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

Responses: 66


A forum member needs help with meeting the requirements for the number of hours required of homeschoolers in her state. Not all hours have to be sitting down in front of books. Let’s see if we can’t help this homeschooler out. What types of activities do you count as schooling? How do you account for those activities?

Applications of Subjects Taught

I am not a home schooling parent, but I retired almost four years ago, after teaching for 39 years: primarily first grade and a few years of second grade. I applaud you for using what you've taught in a hands on way through life experiences. I just caution you that you really should be bringing skills and information to these field trips to make them real applications of what's been taught. It is true that just about anything can be a learning experience, although public and private school parents, most I hope, also provide these kinds of experiences which can be very rewarding.

Learning is everywhere!

We do 4 hours 4 days/week of classwork plus personal reading/review as needed. We are lucky our state doesn't hound us with record keeping, but if it did, we could easily fill the 180 days by counting letter writing as grammar, dance class as music and PE, nursing home visits asking residents about their lives as history, time with grandparents as art, history, home economics, civics, reading, etc depending what activities they do together. Instead of official grammar class, our oldest wrote a novel last year. Planting a garden can become PE, nutrition/health class, history, ecology...it's your choice! We washed the car one day & turned it into math class by determining our water flow rate per minute, X minutes spent with the hose on X our city's water rate cost. ANYTHING can be education if you just free your mind of what public schools do to teach children. Our 16 year old is now in college with a 3.75 GPA, so it has worked for us! Be creative, have fun and good luck!


To correct the response to —ep617. The state of Indiana does not require 180 hours of instruction. It requires 180 DAYS of instruction the same as the public schools. You must keep record of daily attendance. Just thought I would help clear that up. You can also go to www.doe.IN.gov. for further information. Thanks.
—Guest weloveit

Home school hours

Well said Liberty mama, my state only requires an attendance sheet each month. I don't test, just give quizzes. I don't believe in long lessons, as long as she gets the point. I use computer and TV programs that are educational as part of school. I keep a monthly record of progress and what we cover, I also keep a few papers of her work. How we teach our kids should be something that parents and guardians handle without the state telling people what to do. As long as I do the required subjects, I will do what is best for my situation and my child's. Do some states realize the pressure they are putting on some home school parents/ guardians? I'm sorry some of you feel this pressure, don't feel intimidated, do the best you can. There is some good advice given by the others here. Make it as easy as possible , don't stress you or the child/children worrying about this. Give the required subjects , but use your own judgment as to how long the lessons are and how much time you spend.

Requirements for Hours

Daily Living Skills-Chores at home, Library Day, Sports, Social Skills, Community-Shopping errands, Out to Eat Days, Physical Ed, Park Days...All these are ways to add to what you are already doing and to fill in the time for your requirements.
—Guest LC

I agree everything counts

I use all types of resources, science and history programs on TV (animal shows, weather, etc). I use computer time as study time, my kids seem to learn more on the computer games than just looking at a book all day. I work full time and many different hours so filling time with something helps me too. Count house hold chores as home ec. I used the news to do a current events lesson. I have videos that I found online for free that can count as science lessons. Bing can help you find several sites that can help fill gaps if don't mind doing research and letting your kids be online more. There are lots of websites that have learning games.
—Guest Pam

Home school hours

I volunteer at the local pregnancy care center and when my kids come with me I count that as community service hours for school. My husband jokes and says I can turn anything into home schooling. My association allows us to register our first date of school anytime during the summer and I register as June 1 so all vacations and travel during the summer count as school as long as my kids learn something along the way. Summer reading programs at the local library count towards school credit too. If I make a meal for a friend who has had a baby that counts as school too. Grocery store, or any store for that matter because you are teaching them about money and budgeting. I take my kids when it is time to vote and that counts too because I allow them to watch me and they learn. If they watch something special on TV like the space shuttle memorial the other day, that counted as science.
—Guest Rachel

Adding Audio books

Not everyone reads with their eyes, so why can't I count audio books we listen to in the car on the way to activities? We started the practice years ago and doubled our reading and I have to say my kids have a great appreciation for public speaking and theatre from the great readers in the market now. It's great for kids with interests above their reading level in science, etc...
—Guest Amy

Change your point of view

Don't look for time fillers to increase your hours. Look "outside the box" at how he's spending his time and see how that can be fit into "school subjects".
—Guest Ruth

Everything counts

If you are required to say what subjects got how much time, it's a bit tricky; but otherwise I see no problem at all. EVERYTHING your child does when conscious involves thinking, learning, reviewing, or practicing. So your child spends 4 hr per day on "school work" but spends the rest of the day riding his bike (PE), reading (language arts), watching TV - anything (language arts, visual arts, music), building with blocks (math, science, technology, visual art), listening to his iPod (music), doing puzzles (logic, visual art), playing computer games (PE/coordination, music, visual art, logic, math), etc. He's really getting in about 14 hr of learning, practicing, etc. Check off your time and relax. If you're required to breakdown time into different subjects, that requires that someone (you or your child, most likely) has to spend time paying attention to what he's doing all day (What a pain!) but it's still doable. You don't need to cover all 24hr/day and you can estimate.
—Guest Catherine

Getting enough hours

Elementary level: I would count shopping as math and home etc.; walks as nature/science since they explore as they walk; bike rides as P.E.. beach walks as science & they would collect shells then we would go back home & look them up on computer. Older kids: Shopping, cleaning, cooking and organizing their notebooks as home economics; sports as P.E.; watching discovery channel as science. Even just having a conversation about something they are learning is educating them. We discuss world events that would be considered politics and government. So talk to your kids about anything and that is educating them so that should be written down as 'learning time". In our state we don't need to record hours, but every day life is a learning experience. Which they will learn a lot more having a conversation than anything else.
—Guest Christine Davis

Getting in the "hours"

In Indiana the state asks that you teach 180 days. I stressed over that until our state home school support site informed me that learning happens all the time, not just at the table with books. Many learn on errands, trips with family, etc. That is the only "requirement" the state has. I keep track on the calendar, just in case there would be someone asking. But since there are so many home school families in this state, it would hard for them to keep track of all those families.

There are many activities that count

Have you thought about gym or P.E. classes? Anytime your child/student rides his bike, goes for a walk or plays catch is school time. My children attend Religious Ed. classes at our church and are part of the Children's and Girl Choirs. They also have guitar lessons once a week and practice for a minimum of a half hour every day. These count as school time too. Any place or time where learning occurs is school. A vacation can be time for school too.
—Guest gigihunte

I count a lot of things for hours.

I use church and youth group activities, we go for walks just to spend time together and we use that. Babysitting I use for Life Skills. I usually always have an extra 100 hours every year.


We do 4 hours of core subjects: math, history, English, science. Then our electives is whatever. My dd dance, her 12 hours per week counts as PE and arts.
—Guest Evejbar

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