This is a question that is constantly up for debate in homeschooling circles. We have done both. After 5 full years of homeschooling, we have come up with a schedule that works great for us.
Our official homeschool year starts the first Monday in June each year. However, our homeschool day does not look like an official homeschool day until the end of August.
Here is what I mean:
Beginning the first Monday in June we start logging two school hours per day at home. In those two hours, that usually take place between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the kids do a math assignment, grammar assignment, and read. They read at the beginning of the day out of their summer book club selections. They finish their day reading out of books of their personal choice. And we always have a read aloud time out of a book of my choice.
Both kids attend a book club at our library, one afternoon a week. Another afternoon a week they also attend a gardening class at the library where they learn about nutrition and take care of a community garden.
We also log every physical education hour we can ... swimming, riding bikes, sports, etc., and every field trip, which are sometimes disguised as family vacations!
This is what our schedule looks like Monday through Thursday during the months of June and July. Then we take off the month of August, or the majority of it. Sometimes we start back to school toward the end of the month depending on any time off we have planned in the fall.
When public school kids go back to school, we start shortly thereafter. This is when we get into our regular schooling schedule. We typically do school work from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. each day, breaking for lunch. We do what everybody else does ... we concentrate on the 3Rs, do spelling, read alouds, literature, science, history, and the like. We keep up this schedule until Thanksgiving. Sometimes we take off a week or two in the fall to go to Florida to my parents' house. Sometimes we don't. That might or might not affect exactly how much time we take off for Christmas.
For the past couple of years we have taken off school from just before Thanksgiving until about the second week of January. During this time we just veg and try to stay warm.
When we start back to school in January we hit it hard again, just like our fall schedule. We always take off a week for spring break, and sometimes two if we have decided to go to Florida for our break.
We do our best to wrap up our required school hours by the end of April. Then we take off the entire month of May.
And then we start all over in June.
Looks like we take a lot of breaks, huh? We do! But when we are engaged in school work, we are engaged hard. We keep records of every minute spent learning so that we are sure to meet our state's requirements. We have found that education happens with us ALL THE TIME, no matter what we are doing or where we are going. I could honestly make just about every minute of our lives count for school in some way, shape or form.
So I would definitely say we have a Year-Long Homeschool with lots of brain breaks. It works for us. What do you do?