When someone is considering homeschooling, often times, one of the first questions they have is . . . how long does it take to homeschool each day?
My answer? Not as much time as you think.
How Long Does it Take to Homeschool Each Day?
Before I tell you what we do and how long each day we spend homeschooling, let’s take a look at some of the factors.
Most states require that you keep attendance for 180 days of school, however, they do not tell you how many hours must be spent teaching/learning each day. This is what the state of Indiana has to say about attendance . . .
180 DAYS OF INSTRUCTION: You decide which days your school will be in session, and how long to teach each day. In the case of mid-year transfers, days attended at the first school count toward the 180 day total at the homeschool.
ATTENDANCE RECORDS: There is no special form for these records, which are used to verify private school attendance. Please note that the law allows local public school superintendents to request copies of your child’s attendance records to verify attendance.
By the way, my absolute favorite sheet for keeping attendance is made by Lauran over at Mama’s Learning Corner. I’ve been using this sheet for years.
Homeschool Hours vs Public School Hours
The average public school is in session for about seven hours each day. Does that mean you need to be doing seven hours of instruction each day?
School hours for a homeschooler look MUCH different than they do for a public schooled child. We don’t need to give instruction for 30-40 minutes per subject because we aren’t teaching 30 kids. We’re teaching a handful.
Our children are not bound by the walls of a classroom for something to be considered educational.
Many hours of each day in our daily lives offer some form of learning- even if it isn’t coming from a book. Food preparation involves math, nutrition, not to mention home ec. Playing outside often times leads to a nature (science) lesson. Taking the kids along to the market provides a plethora of opportunities to educate. None of these look like the traditional school, yet they count.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how long school takes in a day for us . . .
Daily School Routine
I’ve written many times about our daily school routine and all that it entails, but for the purpose of this post, I’m just going to do an outline of my kindergartener and second graders’ day.
The time each task takes breaks down like this . . .
- Each morning while the kids are eating breakfast, I read our Bible selections for the day. (10 minutes)
- After the kids have played outside for a bit, they come in and do their table work – math, spelling, grammar, geography, writing, Latin. NOT all in the same day of course! Some subjects get looped. (25-45 minutes, depending on attitudes)
- After the baby goes down for his nap, we do our reading aloud, the kids’ reading, any memorization work, and science projects. This includes history, science, current read alouds, and a few other things, but again, not all in the same day. (1-2+ hours)
The second half of our school day takes so much longer primarily because the kids don’t want me to stop reading. While I’m reading to them, they are painting, coloring, using melty beads or play dough . . all kinds of stuff. (hello, art class!)
Basically, they are keeping their hands busy (and mouths closed) so their ears can listen.
All said and done, our “real” school subjects last between 1 1/2 and 3 hours per day.
Learning Doesn’t Stop When the Books Close
Every Wednesday is baking day. We spend 4-5 hours every Wednesday making muffins, breads, granola, pizzas, dinners, biscuits . . . all kinds of things to put in the freezer for later in the coming weeks. And you better believe my children are right along side me in the kitchen.
They’re measuring, reading recipes, watching the chemical reactions of no-knead bread . . . They learn how to properly store food so it doens’t go bad in the pantry or freezer. They wash dishes, sweep the floor, and learn to make cleaners (we use a water/vinegar solution for almost all our cleaning).
What about multiple ages?
One of the beautiful perks of using Sonlight Curriculum is you spend your school days together as a family. Table subjects can be doen gathered around the kitchen table or spread out all over the floor.
Each day’s reading aloud can be done by you (reading to everyone), an older child reading to younger ones, or even an audio book. The biggest tip I give to any homeschooler is to combine what you can and be sure the rest is absolutely neccesary.
Way More Than Seven Hours a Day
Our school subjects may only last a couple hours, but learning takes place throughout the day. Homeschooling is a lifestyle, not something that happens during certain hours on certain days.
All in all, we put in much more time than even the public schoolers when you consider everything. Lifeskills, school subjects, character development, playing (yes, this is learning, too), discovering, creating . . . and so much more happens in every day life.
So, how long should homeschooling take each day? Like I said at the begining, not as long you think.