A typical day varies from family to family. The freedom of home education lets parents design a routine for their children, but many new homeschoolers find themselves at a loss on how to go about this. They might even assume that the homeschool day has to last as long as a public school day. In this post, I’ll give you some general ideas about what homeschooling could look like day-to-day and I’ll explain what I do as an example.
How Long is a Homeschool Day?
The homeschool day can range from 2-6 hours on average. The factors which may change that estimate:
- Does your state have an hour requirement? This will largely determine how long your day will be. Georgia, Missouri and Montana are just a few that have requirements.
- The ages of kids. Typically a kindergarten student will take much less time than a high school student.
- The number of children you are teaching and their individual learning capacity.
- Extra activities outside the home like sports, clubs or music lessons.
Even with those elements considered, homeschooling will usually takes less time than a public school day. Outside activities can be attended without having to worry about “homework” later. In addition to that, having multiple kids doesn’t necessarily mean your day will be super long either. Combining subjects with similar aged kids really does streamline the day. This I know!
Find a Rhythm Rather Than a Strict Schedule
When it comes down to structuring your day, I believe finding a rhythm is better than a strict schedule to avoid feeling defeated. Neither you nor your student will enjoy homeschooling if you are constantly feeling controlled by a schedule that isn’t working. Do what is best for your child and what fits your family overall.
When scheduling their work there are some adjustments you can make. If you feel your student is getting through what you planned too quickly let them work on self-directed projects or hobbies. Don’t add school work to the day if they’ve met their goals, that could crush their sense of accomplishment. You can always adjust the load in future lessons to find the optimal balance. Of course, if they’d like to work ahead you can let them, but let it be their choice.
On the flip side, if your child isn’t getting through what you plan, then lighten the load so they aren’t discouraged. Keep motivating them to do the very best they can on the work in front of them. This encouragement can foster self discipline if used correctly. You are in charge of your child’s education now, and can adjust the workload either way, so don’t be slave to a curriculum’s guideline of completion or schedule.
Your student’s work isn’t the only thing to take into consideration when mapping out a rhythm to your days. When designing your timetable make sure to leave adequate time for correcting work, planning lessons and keeping records. These are equally important aspects to homeschooling. Monitoring stress levels in your home can help you decide if adjustments need to be made.
What My Average Homeschool Day Looks Like:
Our school day can start anywhere from 9-11 a.m. We typically do our combined subjects first, Bible reading, read alouds (story), memory verses, and working on calendars. We then move on to independent work. I get each child started on a task such as handwriting or working on a worksheet. I then work with my special needs son for about an hour before we break for lunch. After lunch we wrap up with a reading lesson separately with each of the youngest kids. We’re done for the day between 1 and 2 p.m.
For my high schooler, I go over his assignments with him after breakfast. Then, he disappears for 2-3 hours; he reappears when he’s finished. After school, our son works for his dad for a few hours a day writing code. In all, our teen-aged son is done with work and school shortly before dinner giving him the rest of the evening to spend as he wishes.
It’s Different For Every Family
Although there are some generalities, what a homeschool day looks like varies widely. One great aspects of home education is that you are free to explore scheduling options. My guess is, once you start homeschooling your schedule will evolve from time to time as your life changes. It’s in those times a true appreciation for that freedom is clear.
Want to Find Out More About Homeschooling?
If you’d like to find out more on homeschooling, please check out the rest of the New to Homeschooling series on my blog. I am continuing to answer some of the most common questions I hear from new homeschoolers. In addition, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to add a comment to this post.