How long does it take?


I am not sure who is the original author of this article, but I posted it from another loop. It touches on an issue that is often discussed among those who haven’t homeschooled long, and it almost always pops up when you’re discussing (or justifying, dependent upon how you look at it) what a typical homeschool day looks like. Enjoy.


Often, homeschool moms get burned out because they are trying to match the
hours of the public school day. They insist their child sits at the table
for 45 minutes to an hour doing math. They insist the entire hour lesson of
grammar be completed before moving on to science. Within weeks the kids are
burned out, mom is burned out; everyone hates homeschooling.But this is unnecessary. First, studies have shown that short lessons
achieve far greater results in academic retention and retrieval than lengthy
lessons. Second, we must conquer the lie that the kids at school are
getting more of an education than our children because they are at school
all day long.


We see the neighbors hop on the school bus at 7:30, returning at 2:30 each
day; and we are certain that they are engaged in learning most of those
hours away.


Well, several recent research studies have shown that for every 50
minute class period, only 28% of that time is spent in engaged learning.
That means that for every subject in school, the students only spend about
14 minutes being taught or involved in learning activities. The rest of the
time is wasted on lining up, changing classes or rooms, taking books out,
putting books away, dealing with discipline issues, answering unimportant
questions, handing out papers, handing out assignments, giving homework
assignments, explaining what is expected and lecturing on topics unrelated
to actual academic learning.


The subjects covered in school are math, social studies, science,
P.E, language arts, foreign language, health and arts. Generally, arts and
p.e alternate, as do science and health. Thus, in a typical school day, the
students only have 84 minutes of actual learning time, that’s less than an
hour and a half each day. They are gone seven hours to receive less than an
hour and a half of instruction and actual learning.


Here is what one classroom teacher writes in her weblog:


As individuals, with some notable exceptions, I like every one of my
180-or-so students this year. But en masse, they make me freakin’ crazy!
They assume that any time there are not actual words coming from my mouth,
they have permission to talk. I then spend 3 minutes getting everyone back
on task, only to be interrupted by a request to sign something, a phone
call, or a p.a. announcement. Actual time spent teaching is probably 3% of
the class period.


Though she is guessing, if her calculations are correct, the time our
neighbors spend at school equals only about nine minutes of instruction the
entire day. Giving the schools the benefit of the doubt, we’ll stick to the
hour and a half calculated in the scientific research studies. Remember,
also, these studies spanned grades K – 12.


So, do your children spend an hour and a half each day learning –
either reading, writing or discussing school subjects with you? Are their
minds engaged for an hour and a half throughout the entire day? If so, you
are doing better than the schools across the nation.


If we think this through further, if the school children only have
fourteen minutes of instruction or learning during each subject, what if
they are not paying attention during those crucial minutes? Most students
are so distracted by the noises, movements and issues encountered in a
typical classroom, that it is difficult to focus on the subject at hand. The
fact is, as home educators, when we engage our children in any kind of
learning, we are very aware of the moment they quit paying attention. The
one-on-one instruction of homeschooling is far superior to a teacher
lecturing to a class of 25 students. So many distractions to education are
immediately eliminated in the homeschool environment. If our children only
spend 14 minutes on each subject, they are still more engaged, more
attentive and more focused than they would be at school.


As far as academics and instruction goes, homeschooling wins hands
down. Do not believe the lie that your children would be better off in
school. Don’t listen to those voices in your head telling you that you can’t
do this. You can! You can do it better than they do it in school. You are
capable. Your children are capable of doing it mostly on their own! In fact,
that’s the second point I would like to make – if we embrace the idea that
our children should become independent learners, we release a great deal of
the burden of homeschooling.





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4 thoughts on “How long does it take?

  1. Thanks a lot for posting this! I'm marie and I have 2 kids – 6 and 3.5 yo. So I've only been homeschooling a couple years. Your post reminds me that on those days when we are frustrated that we are still making a difference. Sometimes quitting school early is the best choice to make! I'm trying to not be so uptight but sometimes I fear she'll be worse of at home then in school – but the more time goes by the more I see that it is almost impossible to be the case!

  2. Thanks for that article! It was a great motivator!

    Just the other day, my dear 6-year-old was playing outside with her 1-year-old brother (we have a covered front porch, so they weren't in the rain, just looking). It was raining profusely and my son became frightened. I heard my 6-year-old tell her brother, "You have to face your fears!". Not understanding what she was talking about, my son ran to the door to come inside. Jokingly, my daughter reproved her brother stating, "You have fear in your heart, get the fear out of your heart!" I laughed! What maturity and character she is developing! I know that this maturity and wisdom would be stifled, if not altogether eradicted, in the confines of a government building.

    Everyday I see the wonderful fruits of homeschooling, and I thank God for giving me, an unmarried mother, the wonderful opportunity to do so. While many of my counterparts are missing this blessing, because they are fearful of not getting a paycheck, I live 100% on faith knowing God will take care of it ALL.

  3. Thanks for this encouraging post and for visiting my blog. This is a good reminder that even if we don't feel like we are spending a lot of time, the work we do with our kids is more time than we think. Plus, you can't beat the one on one they are getting.

  4. Good Lord. God bless you for posting this. I SO needed this. That was one of my main hangups last year (my first year at hs). Thank you.

I'd love to hear your two cents!!