Please Don't Ask How Long It Takes to Homeschool!

There are so many questions we get asked just because we're a homeschooling family.  Even though homeschooling has grown tremendously in it's popularity it's still not the norm and people have all sorts of questions.

There is one question I dread above all others.  

It may sound silly but I really dread answering the question "so how long does homeschooling take?"  

Usually we're asked this questions by fellow homeschoolers; you see we're all asking each other questions about homeschooling all the time because even in the trenches doing it all with our kids each day we're all just a bit insecure that we're doing it all wrong.  We're afraid we're somehow screwing up our kids and are going to hinder them in the long run.

That's why I hate being asked how long it takes to homeschool.  I dread having to answer that we're usually done with our day in just a couple of hours.  

I dread it because I worry that we aren't doing enough! 

It's a fairly new fear for me; while I have had anxiety along the way on this homeschooling journey nothing has ever panicked me as much as thinking I now have a son in middle school who needs to be preparing for high school because one day he might need higher learning skills for college...... see how it all just starts to run together and snowball around me?!  I find that intimidating.

Now that my oldest son is completing 6th grade and we're looking toward 7th  I am often struck by the thought that we should probably be doing more.

I read so many blogs about homeschooling middle and high school and all the hours of work that they complete.  I know that these are the years many parents start preparing their kids for higher learning; teaching such skills as note taking, writing term papers, and working in text books.

I often worry that we don't do that and I may be hampering my kids.

I worry that even though we're homeschooling middle school now that we really don't seem to be doing much more work or spending any additional time on schooling.

Yet I often wonder what more should we be doing.  He completes two page in his math book everyday; yet he's finished math in under 15 minutes.  Should I assign four pages just so I can say we work on math for 30 minutes?  That just seems crazy to me.

Then we have days like yesterday when I'm forced to see just how much learning we do beyond the workbooks and seat work.  

And I realize that while we may spend only an hour or two working in school books that does not mean we're only doing an hour or two of schoolwork each day.

I have always known this; but something about our busy day yesterday just struck home and helped me feel so much better.

Yesterday for school my boys each worked in their math workbooks, completed some pages in their Thinking Tree Spelling Time books, and did some reading.  Alec finished up his geography report and Evan and I read Can You Survive Antarctica? (a choose your own way adventure novel about exploring Antarctica that Ian sat in on and helped make choices).  Ian also read Walking With the Seasons In Kakadu.  We started a new read aloud book and I read the first two chapters in The Maze of Bones; book one of the 39 Clues series.  They BEGGED me to read another!

That was everything I had assigned and laid out for them and we were finished up school in under two hours with all three kids often waiting for my individual help; during which time they head off somewhere and play.

With our book work completed they asked to play some games.  We played a few rounds of Uno and then packed up some lunches to head to my grandmother's house. The boys had worked together to make their own breakfast egg sandwiches and didn't mind that they were expected to make their own lunches too.

The boys brought along our Trivia Crack game and we had a wonderful time helping my grandmother play with us.  The kids did an awesome job reading the trivia questions and answering them too-- Evan surprised me when he was able to read so much of it on his own!  We've been playing this game a lot this week and the boys are getting quite good at figuring out the answers; beating me every single time!
We left my grandmother's house to head to the boys dentist appointment.  Ian and Evan learned a lot about tooth care, x-rays, and sealents while Alec sat in the waiting room with me.  He discovered a book about the periodic table of elements called Elements: A Visual Exploration of every Known Atom in the Universe and was engrossed in moments.  He must have read a good half dozen pages and told me all about noble gasses (which the book really didn't even get into; he just knew that!).

He talked a bit with his brothers about all that he was learning and showed them several pages.  He was enjoying the book so much he readily took up our dentist on her offer to borrow the book.

He read the book the whole way to the library and then we all piled out.  The boys spent a wonderful time at the library looking for books and movies.

We discovered that there was an art show on display in one of the rooms and the boys eagerly went to check it out.  We looked at mixed media artwork, photographs, and paintings.  The boys were in awe of the work and each had their own favorites. I heard so many excited exclamations of "look at this!" or "that must have taken a lot of work!"  It was wonderful and inspired us to get some more artwork done too.

"Look how this path just goes right back;
it's like you could walk there!"

Evan's favorite; he has a thing for dragons!

We headed home and Ian made dinner for us all.  He did an excellent job making meatball grinders and grilled cheese.  He set the table and we all settled down to eat.

The boys had picked up The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and asked if we could watch that.  They were so excited to be able to compare the movie with the book.

I realized that by the time they headed to bed we had spent a good 12 hours learning!

And yet if I were to be asked how long it took us to homeschool I'd probably still answer an hour or two.  So please... don't ask.

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  1. I love this! We are often finished with our schoolwork around lunch, and then I worry if we are covering all the bases. I find that when I write out what we are using and doing each day, it's more than enough!

    1. I'm glad we are not alone in the done by lunch crowd. I find when I write out our weekly list I feel much better about what we are doing too. And yet... I still can't help worrying every now and then.

  2. I love this too!! You are doing more than enough and I guess I am doing too!

    1. Thanks! LOL! That is usually the way; we can tell the others are doing more than enough but wonder about ourselves.

  3. I love this too!! You are doing more than enough and I guess I am doing too!

  4. I agree with you. That question can be annoying. Every child and family has different schedules. You cannot compare.

    1. So true! I always say there are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschooling families; it seems like no two people are exactly alike.

  5. I love this! I dread this question as well. Life is learning, but we've someone equated "school" (or learning) to textbooks. My kids are learning when they are catching butterflies (something they've been doing daily for about a week) and working in the garden. Those lessons may stick better than a workbook!

    1. Yes! I firmly believe that most of the "other" learning is much more meaningful than working out of a workbook.

  6. Sounds like you're doing PLENTY!! I have the opposite problem: Our homeschool day takes all day. Like till dinner. But we have unique circumstances and a kid on the Autism Spectrum who also has ADHD. (ANY kid with ADHD is going to take longer anyway because of the attention issue.) I don't sweat it any more but I sure do miss the days when we could be done in just a couple of hours! Oh and a friend loaned my son that Elements book-- SO NEAT! He loves it. They may not get it back. :)

    1. I know; I'm thinking I might have to buy our own copy or our dentist's office may never get it back!

  7. As a former elementary school teacher, I can tell you that if we didn't have to deal with all the silly interruptions and stuff during the school day, school would easily be out four hours after it started. Seriously, I can back this up with school-district lesson plans. An hour and a half for reading, an hour for math, 30 minutes for Science OR Social Studies (because we only had time for one or the other), 30 minutes (maybe) for writing, and I'm even throwing in another 30 minutes that didn't truly exist - on the off chance that somehow I was able to squeeze in some learning on the walk to and from lunch/waiting for dismissal/for them to do during the morning show announcements/etc. School is such a waste of time. It can be done so much more efficiently at home!

    1. So true! I used to teach elementary school and much of our day was taken up with set up, lining up, announcements, and bathroom breaks.

  8. I'm one of those people asking that question too often...cause it plagues me.

  9. I fully admit to asking that question ALL the time when I first started homeschooling. That and what their "schedule" was... as if they had a written itinerary broken up hour by hour for each subject. I know some homeschoolers do but soon realized many more do not; they just have a broad outline.

  10. what a most excellent day you had. :)

  11. This is so awesome!And I think that you are right, we are all quite worried that we are not doing enough, and are going to mess up our kids. I figure that with all that we are teaching them, if they miss a few things, they will probably pick it up pretty quick. We are giving them so many of the major life skills that they need to be able to do this that a little bit of book learning will be nothing!

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell



    1. That's what I always try to remind myself too. I'm not just teaching them subjects but I'm also teaching them how to learn and seek out answers so that they can be life long learners.


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