How much instruction time is needed to teach my children at home?
Now that’s a good question. As homeschool parents, we may have envisioned “doing school” as sitting with our children on the sofa or around the kitchen table. If we were products of the public school or any brick and mortar institution, our recollection of school was sitting at a desk. And with the pressures to have our children do well, our homeschool often takes on “school at home.”
When our family began homeschooling, we read some insightful “getting started” information that changed our view of “doing school.” Before I share what we learned, I did some additional research and found several other authors who validated what we had learned years ago.
So be prepared to ease up a bit on yourself and your young children.
First, as you probably know, the Chapter 12 Rule Compulsory Attendance Exceptions, which includes the homeschool law in Hawaii, requires parents to keep “a record of the number of hours per week the child spends in instruction” (8-12-15). The law does not require a specific number of hours of instruction. That gives parents some leeway. (Praise the Lord for those homeschool pioneers to worked with the Board of Education to leave the number of hours to the discretion of the parents.)
That being said, what is a good rule of thumb for the number of hours of instruction?
Kindergarten – 30 minutes of structured instruction
Then add 30 minutes every year thereafter. So it would look something like this:
1st grade – 45 – 60 minutes
2nd grade – 1 ½ hours
3rd grade – 2 hours
7th grade – about 4 hours
High school 5- 6 hours.
Note – 30 minutes does not mean 30 minutes straight; please include break time.
One other note – for the junior high and high schooler, much of the school work will be done independently; i.e. you will not be sitting with your student for 4-6 hours but will be available to answer any questions and provide guidance as necessary.
So, what does my kindergartener do for the rest of the day? Easy answer – PLAY and also participate with you in your homemaker activities around the home. (CHOH will address that question in a forthcoming article.)