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Home > Support > Homeschooling > Finding the right amount of time for homeschooling elementary ages...
 
 
Question:

I am a first-year home schooler for my nine-year-old third grade son. We are using the entire CHC system. I follow the curricula according to the weekly and daily goals. I find that some of the work seems to come very easily to my son, such as the Speller and Language of God and that some days we are only doing one hour and a half of school because he finishes so quickly. He is quick to learn the new spelling words and tests out of them by the second day of the week instead of the fourth. Most of our hour and a half is math and science. My question is: Is it all right to give him more work, or should I just be happy that he is quick to catch on? My concern is that if I give him more work he will become resentful or burnt out with too much schooling? Please help. I really want the best education for him, but I am so new at this. Thank you.

Answer:

Dear Parent,

The amount of time spent homeschooling can be confusing. The eight-hour school day that most institutional schools adhere to does not correspond to home schooling, which is private tutoring. Private tutoring is often quicker than group teaching. At the Catholic school where I now teach, I typically spend about 40 to 60 minutes each day handing out papers, handing back papers, reminding students to clear the aisles, reminding students about homework, sending students back to their lockers to retrieve required books, and taking roll for over a hundred students. That's a lot of wasted time. When I gave private tutoring lessons, parents were amazed at the progress their children made with 90 minutes of weekly tutoring over a six-week period. Children progressed rapidly with the one-on-one attention although these were struggling students. 

One and a half hours a day of home schooling an elementary-aged child is sufficient, in my opinion. That is similar to the amount of time I spent working with my children each day at that age. We increased to about 2 to 3 hours for middle school and then 4 hours for high school each day. So I advise that you not increase the time on the core subjects. You do not want to push your child too far too fast. Even without pushing, my children were ready for the local college by age 16. The mental readiness for college is one thing, and the emotional and social preparation are another. There is no point in speeding up the mental preparation.

The remainder of the elementary child's day may be spent on chores, hobbies, physical education, art, music, and educational games. There are many opportunities for children to explore and to continue learning informally on their own or with some assistance. This will not be wasted time. You may have to restrain yourself from over-scheduling your child's day. But relax. He will not fall behind or grow up with gaps in his education if you are following the CHC lesson plans.

Although the eight-hour school day should be long enough for group lessons, the students (and teachers) often feel rushed and as if they are falling behind. With the homeschooling schedule of one and a half hours, there is time to take each lesson carefully at your child's own natural pace. No need to stress or rush to get through the day's work. Enjoy it! He will get the best education tailored to his needs.

Peace,

Sandra Garant

   
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