A traditional school year is 36 weeks, 180 days. This can be done on the same schedule as your local school or customized to suit your family’s needs. You do not have to do every subject every day of your school year. You don’t have to enroll your child in every class or outside activity that your friends do. I recommend that you only enroll your child in one, out-of-the-home activity during the school year, especially if you have several young children in the home. Use weekends, Friday, or summer for special classes and activities. Leave Monday through Thursday during the school year for school at home.
The amount of time spent on each subject depends upon the age, small motor skills, learning style, and abilities of each child (ranges as follows: 3-5 minutes for preschoolers, 10-20 minutes for 1st -3rd graders, 20-45 minutes for 4th – 6th graders, 45 minutes or more for 8th – 12th graders). More time can be spent on each subject if done orally than if you require it handwritten, especially for children who have difficulty with handwriting. For these kids, save their handwritten work for handwriting practice and for final copies of their composition projects.
The total number of hours spent each day in one-on-one instruction ranges as follows: thirty minutes in Kindergarten (broken up into several five-minute sessions), one to two hours in grades 1 – 6, two hours or more in grades 7 – 12. Again, more can be accomplished orally than handwritten for children with handwriting difficulties.
The remainder of the school day is spent having the child read on his own, participate in playtime activities with his siblings and friends, do his “homework”, take a special class, go on a field trip, complete his own “chores”, experiment with science projects, practice an instrument, create art projects, and/or participate in any other activity that can be done independently. I recommend that you do not allow playing video games or watching television (other than for educational purposes) during school hours.
“BUT,” you say, “some homeschool moms tell me I have to homeschool for 4-5+ hours per day.” If that is true in the state in which you live, remember this: What every teacher and student knows is that “actual teaching time” is not the same as “school attendance” time. In school, “attendance time” includes: time for kids to settle in to class, checking attendance, checking homework, snack time, recess, lunch time, library time, study hall, sports time, special classes (art, music), changing classes, actual teaching time, waiting for students to be quiet and listen, clean up the classroom time, etc. etc. etc. Many schools today even show movies in history or other classes – sometimes movies that have very little to do with the subject they are teaching. They do group projects where the students work together while the teacher does something else. There is a lot of flexibility in this 4-5+ hours per day.
Your school day will look similar; however, you can use your “attendance time” on what needs to be done to keep your school functioning properly: actual teaching time, time to fix and eat lunch, recess, library time, study hall, special classes in art, music, P.E., clean up the “classroom” time, etc.
Here is a recommended “actual teaching time” plan. You can adjust this to the needs of your child.
An ability-appropriate level math textbook for each child. 4 days per week.
Drill work on math facts, 3-10 min/day, 5 days per week (while learning math facts).
Math reading: Each Friday or 1st Friday of the month, as needed.
Phonics: (for beginning readers), daily.
Handwriting: (while learning penmanship), 2 days per week, Tuesday & Thursday.
Spelling: Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
Grammar: 2 days per week, Tuesday & Thursday.
Reading Practice and Literature: (read-alouds, personal reading, fluency reading, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, american and world literature) daily, integrate into other subjects such as history and science, as able.
Composition: 2 – 3 days per week, Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Use compositions to reinforce grammar instruction as well as for additional handwriting practice while your child is learning penmanship.
Vocabulary: one day per week as a special class (Fridays) or integrate into reading/literature, as needed.
Use a grade-level history textbook daily or complete 3 to 6 social studies per year. If doing units, spend 1-1/2 to 2 hours per day, 2 days per week (Tuesday and Thursday) for 36 weeks, incorporating reading, hands-on activities, art, music, and composition, as appropriate.
Geography and Mapping Skills: Fridays
Current Events: daily
Use a grade-level science textbook daily or complete 3 to 6 science science units per year. If doing units, spend 1-1/2 to 2 hours per day, 2 days per week (Monday and Wednesday) for 36 weeks, incorporating reading, hands-on activities, lab work, art, music and composition, as appropriate.
Each Friday or 4th Friday each month, as needed.
Each Friday or 2nd Friday each month, as needed.
Keep track of 75 minutes of physical activity per week or special class on Friday, as needed. Kids who like sports will want to do more. Just make sure it doesn’t interfere with other school work on Monday – Thursday.
Integrate into science curriculum or do one – two special classes per year, as needed.
Logic: each Friday or 1st Friday each month, as needed.
Foreign Language: special class on Friday or Monday – Thursday, as needed.
Family Living: integrate daily into regular household activities as needed. This is “clean up the classroom” time.
Test Preparation practice: once per month on 3rd Friday each month or as needed.
Volunteer Opportunities: Fridays, weekends or as needed.
Field trips: Fridays or occasionally substitute for Monday – Thursday school day, as needed.
Social Activities: daily play time with friends after school, during field trips, Fridays, special classes, or weekends