@TRathier, I'm following this thread with interest. Canvas FFT is a wonderful and powerful tool, especially since the institutional version is so expensive. However, there is a set of users that isn't served well by either program. We are a small business that runs professional development courses for language teachers, and we don't have the number of "students" to qualify for full Canvas and yet the functionality of Canvas FFT is not ideal as we need to be able to set terms and have admin privileges. We'd gladly pay for this option between FFT and full Canvas -- as long as it was scaled for small (teacher-owned) businesses.
My thinking is to name your courses and not worry about grading periods I have used a naming convention to help me sort my classes with this since I have been using the FFT version since 2012.
My thinking for your situation is something like
You still have the option under settings to modify the participation dates for the course, even if the grading periods are not part of the FFT version. You can see how to change the start and end dates of your course here How do I change the start and end dates for a course?
I still hope for an affordable paid entry-level option down the road that individual instructors can adopt with more options, but for now, as FFT users, we just have to think about alternate solutions to make it work-- I hope this suggestion or something similar will work for you.