1. Education

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Readers Respond: What do you count as schooling? How do you keep records of those actvities?

Responses: 66


Homeschooling Hours

A show watched on tv on the History or Discovery Channel are educational hours. A trip to the library. A game that teaches something valuable such as s"Go to the Head of the Class" the hours that are spent reading, doing piano practice, baking cookies is "occupational education " and math skills. Any field trips, lots of life experiences fall under some category of their education. I worry more about what is being learned that how much time it takes to learn. I enjoy the experience more that way...and I do enjoy it.
—Guest Elaine

Think Outside the Workbook

You could try expanding some of your activities to include science experiments or other hands-on projects related to what your son is reading or studying. Make a diorama, build a model, do a Google search, make a recipe for something mentioned in a favorite book, play some educational board games or computer games, take a field trip to a historical site, get involved in sports or other community classes, have friends over for a Lego club... I use a free program called Homeschool Tracker to help me keep track of what we have done during the day. You will be surprised how quickly it all adds up.

Why only 175 days

My first thought is to spread out the number of days and lower the number of hours. (We are a year round family!) Or include Saturday, Sunday or evening activities as part of the lesson plan, if your state is purple faced about fitting the 1080 hours into 175/6. Either is a great way to include working parents and field trips. Technically, HomeSchool is a constant teaching 24/7/365 venue. We just need to see that our efforts beyond the books are credited.
—Guest Dee

Science and History

My kids watch science and history shows on the tv and write a short report about it. Even my first grader draws a picture and writes a couple of sentences about it.
—Guest Sarayah


The age of the child will determine how in depth the research is. Let them look up in the encyclopedia, on the internet, and/or at the library various things. For my older children they research occupations to determine what they want to be when they grow up. Younger ones can do this as well.

tracking hours

We use a free program to track our hours. It is called Homeschool Tracker. We count sewing, cooking dinner (& clean up), church & youth group, bible bowl, scouts, 4H, pets, playtime when its organized (PE), library time, free reading, TV/video time as its subject matter dictates--such as history, science (we don't watch junk, but history channel, science videos, and ed videos from the library). We we travel, the kids each get a map and track our route & note mile markers. I count that as geography. If we listen to books on tape, or songs-such as the one we are working on now to learn the state capitols, we count that as well. Shopping counts as home ec or vo tech. If my husband has them help change a tire, or work on a lawn mower or other engine, it counts. I put the time in our homework tracker basic (free download) in increments of 15 minutes, and the software adds it all up.
—Guest mom-from-missouri

Homeschool hours

Count shopping trips, have your child help by writing the list (spelling), figuring out % off (math), giving you directions (geography), purchasing healthy snacks (health or science).... so many things can be included in 1 shopping trip. Also have him/her take along a book for reading while you drive.

hours of schooling

We keep a journal of all assignments and fieldtrips. The fieldtrips are usually a combination of "subjects" and I list those as the description of the fieldtrip (usually after we get back, because more happens than expected). Fixing a take along lunch, or even a snack counts towards Health & Nutrition. If we have a special event at church, that's cultural education, so there's more time for social studies! Eveything's a learning experience, so just think about all the skills that are used to do the eveyday things; they are perfect complements to the structured teachig we do. And don't forget videos and audiobooks- supplements to a variety of subjects- the public schools use them and count them in classroom learning,so can we.

Homeschooling time counted

If the child goes on educational outings such as nature walks,zoo, or even out to eat it can be counted.Going out to eat in public is considered learning social behavior.Even going to the store is teaching economics as long as you teach how to read labels,pricing and so forth.Depending on the age of the child,I take mine to Lowes and Home Depot for wood working classes on Saturdays (check local times) for votech expierences.This is for ages 5 to 12 yo.Taking nature walks can count as natural science.Have the child make a nature book and write essays on what is found.Computer work is accepted as long as you have learning games or can print out results.I keep a daily log of what my child does and that helps.Even outside play is considered the same as gym as long as some organized play is done.I print off About.com for social studies and have made a geography book for several studies and quite thorough.
—Guest Pamela Rodriguez

Don't forget...

Health, hygiene, first aid, etc. Every bath, every time he brushes his teeth, puts on deodorant, combs his hair, admires himself in the mirror, takes care of a bug bite or scratch on his own, cleans underneath his fingernails, clears out that lint-trap of a belly button... Seriously. Every single time he does these things or you teach him something new along these lines (like when he goes into puberty and such) he's learning something about himself, his body, how not brushing your teeth affects whether or not people wish to speak to you up close and personal. Haha. I mean, with the above suggestions from everyone, I doubt you'll miss the state-required mark, but don't overlook this area if you're shy on time. :)

Count it All!

Does he go to the grocery store with you? Use that as Practical Living or Math. (We use a curriculum called KONOS which lists Pracitcal Living.) Does he do Scouts? Does he play a sport (our four dance and basketball)? Music Lessons? If he listens to music ... that's music appreciation. Does he help around the house ... laundry, cleaning, kitchen, food-prep? Those all count ... they are not formal classroom classes, they are practical life. Do you ever sit and talk about things when he asks a question? All that counts. Walking the dog with you (if you have one), or taking care of a pet, whether it is keeping dishes clean and/or filled, cleaning up after it, cleaning tank/cage/yard, washing pet ... animal husbandry. Like someone else said. Find a formal class where what you do fits in. Have him tell you how to go to the store ... mapping skills. You'll be amazed at how much of his life is actually learning (after the TV/computer, etc.) Even computer time could be typing.
—Guest Another HS Mom of 4

I agree . . .

count EVERYTHING. I figure anything the school does or simulates counts. Baking & cooking are math, home ec, or science. Riding bikes or playing on the swings is PE. Drawing, coloring, painting, making cards, using stamps, cutting paper - art. Computer games and movies fall under their respective subjects - usually science or math, sometimes social studies. Legos, K-Nex, Magnetix are technical education or science (engineering). Playing in the park is PE or nature study. Church club time is Bible, and so is family devotions. Reading aloud at bedtime is literature. Reading for fun is, too. If you really think about it, much of what kids do naturally all day is learning in one way or another. Of course, if your son spends hours playing video games, you might have a hard time justifying that - but otherwise, use some creative thinking and remember that the schools simulate lots of things that can really be done more effectively at home. Doing them at home still counts.
—Guest Deanna in CO

homeschooling hours

I homeschool my 3 children in grades 2, 3 & 4. We are required to teach for 4 1/2 hours a day. One child finishes all her work in 2 hours, and another can take all day long. We count everything for a whole week - nature walks, chores, taking care of pets & animals, gardening (science), library trips, reading books, music, choir practice at church, sunday school, cooking (that can add up to over an hour or more a day alone!), constructive crafts, art, outside play time (some states require 30-60 minutes a day of PE), etc. Most everything can be a teachable moment and add to the daily time. Don't just look at "desk time", but at any activity that is constructive and positive. Social Studies, Science, and Health cover a multitude of subjects!
—Guest Lamb98

Be Creative

Homeschool isn't just about the three R's. Kids should be using those hours to learn creative things like art, drama, music, crafts and homemaking, PE, etc. Pet care is part of learning about animals. If you have a camera, photography can take some time. I think it's important for the kids to have instruction and education in the basics, but in our family, we probably spend more time on other things. I have one child that loves to draw, so I let her do a lot of drawing and other visual arts. We check out books and videos from the library and buy various supplies so she can be exposed to many different types of art. I have a daughter who loves to sing. She sings solos at church and her rehearsal time counts toward music, plus she is trying to pick up piano and guitar. We also enjoy sewing and crafts in the winter, when the kids can't play outside so much. We make gifts, bake cookies, etc. and it all counts toward art or homemaking. Let yourself have fun with it.

"Let's learn everywhere" policy

I've been a teacher for 13 years now and I can tell you that you can tech your kids everywhere. Every single minute of their lives can be a new lecture. Changes in the weather, visits to historical places like museums, buying grocery... Involving the kids in everyday activities is the best way to teach them. Respecting their individualities, loving them, and explaining everything in details are also part of the learning process.
—Guest Haynel

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