How many, how often and when? These are some oft-repeated
questions when it comes to homeschooling hours. Flexibility is of
course one of the key underlying principles behind homeschooling.
This flexibility applies not only to the curriculum but also to
the number of hours. It is only natural that parents, especially
if they have just started out on homeschooling should feel that
their children should be at their books all the time when regular
school-goers are at school. This is not only fallacious but can
also be damaging and counter-productive.
One of the most ignored but glaring drawbacks of the public
schooling system is the sheer waste of time and energy that it
causes. Many periods are simply wasted away and the child
effectively derives only 1-3 hours of study everyday. Then, there
are days when the studies become too intensive and other days when
it’s only games and no work at all. There is a lot of ‘invisible
wastage’ involved here.
Early on in your homeschooling practice, work out a schedule. It
is advisable to stick to the same hours everyday. A routine makes
it easier to learn and gives structure to the learning experience.
It also tells the students that parents are strict about their
learning. A routine also allows your child to free his mind from
other activities and concentrate on studies. He knows that a
particular time is strictly set aside for learning.
The actual number of hours that you need depends on the curriculum
you have chosen and the learning style that suits your child. If
you are dealing with a subject that seems to be more complex, you
may need to sit with the child for a longer period. Using various
techniques, it may be necessary to demonstrate what you are trying
to teach. For instance, a lesson in Algebra may take more time
than a lesson in English.
Homeschooling does not refer to the practice of sitting in front
of the books and learning the printed matter. Field trips,
watching documentaries, visiting factories and libraries also make
up an important slice of the homeschooling process. It makes sense
to intersperse these activities so that learning becomes fun.
You may want to finish off the few hours of textbook learning
in the morning and dedicate the afternoons to these kinds
Given the fact that too many public school hours are wasted in
meaningless activities ranging from talking to extra-curricular
activities, do not allow public school hours to dictate the time
you should spend teaching your child at home. Remember that at
home, he is getting a high-quality one-to-one time that is highly
productive. About 1-3 hours of study is enough in the primary
level. It is of course true that the more number of hours you put
in, the more learning takes place. This is also the reason why
homeschooling children are much smarter and more balanced than
regular school going children.