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When all you’ve ever known is public school, the thought of homeschooling can scare the bejeebers out of you. How much does homeschooling cost? How long does it take to homeschool each day? Will I ruin my children if I homeschool? What if I don’t know the answers to all the questions my children ask? How do I choose the right homeschool curriculum?
Whoa! Take a breath! I became a bit anxious just typing all that out!
Let’s focus on just one of those questions for now.
How Long Does It Take to Homeschool Each Day?
You might as well be asking how much time it takes to boil an egg or remodel a kitchen.
Yes, answers vary that much!
Now, you may have an exact answer for the time it takes to homeschool, and I might have an exact answer as well — but they may not be the same answer.
So it is with a homeschooling day.
How long does it take to homeschool each day?
As long as it takes.
Too general for you? Okay, keep reading!
It Depends. (Not really any better of an answer, is it?!)
Just like boiling an egg or remodeling a kitchen, there are many factors involved in homeschooling.
Except for altitude– altitude may affect how fast an egg boils, but it doesn’t have much effect on homeschooling.
But, there are a few things that can affect how much time it takes to homeschool– and, they all live right in your home: your children.
It Depends on the Ages of Your Children
- Middle School
- High School
The age– or to be more exact, the maturity level– of your child is a huge factor in how long it takes to homeschool.
Preschoolers, while usually not formally homeschooled, can take awhile just because they can’t read on their own. They can also take awhile if you need to chase them down to get the glue or markers away from them. (They’re fast!)
Elementary age children often take awhile as well. If they’re learning to read, you need to stay with them and teach them or listen to them practice reading. Math can take awhile, too, as you need to explain concepts. Drill sheets are nice because you are teaching the child to work fast (but accurately).
Besides the obvious teaching time needed for the younger ages, there is their immaturity to deal with. They are often very easily distracted. If you send them to another room to get something, they may not come back for an hour or more.
Younger children are often much more fascinated with things. They want to see it all and do it all and, yes, touch it all.
Your days will be quite full when your children are this age (but, you already knew that).
Children in middle school don’t need quite the same amount of time as younger children. This is the age where they’re learning to be independent. It’s not uncommon to go over the lesson (for whatever topic you’re working on at the time) and then let the child go off and read or do the math problems or study a spelling list.
Since they don’t need quite as much supervision, you may find yourself doing other things while they finish up their independent school work. Things like washing dishes or even gardening. But, don’t be surprised if your child comes to sit near you and talks your ear off.
The amount of time it takes to homeschool a high schooler is going to depend on the curriculum you use. If you do most of the teaching for history and math, it’s going to take some time. If you let them loose with textbooks or worktexts, it won’t be as much time for you, but they’ll be studying long into the afternoon.
(Now that my last child is a senior in high school, he works very independently. This gives me much more time to pursue my own interests, such as daily walks, blogging, and being a virtual assistant.)
It Depends on the Topics Being Taught
Around here, the more advanced the math, the longer it takes. But, they also become independent learners with the math, so it’s actually less time for me.
Subjects like History and Science vary in time depending on if they like or dislike the topic.
Kids Love the Topic: Takes a Long Time Due to Rabbit Trails
Maybe you’re teaching about the Civil War.
But you have daughters who don’t seem very interested. You may think you’ll get through each day fast as you cover the material and move on.
Rabbit trails can make homeschooling last all day or even all week!
Kids Hate the Topic: Takes a Long Time Due to Interruptions and Frustration
Or maybe you’re teaching about botany to your boys. You thought this would be a hit since they get to dig in the dirt and dissect flowers.
Think again, Mamma!
Your teaching gets done between requests for snacks, bathroom breaks, and– oh, look! A squirrel! Worms appear in the dirt; a toad hops away and needs to be chased; and then, “Mo-ooom, it’s hot out here!”
What should have taken an hour stretches into two. Ugh!
Kids Hate the Topic But Know They Need to Get Through it: Takes a Short Time
This usually happens with older children. You know from past experience that they dislike studying the water cycle, so you are prepared to keep them focused and on-track.
Surprise! They just want to get through the material so they can move on. No interruptions, no fighting– you zip through it in record time.
Kids Like the Topic: It’s an Average Day
As your children mature and understand they need to learn what you are teaching them, you’ll fall into a routine and have “average days.”
These are wonderful!
But, the amount of time needed for homeschooling depends on more than your children’s ages and the topics you’re studying.
It Depends on How Many Children You Have
There are no hard and fast rules saying you must have a certain number of children to homeschool. You can homeschool your “only” child or your 12 children. You can homeschool your various age children or your twins.
More Children Often Take Longer to Teach
Think of it as crowd control. If you’re teaching one child how to read, and another child how to do Algebra, it may take awhile. But, if you have twins in 9th grade along with an 11th and 12th grader, your day may not be so long if they are working independently.
If you have an only child, or two close in age, you may get through the day faster since there are not as many subjects to teach. (And again, they may be working independently on some things.)
But, There Are Always Exceptions
You may have a whole bunch of children, but you’ve raised them in such a way that they love to help each other. Your older children teach the younger ones to read, write, and cound to 100.
Or maybe your middle school child is very mature for his age and focused on his lessons.
Perhaps you are teaching a special needs older child and it takes you just as long now as it did when he was younger.
Or maybe your only child is very inquisitive and talkative– and since you’re the only other person at home, you get to listen to them. This could take all day.
If you ask any seasoned homeschool mom about a “typical day,” she may laugh at you.
As you move through the topics and subjects being studied, no two days will be the same. Some days it will take all day to homeschool. Some days you’ll be finished by noon.
One of the perks of homeschooling is that you can schedule dental appointments during the day when most kids are in school.
It’s. So. Nice! (But I digress.)
If you have errands to run, it will cut into your school time, making it stretch into the afternoon or even the evening.
If you participate in a co-op, your day will either be extra long or a bit shorter.
Some families do nothing else on co-op days, which makes the days shorter.
Other families expect to still get all the usual school work completed, which makes the days longer.
So, How Long Does It Take to Homeschool Each Day?
I wish I could give you a cut-and-dried answer, but I don’t know your family. I don’t know your children or their learning styles, nor do I know your teaching style.
But, please . . . don’t let the idea of “It takes too much time” stop you from homeschooling.
Yes, you’ll need some time to prepare for your day, and you may need time to correct finished work. But think of it as an investment into the lives of your children!
How long does it take? I think you’re going to love finding out!