When I first began to research homeschooling, one of the things I wanted to know more than anything else was how much of a time commitment I would have to make. I found it very difficult to get an answer to this question. Now that we’re beginning our fourth year of home schooling, I understand why.
The truth is that how much time it takes to home school is different for every family. It’s likely different for every family each school year, maybe even each season. Because I know that others may find this post while doing the same search I did three years ago, the short answer you’re probably seeking is that it takes me about two hours per day, four days per week to home school two children. I spend several hours over many days lesson planning for a semester and about an hour per week getting ready for the coming week. That includes typing out a spreadsheet of the lesson plans and needed materials, printing/gathering materials and reading over/preparing to teach the material.
If you’re interested, I’ll outline how long it takes us to home school each day. Remember, though, that this is for now and that it will change. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less.
Currently I am home schooling two children, ages 8-in-three-weeks and 10. They are working at 3rd and 5th grade levels. We “do school” four days per week. We cover reading, writing (which includes language arts, handwriting, creative writing, research writing, etc), math, social studies, history, science, music, art, health, and psychology.
Mondays are for Art, reading and math operations. This year they will be taking a clay hand-building class for home schoolers for 1.5 hours on Monday mornings. After lunch they will do one problem for each of the four basic math operations. Ds10 will read silently for a 1/2 hour and ds7 will read a book to me and go over his Dolch words. Monday’s schooling time is about 30 minutes for me, up to 45 minutes for each child.
Tuesdays are for math (other than basic operations of which each child does one problem daily), reading, writing, history and science. I begin around 9am with ds7 reading to me while ds10 reads silently. By 10am ds7 will have completed reading, writing, math and piano. At 10:00 I do piano with Ds10 while ds7 takes a short break. We meet at the table at 10:15 for history together. After history, Ds10 and I work on math and writing. We’re usually done by 11:00.
In the afternoon my husband works with them on their science lessons, taking between 15-30 minutes per child. Sometimes the lessons are simply teaching, sometimes they are longer worksheets, experiments, etc.
Thursdays look like Tuesday except that we do social studies instead of writing/language arts. Friday looks just like Tuesday.
We do health and psychology a couple of times per month.
I eventually plan to use a pre-made curriculum and/or online curriculum that my children will be responsible for completing themselves with little teaching or input from me. I won’t do that until they are around 14-15 years old as my purpose for that is to prepare them for college and more independent learning with more expectations from instructors. (We don’t do tests or grades but, despite my philosophical preferences, it is my obligation to prepare them for college where they will be tested and graded.)
Home schooling only requires a big time commitment if you have a large family or if you must prepare a child for grades and testing. Our focus is not rote memorization of facts, but instead the love and enjoyment of learning new things in science, history, social studies, music and art and becoming proficient in reading and math. Using a curriculum or not doesn’t seem to make much of a difference time-wise. The time spent planning my own curriculum would simply be replaced by re-working a boxed curriculum to make it work for us. There is lots of planning time involved, regardless. Still, day-to-day, in less time than it would take to ready my children for school, drive them back and forth from school, and help them with homework I’m able to home school them.