How Many Hours a Day Should I Homeschool My Child?

Do you wonder how many hours you should be homeschooling your child per day?

If you attended public school yourself, and unless you’ve consciously thought about it, you probably have the idea that school needs to take up most of the day.

Changing this thinking is part of breaking free of the traditional school mindset

The truth is, learning can happen during a teachable moment at the grocery store, during family worship, or around the dinner table.

Related: When should I start homeschooling my child?

What is a good homeschool schedule?

Realising that homeschool can happen anywhere, anytime, is very liberating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have a schedule.

Some families sit down and do all their book work for a few hours in the morning, leaving the afternoons free for chores, yard work, or hobbies. We preferred to get the book work behind us so the afternoons were free.

However, if you are a working mom you may have to homeschool when it suits you – in the afternoon or evening.  

The idea is to make it work for you. Create a schedule that suits your family and lifestyle. Every family has a rhythm and routine. Figure out what yours is.

Related: How to homeschool when you work

How many hours a day should you homeschool?

How many hours you spend homeschooling depends on how many children you homeschool, the age and stage of your children, the curriculum or method you’re using and the requirements of your country/state.

Are you getting enough homeschool hours in your schedule?

Each country or state has their own guideline for school days/hours per year. But don’t let this stress you out.

Find out what the guideline is and then work around it. Remember that you can count the trip to the museum, family reading time, or a trip to the grocery store as school hours too. They may not look like traditional school, but they are wonderful learning opportunities and still count.

Remember, the government guideline is a guideline, not a rule. In public school kids are expected to be at school for the required number of days/hours, but how much of that time is taken up with standing in line, recess, etc?

Your kids do not have to sit at the table for 8 hours a day!

In your recording, remember to include things like watching documentaries (science, social studies), cooking, practicing musical instruments, learning a foreign language, sewing, woodwork, gardening, and all those other wonderful learning opportunities. If you do this you will very quickly meet the hourly requirement.

Homeschool hours by subject and grade

Homeschool hours depend on the age of the child and the amount of bookwork you require.

For many years we only did reading, writing, and math. Later we included social studies and science. We considered the children’s personal devotions and family worship to be their Bible class.  My kids never did more than 3 hours of bookwork a day all the way through high school.  

If you create a home atmosphere filled with rich learning opportunities you won’t need to stress about the hours you spend doing school. (By all means, record them for your own peace of mind.)

I created a free printable of suggested subject times for each grade to give you an idea of how much time is ok. This may differ for each child, so it is just a guide.

In general, homeschooling takes much less time than normal school. It takes more time to keep 20-30 kids under control and a lot of ‘teaching’ time at school is spent maintaining order and discipline. With individual attention, your kids can get school done way faster.

How long can your child concentrate?

To give you an idea of how long your child should be able to concentrate, here is a recommended length of sustained attention before the child may need a short break:

PreK – 3-5 minutes

K – 3-5 minutes

1-2 – 5-10 minutes

3-5 – 10-15 minutes

6-8 – 15-30 minutes per subject area/class (90-180 minutes per day total)

9-12 – 20-45 mintues per subject area/class (120-270 minutes per day total)

Kids need to take lots of breaks and move around in order to keep absorbing new information, so factor that into your school day.

One of the joys of homeschooling is that you can stop when you want and take breaks so your kids don’t get too tired or frustrated with school. And, you have the freedom to explore different ways of teaching your child to help them learn better.

Related: What is your child’s learning style?

How many hours a day do you spend doing formal school?

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer homeschooled all three of her kids-with no teaching qualification. Her kids are grown now but she is still passionate about homeschooling. She lives in South Africa.

1 COMMENT

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