Interval Planning and the Liturgical Year

Mystie Winckler’s Simply Convivial blog was where I first discovered the concept of interval planning for homeschooling and general planning. In a nutshell, the concept is that you divide up your school year into manageable chunks of time, say 6-8 weeks. Then you plan one chunk at a time. This lets you plan out on a longer scale than the daily/weekly planning that happens on the fly, but without committing to anything for a whole year at a time.

For example, say you want to switch from chores in the morning and school in the afternoon to the opposite schedule. Or try to incorporate Latin into your curriculum. You can say you’re going to do it for 6 weeks, and then evaluate and see how it’s working for you. Or, if you have a period where you know you’re going to do more activities, say soccer season, you can plan around that without it derailing the schedule for the whole year. Also, you can plan for things like birthdays, etc. so they don’t sneak up on you (*ahem*… not that that’s EVER happened to me… *whistles quietly and walks away*)

It occurred to me as I was attempting to implement this that the liturgical year provides us with the same kind of divided structure, although perhaps without as much granularity as we need for lesson planning. But, since I do try to live out the liturgical year in our schooling, it made sense to align our terms with the same timeline.

So, right now, we are in the middle of our Lenten term. Next comes Easter (naturally), which lasts until Pentecost, and then, because Ordinary time last a long time, I break it down into two summer terms and two fall terms. Then comes Advent/Christmas, followed by Winter.

I find splitting things this way tends to work naturally with the rhythm of how we homeschool. I like to focus more on academic work during the summer and winter terms because the weather makes it hard to really go out and do things.

We travel a lot in the fall, and we also tend to sign up for more activities then because lots of people get energized to start new endeavors and we get to try out new things and meet new people. This is a busy, hectic time, and I’m not as concerned if the academic stuff is limited to just the basics.

Advent and Lent are terms where we focus on our faith the most. So, our reading incorporates more devotional readings, we listen to religious music, increase family prayer times, etc. Plus the increased church activities that come with these times of year.

And then Easter is the time of year when we finish our end of year testing, start looking at ideas for new resources, new activities, etc. that we want to try.

So, for me, interval planning is a method that gives a little bit more structure to living out the liturgical year without feeling like I’m being pushed around by an arbitrary school year calendar.

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