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How Much Time Does Homeschooling Take?

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 seventh year of home schooling, I understand why.

How Much Time Homeschooling Takes Depends on Your Individual Family

The truth is that how much time it takes to homeschool is different for every family.  It’s likely different for every family each school year and maybe even each season. When I first began homeschooling I spent about two hours per day, four days per week to homeschool two children (one at a 2nd grade level, one at a Kindergarten level).

Now that I’m homeschooling three children (grades 9, 6, and 4) homeschooling takes about 7 hours per week of actual teaching and then helping.  My children spend a couple of hours each per day working independently. (That’s five days per week.)

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.

Here is something I wrote when my oldest two were 8 and 10.  It outlines how much time it took me to homeschool that school year:

 Currently I am homeschooling two children, ages 8-in-three-weeks and 10.  They are working at 3rd and 5th grade levels.  We homeschool 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/personal development/spirituality.

Mondays are for Art, reading and math operations.  This year they will be taking a clay hand-building class for homeschoolers 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 from all four operations), 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.

Self-Directed and Independent Learning in Homeschooling Saves Time

I currently use a self-created curriculum and sometimes supplement with online curricula that my children are responsible for completing themselves with little teaching or input from me. This independent learning allows them to take responsibility for learning and prepares them for college where no one will be standing over them to make sure they complete assignments.  They are learning to ask for extra help when they need it.  Being able to advocate for themselves is important.  Not being afraid to say when they need more explanation on a lesson is good for them.

Because my children are able to work independently, we can get more done each day.  They can also help each other when I’m not available.  This is one of the ways that homeschooling more than one child at a time actually saves times instead of taking more time.

Can You Handle the Time Commitment of Homeschooling?

Home schooling only requires a big time commitment if you have a large family (I’d say more than four children) 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 pre-packaged 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 get my children ready for school, drive them back and forth from school, and help them with homework I’m able to home school them.

I remember how much time it took when I just had one child in school.  It definitely took more time to have a child in school than it does to homeschool that same child.  We also homeschool year around so that we can have shorter days with more breaks each season.  The most important thing to keeping the homeschooling time commitment low is to plan, but to have a flexible daily routine.

Are you already a homeschooler?  How long does it take you to homeschool each day?

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