Schedule - Is a 4-day school week possible?

Cyndi (AZ)
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Schedule - Is a 4-day school week possible?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

momma2kact wrote:I am just curious if anyone here does a 4 day school week? This is what my mom did most of the time she homeschooled--though not with MFW--so it is very familiar to me. My oldest child is in 1st grade--we have a homeschool co-op on Mondays and try as I might, it just does not work to "do school" on Mondays!

I know all about the light day, but with four children (plus my niece most days--which makes 5). even spending part of that day outside and doing science (all together) doesn't work on Mondays. And Saturdays won't work either. So, I would like to know how it works--if anyone has tried it (successful or not--whether for or against it).

Thank you!
It's silly how guilty I feel admitting this, but we often have a 4 day week.

It's pretty easy to combine exploration day with another day. For instance, this Tuesday morning we went to MOPS, so we didn't have school today. So on Wednesday, we'll do the "Tuesday work" in the morning and have Exploration Day in the afternoon. I spend a lot of time reading to my dd, and having her read either independently or outloud to me, and she plays with the pattern blocks and listens to classical music as part of her life, so I don't feel like she's missing out on that.

I've had to get creative lately because of my health issues, but it's working out fine. Sometimes we've made 5 days of school stretch over 2 weeks, but it works for us. I have to say that this curriculum is very easy to work with in that way.
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We do 4 day a week school -

Unread post by my3boys »

We do 4 day a week school. One day is for physical activities and outings. Right now on Fridays we do swimming lessons and outdoor activities (although last Friday we all came home and curled up on the couch and watched movies:)). After Christmas it will be Tuesdays and gymnastics. I just cram a little more into the other 4 days in order to get one off.
Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Hi Debbie,

I have almost always done a 4-day week. We clean house on Friday mornings. We love it. We are in CTG and 1st. I have never had any trouble getting 5 days into 4 with mfw curriculum, except during that learning curve that happens every time we start a new year.

Like the pp's have mentioned, most weeks we can sort of stuff 5 days into 4; either we do a little extra throughout the week at whatever point seems easiest that week, or we just finish up on the following Monday before getting into the new week's assignments. It really doesn't feel like "stuffing" though.

The one thing that refuses to be stuffed is math. There really are about 180 days worth of any given level of math necessary for most kids. Well at least for my kids, who are pretty average. I have approached that a couple of different ways. The first is to say that math is the one subject that has to be completed even on Fridays. It is amazing how motivated to finish it the kids will become when they know it is the only thing standing between them and the backyard. The 2nd option I have used is doing math throughout the summer (just math, nothing else). It is pretty much too hot to be outside in July and August anyway, at least where I live, and so that has worked for us sometimes too.

The other thing I do (and this has made all the difference for my peace of mind) is schedule 40 calendar weeks of the year as school weeks. For a long time I did 34 or 36. But then I was always feeling rushed, like there was no room for error. Now with 40 weeks actually scheduled I have a nice fat margin of error :) -- I can miss whole weeks due to sickness or whatever and still not really be off track. That helps a lot with the shorter weeks. That way when you get behind you are not really behind. I have yet to actually use all 40 weeks up, but I feel better knowing that it is there.

hth a little :)
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
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Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hi Debbie,
I haven't done MFW 1st, but I believe there are only 160 days scheduled. That leaves room for a day off each week, or for other things like sick days or days you want to spend longer on a topic.

I have done ECC, CTG, and RTR in four days a week. We have either co-op or a field trip on one day each week.

If we need extra time for math or something, then it helps to do Bible and/or read-aloud in the evening with dad, to free up some time during the school day. And it is really a blessing to our family when we do some of these things together at the end of the day.


Posted Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:13 am by Julie in MN

The beginning of the ECC year takes 10 days, which of course could be done in 2 weeks or 2.5 weeks, if you need to.

The rest of the year definitely has a light day scheduled. We have always attended a co-op or field trip one day a week, and have had no problem finishing our MFW weeks in 4 days.

During several MFW years, we did no school at all on co-op days. As I recall, during ECC I did have my 3rd grader do a small bit of writing, because I wanted to spread it out as thinly as possible over the week -- due to his pencil allergy :o)

(Fortunately, MFW did not duplicate his writing efforts. Writing during Bible time was done instead of a separate writing program, rather than in *addition* to a writing workbook or something. Just wanted to clarify that.)

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Unread post by SandKsmama »

We do a 4 day week - we have Community Bible study and homeschool skating on Thursdays, so we consider those two things "school" and don't try to do any of our regular bookwork.

How I do it? With the "grid" programs - ECC and beyond, I just combine days 4 and 5. Usually Day 5 is light enough this isn't an issue at all. I do not do 2 math/Latin/language arts, etc. lessons ,just one.

With K and 1st, I just do 1 lesson a day and we are done when we're done. So far (I'm going through K for the second time now, and *almost* done with 1st), it works well.

Amanda, Wife to a great guy since '99, SAHM to 4 fabulous kids! DD(7/96), DS(1/01), DD(8/03), and baby DS (3/09)!
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Michelle in WA
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Unread post by Michelle in WA »

We're doing 1st and we do a 4 day week. I just keep moving on the next day the next time we "meet". Since our state laws are pretty simple, I don't worry about getting it all done by a certain date or anything. I would prefer to be done by summer but we'll see. Homeschooling adds a nice routine to our day.
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Another Idea

Unread post by mgardenh »

My daughter has aspergers and we have not done school on fridays for two years. To change that would be awful for her. So one thing I do is school year round. This gives us a chance to take a vacation whenever or do other things like go 230 miles for doctor appointments and not worry about school. I think there are lots of ideas that can be used to make it work. Only thing to consider is the law of your state. Does it require so many days a week and hours a day? Also you can count your homeschool co-op as school. Just about anything can count as education.
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Unread post by RachelT »

Hi Debbie! I have been in a similar situation this fall. We just completed an 8 week co-op, but this time our co-op was in the morning. My children were learning in four different classes and having social time with the other children afterward so it definitely was a "school" day.

I don't feel guilty about doing the 1st grade Exploration Day activities on another day, and it's not that hard to fit them in somewhere else. My only "problem" is my dd's K lessons, because the co-op day has made several units 7 days long instead of 6.

But like someone mentioned above, both 1st and K have around 160 days which leaves me about 20 extra days for the year (one of our few requirements in IN is 180 days of school). Our co-op was a valuable learning experience for my dc. My vote is for you to enjoy your co-op day and fit the other things in somewhere else during your week.

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Unread post by WindriderMom »

We do a 4 day week. Using Rome to Reformation, Fridays do not have any reading to do, it is mostly blank with the normal Math, and Latin Spelling Test on those days. We go to a co-op and come home and usually I give the kids math to do, but that's it. Our spelling prgram doesn't have a test every Friday so we don't need that time. We sometimes will go over the Latin words. But our sit-down-and-do-work days are M-Th. In my state I have to have an average of 4 hours a day, and we go well above that on my 4 days, so Fridays can afford to be light.

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Unread post by LoveBaby »

we do a 4 day week as well. we have coop on tuesdays and i feel that counts for a day of school. we also school year round, so missing 1 day/wk isn't going to change our hours/attendence.

i'm also finishing up 1st, so we just do tuesday's work on wed. a.m and then they have the rest of the day for exploration.

I do try to do at least the reading plan portion for my son in K, but we do the day 2 activities on wednesday. we do our day 6 for K on friday afternoons, since we are 7th day sabbath keepers, school work on Sat. is out.
Jesse, homeschoolin' helpmeet just trying to do the Lords will! Starting MFW 1st and CtG 9/12!
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Unread post by Mom2MnS »

Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 5:28 pm

Hi Robyn :) It works wonderfully well! We have enjoyed our light days so much - using them for nature days, celebration days, catch up days, break days, etc - lol! Also, we have done light Fridays some and other times light Weds. Both have worked well at diff times :)
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Q about "light and independant Fridays"

Unread post by dhudson »

Wendy B. wrote:I'm currently working 1 weekday 7a-7p which means we do a 4 day school week. A 4day school week year round schedule is working well for us and the little kids spend that workday with grandparents who keep them productively busy. On that day the little kids might work in Mimi's garden, help her with a sewing project or do a field trip type of activity. I do not want to be in a position where I'm expecting Mimi to do or oversee "school" with younger kids because it will not have a positive outcome.

So my Qs. How doable will it be to continue a true 4 day school week through the 5 year cycle? I looked at the samples online and the toughest year appears to be CtG. Just judging from those samples, I could easily tweak so the majority of the work on lt/independant Fridays is done during our 4 day week. The other option is that Dad oversees work in the evening. He usually gets home between 4:30-5pm on my workdays so there is a 2-3 hour window before I get home. Currently they are spending this time cooking dinner and just hanging out. How much time do your children spend working through the work on a lt/independant Friday?

Thoughts? Ideas?
[editor's note: See the end of the story below.]
FYI, CtG isn't the hardest year. Each successive year gets harder. ;) The good news is that you can do a 4 day school week. We do. I have my kids work a little longer M-Th to do the extra math and LA and then just add in any of the stuff on Friday to either Thur or Sat. This is completely do-able with a little planning.
God Bless,
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Re: Q about "light and independant Fridays"

Unread post by cbollin »

Hi Wendy,

I salute you for still homeschooling! good job!

I think if you are worried a bit about light and independent Friday by the CTG sample weeks, you don't have to worry. yeah!
Most of the weeks aren't that heavy. It might look it on the sample, but it isn't like that on most fridays in bible.

basically -- you can do math 4 days a week. you don't have to write a letter each week either... it's a language arts thing, but not needed. You can "test" the vocab on Thursday after you review....Reading -- that's on their own... and the only thing would be Bible. There is a suggestion by MFW to have Dad do Bible the night before.. .so on Sunday, Dad does Monday Bible.... etc.

I'm in week 30, and so far find that CTG is a very light day on one day most weeks and stuff easy to shift around.
Your family might have to be creative in how you do or study the fall feasts. I scaled them back and got them done while living in a staged housed to sell! eek! was that really less than a year ago????

so, yeah, like you said... most of it will be absorbed in other days. Some of the things -- like cooking together on those Friday projects (or even sewing) might already be things that Mimi is doing with them and sometimes those are the things on light and indep. friday.

looking through my manuals.....

ECC -- first two weeks are 5 days weeks. the other weeks are lighter. Most of the Friday assignments can be merged onto other days, or again, do the dad does Bible the night before thing. I tend to hear that 4 days a week works on ECC except those first two weeks. plan for that.

RTR: there are a few fridays that have "optional" history readings. You have my advanced permission to treat them as optional. Other occasional Friday assignments will be a cooking project. And then stuff like review bible memory work, and math/reading. So if you normally are doing math/reading 4 days a week... you'll be ok in MFW. oh wait..... maybe you'll have to double up a chapter on read alouds once in a while in RTR. I think I saw one Friday with a chapter scheduled.... maybe there were more.

EX1850: some Fridays in this program might need some creative thinking to do a whole week in 4 days. Or you could decide to call some of those optional. Or there's always the idea that on Monday does not have to start a new week from the manual.

and same in 1850MOD as ex1850..... there are some of the weeks that have history readings on Friday.
well... I guess it also depends on how much you do in writing.....

then in jr. high years --- they can work 5 day a week etc... and they'll be older and in science/math more on own...

not sure any of that helped. But if you are already doing 4 day year round..... and don't mind if a Monday lesson might not always be "day 1 of Week X"..... it can work very easily from what I've heard. I think you'll be fine.

Wendy B.
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Re: Q about "light and independant Fridays"

Unread post by Wendy B. »

Wow! Thanks for the replies!

An extra read aloud or bible study shouldn't be a problem because dh is already doing that in the evening before bed. Sewing projects would be delegated to grandma anyway.

There is nothing quite like putting something in writing so you can see the forest for the trees. We will aim for a 4 day week, have the kids to work through some things with Dad in the evening and work towards the goal of independance by the middle school years.

My oldest dd just helped me remember my true motivation for working nights in the past was actually financial and not school related. During my stint as a single mom that shift differential really made a difference between being able to work PT and continue hsing vs. sending the kids to school because I had to work a 40 hr week.

Thanks for helping me realize that this was doable before I did anything foolish like give up my day position!
Wendy B.
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Re: Q about "light and independant Fridays"

Unread post by SandKsmama »

How doable will it be to continue a true 4 day school week through the 5 year cycle?
Very. We've done the entire cycle, and had a 4 day school week the entire time. I just shift whatever is on that "Friday" to another day during the week. We don't do extra math or English - just do 4 days of that. It works just fine!
Amanda, Wife to a great guy since '99, SAHM to 4 fabulous kids! DD(7/96), DS(1/01), DD(8/03), and baby DS (3/09)!
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Re: Q about "light and independant Fridays"

Unread post by niki »

I'm also a 4 school day family. I work outside the home as well once a week and it's worked ok over the years and I'm still learning to be flexible :) I just want to encourage you. My older kids do the reading of the day themselves and they catch me up "narration" :) before school the next day. It works well most of the time depending on who they spent their day with. When they're with grandparents they honestly are free for the day, my mom doesn't like making them to do school, other friends who homeschool will prod them along during their school day... and if dad's home, he just schools them that day (which is rare, but recently happened and we all loved it).

Anyway, keep pressing on! UGH, the night shift. I've been back and forth and finally decided it's better for EVERYONE if we have a short school week and double up here or there or catch up on a Saturday then to have a grumpy night shift mom!!!! :) I feel your pain!


Thanks for sharing, it's an encouragement to me to "see" someone else walking in my working/homeschooler shoes!


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Re: Q about "light and independant Fridays"

Unread post by Fly2Peace »

Just tagging on, and agreeing, it is possible. :) We are in EX1850, and have done it since the beginning. Well, sometimes it even ends up being 3 days, because my dd's are very motivated to have Fridays free. I have worked from the beginning, and don't see that changing. My schedule is work from home as a programmer M, T, Th, F, and in the office on Wednesday. I do give the girls an assignment sheet weekly, so they know what to work on for homework. We have moved gradually towards them working more and more independently each year. Yes, we do still do a lot of it all together though. :) I enjoy it as much as they do. It is amazing what I learn, or what I have forgotten since my school days.
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Re: Q about "light and independant Fridays"

Unread post by 705emily »

Adding on....

I work two days a week 9-3:00. We've still managed fine (through ECC) with this schedule, and I was worried about it. Usually, on a full day at home, I look over the next day's materials, and cover any readings or lessons that they might need in order to complete an assignment for that day. Sometimes we'll do a read-aloud at supper time just to keep up. I also lay out all the kids materials with sticky notes for them before I leave for work, and dad helps them go through it before he has to go to work. Then they take their work over to the neighbor's house and she makes sure it gets done! When I get home, I check their work and correct errors, etc. and I teach them their math. Sometimes we start the school week on a Sunday afternoon, just to get a little ahead. Soo--it's not always easy--but it can work! :)

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schooling four days a week

Unread post by meagabby »

sandi wrote:I am considering doing this next year. How many months do you school. Do you school during the summer and do you get any other weeks off during the year?
Hi Sandi,

We have a 4 day school week. I do not have to report days or subjects to my current state so we simply have school until we finish the work.

I can't say how many months because we've moved almost every year during our school year, which sets us back a few weeks or more. But the TM is usually a 32 or 34 week set up. and considering breaks for holidays and a spring break, that could be around 8 months.

I'm sure others will chime in because a 4 day week is not uncommon.

Loving learning with MFW!
Amy in NC
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Re: schooling four days a week

Unread post by Amy in NC »

TriciaMR wrote:If you do 4 days a week, it will take 42.5 weeks to do 170 days (34 weeks) of curriculum. Which leaves about 9-10 weeks to play with. Which is why I've not done 4 days a week :). My state requires 172 days of "school" per year, so I have track attendance. I need to finish my 172 days within a 12 month period of when I tell the school district I'm going to start (2 weeks before we start). With dh usually saving up for 3 weeks off at Christmas, a week of summer travels, then we usually take a week off at Thanksgiving, and we usually miss at least 1 to 2 weeks due to illness during the winter months, which leaves maybe a 2 week summer break.

I suppose it would depend on what you did on the fifth day, as to whether or not you could count those towards your total days. We do a lot of 4day bookwork weeks and then more unschooling type Fridays. PE, home ec, music, videos. Some people have co-ops, sports, gymnastics, dance, etc on these days. So I don't think you have to school for 42 weeks if you move any Friday work to other days of the week and plan to incorporate elective type activities on Friday.

So I suppose if you chose to do nothing of educational value on that day, then it would take 42 weeks to get through the schoolyear. It's all in the way you look at it.

I'm rambling, sorry.

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Re: schooling four days a week

Unread post by TriciaMR »


You're right. I was taking her literally about schooling only 4 days a week.

We also have to average 4 hours a day for our year. So, I have our "light and independent" days fall on our days we have PE and Dance classes, so I can get our average of 4 hours. So, if I literally only schooled 4 days a week (so I could work or something of that nature), then it would take 43 weeks to get our 172 required days averaging 4 hours a day. Now, a typical school day takes us 4 to 5 hours, so we usually get in our required hours before get our number of days.

But, last year, my dd was very sick and missed a good 2.5 weeks of school (plus I had to do standardized testing with her last year), so we ended up not finishing until the middle of June. Then we ended up starting August 3rd (knowing we were going to have a 1 week vacation and 2 more camping trips), so that made only 6 weeks for summer, and made the school year seem sooooo long last year. I need a little summer break to refresh and prep for the next year.
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Anyone else have a 4 day week schedule??

Unread post by Wendy B. »

nacci527 wrote:Hello fellow MFW'ers! I am very excited to start ECC in our first year with MFW. We have a Homeschool Co-op every Friday, and that counts as our school for the day. I teach an American Sign Language class, and by the time we get home and get lunch- we are all spent for the rest of the afternoon! Does anyone else just have a 4 day week with MFW? How do you adjust your schedule? I want to do all 5 days in 4- anyone have any suggestions for how this works/worked for you? Wondering if I should just do it day by day instead, and shave off the last few weeks where it tapers off anyway. What to do, what to do....

Melanie A.
Many are doing a 4 day week. I just do a little of the Friday activities each day so we keep our 5th day free. for the kids and grandma since I'm working. :-)

Here is a link for some of the answers when I asked that very question last spring.
[above, dated March 2010]

During their teen years my older kids did use the fifth day of the week to do schoolwork because of the volume of work.
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Re: Anyone else have a 4 day week schedule??

Unread post by TracieClaiborne »

From what I've seen in the Teachers Manual - ECC has hardly anything on Fridays other than the vocab word cards and writing a letter (which is optional, I think). I'm planning on taking advantage of that to do a field trip almost every Friday. We will do Language so we don't get behind but I'm making our Math a 4-day program this year. I think you will be fine with your co-op after week five.
Julie in MN
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Re: Anyone else have a 4 day week schedule??

Unread post by Julie in MN »

We always spent a day at co-op or on a field trip, 3rd through 6th grades, while doing MFW. We just used the "light Fridays" for our co-op day, like the others have mentioned (even though co-op wasn't on Fridays).

I think in ECC, there was more writing scheduled on Fridays than in other years, when you are doing the Hero Tales character traits. But once I got into the year, I realized that not all weeks have Hero Tales, and not all Hero Tales days have writing, so I was able to carry it over or spread it out in different ways.

Other things that came up on Fridays in various years were easy to move to other days (cooking, letter writing) or do in the evening (read-aloud, Bible).

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Re: Anyone else have a 4 day week schedule??

Unread post by nacci527 »

Thanks, Your information is very helpful! We are in week 2 and so far taking advantage of our Fridays to get a leg up (co-op starts the 9/10) after co-op starts we'll go to 4 days. I guess I didn't realize how light Fri's really are! Loving MFW so far!! Wish we would have been doing this all along!
Melanie A.
5 children ages 10, 7, 5, 3, & 1
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