The Dirty Truth of The Time Required to Homeschool

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How much time is actually required to homeschool?

Nearly every time I mention I homeschool someone asks me a variation of this question.

When friends come to work with me to figure out how to get started homeschooling, this is one of their biggest concerns and questions.

 

The underlying fear:

Is this going to eat up my entire day?? Will this mean I can't do anything for myself? What if I don't have my day last long enough and ruin my children's lives? What if it's too long and I not only ruin their lives, but mine, and we'll hate homeschooling?

 

Dude. These are all valid fears and concerns.

 

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

When I think of homeschooling, I probably think of it in a different way than would-be homeschoolers, new homeschoolers, and those that don't think about homeschooling other than to think of "those homeschoolers."

 

Homeschooling = life. Life-schooling.

 

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

Sometimes, it's hard to separate homeschooling from life. You can have blocks of schooling, you can have bursts of schooling, but you know how life works.

 

Got a doctor or dentist appointment? Well, you go to that, and sometimes have to rearrange your routine or schedule to get it done.

 

Garbage! You don't have any food in the house except that expired can of tuna and some stale crackers. Well, you'd better hit the store before you all perish or get botulism.

 

Kids acting up? Someone wrote all over the walls, one kid dumped laundry detergent all over the floor... again. Another kid is in tears over times tables, and another is clamoring for some help with reading.

 

It happens, to everyone.

 

Do you see why I say it's nearly impossible to separate homeschool from life?

 

When you ask, how long does it really take, my answer will typically by, "oh, not long."  That's really just for those that aren't asking for application purposes.

 

Well, I may woo you into loving homeschool by telling you that it won't take long, or that it'll take as long as you'd like it to. Both aren't lies. They just don't involve the typical day-to-day road bumps.

WAIT!

Before you click out of here in a huff of disgust and disappointment, let me break down for you dirty truth of our homeschool day/life and let you see just how much time homeschooling takes for the Barlow family.

 

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The BIG Breakdown of Time:

First, you need to know what curriculum we use, as it is a MAJOR factor in our day-to-day operations. My day will look completely different than someone else's day that doesn't use our curriculum.

We use Robinson Curriculum. It's pretty different than a lot of the stuff you'll see out there.

It's self-taught, simple, rigorous, and effective, with a very set schedule.

 

Time Doing Actual Homeschooling

 

Our day looks like this (in an ideal world):

7:00--  Wake up (breakfast, morning routine, quick clean up)

7:30 - 12:30-- School block (1 hour of writing, 2 hours math, 2 hours reading, 30 minutes of play/exercise)

12:30-- Lunch (eat, clean up, and a tiny bit of free time. Put down Teddy Bear for a nap)

1:30--  1 - 2 extra school items (Science, Tea Time, Geography/History, ASL, or Spanish). Done with Mama.

2:30-- The kids are encouraged to learn, explore, and do things on their own. There are no electronics (unless needed for their learning) allowed at this time.

There's also no cap or requirement to the time spent on this. I encourage them to do something. I may give them some free time first and then move back to this time allotment. However, that's dangerous because I may not always get them back on task.

 

For instance:

The Captain has a geography workbook and encyclopedia that he loves. He is obsessed with maps, and so he uses this to work on his map skills and learn all he can about them and reads his encyclopedia over and over again.

 

With RC they encourage you to do school on Saturday as well. At the very least, 2 hours of math. We haven't done this consistently, even less so since I've been so exhausted from pregnancy. We'll be picking this back up soon.

 

We have homeschool co-op once a week, that goes from 9:30 - 2:10, so that does take a whole day away from RC, so I think that I really need to do school on Saturday to make up for that entire day.  I do try to have them do an hour of math and an hour of reading after co-op, but sometimes, I just let them run around with scissors and matches instead.

 

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Time Spent Parenting

Isn't this really an all-day thing for every parent? Parenting is never done, unless we're all asleep and dreaming peacefully. Then, perhaps, we're taking a parenting break. Until someone decides to throw up all over their bed...

We dedicate 4 times a day to chores. Whoa Nelly! Four times!?!

Let me explain.

We have 15 minutes of chores after breakfast and lunch. Before dinner (really, before Mr. Barlow gets home) we do family chores. After dinner, we do the last bit of chores for the day.

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

This way, there's not a ton of work to be done all at once and I'm not throwing death threats around just to get someone (Sweet Cheeks) to actually pick up that stinking toy after asking 8 times. Hypothetically.

Saturday is "Saturday Cleaning Day." Not my favorite. We'll wake up in the morning, and get to deep cleaning. If all goes well, we'll have it finished in 2 hours.

At least we are listening to music while we're at it!

 

Each Monday we have Family Home Evening. This is where we have a gospel lesson and activity and treat.

Each Sunday we try to have Family Council. This addresses any scheduling, any conflicts that have come up, and any behavioral work we'd like to focus on for that week.

Throughout the week we aim to spend one-on-one time with at least two kids.

Sundays we also make cookies or treats together. Sometimes we eat them and sometimes we share them with others.

Once a month we have a family activity we have picked to do. We'll either do this on a weekend or Monday night.

Discipline issues: I have been using the Love and Logic methodology for years and have loved it. I'm not always consistent, but when I am, life is sweet.

I've recently been introduced to The Absolute Quickest Way to Help Your Child Change, which is written by the man who wrote our writing curriculum, and also uses RC. I love this man and his wife. They're real, kind, loving, intelligent parents and educators. I'm in the middle of reading Fred's book and am really liking it. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

For discipline, my husband and I are take-no-nonsense kind of parents. We have high expectations for our children and believe they can live up to them. We teach them to be responsible, kind, respectful, conscientious, polite, reverent, and to work hard.

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How much time planning takes

The beauty of RC is that I don't have to plan. Practically at all. We have the books printed out (or as ebooks), the math curriculum ready to go, and lots of paper and pencils.

 

Each day they grab their math books (we use Math-U-See for now) or their flashcards and they get to work. They teach themselves and they correct their own work. Anything they miss they correct.

They can write based on the curriculum we use, The Writing Course, or they do copywork (youngers), or write whatever they feel like. They hand it to me and I make some edits on the papers. I hand it back to them and they fix them.

Reading is two-fold. They work on their vocabulary/spelling from their readings and they also read. There's a huge list of books they are to read. They're printed out and I have them on our readers and tablets. They read them. We talk about them at dinner. If there's a test that goes along with the book, they take that test.

 

Anything else we do, the extra stuff is the part that takes planning.

We are using Apologia Science: Flying Creatures this year, along with the Notebook and the Junior Notebook.

We also are using their Around the World in 180 Days and workbook. This means, I need to make sure we have the supplies for the experiments and the books and resources from the library.

For art, I just need to make sure we have supplies and ideas. I'll pop over to my Pinterest art board, grab a book from the library or bookstore, or use our drawing book.

Tea Time happens once a week. I just grab a family read aloud, a poetry book, and a picture of a piece of art. It doesn't really matter which ones, I just grab it and go.

ASL, since I teach this already, I go ahead and teach it. I sometimes use my own videos, or I just sit them down and work on it.

Spanish, we are trying out a new curriculum this year, since my kids begged me to learn Spanish as well. I'm pretty excited about it, and I'll tell you all about how it's going for us really really soon! (Look forward to that post!)

Seriously, it couldn't be easier and more stress-free. It probably takes me around 20 minutes total to go through each subject for the week and write down what we need.

I try not to plan much in terms of what we'll be doing, I just focus on moving to the next part so I don't get caught up in planning since planning makes me feel like I'm choking on a hippo.

 

That's a real thing.

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Time in Outside Activities

The Captain and Little Miss are in a Homeschool Co-op. They meet once a week, it does take up a whole day (9 - 2), but it's been great for them to make friends.

Little Miss is in dance, that's once a week, for an hour.

The Captain is in basketball and that's twice a week, with a game once a week. The great thing is, Mr Barlow is his coach!

The Animal will be starting soccer next month and that's once a week practice with a game once a week as well.

The Captain wanted to be in gymnastics again this year, but I don't know why we never enrolled him. I'm not sure what to do now. If we enroll him once basketball is over (this month), will it be worth it if we can't keep it up over the summer? Summertime is usually our tight-budget time since my transcription work is only during the school year.

We don't have any other outside activities beyond that. I'll be teaching them piano (just need to paint and bring it out of the garage), and I would like to have them learn a string instrument (I know piano is a string), but goodness, the money!

My goal: each kid in a sport and musical instrument. With 6 kids, I'm going to need to start doing something illegal to make that happen!

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The BIG Summary (but not really big, big):

You can see that our time spent homeschooling technically takes up 6 hours of our day. However, add in all the other goodness, and it's your whole day.

I do have a part-time job (early in the mornings, 5 - 9 am), I blog, and I run an ASL course. I am also a volunteer at my church, working with adult women. I am always doing something with or for them each week and hold a monthly activity as well.

I have a loving husband that I try to spend as much time with as possible. I am also pregnant with #6, and that zaps my energy, along with the hashimotos and adrenal fatigue I deal with.

It's possible to homeschool AND...

  • Be YOU and pursue your goals and dreams
  • Take naps
  • For your days to be shorter than mine
  • Work
  • Cope with various health issues
  • Have a crazy life
  • Have a new baby
  • Be pregnant and throwing up constantly
  • Enjoy life

 

The dirty truth:

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

How long does homeschooling take your family? What is your ideal day?

 

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