Once you make the plunge to homeschooling, you may start to question everything that you assumed to be true about education. You break more and more of the molds from traditional schooling and blaze your own unique path. You wonder...
- Is it possible to homeschool in fewer hours than the traditional school day?
- Can I meet my children’s academic needs in less than five days a week?
- Can a shorter week and shorter school day provide enough academics?
These are questions every homeschooler weighs. The resounding answer is yes! You can give your kids all they need academically with a highly efficient model at home, using a 4-day school week, often with as little as a 4-hour day!
How can a homeschooler achieve in a fraction of the time what takes a professional teacher in a classroom a much longer part of the day? Is this all just wishful—and maybe a bit arrogant—thinking? No! Here are three reasons homeschoolers are hyper-efficient learners.
1. Homeschooling Brings More Focus to Academics
Homeschooling is a lot like individualized tutoring or small group learning. In either of these settings, the instruction is quickly adjusted to the needs of the individual, creating space for deeper learning in a shorter amount of time. In a full classroom, time is needed for giving instructions, redirecting confused or bored children, taking attendance, and countless other classroom management details. The actual “time on task” is much shorter than the length of the class period.
With a private tutor, a student can ask questions as they arise without fear of how that question will be perceived. The one-on-one setting allows the learning to move swiftly through areas that are already understood, slow down for mastery of new topics, and deep dive into topics of interest. This type of individualized attention is usually not possible in a large group. If it were attempted, it would take several hours to accomplish what could be done in an hour of individualized instruction like we provide in homeschooling.
When we’re snuggled up on the couch or sitting around the kitchen table, we are not aiming to teach 25-30 kids at once. Even the largest families work in smaller groups or one-on-one much of the time. Thus the homeschool day can be much shorter than the traditional school day while achieving an even greater depth of learning.
In addition to individualized attention, the subject matter homeschoolers explore is most likely influenced by each learner’s interests. More interest means more engagement with the information. More engagement means fewer distractions and again more learning. Homeschool parents are rockstars at bringing subjects alive for their children! So even the less loved subjects are often met with less resistance than there may be in school.
2. Homeschooling Combines Subject Areas for Richer Learning
It has been said that homeschooling is not a method of education as much as it is a way of life. In life, there are no strict lines as to what counts as math, science, history, or English. The boundaries are fuzzy because everything is interrelated! This is the best news for homeschoolers!
While we’re reading and discussing The Golden Goblet, our children are building literary skills and learning about the historical time period of Ancient Egypt! Homeschoolers do not need to sit through English class and then plunk themselves into a desk in History class. They have the freedom to study them together. Better understanding done in half the time!
When studying The Industrial Revolution, the invitation to dive into the math and physics of the machines and the sociological effects on our world is impossible to resist! All this learning takes place, even as our children become familiar with the tone and style of nonfiction writing! Win! Win! Win! A great example of this kind of learning is in BookShark's Level 8 History of Science All-Subject Package which combines history, science, and literature into one fascinating curriculum.
Weaving learning plans together allows homeschoolers to cover more subjects in less time! When we join this with our children’s interests and our tenacity as homeschool parents to bring learning to life, we may want to spend all day homeschooling, even if we don’t need to.
3. Homeschooling Is a Mindset
Learning is all around! Books are just the beginning. Trips to the grocery store, park, library, and museum all lay the foundation to a meaningful homeschool experience. We are fortunate to live in a time where there are seemingly endless programs available for our kids, all guided by people who are excited about their subject! At our own local library, my own kids could spend every afternoon diving into coding, STEM activities, writing groups, books clubs, yoga, and movie discussions! The world is a rich and interesting place, and homeschooling allows us to be a part of it.
When we shift our mindset our mindset of homeschooling to include everything we do as learning, we see that homeschooling happens all the time! We can spend a few hours each day diving into books and discussions and the rest of our time living a rich life! Schools teach topics like budgeting, hygiene, and physical fitness in isolation. In a homeschool family, these are a part of our everyday! No curriculum required!
Homeschooling Can Be Accomplished in Four Days a Week or Less
With all of the benefits of homeschooling laid out in front of us, we can see that there is a lot of wiggle room! The homeschool lifestyle gives us space to create a learning experience that works for our our families. For some, that could be four hours a day four days a week. Others may prefer a deeper dive into books on only two or three days a week. When seasons of the year and seasons of life provide their own opportunities and challenges, homeschooling can adapt to it all! A homeschool mindset, individualized learning, and the freedom to move outside the lines of traditional classes give homeschoolers the privilege to create the homeschool of their dreams for their children!
About the Author
Angela Awald is a homeschooling mama to 6, certified teacher, writer, and doula. Her days brim full of learning, loving, and laundry (lots and lots of laundry)!! She believes that nurturing children (and ourselves) means helping them to see that all of life is about learning – from our mistakes, from each other, and from great books! Angela blogs at nurturedroots.net where she shares the ways she is nurturing her family and inspiration for nurturing your own.