Last year I made the decision to only do school 3 days a week. I have to say it was one of the best decisions I made when it came to homeschooling. It has kept me from feeling burnt out and our weeks over planned.
Here are my 5 reasons for only doing 3 days school week:
1. My kids are 7, 6, and 5 so they don't need intense instruction anyway. My kids still need to play and play is proven over and over to help with brain development. My 7 year old is in 2nd grade and school only lasts a few hours in the morning and we finish up in the afternoon. Morning we all do Bible, Science, History, and Math. The 2nd grader will do some copy work and reading on her own while I work with the Kindergarteners. Afternoon we finish up with our English and writing.
2. Tuesdays are our gymnastics day. We are fortunate to have a gym that has a homeschool session. After gymnastics we run errands and get groceries. I love being able to take the kids (most of the time) because they are learning at a young age how to make a grocery list, price compare, and question what we need rather then what we want. These are skills they will need as they become adults.
3. Our school days are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday is called "Friday Fun Day" which gives us a chance to get caught up on work, take a field trip, or work on life skills. We try to have tea time on Friday and the girls rotate with helping cook a treat.
4. We are not contracted to only teach September-May. We don't take the same breaks that the schools do. Often we have some school time during the summer, usually covering math, reading, writing and spelling. My kids are where they need to be grade wise, if not slightly ahead because we started a little earlier then their peers for two of them. Most of our curriculum is level based so we go through the first level and then start on the next once we are done. There is no actual start date or finish date. I found this really helps for year round schooling and there is no real backslide.
5. I don't teach "fluff" or things that aren't necessary for my kids. We learn from questions and exploration. I have a flexibility that our awesome classroom teachers don't. We work instead on the things they have to know. I can choose curriculum with substance and skip over things that my kids may already know or aren't important to their education. I've skipped work book pages for my oldest in math because it is so easy for her. I've also combined lessons or split lessons in two based on their needs. I always try to follow their lead.
One thing to remember is that kids in a school setting will have some "wasted" days because of holiday celebrations, homecoming, testing and other activities. So if you feel like 3 days a week isn't enough, don't worry too much. Although I do think these days can be important, very little work is actually done on those days. Kids also spend more time then may be individually necessary working on each subject. They may spend 8 hours in a classroom but don't spend all that time in instruction. Knowing this, you don't need to try to push your child to have school every day and complete a mountain of work every day. We have 3 long days that for my 2nd grader can last up to 6 hours. So compared to kids in school, she has up to 18 hours a week completing school work and they would have about 40 hours in school. Most kids also have an hour or more homework after school as well even in the younger grades. Our 18 hour weeks leave a lot of time for so many other fun ways of learning and exploring.