How long should you teach per day when homeschooling a toddler?
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If you homeschool your child, you have probably come across some questions along the way. What state requirements do I need to meet? Will my child succeed if they’re homeschooled? Another important question you probably have is how many hours of homeschooling per day you should put your child through, especially as they grow older.
Take a deeper look into homeschool hours, and what some states suggest, and explore the homeschool hours by age chart to determine your homeschooling schedule.
Understanding homeschooling and hours of teaching
As opposed to traditional education through public or private schools, homeschooling is an alternative form of education that allows parents to assume the responsibility of teaching their children. It’s very different from public or private school, in some positive and negative ways.
For example, parents often get much more engaged in their child’s learning by homeschooling them. Unfortunately, there’s a negative stigma attached to homeschooling and homeschooled children.
Some people believe it’s not an adequate form of education or that homeschooled children are not receiving the education they need to succeed. Despite the stigma, the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked more interest in homeschooling. By the fall of 2020, around 11% of households were homeschooled.
It’s important for you to set an appropriate homeschooling schedule. You want to find the perfect balance between educating your child and allowing them to grow in their personal lives. So, how can you determine how many hours to homeschool your child?
Homeschool hours by age chart
In general, younger homeschooled children do not need as many hours of learning compared to older children in junior high or high school. Thankfully, the Illinois State Board of Education (BOE) released a PDF of remote learning recommendations in March 2020 to advise parents on the number of time children should spend learning.
The Illinois State BOE provided helpful homeschool hours by age chart to guide parents and help them achieve an appropriate homeschooling schedule. Below are the board’s recommendations for pre-K through 5th grade:
- Pre-K: Minimum of 20 minutes per day and maximum of 60 minutes per day
- K: Minimum of 30 minutes per day and maximum of 90 minutes per day
- 1-2: Minimum of 45 minutes per day and maximum of 90 minutes per day
- 3-5: Minimum of 60 minutes per day and maximum of 120 minutes per day
The board also recommends that students experience the following amount of time in sustained attention:
- Pre-K: 3-5 minutes per day
- K: 3-5 minutes per day
- 1-2: 5-10 minutes per day
- 3-5: 10-15 minutes per day
When it comes to junior high or high school students, here is what the board suggests:
- 6-8: Classes should be a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 30 minutes per day for one subject area or class. In total, students should learn for a minimum of 90 minutes per day or a maximum of 180 minutes per day for each subject.
- 9-12: Classes should be a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 45 minutes per day for one subject area or class. In total, students should learn for a minimum of 120 minutes per day or a maximum of 270 minutes per day for each subject.
These are not strict guidelines every household must follow. Every child is unique and will progress through learning differently, so keep that in mind when you’re building your schedule.
Other important homeschooling activities
Additionally, the Illinois BOE document encourages educators to provide other optional or engaging enrichment activities throughout the day. For example, you can allow your children to explore the outdoors during the fall and learn about nature.
Other possibilities include asking your child to read books aloud, participate in local events, or have educational playdates with other children, whether they’re homeschooled or attend public or private schools.
As students get older, it’s also important to teach them about digital technologies and various educational tools they might need in the future. For example, it’s important to teach your child how to write essays on paper and use word-processing software. According to The Hechinger Report, in 83% of 30 studies regarding word-processing tools, students’ writing quality improved when writing on computers compared to writing on paper by hand.
How many days a week do you homeschool?
Essentially, you should plan on homeschooling your child every day, but the time you spend teaching them will inevitably vary. Getting your child involved in other activities can help them build practical life skills.
For example, your homeschooled child might want to attend college after their education at home. The transition to college can be challenging and scary, but these are some essential skills every student should have before they start:
- Doing chores like laundry, cooking, cleaning, and basic maintenance
- Understanding basic self-defense skills or how to handle emergency situations
- How to shop for groceries
- Making a financial budget
- How to find part-time employment
This is not an exhaustive list, but it does provide a glimpse into what types of skills your homeschooled child should have before college.
Support your child in their homeschool education
Homeschooling your child is ultimately your decision. It allows you to give your child a safe, engaging, and encouraging learning environment. Consider following the guidelines outlined above to ensure your child is spending the appropriate amount of time learning each day.