You can homeschool in less than 2 hours per day

When someone first envisions homeschooling, the first thought is often a family replicating the school environment at home. Lessons start promptly at 8:30am, with children working studiously around the kitchen table until a break for lunch at noon. After the lunch break, lessons continue until 2:30pm. Then the homeschool day is over. But, for a large and growing number of families, homeschooling looks absolutely nothing like this. For example, homeschooling families who identify as unschoolers make no distinction between living and learning. Children learn from the day they are born. You can’t stop them. Other homeschooling families believe in incorporating some structured academic activities into their days and weeks. Even so, these families tend to have a lot of free time to play, explore, and go on adventures compared to families with children in traditional schools. Homeschoolers are often asked how they have time to do everything. Where does all their time come from? Let’s compare the amount of structured learning taking place during the school year with the time it takes for homeschoolers to accomplish the same thing.

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  1. When we asked our daughter why she wanted to start homeschooling this is the explanation she gave us. It made sense and we have never looked back

  2. I would love to know where this type of homeschooling is possible. We did online homeschooling for a semester and it was awful. My daughter had to attend online classes a couple of times a day, sometimes more. She had way more work than she did in actual school. It took so much out of all of us, the entire family helped, to get through every week. We finished our semester of hell and promptly put her back in school.

  3. Pingback: *Not* Back to School: How This Homeschooling Family Does September - Mariana McDougall

  4. I would like to answer the comment from Jolie. The problem with a lot of “online” homeschooling is that it is no different from public school. I can make a very long lecture on a math concept, which may bore my child and lose their attention, or I can make it shorter, while still giving them the same instruction, resulting in holding their attention and giving a better chance of retention of material. Sometimes more is just more. Homeschoolers will oftentimes use different sources for subjects, creating their own unique curriculum. This usually takes place over the course of years, with parents “tweaking” to meet their children’s individual learning type. Here is a website you may want to take a look at. A homeschool mom created it and it is free. She has done all the planning of subjects and set it up to do whatever level your child is at on a subject. So, if your child is a slower math learner, they can do a lower level. She lives in Pennsylvania, which has the highest laws on homeschool accountability. Google “Easy Peasy Homeschool” the creator of it is Lee Giles. She has two sites, one for K-8 and one for High School. She also has Facebook pages where parents comment and help each other out. I would counsel you not to give up and maybe try again. You bit off more than you could chew and choose a program that was way too much to do and really not necessary. It does not have to be that hard.

  5. I’m so relieved to have found this article. Our family does about 2 hours per day of homeschool, one lesson for each subject. Some days we skip certain lessons and some days we do even less than 2 hours. I was worried maybe it wasn’t enough when my brother asked me how long my kids do school each day and when I told him he answered with a very surprised “that’s it?!” So it got my thinking maybe my kids weren’t learning enough. But I feel like that 2 hours is quality learning and if I tried to cram in more they would lose interest and it would be unnecessary frustration for all of us. Plus I go by my intuition and I feel they are thriving!

  6. Agreed you do not have to replicAte a traditional classroom in a homeschool! You can’t separate life and learning!

  7. I totally agree we ha e even sat down for a whole day and done a weeks worth of work. My son is autistic he does so much learning on his home reading, gardening and learning about his dogs. I heard from another mom our kids actually only need about 5 years of schooling.

  8. Add to the above allowance for dealing with the cohort of children in the classroom who are on some kind of learning disorder spectrum, and the duration of actual academic learning is reduced even further. Anyone who claims that home-based educated children are missing out because they are not attending school has not been in a classroom recently.

  9. As a long time homeschool mom, I’m guessing that you don’t have any high schoolers interested in higher education. I definitely spend more than 2hrs on ESSENTIAL learning for my 9th grader. Elementary would easily fit in a 2hr block. Middle school might fall into that with an unschooling model. But high school credits are critical, if your student is choosing a career outside of trade school.

  10. Quite frankly, this is ridiculous!

    Yes, you can save time over public school work but you can’t just skip spelling and grammar.

    What if your child is never interested in learning what a noun is until they get into college and realize they’re screwed? It’s the fault of the homeschooling parent who didn’t introduce and review basic grammar to ensure the child learned it.

    Grammar is a complex subject and while English speakers learn grammar innately we don’t innately learn the words we use to describe it. You can’t just introduce the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs in one day and expect the child to just know it forever! Your kid isn’t just going to catch on to the idea of prepositional phrases! You have to introduce the idea and then review it. Your child needs to spend hours over the years working on each concept in order to internalize them. That just won’t happen in 45 minutes per day.

    Also, if you skip spelling lessons and reviews of misspelled words, your child will not know how to spell. I was hyperlexic and reading came as naturally to me as breathing but the English language has so many exceptions to spelling rules, many words still had to be learned individually even for me.

    This is a recipe for educational neglect! As a former homeschooled student, I beg parents not to follow it!

  11. To Alicia J. – We spend no more than 2 hours a day on school until 6th or 7th grade. Even my 7th grader can complete his heavy load in a few hours a day when uniterrupted.

    My kindergartner does less than 30 minutes of formal lessons a day – reading and math. He is learning counting by 1s, 10s, 100s,and 5s. He has learned multiplication and division as concepts. He reads pretty well. We also read good little aloud, he hears science and history with my 4th grader and actually picks up more than you would think.

    My 4th grader, who is dyslexic, does a reading lesson, math lesson, grammar (she has memorized all the parts of speech and can diagram a sentence), art history, and science in under 2 hours. Then she has all day to create her intricate art projects.

    One in one instruction and self study are far more efficient than group instruction. When a lesson is tailored the one child’s needs it is amazing how quickly it goes, even a child with learning differences that would hold them back in a brick and mortar school can excel. 🙂

  12. Alicia J. Not all homeschoolers skip things like spelling and grammar. In fact, most that I’ve met teach all areas of both language arts and math.
    We did public school until the beginning of grade 3, it was a nightmare on many levels. Mostly academic.
    My son would be in 4th grade now, and is easily a year ahead in all areas.
    We do 2-3 hours a day, 4 days a week.
    We cover Math, Language Arts (writing/spelling/grammar/reading/reading comprehension), Science, History, Music, Phys. Ed, Art, Geography, Robotics, Coding and I’m sure I’m missing something.
    It’s not ridiculous, it’s efficient, easy, and a lot of fun!
    Do some research before dismissing something you haven’t attempted yourself.

  13. Thank you for this!! We spend 2-3 hours a day homeschooling & people always try to tell me that’s not good enough. It’s much better than what my child would receive at public school.

  14. Just want to tell all you homeschooling mamas that you are awesome! I was homeschooled K-12th and it was the best thing for me in all ways. So many benefits that reach way beyond just the educational aspect – fostering a tighter family relationship, no worrying about random kids bullying your children, escaping the attempted cultural brainwashings that are happening daily as theories are taught instead of science… My first daughter is due tomorrow and my husband and I hope to homeschool as well. Thank you all for what you’re doing for your kids and families!

  15. I did not homeschool my children, but all of my grandchildren are being homeschooled. I work in a public school, and I can attest to the fact that a lot of time is wasted. Everytime they have to walk to recess, lunch, music, PE, etc as a class, a few minutes are wasted in just getting them lined up and quiet. Everytime they come in from somewhere, it takes a few minutes for everyone to get their supplies and get settled. There is very little time for creativity, even kindergarten is almost all academics, no time to paint on an easel or build with blocks, etc. If your child is unfortunate enough to get a teacher who lacks classroom management skills (can’t keep order), there will be a LOT of time wasted and depending on how distractible your child is, very little learning. I am thankful my grandchildren don’t have to waste a lot of their lives in school.

  16. This is a great breakdown for people who aren’t in school and don’t realize the time cost of all of the transitions, let alone all of the stuff that the post (I think very conservatively) budgets an hour a week for (Valentines parties, etc). I think that people who are reacting with horror to the 45 minute number are forgetting several things–1) that it explicitly says it isn’t counting the “specials” (art/music/gym) toward that 45 minutes, that’s happening more than 50 minutes/day already; 2) that isn’t counting read-aloud and library time toward that academic time, and that’s important and happening; 3) it’s suggesting no weekends or vacations other than the one month. I also didn’t read the author suggesting kids should be allowed to decide whether or when to study grammar–just that it, like all subjects, is learned best at the right developmental state. They’ve done studies showing how quickly students catch up in math when they begin later than we usually do–not at 12 or 15, but at 7 or 8 instead of 4 and 5.

    For middle school to some extent, and definitely for high school, no, the number doesn’t hold up–recess disappears, lunch becomes 20 minutes, read-alouds and library time and class parties disappear, kids are responsible for getting themselves between classes so no line-up time … and most important, in order to squeeze in all of the content they can’t get to in their tight schedule, they tack on one to three hours of homework/night. Now, homeschoolers have the advantage there, too, obviously–they don’t have to do a random assigned number of practice problems, but just as many as they need to master a concept; they don’t have to stare blankly at homework they don’t understand until they can ask their teacher the next day … but they’ll still need to work longer than 45 minutes/day 🙂

  17. Alicia j.,
    As a homeschool mom, I spend approximately 1.5 hours homeschooling. My children out rank their peers in every subject, except foreign language, and some of the arts.
    But that’s on purpose. One of the public school problems is that they create Jack’s of all trades and masters of none. I strive for mastery in three basic areas, reading, writing and math. If my children can master three three subjects, then getting to college and not knowing what a noun is won’t really be a problem. They have learned how to learn and can figure it out by using their resources.

    But an example…
    Yesterday I spent zero time “homeschooling”. My kids instead decided to set up and impromptu lemonade stand. They made the drinks, found the cups, set up the tables, wrote the signs, and made $27.00.
    Not bad for a lemonade stand in a front yard during the work day!
    What they learned was that it takes time, planning, creativity and diligence! They sat out there for almost 7 hours.
    A public school kid doesn’t have that kind of time.
    So today we will go back our book learning-which may take a back seat again if another great learning experience arises.

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