One of the most common questions we hear from AOP homeschooling parents is “How long should my homeschool day be?” Some parents worry their child isn’t getting enough structured learning time while others worry their child will get discouraged because of the long hours.
No matter your situation, here are a few tips to help you decide on the length of your homeschool day.
Remember the goal of homeschooling is not to replicate public school.
Many parents panic when they realize how much shorter a homeschool day can be compared to a public school day. When you free yourself from the constraints and natural time-wasters of a brick-and-mortar school, you’ll inevitably be cutting down the length of your school day. Enjoy this! It is one of the many blessings of homeschooling.
Aim for an average (not an exact) time.
Making your child do 45 minutes of math everyday might sound like your child’s worst nightmare. Rather than enforcing a rigid daily clock, let your child’s natural ebb and flow lead you to a happy average. We recommend an average of 45 minutes for each subject each day, but that might mean that on Mondays you do 30 mins of math and on Tuesdays you spend an hour. Be flexible and allow your child’s pacing and rhythms to inform the lesson times.
Additionally, remember that those 45 minutes per subject do not have to be spent solely doing book-based learning and practicing. Subject-related field trips, games, or activities all contribute to those 45 minutes per subject.
If your child is working very fast, add special projects or activities.
If your child is excelling in their school work, be careful not to arbitrarily increase lesson times or pile on heavier workloads. This can feel like a punishment for doing well. Instead, reward your child with special projects or activities that foster their interests while still developing academic skills.
When deciding on a special project, be attentive to the interests and desires of your child. Make note of when your child asks curiosity questions and use those topics as inspiration for special projects.
For some kids, it may also feel like a reward if you allow them to work ahead in certain subjects. If they are working ahead, just be sure to make regular retention checks to ensure they are not just rushing through to be done with the work.
If your child is working too many hours, don’t be afraid to lighten the load.
For many parents, the challenge is that their child struggles with school work and spends so much time that they get discouraged. For cases like these, remember that you have the authority to override your curriculum.
For a struggling learner, focus on quality over quantity. If you are working through a curriculum that gives you 20 practice questions after a lesson, choose only ten of those for your child to do. Repetition can be a great tool for retention, but if it takes your child so long to complete all the practice questions, the negative effects may actually outweigh the positive. In the end, you are the expert on your child so don’t be afraid to make adjustments to the curriculum to meet the needs of your learner.
Founded in 1977, Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, support services, and an accredited online academy. Visit Alpha Omega Publications online or call 800-622-3070 to learn more.