How long does it take to homeschool?
The answer is, it depends.
The average answer is most homeschoolers get what they want done somewhere between 3-5 hours in each day. For people accustomed to a traditional 7-hour school day, this is hard to accept. I didn’t accept it was possible at first either. I eventually changed my mind. I also learned that you need to add an hour or two when they are in high school. They simply have more to read and do.
Making the Most of Your 10 Hour Homeschool
When families ask where they should start and what they should do, I give them the long answer. If they still feel lost or overwhelmed, I give them the short answer-links to a couple of free online options. Technically these options can help you homeschool in under 2 hours each day. You can school 2 hours a day, for 5 days. Or you can explore different schedules to make room for passion projects and school 3 hours, for 3 days.
- Keep in mind that your ability to homeschool in 2 or 3 hours is dependent on your child’s ability.
- Some days they may need more time.
- Follow their lead.
- Don’t overwhelm your kids with taking as many classes as possible.
- Try initially picking 2-3 subject areas and working through them until you have reached a point where you want to take a break and focus on another subject.
- If your kid needs longer breaks between activities, let them take it.
In the meantime, here are the links I regularly recommend when new homeschoolers need help taking the leap. Coincidentally these options also work well for homeschoolers who need a change of pace, want to travel without carrying their course materials, or want to encourage self-directed learning in their homes.
7 Free Online Homeschooling Options
When Khan Academy first arrived on the scene it was a highly informative math platform and it was messy to use. A couple of years ago they partnered with NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content. It went through a massive overhaul resulting in a more complete schedule of educational offerings. The best part is if you want to work on furthering or refreshing your own education, it’s easy to signup as an adult learner and learn alongside the kids! We liked this program, but my kids felt overwhelmed by the leveling up system. Even though they were progressing to the next level, they never felt like they finished or achieved anything. As a personal preference, we decided to find something that felt more concrete to them.
MobyMax is an easy accessible K-8 platform you can use with tablets or computers. Their main claim to fame is fixing learning gaps, which is why if you upgrade to a subscription you get access to their diagnostic tools. I personally don’t like the math courses offered here-it was confusing and we don’t generally believe in the idea of learning gaps. On the whole we did like a lot of what was offered here and experienced several aha moments with this platform.
Logging in to Discovery K12, the first thing you see is the daily plan and an attendance marker. We don’t personally need to record attendance, but it is nice to know it’s there in case we move somewhere that requires it. Besides their daily offerings of core academics, they include art, suggestions for physical activity, and reading. Outside of their suggested daily work, they have things like 36 weeks of STEM projects, finance, and Spanish. Overall the structure feels easy to use and the style appeals to the kids.
Lots of homeschoolers love CK-12 because they are easily accessible digital textbooks. Plus, it happens to be one of the few places you can create a classroom and customize your homeschooler’s learning experience for free. It is a lot of reading and if your homeschooler is not a strong reader, you may want to consider reading the material together.
FutureLearn is a platform owned by The Open University, where college and universities offer free classes on a variety of subjects. Lots of higher-level interest courses for the self-driven student, with an option to pay for accreditation.
A year ago, I heard Crash Course launched a full curriculum. I don’t know what happened, but it is no longer available. If you are clever enough, you can still use the videos. Each of these videos poses questions to the viewer that the student handouts were based on. For planning purposes, these questions are listed below each video in the description box. You can use the questions to prompt further research and discussions on your own. If you intend to use these videos for your AP history classes, you might be interested in using Roger Morante’s Crash Course workbook of guided questions.
Watch Know Learn has a growing directory of over 50,000 educational videos from across the web that they have categorize into an easy to understandable hierarchy. You will see familiar videos pulled from Crash Course, Khan Academy, History Channel and other recognizable educational sources.
Benefits of Using a Free Resource
Using any of these free programs, allows you to take the stress of planning off your shoulders to focus on other aspects of your homeschool. You can use your free time to research the perfect homeschooling philosophy and boxed curriculum at your leisure. Read more about the different homeschooling methods. Or you might decide one of these options is perfect for your homeschooling needs. In that case you might want to subscribe for a teacher’s account and further customize the learning experience.
We have personally used different styles, methods, and paid/free resources over the years. We started with the normal concept of schooling for 5 hours until we decided that it was ridiculous to force our homeschooling efforts into a meaningless schedule. Instead we let the kids set the pace and discovered that when the kids give a concentrated effort, they can get it done within an hour or two. This has hold true in so many cases, that whenever their core educational pursuits take longer than two hours-I always investigate the reason why. I trust kids who are fully engaged and interested in their educational materials will want to do the work. Usually when they don’t want to do the work it comes down to a loss of interest, a lack of understanding, or not being ready for the material.
Whatever the reason, in our home there simply is no reason to trudge through material that kills their natural love of learning.
Contrary to what some people may think, you do not have to commit to the lifestyle of a homeschool fanatic. There are no prizes awarded for the longest homeschooling day. No accolades for using the most expensive curriculum you can find.
You just need to show up and allow the homeschooling universe to meet you where you are.