Homeschooling Families

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ewenlin

Puritan Board Junior
I'd like to take a survey of PB'ers with homeschoolers. What is your weekly schedule like? How many hours a week do you spend teaching them? Rote learning or otherwise.

I'm trying to work out roughly how many hours a week is needed for an effective homeschool. I know there's no set number. Looking for a rough estimate.
 
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Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
Depends.

How many kids? How old? Goals for your kids education? What is your philosophy of education?
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
I can't answer, as I'm only preschooling for now, and the hours vary by day. (I don't think formal education is necessary for a three and two year old, so mostly what we spend our time doing is reading stories and reading the Bible, listening/learning Catechism, and the occasional art project just for fun.)

But I am interested in what others with older children have to say.
 

Piano Hero

Puritan Board Sophomore
In my household, the youngest kid is 14. The weekly schedule is about the same from day to day, but the hours of teaching depend on the subject. Sometimes one math lesson's a breeze; other times it takes two hours for the mom to pound into their kid's head the meaning of the FOIL method. And like Mr. Rogers said, it depends on the age. I would assume that adding is easier and quicker to teach than calculus. :) In my experience, more time is usually added as the child gets older.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
My wife and I look at family life as well as academics as part of homeschooling. But the girls (3, 2 and 9 months) do letters, shapes, numbers, colors, catechism (WSC) and Bible (Genesis 1 and John 1, as well as readings), about 3 times a week for an hour or so. Also, family worship, home economics, house cleaning, putting away dishes, informal discussions, character formation (probably subject # 1 :)).

Cheers,
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
About 2 hours per day per kid, unless you can combine them, which you usually can. Add an extra hour or two to the average for things like field trips (good social bonding with other kids) and perhaps group classes. Group classes would be like twice per week swim classes that a homeschool mom who used to be on the swim team coaches, or such like. I coached a HS wrestling team two years ago, HS families are big into the agricultural organisation 4H, my electrician friend had a bunch of kids over to make a batch of beer and it goes on. You should try to have some sort of group activity once per week or so, even if it's just a bonfire at the beach.

Out here homeschooling is big business, and places like the famous Monterrey Bay Aquarium and Magic Mountain (Disneyland type thing) have homeschool days where they don't allow anyone in except for homeschool families.
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
When I was in high school, I started my schoolwork at promptly 8 am and ended between 2:30 and 3. I usually took about a half hour for lunch and of course there were lots of little breaks to get some tea etc.

I don't really remember middle school or elementary, but I recall my younger sibings getting done at about noon or 1 (again, starting promptly at 8) when they were in elementary. I imagine that we probably went to 1 or 2ish when we were in the middle grades.

My mother approached homeschooling in a very structured manner and although I know not everyone does it that way, I think it worked well for us (4 children)
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Others have mentioned the variables that can influence how much time you need: I'll add another. Some home schooling families thrive on a separate space and time just for home schooling. We home school on our kitchen table and meld it into everything else that's going on. I can't count how many spelling lists I've called out while pealing potatoes, ironing, etc. Is that school time? Or is that housework time?

Right now, with a couple of kids in preschool/kindergarten, I'm not spending more than 2 hours a day with a book in front of us, although we are constantly pulling our day-to-day experiences into what we're learning in "school." With older (and multiple) kids in the house, I often needed pretty much the whole morning -- plus the kids in high school spent many more hours on their own.

The amount of time question becomes more important if you live in a state where the number of hours becomes part of your attendance record -- a farce, because home schooling is so much more efficient than public schools!
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
We home school eight (that's a royal 'we', as my wife is the mainstay of our system, handling about 99% of the non-Bible/catechism training). Everyone sitting down at 8:30am is the general rule, but it will at times go all the way to 4:30pm, while ending earlier on other days.

With 8, it's sorta hard to not to flex-time it.
 

JoyFullMom

Puritan Board Junior
I have 6 ranging from 4 to 18. I am very much like Kathleen's family.

My 7th and 12th graders are very independent. I assign and oversee their work. They work from planners. My oldest uses one from www.plannerpads.com. My goal is for her to see this as a tool for college. My 9, 11, and 13 yo use planners from Home Page. My 11yo is becoming more independent but still needs me more than the older two. This greatly frees up my table time with my 7 and 9yo...and some preschool *fun* time for my 4yo.

We get up at a set time and start school at a set time. My youngers are finished by lunch. My 11yo usually has some reading to do after lunch. My 13 and 18 yo end up working until dinner, but they ALSO have 1 and 2 hour piano practice times respectively. The 13 yo has saxophone practice.

I guess I should add that my children are able to work independently due to some curriculum choices I've made. For example, their math is totally taught via DVD. I don't have to try to remember it all!!! It is a non-consumable, therefore, one investment divided by 6 :)
 

dyarashus

Puritan Board Freshman
It's hard to say exactly how much time we spend on formal schooling.

We've had eight children, with six school age kids at the moment, and our oldest is 13. We typically start them pretty lightly, with short, interactive sessions of letter & number recognition from when they're 2-3. As they get older, they pick up more and more work, so that the older ones spend considerably more time doing schoolwork than the younger ones. At two years old, they might spend 15 minutes a day learning their letters. At 13, it's more like 6 hours a day across all their formal subjects. Generally, everyone's done by mid-afternoon, though sometimes one or more of the children gets unmotivated and drags out his lessons until evening.

Some of the kids start getting up shortly after 6 AM and knock out their other-than-favorite assignments early so they'll have free time to play later. Others don't touch their work until it's required, sometime after breakfast, typically between 9 AM & 10 AM. They'll work until lunchtime, break for lunch, do some chores, and finish up whatever's left in the mid-afternoon. Most of the afternoon is then chores or play time, some of which they use to pursue various interests, including things such as reading, music, or electronics. Not sure how you'd class outside activities, but the older ones also do what I think of as "enrichment activities" such as a swim team or ham radio club outside of normal schooling hours.

Generally, at least once a week our schedule is totally messed up by something. Most often it happens on the "errand day," when everything that has to be done outside the house gets packed into a day a week.
 

MamaArcher

Puritan Board Freshman
We have nine children. The oldest is taking college classes and we have a 3 yr old and 1 yr old that we are not "schooling". So that leaves 6 children in full time homeschool.
We start with family devotions/catechism between 8-9 and we finish any time between 12 and 2. It just depends on the load for the day and the cooperation of the preschoolers. The older ones work pretty independently. Most of my time is focused on the younger children. We have ice skating lessons, fencing lessons, piano lessons, ballet, and a homeschool running club the children are active in. Mostly those take place in the afternoons after school work. Piano lessons are during the day but we group children together and they take school work while they wait their turn.

I have a list of the curriculum we are using this year in the sidebar of my blog if you are interested. MamaArcher’s Blog
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
I have 6 ranging from 4 to 18. I am very much like Kathleen's family.

My 7th and 12th graders are very independent. I assign and oversee their work. They work from planners. My oldest uses one from www.plannerpads.com. My goal is for her to see this as a tool for college. My 9, 11, and 13 yo use planners from Home Page. My 11yo is becoming more independent but still needs me more than the older two. This greatly frees up my table time with my 7 and 9yo...and some preschool *fun* time for my 4yo.

We get up at a set time and start school at a set time. My youngers are finished by lunch. My 11yo usually has some reading to do after lunch. My 13 and 18 yo end up working until dinner, but they ALSO have 1 and 2 hour piano practice times respectively. The 13 yo has saxophone practice.

I guess I should add that my children are able to work independently due to some curriculum choices I've made. For example, their math is totally taught via DVD. I don't have to try to remember it all!!! It is a non-consumable, therefore, one investment divided by 6 :)
Wow. This is exactly like my mother! She used paper planners, but we had to follow the plans to ensure that we would finish the curriculum each year. (I disliked this at the time, but I get it now. We were guaranteed only to do school from Sept-May unlike a lot of our friends that were doing things all summer) And we also did our math via video (Chalk Dust)
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, I too like keeping the schooling confined to a typical school year. I'd jump out a window if I didn't know we were going to have a nice long break in the summer!
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Based on NJ state law and talking to teachers and principals:

Academics only- reading, writing, math, science, social studies, with math and english weighted twice as much as science and social studies:

Grades K-5, 2.5 hours minimum, 3 is better.

Starting grade 6, 4 hours daily.

This is just pure academics as listed above. Art, music, gym, computers, etc is all extra time. Foreign language is extra time.

On top of this, push light reading, like a book every night before bed.

180 days per year.
 

JoyFullMom

Puritan Board Junior
I have 6 ranging from 4 to 18. I am very much like Kathleen's family.

My 7th and 12th graders are very independent. I assign and oversee their work. They work from planners. My oldest uses one from www.plannerpads.com. My goal is for her to see this as a tool for college. My 9, 11, and 13 yo use planners from Home Page. My 11yo is becoming more independent but still needs me more than the older two. This greatly frees up my table time with my 7 and 9yo...and some preschool *fun* time for my 4yo.

We get up at a set time and start school at a set time. My youngers are finished by lunch. My 11yo usually has some reading to do after lunch. My 13 and 18 yo end up working until dinner, but they ALSO have 1 and 2 hour piano practice times respectively. The 13 yo has saxophone practice.

I guess I should add that my children are able to work independently due to some curriculum choices I've made. For example, their math is totally taught via DVD. I don't have to try to remember it all!!! It is a non-consumable, therefore, one investment divided by 6 :)
Wow. This is exactly like my mother! She used paper planners, but we had to follow the plans to ensure that we would finish the curriculum each year. (I disliked this at the time, but I get it now. We were guaranteed only to do school from Sept-May unlike a lot of our friends that were doing things all summer) And we also did our math via video (Chalk Dust)
We use the same math!! Your mom and I must have been separated at birth!

I remembered going to college and being surprised at being handed a syllabus and being responsible to follow that and meet dates on my own all year. I decided to train my kids for that at home.
 

CatherineL

Puritan Board Freshman
Not to highjack the thread, but Kristine, do you have any advice for wrangling the little ones while you teach the olders? My oldest is almost 5, we do about 1.5 hours of school a day and its only that long because I also have a 3 year old and a 1 year old who are around as well. I try to include them when I can (we do the bible time with prayers, songs, and catechism together as well as any crafty stuff, and when I read out loud mostly everyone listens except the chapter books with few pictures) but for the reading practice time especially my kindergarten really gets distracted by her little sibs. I'm expecting another baby in April, and am a little nervous about having lots of little ones while schooling. Some of the moms at my church have put their kids in regular school after trying to do this and have been pretty discouraging about it. Wisdom?
 

CatherineL

Puritan Board Freshman
Heh, I've started saying that because that's what my oldest calls it :eek:...either Christian school or public school. Maybe I should say, "not-at-home school?"
 

Webservant

Puritan Board Sophomore
We do about 9 to 3, for 4 kids. Keep in mind, too, that this doesn't count field trips and those times when I am showing them how to do repairs to the house and other chores.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
We started at 8:00 sharp with a reading of Scripture and prayer (supplementary to our family reading and prayer after breakfast) and finished when we were done. The enterprising could begin before breakfast (at 7:00) if they so chose. When you were done for the year, vacation started. So one would often be finished before breakfast started, one would be done by snack time (10:00/10:30), one would often work until lunch or even after and one would sometimes not finish in the whole of the day. The best years I recollect I started at 8:00, was done by 10:30 every day, and worked October, November, January and February. Algebra messed with that halcyon schedule a little bit, as we acquired a tutor. The last years of high school didn't quite fit that, but then my Russian, Italian and Greek courses did not count towards my school credits, and neither did my study to get certifications from the Mexican government. Looking back, if we'd ordered books more than once a year I could have finished more than a year early. My mom used a curriculum that was designed for independent work, so that she could have all four of us running simultaneously and just be called over to assist when the book was wrong or incomprehensible. She was a great homeschooler, who very sensibly realized that most experiments are pointless and that doing the same exercises 70 times is a waste of time that could be spent reading the encyclopedia or fighting with ninja swords inside the sewer system.
 

MamaArcher

Puritan Board Freshman
Catherine,
Try a different schedule. The things that you need more uninterrupted time on try waiting to do those things when the youngers go down for a nap. I have also shamefully resorted to videos for them during that time.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
All heroes must pass through a time of training.
 

Honor

de-cool
we do/did about 2 or three hours of school a day (1st grade and K) we do Bible first thing, I read a chapter in the Bible and we talk about it and then we go over our memory verses. After that we do english, this consists of reading, spelling and handwriting and then different odds and ends. Then we break for lunch during which I read a book out loud to them. after lunch we have quiet time and then we go a craft project or some type of together time. when Daddy gets home he does Math U See with the boys. we usually do school 4 days a week and start between 9 and 9:30. now that I am on bed rest another homeschool lady comes and gets the boys 3x a week from 12-4 and she does school with the boys. after the baby comes I have no idea what to do...
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
Our daughter is one. How soon can we start? :)

You already have :)

We homeschool. Depending upon what needs to be covered that day we have between three and five hours of book time. But, in reality the entire day is schooling. We don't view homeschooling as another method to teach academics. We view it as a method to prepare our daughter to be a Godly woman. Academics are a part of that preparation, but they do not stand alone. Just the other day I intrigued her by having here use the Slope Intercept formula that she has been learning to help me draw off a sketch on a piece of furniture I've been commissioned to copy. Everything is education. Some of it just comes out of books.
 
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