations

But My Friends Are Playing!

This is the most common frustration that I hear from my kids. We are in a house that has windows everywhere! I love these windows when they let the sun in and the natural light we get from that. However, this also bites me in the butt when there are other kids outside playing and we haven't finished our lessons yet. One thing we have learned, most of the kids in this neighborhood don't get out and about until around noon. I told you in our Schedule post that we still get up at the same time all year Monday through Friday. What does this mean? Yep, we have learned to hurry up and finish our lessons while all the other kids are busy sleeping and we can meet them outside sooner.

I Just Want To Be Lazy Today!

Now this comes from both the kids and mom. There are some really nice days when being lazy sounds so good. But we have a lesson plan for the week and we really should be doing something. You know what? Some days we just deal with the fact that we need a lazy day! Do I do this often? No. Is it only when I am lazy? No. I listen to the kids just as I listen to me. This whole last week we took an extra week off. Why? Because we can. Because I know that Monday the kids will be refreshed from the last two weeks off (sort of, more on this later) and they will be able to focus better.

But We Have Been Having School All Year!

Well, yes…and no. We are required by our state to have 180 days of school a year. There are 365 days in the average year. That is a difference of 185 days. So really, we are only having school for half of the year. We just have breaks at different times. I remind the kids that while we might be having school during the hot sticky months when all anyone wants to do is sit inside in the air conditioning, we just had a week long break during that super nice week when everyone was stuck in an icky classroom. The reminders through the year during our breaks are enough to help the kids cope with it.

What Is Summer Break?

Is this really a frustration? Well for Little Miss it is. She doesn't understand what this is. She has never had any type of public school experience, so she gets frustrated when the boys complain about it. The only school she knows is the year-round school with frequent breaks. I have to explain to her that not everyone gets to stay home with their moms all day. They have to leave mom and go to school and during the summer they get to not go to school. She is still not worried about summer break, rather she is upset that not everyone gets to stay home. This one…she melts my heart constantly. I love her frustration the most!

What are some of the frustrations you deal with in your year-round homeschooling? If you don't year-round homeschool, what are the frustrations that you fear?

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I am taking part in a 10 Day Series of Homeschooling Tips for Moms. Check out my full list here and find some other blogs with many other useful tips to help your homeschool days run smoother!

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Using Nature Study in Year Round Homeschooling

*Affiliate links are in this post. Nothing changes for you, I just get a percentage if you order something.

Science, it is the one thing this mom doesn’t like. But guess what? I was blessed with, so far, 3 kids who LOVE all things science. This is the one subject that I dread planning for a whole year!! What in the world do I do? Oh, wait, I homeschool and can have fun with it! How do I do that? Well I through in Nature Study for our science.

Using Nature Study in Your Year Round Homeschool

Nature Study, this thing that I had never heard of until I started the whole homeschooling thing. This magical way of including science is a great way to study science all year round. If you think about it, nature is science and nature is constantly changing. Along with that, nature includes so many different things, you can never really get bored from it. If you find something that interests your child more than another, you can stop and build on that for a while. Did I mention this was magical science?

Beginning Nature Studies

This isn’t that hard. We just started. And that is just it. We didn’t go overboard. We didn’t purchase anything, other than a membership to NotebookingPages.com (this site is great for nature studies, check out our review). We didn’t plan anything, other than the topic we would be looking at that week, and that often changed as well. So, how did we start, and how should you? Go outside! That is it. Bring some paper and just write or draw about what you see each day. You have done your first nature study. Does your child have a question about what they saw? Research and learn about it!

Nature Study Notebooking Pages

Follow The Seasons

This is the best part of using this for year round homeschooling. Each season changes. Along with the changing of the season, you will notice a change in nature. Your child will be able to see that the tree they drew a picture of just a month ago has changed. They will see that the clouds are different with the different weather patterns and they will feel the change in the air around them. You have to see what they are noticing and just explain it. Find a book on it and read to them (here is a great list for you to look at), or have them research it themselves if they are old enough. Simple!

Do you need a few ideas of what to have your child look at? Here are some fun ideas that follow the seasons.

Spring the time of new and fresh. You can start your study of a tree or two. See what it looks like now and compare it to later. Take pictures or draw them. See what birds are around, spend some time researching their migration, see if they will be around all summer or are just passing through. And of course, pay attention to the change in weather. Keep a weather log and compare the similarities that you notice.

Summer is when most kids are busy playing they don’t slow down unless they are directed to. They miss out on a lot of beautiful things. Spend some time noticing the changes in the trees you are watching. Are there different insects around, different birds? This is also a great time to take your nature studies to the night. The temperatures are cooler yet not too cold. Go out when it is dark and see the nocturnal animals. Talk about what this means, and why we have them. This is our favorite time…staying up late and going out in the dark!

Autumn is when you will notice your trees changing. Find out why. Spend time looking at the beauty of it. Notice the weather again. Are you close to a river with trout to notice the change in them? What are the birds doing? How about other animals, like the squirrels or chipmunks? And your garden, have you been watching this change? All of a sudden things are disappearing from the plants while everyone and everything gets ready for the next season.

Plants & Trees Nature Study Notebooking Pages

Winter brings major changes in the weather here in Minnesota. We find that we can’t get outside as often and spend some time studying the weather (notice this is a constant). We see the change in the tree we have been watching and find that some of our favorite birds are gone, while the squirrels are a lot fatter. This is also the season that we don’t spend as much time outside. But we love to watch the birds on the feeders from the front window.

Through all of these seasons, we are also able to look up at night. We can see the changing of the stars and constellations and we are able to spend time learning about the rotation of the earth that makes the seasons and the stars change.

These are some simple ways that you can use Nature Study year round to make science fun in your homeschool. As your child gets older, you may have to add more, but during the early years, this is the best and most fun way to learn all year round!

Have you ever done nature studies in your homeschool? What was your favorite?

Remember to check out the rest of the moms who are sharing tips with you for this fun 10 Day Series!

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Year Round Homeschooling Summer Schedule

Why would you sit around and do school all day during the summer months? Don't your kids want to go and play with the neighbor kids during the summer? These are just some of the questions I get, along with silly looks when I say that we homeschool all year. But here is the thing, we might homeschool all year, but that also means we are able to have shorter days during the summer! So, what does a typical summer school day look like? I will tell you!

Summer School

During the summer, we have the kids get up at the same time Monday through Friday as they would during the school year. They have a time of 8:30 am to wake up. This is not outrageous in any way. Heck that is pretty good since we like to keep somewhat of a schedule. Being up and moving means that we can get started on school lessons sooner.

After the kids have been up and are moving, we start school by 9:45 or 10:00. This gives everyone time to wake up, eat breakfast and help with some morning chores. By this time, most other kids in the neighborhood are just waking up and here we are already moving ahead.

10:00 is our school start time. Moe Man is able to do a lot of his lessons on his own so I help Ray Ray and Little Miss with their lessons. We are able to do a lot of these together, so we are multitasking quite well all morning. With a short break as needed, we are able to finish 90% of our lessons by lunch time at noon.

Summer School Schedule

After we are done with lunch and finish picking up, the local swimming is just opening up. This is also the time that most of the other kids are getting out and about in the neighborhood. So what does that mean? Well, that means that our kids are up, fed and have finished all of their lessons before the first kid knocks on our door! This also means that the kids are able to go and be gone with their friends, or have a house full of kids at our house while still doing school during the summer!

Moe Man does have longer lessons. Some days he will start earlier, otherwise he will spend more time after supper or before bed finishing up his lessons. This happens all year for him as I have noticed certain subjects are easier for him at different times of the day.

Summer School Schedule

I don't put a time on our day. I don't say that at 9:45 we are working on Science and at 10:15 we are moving on to Math. I watch the kids, I see who is struggling or excelling at what time. I see which child is craving the attention at a certain time. I ask them what they want to do! If I am going to make them do school during the summer, I am going to involve them. If they would rather work on reading first and then math, I will let them do that.

Summer School Schedule

So, even though we homeschool through the summer, we still have lots of time for fun in the sun! What does your year round summer schedule look like?

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Planning Year Round Homeschooling

Yesterday I told you about the benefits of homeschooling your kids year round. This made you interested in homeschooling your kids year round, or at least I hope it did! But how in the world do you plan a year round school year? Let me tell you a secret, it is not every weekday for the full 52 weeks! Can you believe it?? We accidentally started homeschooling year round and the planning wasn't that hard.

Planning Your Year Round Homeschool Year

Plan Your Breaks

Now that I officially call myself a year round homeschooler, I needed to plan my whole year out. Don't be afraid! I do not mean lessons or details, I just mean what days do I need to have off and what days do I want to have off. One of the best ways to do this is to grab a calendar like the one from Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus (Option 3A, scroll down). This calendar lets me see the full year. I can mark down the days I want to have off each month, and add up the days we are, or will be active for school each month. This gives me a great visual of how many days we can take off after our scheduled breaks.

2016-to-2017-Year-Around-School-Planning-Powder-Puff-231x-@-Tinas-Dynamic-Homeschool-Plus

Speaking of breaks, we like to homeschool for 3 weeks and take a full week off. We also like to take the whole month of December off. This gets to be about our "half way" point of our year for grade levels. I also notice a lot of restlessness happening at this point. This means that we need a break. I watch for other times like this during the year and can rework the schedule as needed. I ALWAYS fill these forms out with pencil because they WILL change!

Plan When You Will Learn What Subjects

Yes, you read that right. We don't always do everything every day. We will do reading, writing and math every day. Those three are a given. I also like to make sure to do copywork a few times a week. Everything else, science, history, extras, those have been getting grouped into different subjects each day or week. We don't do everything every day. This would be too much when going all year. Moe Man does better when I say, "Wednesday is Science day, do all your Science for the week and be done". He has no issues with this.

Sometimes, you will find us not doing a subject at all for the entire week and the following week we will do it every day. We pick and choose what we want to do. As long as we get it all done within 365 days I am happy. How it gets done, I don't care. We might even spend a Saturday doing school some weeks. We pay attention to the weather, extra-curricular activities and our schedule to tell us what we need to be doing.

Set Goals

What does set goals mean? To me, it is when I decide that I want to get this far in this subject by this time. Doing this keeps me on track for each monthly planning session. I break down my goals into yearly, semester and monthly goals. I know that I want to complete certain things by a certain date. Some of them are yearly, I want to complete Ray Ray's 1st grade math by August. Or monthly goals like wanting to get through this many lessons in Moe Man's Science. Having these simple goals makes it easier when I want to sit down and actually lesson plan.

I love using the goal pages in my Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner. These pages take it past educational goals and has me looking at spiritual, physical and financial goals to name a few! I have a full review of this planner right here. These pages make my year round planning easier.

Hey Mama! Goal Planning

These are the three main things I look at when planning my year round homeschool year. I don't worry about lesson planning at this stage. Right now I just worry about getting my breaks in, yes I love my breaks, and getting my goals set. Once I have the basics in order, I can worry about lesson planning! Join me tomorrow when I talk about lesson planning for the summer months! I can't wait to tell you how easy it really is!

What are your tips for planning out the school year?

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Top 5 Benefits to Homeschooling Year Round

When it came to deciding that I was going to homeschool the kids year round, it was not an easy decision at all! I struggled with the idea of not having the summer months off to do nothing. I struggled with how I would tell the kids that I wanted them to keep doing school while all the neighborhood kids slept until noon and played video games all day. It came down to the fact that I had to look at the benefits and see how this would work for us. Here are the top 5 benefits that made up my mind to homeschool year round.

Homeschool Year Round Benefits

More Time, Less Stress

What does this mean? How can homeschooling all year make for less stress? Well, when you homeschool all year, you have 52 weeks to plan out 36 weeks worth of school. This means that you don't have to finish by a strict deadline. I can look at the kids and say, "Let's go to the park and play, no school today" when I notice the attention is not there. This means I don't have to get frustrated and they don't have to get frustrated, we have time!

Vacation When We Want

EVERYONE goes on vacation at the same time each year, spring break and summer time. Why would I want to do the same thing when I am homeschooling to be away from that? We can homeschool right through the busy times and go on vacation when things are slower. You know what else? That usually means the prices are lower as well!

Year Round Learning

We have all heard of the summer learning slump. When we do year round homeschool, that also means we are learning all year. Yes, we do take breaks, but not for months at a time. Moe Man needs to keep his mind working on school or he will forget. If I give him more than 2 weeks off I notice that I have to restart the lessons, and this is not fun for any of us!

Easier Planning

What does easier planning mean and is this really a benefit? Yes, it is a benefit and I take my one week to plan for their next 3 weeks of school. I can see what is or isn't working and change it up every three weeks. I have used this many times with Moe Man especially I can see where he is lacking, take some time to find some extra work when he needs it and move on only when he is ready. If I had planned the whole year out and something didn't work for us, I would have to redo the WHOLE year. This way I can customize for the kids every month!

Shorter Weeks

What? How do you make a week shorter? Well, we do 4 days of school instead of 5. This is new to us in the last few months, but we LOVE this change! Monday through Thursday are our school days. Friday is our Home Ec day. While this isn't school books, I use the kids to help me around the house and use it as their home ec day. Not only are they happy to have only 4 days of school, I am happy to have help picking up, washing clothes, or even just cooking food.

Have you checked out any of the other blogs and their tips? Click the picture and find one you like!

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Are you a year round homeschooler? What is your favorite benefit to homeschooling year round?

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Year Round Homeschooling ~ An Introduction

It is the end of June and we go to a doctor appointment. The first question my children hear is "How are you enjoying your summer vacation?" All four kids look at me like deer in the headlights waiting to be saved. I simply say, "We homeschool, year round." The nurse and doctor look at me, they are now the deer in the headlights and don't know what to say.

An Introduction To Year Round Homeschooling

We find this to be a normal conversation during the summer months. For the past three years we have been homeschooling year round. My younger kids don't really understand summer vacation other than the fact that their friends don't have school. They know that when they wake up, they eat their breakfast and get their lessons done. After lunch they run off with these said friends and have a good time.

There are many different styles of homeschooling year round. Yes, we have breaks. No, we don't have school every day of the year. Now that the top two questions have been answered, I feel like I can move on! Some families do four days a week, while others stick to the five days a week. Some families do 6 weeks of homeschooling with a one week break, while others will do 3 or 4 weeks of school with a one week break. Whatever you decide is what you will use for your homeschool.

Over the next 10 days I plan on sharing more about our experience with Homeschooling Year Round. We are not experts in any way, shape or form, but we do have some experience. We have had ups and downs using this style of homeschooling, but I would not change it for the world.

I can't wait to share with you about the tips, myths and ideas that we have come across since deciding to homeschool year round. Not only that, but I plan to show you a glimpse of our schedule, let you in on some of the benefits and even show you some simple ways to make certain subjects work all year without ruining your summer experience.

There are other mom bloggers out there that are joining in on the 10 Day Series – Tips for Homeschool Moms. Everyone has something they want to share with you and I am excited to be checking them out! Will you join me?

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How many of you are year round homeschoolers? For those of you who aren't, what is your number one question about year round homeschooling?

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