When you first decide to start homeschooling you find yourself full of questions. How do you make sure your homeschooling is legal? How do you ensure your teaching your kids everything they need to learn? What about PE? Friends? How will I teach them subjects I am not good at? What counts as a school day? You’re not the only one. All of those questions are normal and honestly, it is more likely that you will do well because you care.
It is the parents that wonder if they are doing it all wrong that happen to make the most effort to do the best they can. You researching and digging for information. You dear reader are doing everything right. So let’s talk about what counts as school.
Let’s look at a public school child’s day. The public school student wakes up early to start a long day. Public school kids spend 8 hours a day at school. What do they do with those 8 hours a day? Are they learning the whole time? No, no they are not so don’t expect to need 8 hours a day for school. During school hours children have lunch, recess, and spend countless time waiting for everyone to settle so the teacher can talk. Kids waste away the time waiting in line and doing busy work to give the teacher time to work with students that need a little extra help. Long summer breaks force teachers to recover topics repeatedly to remind students of what they have already learned. Kids are separated and not allowed to talk during lunch or class because they need to control the children’s natural urge to be active and moving. Students then go home after 8 hours a day of school to do several more hours of homework which ironically is often no more than busy work. With very little downtime and time to enjoy hobbies, interests, and friends the public school child then goes to bed.
Now let’s look a homeschool child’s day. The homeschooled child wakes up when their body is ready and starts their day leisurely. Sometimes with morning chores before a family breakfast. The homeschooled child then starts lessons with a loving parent that can give them one on one attention. After a couple of hours, they pack up the school books, educational, games, and DVDs, and move on to something more enjoyable. The homeschooled child helps bake muffins (math and home economics) to deliver to the local nursing home (community service) where they spend time chatting and getting to know lonely senior citizens (socialization.) The homeschooled child then spends time playing Minecraft learning basic coding, math, and life skills. When the neighborhood kids have finally finished with homework the homeschool child spends time with friends before everyone goes in for the night. And that is an uneventful day. Some days there is a co-op meeting, field trip, or fun activities.
Do you see the difference between the two? Your homeschooled child will have more time for what matters to them and growing into the person they are meant to be. The homeschooled child is learning all day long and not wasting time away on busy work that could be spent learning something new in a hands-on way that will stick with them for life.
Some states require a specific amount of time to homeschool each year and you have to keep track of it so let’s talk about what you can count as homeschool time.
- Sports, martial arts, and dance classes can be counted as PE.
- Scouting, youth groups, and co-op programs can be counted as general extracurriculars.
- Music and art classes double as corresponding school subjects.
- Time spent on hobbies can be counted for school, after all, they are learning.
- Field trips nearly anywhere can count as school so count them. After all, schools will take your kids to the skating rink and count that right?
- Did you catch your child reading a book? Log that book in their reading log it counts.
- Baking cookies with mom is learning fractions hands on.
Get the point? Nearly everything you do is teaching your child something and it all counts because at the end of the day all that matters is that your child learned something new, met a goal, or grew as a person. Count it all because at least they are not wasting half an hour for the class to quiet down just to listen to the same lesson they did two months ago.
But when logging hours what really counts as homeschool?
The short answer is it all counts as homeschooling. Everything your child learns while doing anything can be logged as homeschooling hours. You will be surprised of all the educational things there are packed in a day and how much of what you do counts as homeschooling. All the more reason to relax and enjoy life and learning bit. Even more so in the early years. Take time to make learning fun and active.