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Shoe
09-02-2010, 09:05 AM
So, I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I'm very curious to know how much time you spend homeschooling your kids, and how old they are?

I frequently hear people saying they are done in only a few hours a day, but I'm finding that we're going a full 6-7 hours of actual study time every day, and still struggling to keep up with my plans. Is that normal at the middle school level? Or am I just inefficient with my time?

I don't want to be slave-driver with my kids, but I don't think I've put together a particularly ambitious curriculum, yet if I spend less time a day schooling, we'll never get it all done.

I'd love to hear all your thoughts on this one. Thanks.

StartingOver
09-02-2010, 09:13 AM
WE are doing 1 hour now, but that is not counting is me reading to the kids, which would add another 3-4 hours. I read aloud to my kids for as long as they will let me. LOL

In 1-4 we pretty much stick to 2-3 hours. In 5-8 we do 3-4 hours, and 9-12 usually ends being more like 4-5 hours a day. The only time the kids do more than 5 hours a day, is with outside classes, or community college, or if you include me reading aloud.

MamaB2C
09-02-2010, 09:50 AM
I don't want to be slave-driver with my kids, but I don't think I've put together a particularly ambitious curriculum, yet if I spend less time a day schooling, we'll never get it all done.

Perhaps your curriculum isn't the problem but your deadline is. I am self employed, so time management is a big thing for me. Here's some questions to ask yourself.

When you say "Get it all done" that indicates you have a definite goal and time frame set. What is the goal and why is that the goal? Is it realistic? Why is the deadline set as it is? Is it flexible? Is there any unnecessary busy work in the plan that could be eliminated so you can you reach the goal more efficiently?

callie
09-02-2010, 09:53 AM
My oldest (12 yr old) usually starts doing school about 8:00 am and he finishes up no later than 1:00 pm. Although this doesn't include our recess time, nature study or free reading. There are some days that he gets done before lunch, but that seems to be just the right combination of lessons. The 3 yr old works for about 30 minutes. He wants to do school like his brother so I made a pocket chart that we go over in the mornings. Of course, he learns throughout the day, but it is all "fun work".

I don't think there is a "right" amount of time, it depends on your kids and what you want them to be doing/learning.

dbmamaz
09-02-2010, 09:58 AM
I do think older kids need more time, and its certainly your choice, as the homeschool director, how much material you want your kids to cover. Our situation is a bit different - we are all such videogame fanatics, that during the school year, electronics go off when the school day starts (um, around 10), we do an hour or so of work, take a walk and lunch break, then more work in the afternoon. Usually the younger was done at 2 and the older at 3:30. Oh, chores happen in there, too. I dont really feel like my 14 yo is doing enough academics, but there's only so much i can push either of us.

shakeisha
09-02-2010, 10:00 AM
I'm not sure about the middle school level, we're not there yet and our 8th grader actually attends public school...but for our 4th grader, we do quick daily lessons. We can finish about six subjects in 3 hours. LA takes longer (it's his most hated subject!) so we start with that. Once LA is out of the way, we breeze through our other subjects. I found another mom who was amazed that we take on so many subjects?!! My bet is that you do too with having middle schoolers?! Our daily lesson is usually a question that needs to be answered and sometimes we explore learning based off of the question, if it peaks his interest. I really try to not over schedule him because that's when I find that the day drags, we butt heads, and nothing gets accomplished. Good Luck!!!!

Shoe
09-02-2010, 10:08 AM
Perhaps your curriculum isn't the problem but your deadline is. I am self employed, so time management is a big thing for me. Here's some questions to ask yourself.

When you say "Get it all done" that indicates you have a definite goal and time frame set. What is the goal and why is that the goal? Is it realistic? Why is the deadline set as it is? Is it flexible? Is there any unnecessary busy work in the plan that could be eliminated so you can you reach the goal more efficiently? In many of the subjects we're doing, there is a pre-mapped schedule to complete the subject matter by the end of the traditional school year. In others, I've taken the whole curriculum and divided by 40 weeks (the number of weeks I've given us for this school year) and roughly divided it to get a weekly goal. So I think I've set reasonable goals and timeframes to reach them (and I am flexible-it's not a "complete this or we'll die" type of situation).

As far as busy work, I've tried to eliminate foolish and useless things included in the materials as we go along, so I'm trying. I'll keep looking at these kinds of questions and see what I can do. If they were in our public school right now, they would start at 07:00 am and finish at 2:00 pm, which is roughly when we start and finish, so hopefully the kids don't feel overburdened from a time perspective. But I can't figure out why I take so much longer than most homeschoolers seem to do.

Thanks for the response.

Theresa Holland Ryder
09-02-2010, 10:08 AM
I think longer school days are only an issue if you and the kids are getting burned out and twitchy at the end of the school day. If everyone is still learning and alert with 6-7 hours and it's not negatively impacting on some other area of your lives, it's probably fine. It is easy as a homeschooler to get grand plans that are way beyond the scope of what you can reasonably cover. My motto is plan big and prioritize.

For example for me it's a big deal if we don't get Math, Spelling, Reading done. It's not as crushing for me if we didn't get around to studying the engineering behind the Eiffel Tower after all. It's a nice to have and I feel extra-wonderful when we do get to do the above and beyond stuff, but I try to remember that as long as we finish the basics, the day isn't a failure. :)

Teri
09-02-2010, 10:14 AM
The past few weeks, we have been doing about 4 hour days, but like 3 x week. Because of co-op and another day that is full of activities, that is probably what we will get this year.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 10:15 AM
We can finish about six subjects in 3 hours...I found another mom who was amazed that we take on so many subjects?!! My bet is that you do too with having middle schoolers?!.. I really try to not over schedule him because that's when I find that the day drags, we butt heads, and nothing gets accomplished. Good Luck!!!! We spend 1 to 1 1/2 hours per subject.

We do Art, English, French, Government, Health, Math, Music, Physical Education, Science, Comparative Religion, Social Studies (an integrated program with history, geography, culture, current events by continent), Spanish and a 2 hour session I call Independent Study where the kids choose what they want to learn about, how they want to learn and decide how they want to show me they have learned it.

Thanks for the luck.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 10:17 AM
I think longer school days are only an issue if you and the kids are getting burned out and twitchy at the end of the school day. If everyone is still learning and alert with 6-7 hours and it's not negatively impacting on some other area of your lives, it's probably fine. It is easy as a homeschooler to get grand plans that are way beyond the scope of what you can reasonably cover. My motto is plan big and prioritize.

For example for me it's a big deal if we don't get Math, Spelling, Reading done. It's not as crushing for me if we didn't get around to studying the engineering behind the Eiffel Tower after all. It's a nice to have and I feel extra-wonderful when we do get to do the above and beyond stuff, but I try to remember that as long as we finish the basics, the day isn't a failure. :)

Yeah, we start the day with math, English and either science or social studies, since I think of these as the "core" subjects. And, of course, when they are finished their day, they are finished-I don't assign additional "homework", except some literature reading at bedtime.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 10:19 AM
I do think older kids need more time, and its certainly your choice, as the homeschool director, how much material you want your kids to cover. Our situation is a bit different - we are all such videogame fanatics, that during the school year, electronics go off when the school day starts (um, around 10), we do an hour or so of work, take a walk and lunch break, then more work in the afternoon. Usually the younger was done at 2 and the older at 3:30. Oh, chores happen in there, too. I dont really feel like my 14 yo is doing enough academics, but there's only so much i can push either of us.
My kids love their videogames, too. They spend most of their free time on one of the Nintendo DS, Gameboy, Wii, Play Station 2, or X-Box (way too many game systems in our house...but our kids saved birthday/Christmas money and allowance to buy most of those systems-we didn't buy them for them).

Thanks for the thoughts.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 10:21 AM
WE are doing 1 hour now, but that is not counting is me reading to the kids, which would add another 3-4 hours. I read aloud to my kids for as long as they will let me. LOL

In 1-4 we pretty much stick to 2-3 hours. In 5-8 we do 3-4 hours, and 9-12 usually ends being more like 4-5 hours a day. The only time the kids do more than 5 hours a day, is with outside classes, or community college, or if you include me reading aloud.

Thanks for your experienced voice, Jana. I seem to be doing almost twice the amount of time you would in the middle grades, and I'm not counting their soon to start music lessons or their Tae Kwon Do classes in that time at all. Hmmm...

hockeymom
09-02-2010, 10:44 AM
We are still working on a routine, but typically we spend a couple of hours in the morning doing the "basics" (math and language arts/spelling) plus maybe some typing practice. After lunch we take a play break, do some reading (I'm really trying to encourage independent reading) and do our world studies (ancient cultures right now), art projects, and general research. There is so much more I'd like to incorporate--I'm still trying to figure out how to fit science in-- but not at the risk of burning him out. In addition, he takes guitar lessons and plays various sports, plus of course we do lots of reading together. He also spends quite a bit of time researching areas of particular interest to him so I try to give him as much time and space that he needs to accomplish his own goals (right now he's keeping a journal on the fuel efficiency of various cars, a project he can literally spend hours at a time doing if I let him. But within that project he practices his handwriting, is learning independent research skills, and is totally passionate about the subject all while giving me an opportunity to cook dinner!). So the sit-down work at the dining room table is a couple of hours, but the rest of the day fills up quickly with other projects.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 10:52 AM
We are still working on a routine, but typically we spend a couple of hours in the morning doing the "basics" (math and language arts/spelling) plus maybe some typing practice. After lunch we take a play break, do some reading (I'm really trying to encourage independent reading) and do our world studies (ancient cultures right now), art projects, and general research. There is so much more I'd like to incorporate--I'm still trying to figure out how to fit science in-- but not at the risk of burning him out. In addition, he takes guitar lessons and plays various sports, plus of course we do lots of reading together. He also spends quite a bit of time researching areas of particular interest to him so I try to give him as much time and space that he needs to accomplish his own goals (right now he's keeping a journal on the fuel efficiency of various cars, a project he can literally spend hours at a time doing if I let him. But within that project he practices his handwriting, is learning independent research skills, and is totally passionate about the subject all while giving me an opportunity to cook dinner!). So the sit-down work at the dining room table is a couple of hours, but the rest of the day fills up quickly with other projects.
Thanks for the reply. Your day sounds similar to ours, except that ours may be a bit more structured in the afternoons.

aggie
09-02-2010, 10:54 AM
I agree with StartingOver's timeframe. My highschooler spends an hour per subject because she does not manage time well so we had to just make that rule (I actually set a timer). My 8th grade boy (13) is usually done in 4 or 5 hours. It is a struggle for him somedays. 6th grade girl is a freak who loves school. She gets up before everyone and is usually done with everything in a couple of hours. I used to worry about it but she gets A's and scores well on standardized tests. I could give her more work but it seems like I would be punishing her for working effectively. The rest of her day is spent doing arts and crafts and cooking.

So after I answered I read back over this post to make sure it fit and one question did pop into my head. Are your kids doing any of the work independently? It will be a little slower if you are teaching each subject vs. them working independently. Nothing wrong with that approach, but you can not compare the amount of time to someone who hands the kid the assignments and says get to work. Mine are independent by design, I spend little time teaching the material, just an hour or so checking work and discussing what was learned.

StartingOver
09-02-2010, 11:08 AM
In many of the subjects we're doing, there is a pre-mapped schedule to complete the subject matter by the end of the traditional school year. In others, I've taken the whole curriculum and divided by 40 weeks (the number of weeks I've given us for this school year) and roughly divided it to get a weekly goal. So I think I've set reasonable goals and timeframes to reach them (and I am flexible-it's not a "complete this or we'll die" type of situation).

But I can't figure out why I take so much longer than most homeschoolers seem to do.

Thanks for the response.

Now I don't know what curriculum you are using. But many of them will review the work done last year. If you are schooling year round, much of that isn't necessary.

Sometimes a lesson is overkill do. Many don't care for Saxon because it is just so much and some kids dislike it. One of my children did every single problem on every single page. The other 3 can move on or do even or odd problems, because they just get the concept. There is plenty of incremental review throughout. But with every single one of the kids we skipped the first 30-40 lessons of the new text, because it was all review of what we just finished.

Just a thought....



"...and a 2 hour session I call Independent Study where the kids choose what they want to learn about, how they want to learn and decide how they want to show me they have learned it."

In my home this isn't "class time" so I would not count it.



We spend 1 to 1 1/2 hours per subject.

We do Art, English, French, Government, Health, Math, Music, Physical Education, Science, Comparative Religion, Social Studies (an integrated program with history, geography, culture, current events by continent), Spanish.


Do you do every subject every day ????

MamaB2C
09-02-2010, 11:16 AM
If they were in our public school right now, they would start at 07:00 am and finish at 2:00 pm, which is roughly when we start and finish,

Homeschoolers usually take much less time, because they are not spending a large portion of the day with classroom management; trying to get 15 or 20 kids on task, doing administrative stuff like handing out papers and taking attendance and preparing materials and addressing disruptions, waiting for everyone to finish before moving on, and helping those who need it individually while others might be ready for the next thing.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 11:27 AM
Now I don't know what curriculum you are using. But many of them will review the work done last year. If you are schooling year round, much of that isn't necessary. Since my kids started their education in the public school system and had summers off, there would be a full scale revolution if I tried to school year round. I had to quell a minor rebellion when I started with a few short lessons a day last week! I'm using different curricula for different subjects...some prepackaged, some cobbled together, some designed for use in a classroom (I can trim a lot of stuff from some of these lessons-for instance, in studying The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, I pulled some on line lesson plans for classroom teachers' use. It was made for 14 classes, but we've gotten to class 11 this week, with one hour long class a day, I guess because it is easier to discuss certain things quickly with only two students instead of 30).


Sometimes a lesson is overkill do. Many don't care for Saxon because it is just so much and some kids dislike it. One of my children did every single problem on every single page. The other 3 can move on or do even or odd problems, because they just get the concept. There is plenty of incremental review throughout. But with every single one of the kids we skipped the first 30-40 lessons of the new text, because it was all review of what we just finished.My daughter is finding Saxon very easy and full of review right now, and she's working through the lessons fairly quickly because of that. My son struggles with math, so all of this review is actually quite good for him-he takes a lot more time to do his math than she does, but he needs the practice even on things he covered last year.


Just a thought.... I always appreciate your thoughts.




In my home this isn't "class time" so I would not count it.I'm counting this as class time because the kids are expected to produce "something" to show what they've learned...but even if you take this once weekly two hour block out, I'm still well over six hours a day.




Do you do every subject every day ???? Not every subject:

Art: 1 hour twice weekly
English: 1 hour five times weekly
French: 1 1/2 hours once weekly
Government: 1 hour once weekly
Health: 1 hour once every two weeks
Math: 1 hour five times weekly
Music: 1 hour once weekly (music theory-they will be starting instrumental lessons soon on top of that)
Phys. Ed.: 11 minutes every morning and 1 1/2 hours twice weekly on top of that
Science: 1 1/2 hours three times a week
Comparative Religion: 1 hour once a week
Social Studies: 1 1/2 hours twice weekly
Spanish: 1 1/2 hours once weekly
Independent Study: 2 hours once weekly

BPier12
09-02-2010, 11:36 AM
We're still trying to get our bearings about this and I'm anxious that we are not doing enough. The way I have things set up now, DS gets a complete list of assignments at the beginning of the week for Science, History, Vocabulary, Writing, Japanese, Critical Thinking, and Algebra 1 and we've just added outside karate and drama classes. (I don't have a separate "Reading" category because he already reads quite a bit on his own and the Science and History components I have put together have quite a bit of reading involved.) He prefers to get everthing up front and to manage his time as he sees fit. I agreed to this as long as he gets everything done by the end of the day on Friday. So far, he seems to have a great burst of energy and works really hard for about 2 hours in the morning and then his energy really flags. After lunch we have been watching a Teaching Company course on American History and usually by 2:00 he is "done" for the day. He seems to need a pretty big break after that first two hour burst and I've been having some difficulty getting him to refocus. He is working very independently at this point and he likes it that way.

Are you trying to cover every subject, every day, Shoe? It seems like quite a lot. Are you actively teaching during the entire 1 to 1 1/2 hours per subject or are they working on their own for the most part?

BPier12
09-02-2010, 11:38 AM
Are you trying to cover every subject, every day, Shoe?

Oops, never mind, just saw your response to Jana above!

StartingOver
09-02-2010, 11:50 AM
That does indeed work out to about 6 - 6.5 hours a day. I would keel over it I did that much !!!

I will admit that I did much more when I first started, it takes a while to get in the groove. Hang in there, I change my plans every single year. I am sure you probably will to. ;-) This homeschooling thing is a learning process for us parents too.

AshleysMum
09-02-2010, 12:05 PM
Hmmmm how much time? When I first started planning Ash's HS schedules, I tried to fit things to 4 hours a day, going with the standard. Now I don't even worry about it. For her core subjects, we usually spend about an hour. Core subjects being Grammar/Language, Math, Phonics/Reading, and Spelling. Depending on the day, weather, how we feel, our whims, available activities going on, etc., we do her secondary subjects: history, social studies, science, mythology, astronomy, arts, health/anatomy, etc. we can spend anywhere from 1/2 hour to 3-4 hours as she loves these things. Play dates and field trips - it just depends on what we're doing/ where we're going. Some play dates at the park were a couple of hours, while yesterday we were out for six hours. We spend about an hour or two at the library once a week. The issue with us is usually finding enough time to do "schoolwork" and keeping up with my little sponge. We don't fret if we don't get to anything on a particular day (if we're not well or there is something else to do) as we also do things on the weekends and at night.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 12:09 PM
Homeschoolers usually take much less time, because they are not spending a large portion of the day with classroom management; trying to get 15 or 20 kids on task, doing administrative stuff like handing out papers and taking attendance and preparing materials and addressing disruptions, waiting for everyone to finish before moving on, and helping those who need it individually while others might be ready for the next thing.

So why do I take so long then?? lol. But I was using those times because that is the amount of time my previously public schooled kids were used to spending in school-it doesn't seem like any longer to them when we are doing the same time at home, so I get no arguments from them, and it seems like a treat if we finish early.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 12:11 PM
Hmmmm how much time? When I first started planning Ash's HS schedules, I tried to fit things to 4 hours a day, going with the standard. Now I don't even worry about it. For her core subjects, we usually spend about an hour. Core subjects being Grammar/Language, Math, Phonics/Reading, and Spelling. Depending on the day, weather, how we feel, our whims, available activities going on, etc., we do her secondary subjects: history, social studies, science, mythology, astronomy, arts, health/anatomy, etc. we can spend anywhere from 1/2 hour to 3-4 hours as she loves these things. Play dates and field trips - it just depends on what we're doing/ where we're going. Some play dates at the park were a couple of hours, while yesterday we were out for six hours. We spend about an hour or two at the library once a week. The issue with us is usually finding enough time to do "schoolwork" and keeping up with my little sponge. We don't fret if we don't get to anything on a particular day (if we're not well or there is something else to do) as we also do things on the weekends and at night.

Thanks for your thoughts. We can't really do things at night, because I work in the evenings, and both the kids and I need a break on weekends (well, the kids do...I work every second weekend too). But I'm not fretting over the time I spend as much as am puzzled why I seem to take much longer than others. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get into the groove.

Busygoddess
09-02-2010, 12:12 PM
I would say, especially considering the 2 hour Independant study, you're doing fine. Length of time spent depends on many things. Some only spend a few hours because their kids move through the lessons quickly. Some only count sit-down work. Some do less subjects. Some materials have very short lessons, so they take less time to complete. Some do more of an informal lesson that consists of a short discussion, with the child answering a few questions, instead of formal lessons that involve the child reading & writing. You really can't compare time spent on school, with other homeschoolers. Your method/style, the speed your kids work at, the level of work they're doing, the materials you use, what you consider a daily lesson, your educational philosophy & goals, all play a part in determining the length of time spent on school each day.

My kids each have 9 subjects, not counting Home Ec or PE. I don't count Home Ec or PE because those are a part of our regular day. The kids do Home Ec when they do their chores, help make the cleaners we use, make their own breakfast or lunch, help me cook/bake, help their dad work on the car, help with yard work, help fix things around the house, etc. Sometimes I have a specific focus (or two) for the year, for Home Ec, but I never count it when figuring out how much time we spend on school. P.E. is covered by playing in the yard, going for hikes, the various sports Dea has tried, the 3 of us doing Pilates & Yoga together, and any other physical activities they pursue.
The subjects we count are:
Math
Language Arts - this encompasses reading, writing, spelling, vocab, literature study/analysis, penmanship, and grammar
Latin
Science
Art
Music
Logic
History
Geography & Cultural Studies

Sometimes Geography, Cultural Studies, and History are combined, but this year they're studying completely different things in History & Geography. Dea is studying wars in History but is doing her HS Geography course (which I'm adding Cultural Studies to). Jay is studying Ancient Civilizations in History (which includes Cultural Studies), but is working on basic map skills in Geography.

When she was doing every subject every day, Dea was spending probably about 4-6 hours per day, on average. Now, she does a weeks worth of each subject, but only does each subject once a week. So she does 3 days of 2 subjects, one in the morning & one after lunch, and one day of 3 subjects. This schedule takes about 5-6 hours per day. This schedule also gives her one day as either a catch-up day, to finish any work she didn't finish earlier in the week, or as a free education day, to study whatever she wants (as long as she's doing something educational). Jay's school day usually takes us about the same amount of time as Dea's. Only about 2-3 hours of that is sit-down work, though (depending on how much he talks through his LA and how many Notebooking Pages he decides to do for Science & History). The rest is working on projects, playing educational games, using the computer, and his 30 min of quiet reading time.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 12:14 PM
That does indeed work out to about 6 - 6.5 hours a day. I would keel over it I did that much !!!

I will admit that I did much more when I first started, it takes a while to get in the groove. Hang in there, I change my plans every single year. I am sure you probably will to. ;-) This homeschooling thing is a learning process for us parents too.

I'm sure I will. I think part of the reason I'm trying to stay "caught up" this year is because we used a "school in the box" last year, and at the end of the year, we were scrambling to get things completed. I'm an obsessive compulsive completist, so not finishing the boxed curriculum was not an option, but it meant a lot of long and stressful days for my son near the end of last school year. I'm trying to avoid that this year by keeping on top of things from the start and pacing things a bit better...at least, that's the plan.

Wilma
09-02-2010, 12:21 PM
My kids do about 5 hours total. Actually, that is for the 9th grader. The 5th grader does more like 3.

MamaB2C
09-02-2010, 12:53 PM
I'm an obsessive compulsive completist, so not finishing the boxed curriculum was not an option

LOL, well there's your answer don't you think?

May I ask what your motivation was for homeschooling in the first place? Also, I hope you'll really consider the questions I suggested earlier...what is your goal for your kids? Is it finishing the materials at all costs, or is it for them to learn the material? Why did you set the timeline as finishing within a traditional school year?

Have you created a priority list (set goals, then prioritize them by urgency and importance)? If, for example, testing is required in your state, then covering tested materials would be more urgent then a subject that is more elective.

Have you considered "unschooling" things like health (Using every day life to cover nutrition and hygiene, for examples)?

Bottom line though is that if your kids are happy, and you're happy, then don't worry about the time you are spending. I wouldn't compare myself to others unless there was a problem that needed addressing.

firefly
09-02-2010, 01:56 PM
Hi Shoe! Since I'm new again to this I'm so glad you started this post! I have one in 5th & one in 6th and I'm still trying to "get back into the groove". I think I need to relax more & schedule more fun educational "game" type things. You know we learn more when we're more invested in what we're doing. So, for me, "time" allocations might be best viewed through the lens of "what was learned".

Some days I struggle getting them to engage. Other days we could go till midnight if I let them. I'm trying to pay attention to what drives them as individuals & what unlocks the joy of learning within each of them. I want them to jump out of bed each morning excited to be alive & run to whatever project is before them!

Believe me, Im not there yet & neither are they. But I believe we can get back there I just need to shake the mental glue out

dbmamaz
09-02-2010, 02:02 PM
That a pretty rigorous school Shoe - which always makes me feel like i'm RUINING my kids . . but i have to comfort myself with the fact that i'm somewhere in between classical/rigorous and radical unschooling, so i guess its gotta be ok ...

HOwever when homeschoolers talk about how much time is actually spent on education in public school - i think they are really talking more about grade school. Middle and High school here there was a LOT more educational time, as well as several hours of homework every day.

hockeymom
09-02-2010, 02:50 PM
In all respect, I don't think I agree, Cara. I remember lots of waiting around in junior high and high school, and just busy work for homework. I do think there's more homework now, but I wonder (not having kids in public high school) how much of it is worthwhile. Being talked to by a teacher for the purpose of scoring well on tests doesn't equate to learning time to me. I know in my son's elementary school he got absolutely zero one on one teacher time, and I'm certain that wouldn't have changed as he got older and even more capable.

schwartzkari
09-02-2010, 08:46 PM
I read over this thread and now I feel like I'm a slave driver to my 6 year old! LOL!
She goes to Art class on Mondays, Dance class on Tuesdays...and on those two days we focus heavily on only reading lessons. Wednesday-Friday we do reading, writing, spelling, math and then we alternate 2 unit studies a month on either geography, science, history or social studies. We do about 4-5 hours of homeschool every week day, plus I read endless amounts of books to both my kids AND we usually sneak in a game on the Wii before dinner time. My daughter has not complained yet, sometimes she asks for more work to do and I just stare at her in awe.

Homeschool can accomplish so much more in a day than public school can.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 07:37 AM
I agree with StartingOver's timeframe. My highschooler spends an hour per subject because she does not manage time well so we had to just make that rule (I actually set a timer). My 8th grade boy (13) is usually done in 4 or 5 hours. It is a struggle for him somedays. 6th grade girl is a freak who loves school. She gets up before everyone and is usually done with everything in a couple of hours. I used to worry about it but she gets A's and scores well on standardized tests. I could give her more work but it seems like I would be punishing her for working effectively. The rest of her day is spent doing arts and crafts and cooking.

So after I answered I read back over this post to make sure it fit and one question did pop into my head. Are your kids doing any of the work independently? It will be a little slower if you are teaching each subject vs. them working independently. Nothing wrong with that approach, but you can not compare the amount of time to someone who hands the kid the assignments and says get to work. Mine are independent by design, I spend little time teaching the material, just an hour or so checking work and discussing what was learned.

Thanks for the reply, aggie. Yes, my kids do a fair amount of the work independently-they work through Saxon Math by themselves, with assistance from me when necessary (and it often is necessary). We have been discussing the material in their English program together, after they have read it and completed some work sheets. Their social studies is a fairly time intensive program in a workbook format (they have to use various on line and paper resources to find the answers) but very independent. Other courses vary.

The amount of time we're doing seems to be working okay, though my daughter tires fairly easily some days, so it's not that I have a problem with doing 6-7 hour days, necessarily. I had the impression many people did a lot less, and wanted to see if that impression was true in this community, and if it varied by age/grade level.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 07:41 AM
We're still trying to get our bearings about this and I'm anxious that we are not doing enough. The way I have things set up now, DS gets a complete list of assignments at the beginning of the week for Science, History, Vocabulary, Writing, Japanese, Critical Thinking, and Algebra 1 and we've just added outside karate and drama classes. (I don't have a separate "Reading" category because he already reads quite a bit on his own and the Science and History components I have put together have quite a bit of reading involved.) He prefers to get everthing up front and to manage his time as he sees fit. I agreed to this as long as he gets everything done by the end of the day on Friday. So far, he seems to have a great burst of energy and works really hard for about 2 hours in the morning and then his energy really flags. After lunch we have been watching a Teaching Company course on American History and usually by 2:00 he is "done" for the day. He seems to need a pretty big break after that first two hour burst and I've been having some difficulty getting him to refocus. He is working very independently at this point and he likes it that way.

Are you trying to cover every subject, every day, Shoe? It seems like quite a lot. Are you actively teaching during the entire 1 to 1 1/2 hours per subject or are they working on their own for the most part?

Thanks for the reply, Beth. No, not every subject every day-see my reply to Jana for specifics. As far as actively teaching versus working on their own, it's about a 1:2 ratio at this point, I would say.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 07:46 AM
I would say, especially considering the 2 hour Independant study, you're doing fine. Length of time spent depends on many things. Some only spend a few hours because their kids move through the lessons quickly. Some only count sit-down work. Some do less subjects. Some materials have very short lessons, so they take less time to complete. Some do more of an informal lesson that consists of a short discussion, with the child answering a few questions, instead of formal lessons that involve the child reading & writing. You really can't compare time spent on school, with other homeschoolers. Your method/style, the speed your kids work at, the level of work they're doing, the materials you use, what you consider a daily lesson, your educational philosophy & goals, all play a part in determining the length of time spent on school each day.

My kids each have 9 subjects, not counting Home Ec or PE. I don't count Home Ec or PE because those are a part of our regular day. The kids do Home Ec when they do their chores, help make the cleaners we use, make their own breakfast or lunch, help me cook/bake, help their dad work on the car, help with yard work, help fix things around the house, etc. Sometimes I have a specific focus (or two) for the year, for Home Ec, but I never count it when figuring out how much time we spend on school. P.E. is covered by playing in the yard, going for hikes, the various sports Dea has tried, the 3 of us doing Pilates & Yoga together, and any other physical activities they pursue.
The subjects we count are:
Math
Language Arts - this encompasses reading, writing, spelling, vocab, literature study/analysis, penmanship, and grammar
Latin
Science
Art
Music
Logic
History
Geography & Cultural Studies

Sometimes Geography, Cultural Studies, and History are combined, but this year they're studying completely different things in History & Geography. Dea is studying wars in History but is doing her HS Geography course (which I'm adding Cultural Studies to). Jay is studying Ancient Civilizations in History (which includes Cultural Studies), but is working on basic map skills in Geography.

When she was doing every subject every day, Dea was spending probably about 4-6 hours per day, on average. Now, she does a weeks worth of each subject, but only does each subject once a week. So she does 3 days of 2 subjects, one in the morning & one after lunch, and one day of 3 subjects. This schedule takes about 5-6 hours per day. This schedule also gives her one day as either a catch-up day, to finish any work she didn't finish earlier in the week, or as a free education day, to study whatever she wants (as long as she's doing something educational). Jay's school day usually takes us about the same amount of time as Dea's. Only about 2-3 hours of that is sit-down work, though (depending on how much he talks through his LA and how many Notebooking Pages he decides to do for Science & History). The rest is working on projects, playing educational games, using the computer, and his 30 min of quiet reading time.

Thanks for the detailed reply, Brandi. So it seems that we're not doing that much more time with kids of similar ages (well, close to your 7th grader anyway). I'm finding the replies here very interesting and varied.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 07:50 AM
My kids do about 5 hours total. Actually, that is for the 9th grader. The 5th grader does more like 3.

Thanks for the reply, Ann.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 08:04 AM
LOL, well there's your answer don't you think?Probably so, :D.


May I ask what your motivation was for homeschooling in the first place? Different motivations for the different children. Bullying was a big part of our decision in my daughter's case. With my son, there were a few issues with the local school when we were dealing with a family emergency that were the proverbial "straws that broke the camel's back". But our local system has also consistently been failing to meet its own goals for achievement in math and to a lesser extent in English as measured by standardized testing, and it didn't seem that my kids were mastering the material there.


Also, I hope you'll really consider the questions I suggested earlier...what is your goal for your kids? Is it finishing the materials at all costs, or is it for them to learn the material? Why did you set the timeline as finishing within a traditional school year?

Have you created a priority list (set goals, then prioritize them by urgency and importance)? If, for example, testing is required in your state, then covering tested materials would be more urgent then a subject that is more elective. I have set some priorities in a kind of informal way-for instance, they absolutely need to finish (and master) their math curriculum. They're already somewhat behind in math (by state and New England standards-they're about average for their previous school), and that is the subject with which my son struggles the most. But generally, I'd prefer they learn the material well than finish at all costs, but I'd like them to do both, lol. I am more flexible than I may sound in these posts though. As for the timeline, that's based on the full scale revolution I'd face from the whole family if I tried to continue through the summer-after several years of public school and a wife who works in the public school system (and wants to spend her time off with the kids in a more relaxed way), it just wouldn't fly. And, to be honest, I need the break over the summer as well. I don't get much sleep during the school year with 6-7 hours a day of homeschooling and 10 hour evening shifts at work after that.


Have you considered "unschooling" things like health (Using every day life to cover nutrition and hygiene, for examples)? I take advantage of everyday life to supplement their formal education, but I like to have more formal lists of things that I can check off as complete to be a real unschooler.


Bottom line though is that if your kids are happy, and you're happy, then don't worry about the time you are spending. I wouldn't compare myself to others unless there was a problem that needed addressing.That's some really good advice. My original post was more about curiosity than thinking I was doing something "wrong".

Cheers.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 08:08 AM
Hi Shoe! Since I'm new again to this I'm so glad you started this post! I have one in 5th & one in 6th and I'm still trying to "get back into the groove". I think I need to relax more & schedule more fun educational "game" type things. You know we learn more when we're more invested in what we're doing. So, for me, "time" allocations might be best viewed through the lens of "what was learned".

Some days I struggle getting them to engage. Other days we could go till midnight if I let them. I'm trying to pay attention to what drives them as individuals & what unlocks the joy of learning within each of them. I want them to jump out of bed each morning excited to be alive & run to whatever project is before them!

Believe me, Im not there yet & neither are they. But I believe we can get back there I just need to shake the mental glue out

Thanks for the reply. Good answer and good advice. I can't see my daughter ever jumping "out of bed each morning excited to be alive & run to whatever project is before" her. She's really not a morning person. If I can get her to stumble out of bed and mumble "good morning", I'm doing well :D .

Shoe
09-03-2010, 08:12 AM
That a pretty rigorous school Shoe - which always makes me feel like i'm RUINING my kids . . but i have to comfort myself with the fact that i'm somewhere in between classical/rigorous and radical unschooling, so i guess its gotta be ok ...

HOwever when homeschoolers talk about how much time is actually spent on education in public school - i think they are really talking more about grade school. Middle and High school here there was a LOT more educational time, as well as several hours of homework every day.Well, the beauty of homeschooling is that there is no one way of doing things, and that we can adjust our schedules, curricula, methods, and philosophies to that which works for us, so yeah, "i guess its gotta be ok". I strongly doubt that you're "ruining" your kids.

I take your point about several hours of homework in public school as well. I don't assign my kids any additional work outside of their regular schooling time, except for reading at bed time.

Thanks.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 08:15 AM
I read over this thread and now I feel like I'm a slave driver to my 6 year old! LOL!
She goes to Art class on Mondays, Dance class on Tuesdays...and on those two days we focus heavily on only reading lessons. Wednesday-Friday we do reading, writing, spelling, math and then we alternate 2 unit studies a month on either geography, science, history or social studies. We do about 4-5 hours of homeschool every week day, plus I read endless amounts of books to both my kids AND we usually sneak in a game on the Wii before dinner time. My daughter has not complained yet, sometimes she asks for more work to do and I just stare at her in awe.

Homeschool can accomplish so much more in a day than public school can.
Thanks for the reply. That sounds pretty rigorous, but I'm glad it's working for you. I wasn't homeschooling my kids when they were that age, so I'm not sure how much time I would have done then, but it probably would have been fairly similar to what you are doing.

Cheers.

Wilma
09-03-2010, 09:00 AM
My reply yesterday was brief, but I have had time to look at some of the responses, so I thought I'd go a bit more in depth.

The last year I taught in the public schools was 1996. At that time, we spent a great deal of time on assemblies, lining up, putting our heads on our desks to quiet down, going over class rules, self esteem curriculum (2 hours a day for 4 weeks, required), encouraging the kids to participate in fund raisers by showing them the cheap prizes they could win, and on and on and on. When I think about the actual time on task was actually experienced by my students, I would say it averaged 2 hours a day. I'm sure it is worse now that the students have to answer the questions correctly on the almighty tests.

When I started homeschooling, I figured if a school day was 6 hours, ours should be too. After years of frustrating myself and the girls, I realized that I did not have to present the lesson as shown in the manual if they understood it. I could give math test at the start of the year and just begin lessons with where they stopped getting a 90%. My kids don't have to be taught so much as guided and advised. Also, the cover the basics, but the pick up a lot of science on their own. A good science channel program can start a trend, and then the girls are going to the library getting books on the elements. My middle dd is very interested in marine biology and that started because she found goblin sharks and dumbo octopi interesting. I tend not to require formal science and history until later because my kids get interested in things and read them on their own. I think most elementary science and history books are junk anyway; the library or a garage sale has way more interesting things. My kids are required to learn OK history. I don't have to do a formal curriculum. We take field trips, go camping, go to museums to learn about our state. I look at what they learn over a large span of time, not just in a particular school year.

By taking this approach, I have found our actual school day is over around 12 or 1, but the learning is all day, KWIM?

Shoe
09-03-2010, 09:27 AM
My reply yesterday was brief, but I have had time to look at some of the responses, so I thought I'd go a bit more in depth.

The last year I taught in the public schools was 1996. At that time, we spent a great deal of time on assemblies, lining up, putting our heads on our desks to quiet down, going over class rules, self esteem curriculum (2 hours a day for 4 weeks, required), encouraging the kids to participate in fund raisers by showing them the cheap prizes they could win, and on and on and on. When I think about the actual time on task was actually experienced by my students, I would say it averaged 2 hours a day. I'm sure it is worse now that the students have to answer the questions correctly on the almighty tests.

When I started homeschooling, I figured if a school day was 6 hours, ours should be too. After years of frustrating myself and the girls, I realized that I did not have to present the lesson as shown in the manual if they understood it. I could give math test at the start of the year and just begin lessons with where they stopped getting a 90%. My kids don't have to be taught so much as guided and advised. Also, the cover the basics, but the pick up a lot of science on their own. A good science channel program can start a trend, and then the girls are going to the library getting books on the elements. My middle dd is very interested in marine biology and that started because she found goblin sharks and dumbo octopi interesting. I tend not to require formal science and history until later because my kids get interested in things and read them on their own. I think most elementary science and history books are junk anyway; the library or a garage sale has way more interesting things. My kids are required to learn OK history. I don't have to do a formal curriculum. We take field trips, go camping, go to museums to learn about our state. I look at what they learn over a large span of time, not just in a particular school year.

By taking this approach, I have found our actual school day is over around 12 or 1, but the learning is all day, KWIM?

Thanks for the more detailed response, Ann. I find what you say about the math tests interesting, because I'm thinking of doing exactly that with my daughter now. After a week, she is finding the first lessons of the Saxon Math she's doing to be far too easy (though I did the placement test Saxon has on line to determine her level first), and I fear she's going to get bored if she doesn't get a bit more challenge. I think I'll just give her the tests until she reaches that point (the 90% range) and then have her start doing the lessons again.


When I started homeschooling, I figured if a school day was 6 hours, ours should be too. With me, it's not that I think it should be the same as the public school...it just worked out that way, in order to fit everything in.

Cheers.

Riceball_Mommy
09-03-2010, 09:31 AM
By taking this approach, I have found our actual school day is over around 12 or 1, but the learning is all day, KWIM?

I especially agree with this last statement. For me I'm only teaching one child, and we're doing Kindergarten. Sometimes we start late in the morning (10 or 11) sometimes put it off to even later. I don't really time us, but I think sometimes with the Calvert curriculum we can get done in about an hour if we aren't doing math (she's 10 lessons ahead so I'm letting her take a break from math). Of course I'll then add in workbooks, an educational show, we'll go for a walk to take photos of birds or just photos of anything (photography expeditions), go play outside, or go to the park (PE); so I really can't pin point how much time we spend. Oh and of course there's working on reading the pile of library books at different points of the day.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 09:38 AM
I especially agree with this last statement. For me I'm only teaching one child, and we're doing Kindergarten. Sometimes we start late in the morning (10 or 11) sometimes put it off to even later. I don't really time us, but I think sometimes with the Calvert curriculum we can get done in about an hour if we aren't doing math (she's 10 lessons ahead so I'm letting her take a break from math). Of course I'll then add in workbooks, an educational show, we'll go for a walk to take photos of birds or just photos of anything (photography expeditions), go play outside, or go to the park (PE); so I really can't pin point how much time we spend. Oh and of course there's working on reading the pile of library books at different points of the day.

Thanks for the reply. That sounds like a really nice way to educate.

Wilma
09-03-2010, 10:09 AM
should [/I]be the same as the public school...it just worked out that way, in order to fit everything in.


That was the way it was for us at first. It led to a lot of tears and anger with both the kids and me. It was just the wrong kind of structure for our family. Eventually I realized there were a lot of things that looked good, but it was just too much curriculum. There is a lot they learn from life that didn't require a textbook, KWIM? When we pared back on "school" the interest in learning rose because it wasn't drudgery anymore. But I hate being wedded to an overly structured school day; I know plenty of families who thrive on it.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 11:02 AM
That was the way it was for us at first. It led to a lot of tears and anger with both the kids and me. It was just the wrong kind of structure for our family. Eventually I realized there were a lot of things that looked good, but it was just too much curriculum. There is a lot they learn from life that didn't require a textbook, KWIM? When we pared back on "school" the interest in learning rose because it wasn't drudgery anymore. But I hate being wedded to an overly structured school day; I know plenty of families who thrive on it.
I suspect as I grow into a more experienced homeschooler, that I will ease up a bit on the structure. Right now, the structure is a bit of a crutch for me, though I prefer to be more relaxed about things.

farrarwilliams
09-03-2010, 11:24 AM
Shoe, my first thought of why it takes so long is that you might want to do less practice and give more time for things to sink in. At least for my kids, I find that less is more sometimes, but only if I wait and let what we learned percolate for a little while - sometimes just a day, sometimes a few days. Just a thought.

My kids are just in 1st grade, but how long depends on how you define it. We spend 1-2 hours every morning on the more formal things we're doing, but then we have outside activities every day - some of them are clearly "extracurricular" like music, art and ballet. Others are social or physical like soccer and park days. Others are semi-academic, like our two co-ops or our DI team or field trips to museums, but it's all still active, experiential and not at all like "school." I think of all those things as a part of our homeschooling, but if you included them, we'd be schooling more than 9 hours a day sometimes.

Shoe
09-03-2010, 11:40 AM
Shoe, my first thought of why it takes so long is that you might want to do less practice and give more time for things to sink in. At least for my kids, I find that less is more sometimes, but only if I wait and let what we learned percolate for a little while - sometimes just a day, sometimes a few days. Just a thought.

My kids are just in 1st grade, but how long depends on how you define it. We spend 1-2 hours every morning on the more formal things we're doing, but then we have outside activities every day - some of them are clearly "extracurricular" like music, art and ballet. Others are social or physical like soccer and park days. Others are semi-academic, like our two co-ops or our DI team or field trips to museums, but it's all still active, experiential and not at all like "school." I think of all those things as a part of our homeschooling, but if you included them, we'd be schooling more than 9 hours a day sometimes.

Thanks for the reply. Interesting idea on the "less is more" concept. I'll have to think on how to adjust my plans to that one, though I do agree that it can often take time for things to settle in. In college, I found that I learned things a lot better if I did a quick review after the class, again the next day and again at the end of the week (but, of course, I rarely actually did this!). I found that some concepts that I didn't get at first started to make more sense after percolating and with later review.

Cheers.

farrarwilliams
09-03-2010, 03:08 PM
Thanks for the reply. Interesting idea on the "less is more" concept. I'll have to think on how to adjust my plans to that one, though I do agree that it can often take time for things to settle in. In college, I found that I learned things a lot better if I did a quick review after the class, again the next day and again at the end of the week (but, of course, I rarely actually did this!). I found that some concepts that I didn't get at first started to make more sense after percolating and with later review.

Cheers.

Some structured curriculum programs clearly support this, by the way. For example, there's much fewer lines to write with HWT than with other handwriting programs because it's their stated goal that kids focus on improvements and not on getting pages and pages of lines written. There are math programs that have less written practice as well.

fbfamily111
09-03-2010, 04:07 PM
So mine are a bit younger then yours but have the same age difference that yours do. I like to spend about 1/2 an hour working with DS 9 on Math first thing we start out. DD, 7, will work on her reading, typing, cursive, or what ever other work she can make for herself. Yes I do mean she chooses to do all the extra work. Then after math with DS is finally done, then I put him on Grammar or reading while I help DD with Math and phonics, (which we're about to drop to 1 day a week, she reads as well as the 4th grader!) All of that takes about 2 hours or less. We take a break, then we do history, and science. History and science take anywhere from 1-2 hours(sometimes more if it's really fun). In the evenings I read aloud to them, for about 1/2 hour. That's it. I expect as they get older it might to take more time.

mommykicksbutt
09-05-2010, 02:35 PM
Okay, this will be lengthy but there is not free online link to this article, but I have it so I'll cut and paste. It is very relavent to the amount of time warehouse educated kids spend actually learning anything.

Time-on-Task:
A Look at What Erodes Time for Instruction
By Richard A. Rossmiller

The concept of time as a valuable commodity is firmly embedded in American culture. Adages such as “time is money” and “a stitch in time saves nine” typify this notion.

In education, time-on-task has popularly been considered a primary determinant of student learning because it seems to offer such a simple solution to the problem of poor student performance. That is, the more time they spend on a subject, the more likely it is that Johnny or Mary will learn. Unfortunately, however, the answer is not that simple. Time-on-task is only one piece of a complex puzzle; merely increasing student time-on-task will not remedy poor performance.

Much of the current interest in the way time is used in school can be traced to the work of Carroll (1963). Carroll, who recognized that student time is an important resource in the learning process, distinguished between elapsed time and time-ontask. He defined time-on-task as the time during which the learner is “paying attention” and “trying to learn.” He acknowledged that the amount of time needed to learn is determined by the student’s aptitude and ability to understand and follow instructions, and by the quality of instruction. Carroll’s model of learning implied that, all other factors being equal, learning was a function of the student’s time-on-task.

• Time Available for Learning

Several factors influence the amount of time actually available for student learning. Among them are the length of the school year, the number of days a student is present in school, and the number of days school is not held as a result of such factors as strikes and inclement weather.

Let us assume a school year of 180 days and a school day of 6 hours, thus yielding 1,080 hours of potential time for instruction. If we assume an average attendance rate of 90 percent, the “average” student will lose 108 hours of school time. If one further assumes that 5 percent of the scheduled school days will be lost as a result of inclement weather, employee strikes, and staff in-service development activities, the school year is reduced by an additional nine days, or 54 hours. Thus, the “average” student will have only 918 hours in which he or she is actually in school rather than the 1,080 hours implied by the school calendar (see chart).

The length of the school day also has a bearing on the amount of time available for instruction. Observations by a number of researchers suggest that only about 60percent of the school day is actually available for instruction. Time is required for lunch, for passing between classes, for announcements, and for other “housekeeping” activities. Consequently, the time actually allocated for instruction during the typical school day is considerably less than 6 hours. If 40 percent of the typical school day is allocated to non-instructional activities, the 918 hours will be reduced to only about 551 hours.

Furthermore, not all of the 551 hours allocated for instruction are actually devoted to instruction. A certain amount of time within any classroom must be devoted to procedural activities. The actual amount of time devoted to such activities within a classroom will vary, depending upon such factors as the grouping practices employed, the students’ academic ability and behavior, taking attendance, bringing the class to order, and dealing with late arrivals. Time also must be devoted to giving instructions, answering students’ questions, and the like.

This “process behavior” will vary from classroom to classroom, but typically will consume from 10 to 15 percent of the class time. If one assumes that 12 percent of the time available for classroom instruction is devoted to activities of this type, the net time available for instruction is reduced to 485 hours. The skill of the teacher in managing transitions between activities is an important factor in time utilization.
Some teachers are able to achieve transitions with minimal disruption; others have great difficulty in doing so.

In summary, less than half of the 1,080 hours that constitute a typical school year are actually devoted to the instruction of students. Clearly, it is important that school administrators be at least as concerned about increasing the net time available for instruction as they are about increasing their students’ time-on-task.

• Studies of Time-on-Task

The “average” student will not be paying strict attention to the subject under study during all 485 hours of instructional time. That is, no student will be on-task all of the time. The actual amount of time that students will be on-task will depend upon such things as their interest in the subject, their attention span, their motivation to achieve, the mode of instruction, the behavior of their classmates, the skill of their teacher, and physical conditions within the classroom.

It is little wonder that observational studies of student behavior have yielded wide variations in the amount of time-on-task which is observed for individual students. Variations occur across days, across students, and across classrooms. Although little is known concerning how the individual characteristics of students relate to their on-task behavior, the data available indicate that girls are on-task more than boys and that students of high ability seem to be on-task more than students of low ability. Individual students vary markedly from day to day in the percentage of time they are on-task. On-task behavior is generally lower on Mondays and Fridays and before and after holidays—results which will not surprise an experienced teacher or administrator.

The results of recent studies of classroom behavior indicate that the “average” student is on-task about 70 to 75 percent of the time. This means that another 121 of the 485 hours of net instructional time are lost, leaving 364 hours during the typical school year when the “average” student is actively engaged in the study of school subjects. Thus, for the “average” student only about one third of the typical school year is actually spent attending to the subjects taught in school.

Given the amount of publicity time-on-task has received in recent years, one might justifiably think that it has clearly been established that time-on-task is the primary determinant of student achievement. In fact, however, the evidence does not support such a conclusion.

Frederick and Walberg (1980) concluded from their review of existing studies of time and learning that time devoted to school learning is a modest predictor of achievement. Karweit (1982) reviewed several studies of time and learning, paying particular attention to the relationship between time-on-task and student academic achievement. She noted that even in the Beginning Teacher Evaluation Study (BTES), probably the most widely cited and influential time usage study conducted to date, only 35 percent of the subtests produced significant statistical relationships between time-on-task and student achievement gains.

Clearly, time-on-task is not a panacea for poor student performance. Student learning is a result of the interaction of many factors. Research to date, however, has not probed the interrelationships between these factors. We still have much to learn about the complex set of variables and processes which influence and control student learning.

• Implications for Practice

We have noted that a multitude of forces tend to erode the amount of time that is actually available for instruction in schools. Administrators must be sensitive to the effect of these forces and strive to reduce the amount of time within the school year which is either lost or diverted to noninstructional activities.

Activities within classrooms also require scrutiny. Curriculum tracking and classroom grouping practices affect the composition of classes and the time spent on-task by students. The teacher’s skill in classroom management is also an important factor affecting the on-task time of students. Administrators should ensure that teachers are provided with objective information about how students use time in their classes as well as suggestions for improving classroom management.

In conclusion, time is not the only factor that influences student learning, but it is an important one. Administrators can increase the amount of time available for instruction by examining more closely the merit of activities which erode instructional time and which too frequently are taken for granted.

American Association of School Administrators. Time on Task. Arlington, VA: AASA, 1982.

Borg, W.R. “Time and School Learning,” In Time To Learn, edited by C. Denham and A. Leiberman. Washington, DC: National Institute of Education, 1980.

Callahan, R.E. Education and the Cult of Efficiency. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

Carroll, J. “A Model for School Learning,” Teachers College Record 64 (1963): 723-733.

Frederick, W.C., and Walberg, H.J. “Learning as a Function of Time,” Journal of Education Research 73 (1980): 183-194.

Karweit, N. “Time on Task: A Research Review.” Paper prepared for the National Commission on Educational Excellence, August 1982.

Mann, C.H. How Schools Use Their Time. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1928.

1983, National Association of Secondary School Principals Bulletin (Vol. 61, No. 465, pp. 45-49).

mommykicksbutt
09-05-2010, 02:37 PM
Now here are the numbers for you Math inclined folks...


Time Allocated for Schooling
Gross School Year (180 days @ 6 hours) 1,080 hours
-10% absenteeism 108 hours
- 5% loss to in-service activities, employee strikes,
inclement weather, etc. 54 hours
Total 918 hours

Net School Year
- 40% of school day allocated to noninstructional activities—
lunch periods, class passing, attendance taking, etc. 367 hours
Total 551 hours
Gross Time Allocated for Instruction
- 12% of class time for process activity—attendance,
establishing order, disciplining students, answering
questions, distributing materials, etc. 66 hours

Net Instructional Time 485 hours
- 25% of time off-task 121 hours
Net Time-on-Task for “Average” Student 364 hours

Now, a little more math will tell you the following:
Net time-on-Task 364 hours
divided by days in a school year 180 days
hours per day of instruction 2.02 hrs/day
divided by 6 subjects per day (average) 6 subjects
hrs/day/subject .34 hrs.day/sub
or 20 mins/hr/class of on-task-instruction

20 minutes! only about 1/3 of your time sitting in a class room is productive aka learning time. 2/3 of your time is wasted in an institutional classroom.

mommykicksbutt
09-05-2010, 03:04 PM
Now, As for us, sonny is a 13 and is high school freshman this year and we do only, on average, about 4 hours a day. This does not include reading his novels (although I do log that time for his records/portfolio) "field trips," or his PE. He is doing English and Composition (with literature), Biology (with microscope and dissection labs)(he will also take the CLEP Biology test for college credit at the end of the year), Modern World History and Geography (again, the CLEP for Western Civ II), Algebra I, Spanish, Music (piano and choir), and a course we created titled Strategic Engagement (consists of 3 Teaching Company DVD courses plus essays and research), and also PE (he is in the gym 6 days a week with dad plus he does karate 2-3 times a week).

We don't start our school day until 9 am. We take one 10-15 minute break at about 11 am, then work until about 1-1:30 when we have lunch. We have a schedule and we keep to it in order to get everything done. There is absolutely zero "busy work" that wastes time. Our schedule is subject driven not time driven although when the schedule was first conceived the 4 hour time period was the goal time allotted. When I put together the schedule last year I allotted about 30 minutes per session per subject. Then I figured how many sessions would be needed to complete the material (course). I would look to see how the class load was stacking up as I assigned the days to it limiting only 4 hours total per day. Some days would be 2 sessions per subject, most days would be only one, and some would be zero for the subject. If I had sessions left over at the end of 180-190 school days then I was being too ambitious and needed to cut something out. I looked for redundancies and hacked those first (ex. a writing curriculum assigning two or three assignments for the lesson in addition to sonny writing book reports for literature and essays for history. Solution: teach the principles of writing from the writing curriculum but dump the writing curriculum essays and apply the writing lessons to the book reports and the history essays and count the them for both subjects). He is getting everything for his first year of high school in that 4 hour amount of time and the quality and quantity of material/curriculum exceeds that of his warehouse educated peers.

LJean
09-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Hmm.. after reading the posts I am worried we are not doing enough! It takes us between 2- 2 1/2 hours a day. (6th grade) At the moment our math is review as she really needs it to gain some confidence in that area and we haven't added in a language (french) as of yet.

dbmamaz
09-21-2010, 07:45 PM
Was thinking about this thread.

I just spent several hours at the river (lovely, really!) with 2 other homeschooling families. The homeschool dad organized it, as well as a field trip for next week. He was asking if it would be cool with us if he opened up the river trips (i'd organized one 2 weeks ago, he'd never been before) to the general local homeschooling population, and I said sure, but i just cant do this every week. Our martail arts is taking over 2 hours out of our day on mon and wed, and I need some time to do academics. He said he doesnt really worry, he's working on english and math a grade above his son's age (9), and his son randomly asks for topical books to read. I, otoh, have a 14 yo who really needs one-on-one time with me and really needs to catch up and really needs consistent, repetitive instruction, as well as a 7 yo who needs SOME attention! So i can see how i need way more time than he does.

Pefa
09-22-2010, 09:59 AM
for various reasons we're doing the bare minimum right now - maybe 90min/boy/day.

For what you're doing it seems like you've got a realistic schedule. I think something most people don't realize is how much time homeschooling takes (even if you're an unschooler or an eclectic schooler or whatever).

Gotta go torture B1 w/english.

Brook

Shoe
09-22-2010, 10:06 AM
Thank you everyone for your replies, and mommykicksbutt, a special thanks for your detailed posts and the article.

Cheers.

mommykicksbutt
09-22-2010, 11:05 AM
de nada, Shoe