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Mimi, I know you're just getting started on homeschooling, but reading your blog post I had to wonder if that is enough hours of school/study time at home compared to a full day in school.

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I have to agree --- 3 hours total in the day? A little math, science, language and mostly reading? There's a lot more subjects to cover in there and its definitely going to need to get more advanced/time-consuming as they age if they are to keep up with their grade levels. I'm sure you know all that and can do it and hopefully as the littles need less of your time you'll be able to juggle it all, I just hope nobody falls behind.

 

Honestly, you're already supermom juggling 6 kids, a home, all the finances, all the therapy for your son, your own sanity --- I don't know how on earth you'll be able to thoroughly homeschool in betweenst that, but if anyone can, it

s you!!

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Do not worry - they are getting just as much - or more - done at home than they would be in school.  No waiting for others, no "turn your book to p. x".  Three hours a day of concentrated work is PLENTY at this age.  My 16 yo went to public high school this year - her first experience in public school.  She was frustrated at home because she thought 'we weren't doing enough'.  She got to school and realized that those endless books and discussions about history, all the theatre she has seen, the field trips, co-op classes, etc, etc.  left her so much better educated than most of her peers.  There is a time and a place for more concentrated work, when they are older.  

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I know many homeschooling families where the older kids who did mostly self study were done by 9:30 am (got up and started at 7). One of them went to university at 16. Regular school has a lot of filler.

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Homeschooling is more compact. School is generally 7 hours, take out gym, recess, lunch, music/art and you are down to 5, and kids are slowed down working at the speed of the class instead if their own.

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I agree that homeschooling can be more compact.  Completing assignments can happen in 3 hours, sure.  But there is more to education than that.  I never thought the goal of education was to be done with your assignments in as little time as possible.  There is some time waste in a group setting, sure.  But there are also things like class discussions, biology labs, theater productions, debate, interacting with peers toward a shared goal, band and chorus performances etc and all of those things take more time than doing a worksheet.  I personally find value in those things, but obviously we are all different and all do what is best for our families!

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I think it's a decent block of time for their ages.  If this is a path you choose to continue, the hours will fill themselves gradually over time.  MY 14yo works from 8-3pm or longer, depending on what he needs to get done and the day of the week, but at 9yo bookwork would fill about till noon.  The fleshing out would stretch the day.  (Right now he works so long because he's kicking through a semester of work in under 2 months.)

A few things we've implemented in our own home over the years might help in yours:

-a rotating shelf of activities.  Sometimes interesting toys, sometimes a basket of objects to draw, sometimes fine or large motor skill practice.  When I needed my attention elsewhere or first thing in the morning, that's where he needed to go to find something to do.

-tv rules.  Right now, the box doesn't go on except when it's too dark.  It doesn't go on before 3 during the week, ever.  There's a lot of education that's not in books, and keeping it off until late afternoon means the kids are out doing archery, riding bikes, building lego empires, cooking....

-however, it does not mean that the computer doesn't go on.  DIY.org is a very popular website here.  It's like virtual merit badges for kids, where they can learn everything from how to change a bike tire to beekeeping, all in small units. 

 

And last

-free is good, free that fits is even better.  There is SOOOOO much online, from homeschoolshare to online textbooks.  It's a lot to sift through.  And to print.  If you have an ipad, I suggest getting Notability, an app that lets your kids write on the pdfs directly.  I'd also suggest checking out homeschoolskedtrack.com if you haven't already.  It's an easy way to keep track of EVERYTHING: field trips, hobbies, assignments, undirected learning.... donnayoung.org has several printout pages, but keeping it all in one place helps a ton.  I was able to match up my son's official scout records to his hobby log last year and make sure he had all of his service and camping hours recorded properly.

 

Oh, absolutely last - take pictures.  The days get long, the time gets frustrating, but the pictures remind you of what you're really doing.  :)

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Homeschooling is a totally different animal from public school. This is NOT public school at home. This was also just ONE day in the life not a whole picture of what the kids do during the week. Such as they go to a gym class on Friday's, art class on Saturdays, the library on Monday's, etc. Some days are 4 hours of hands on school spread out through the day with another hour of reading on their own. Other days are 2 hours of hands on time and then lots of independent time. No day is the same. The day I shared was math, reading, science, and language arts. There are other subjects that we add in over the week such as history, art, music and geography.

 

Honestly if they get something quickly why would I spend an hour making them do busy work on the subject just to make a certain time mark? I have a certain lesson marked in my lesson plan for that day and once they get it we move on. Like on Friday my 7yr old learned proper and common nouns. She had never seen the material before I explained it to her. She did the 4 worksheets in her workbook about it then had it down cold. Total time 10min. That would easily have been a whole hour in public school. She also has been doing regrouping work in school in math for the last 3 weeks. She has it down and knows it forward and backwards so we moved on to new material. I like that we are able to stay on one subject longer if she needs it or move on once she gets it.  I also like that we can go on explorations based on their interests. Right now we are doing a zoology text over flying animals and just  took a side road to spend a few days working on an endangered animals project because it interested them.

 

When they get older the material will change as will the time it takes. That is true regardless of where they are. We are seeing a lot of emotional growth for our oldest daughter. She was spending a lot of time in public school crying and scared of her teachers. She is now excited about learning and loves doing her work. My 7 yr old has always had these huge mood swings where one second she is fine and the next she is screaming and throwing major fits. We have not see even ONE of those since we started homeschooling. Her moods are just more level if that makes sense. It seems that the concentrated one on one time with mom is helping her quite a bit.

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I don't think anyone is saying to do busy work, and rotating through subjects each week is good! There are things you can do that enhance each subject more...like playing a game or creating your own textbooks/notebooks as you go along.

 

Once I get my computer back from the teen I'll see if I can't explain myself better. It's hard to type on this thing.

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I agree that homeschooling can be more compact.  Completing assignments can happen in 3 hours, sure.  But there is more to education than that.  I never thought the goal of education was to be done with your assignments in as little time as possible.  There is some time waste in a group setting, sure.  But there are also things like class discussions, biology labs, theater productions, debate, interacting with peers toward a shared goal, band and chorus performances etc and all of those things take more time than doing a worksheet.  I personally find value in those things, but obviously we are all different and all do what is best for our families!

Those extras are found via a homeschool co-op. We were too late this semester to join ours but we will be joining in the fall.

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I don't think anyone is saying to do busy work, and rotating through subjects each week is good! There are things you can do that enhance each subject more...like playing a game or creating your own textbooks/notebooks as you go along.

 

Once I get my computer back from the teen I'll see if I can't explain myself better. It's hard to type on this thing.

We are doing those kinds of things for sure. That is what the manipulative were for math. Making it a game. I just didn't go into detail on exactly what the game was when I wrote out the post.

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Well, we're all here if you ever want some ideas for other subjects. :)

I do appreciate it :) Between the 100+ families on base who homeschool and the large family forum I have been a member of for the last 4 years (99% of whom homeschool) plus you lovely ladies here I have such a massive wealth of knowledge to tap into :) We are going this week on our first field trip to a local kids museum. Should be a blast :)

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I don't think Amy has ever done more then three hours in a day. She is excelling and I am pleased with her progress. But we do two 1.5 hour blocks of actual guided learning, rest are independent projects

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 .  But there is more to education than that.  I never thought the goal of education was to be done with your assignments in as little time as possible.  There is some time waste in a group setting, sure.  But there are also things like class discussions, biology labs, theater productions, debate, interacting with peers toward a shared goal, band and chorus performances etc and all of those things take more time than doing a worksheet.  I personally find value in those things, but obviously we are all different and all do what is best for our families!

Absolutely.  And I found all those things much easier to accomplish in homeschooling.  My daughter started acting when she was 9.  In semi-professional theatre, not a school play.  She participated in public school band and chorus - competing at the district and state level. My son was the captain of the public school swim team, but did not attend class there.   We average 12 (TWELVE) live theatre productions a year - most public school kids are lucky to go see a few during the whole of their school career.  My kids have all taken chemistry, biology and physics - with full labs.  A son of a friend started working with a UW professor at age 12 and is now pursuing his PhD in his chosen field - mycology - never inside a classroom till community college.  As far as discussions - my high school students have read - and discussed - with a small, equally motivated group - Odyssey, Iliad, Aeneid, Aquinas, Luther, Erasmus, Hardy, Austen, Orwell (and more). This does not compare to what my youngest DD has experienced in public school this year!! My kids in high school were required to read/analyze/discuss/write about an average of 8 - 12 books a year.  My DD in - in public school this year - ONE.  The only requirement - it had to be over 200 pages.  It didn't tie into the history she was studying.  

 

I agree those things are absolutely vital - but they are not hard to come by in home schooling.  And we don't have to do it till 9:00!  I have always said my real motivation in home schooling was not having to get up for the yellow bus and fixing lunches.   And it is the SAME schedule EVERY day.  That is SO hard for me.  Obviously not for my kids as my son is a 2 lt. in the Air Force now!

 

 Any child with an involved parent can receive a great education here in America - be it public, private, charter, home.  I really do think parent involvement is the key.  A child in public school - with no parent involvement is not going to get a great education.  A homeschooled child, abandoned to TV/own resources is probably not going to get a great education either.  I am always dubious about "unschooling" but a dear friend did this and her kids all went on to private universities.  More time intensive for her, but it worked!

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Great job mimi! I was homeschooled for two years and those were my favorite two years of school. I was able to get everything done by noon and have time for the fun things that regular school did not have time for. I learned to play the flute, sew and travel to different places to actually learn and experience history hands on. We were also in a co-op and I did 4-H for the social experiences.

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I could never understand how unschooling worked at all. However I have read up about it and it is interesting the way people do it. It isn't for me personally, just not how my teaching personality works, but it is interesting to see how it is done. I know there are several unschooling parents who shared their daily schedule in the link I posted.

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I don't think Amy has ever done more then three hours in a day. She is excelling and I am pleased with her progress. But we do two 1.5 hour blocks of actual guided learning, rest are independent projects

I am finding from my research that 3 hours of one on one work is pretty standard for elementary school aged kids. We are breaking our day up more today since DH has the day off and is here to help. This morning Hailey wrote her letter to the editor about her endangered species project that she completed last night and typed up her newspaper articles for this weeks homeschool newspaper (She loves writing those, typing not so much). Then during nap Sara did most of her work. After lunch Hailey finished most of her work. They both still have science this evening and Hailey still has vocabulary to do.  Right now she is learning about moles through Wild Kratts ;) We also have at least one science experiment this evening. Maybe 2 depending on how well the grasp the new chapter :)

 

Oh and I am starting to push them more towards non-fiction kids books with in their interest levels. We went today to go to the library but they were closed for the holiday. We will be going in the morning to get this weeks books.

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I had two avid readers and two regular readers.  Finding fiction wasn't usually an issue.  When we went to the library (usually once a week) I would ask/push them towards a certain category of non-fiction.  Poetry, or history, or biography.  They could pick the book.  That worked better than me 'assigning' them a book.

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I had two avid readers and two regular readers.  Finding fiction wasn't usually an issue.  When we went to the library (usually once a week) I would ask/push them towards a certain category of non-fiction.  Poetry, or history, or biography.  They could pick the book.  That worked better than me 'assigning' them a book.

Yep they tend to automatically go to the fiction and I am the same way. I am hoping i can push them towards that section and make a rule that at least one of the 5 books from that week needs to come from that section (their choice what book). I plan to follow suit and do it as well. Wouldn't hurt me to read more non-fiction as well.

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Kate, all of that is awesome.  I think homeschooling is like much of everything out there....it can be done REALLY well and it can be done REALLY poorly.  Obviously you did it well!  

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