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How Much Daily Time to Spend on School?

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, March 31, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 26 March 31, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Leftover Easter Candy?
Resource Review
-- Gifted Children at Home
Reader Question
-- Daily Time Spent on School
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Easter Candy and Home Chemistry

One of my favorite science blogs is by a mom who homeschools
her children. She begins, "There is a long and glorious tradi-
tion of torturing leftover Easter candy." See the 'science'
behind vacuum and microwave experimentation here:


Don't have any "peeps" left -- and feeling left out? Check the
half-off candy sale at your grocery store! :-)


Do you have suggestions to share about home chemistry experiments?
I'd love to collect our readers' favorites!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Resource Review

Gifted Children at Home -
A Practical Guide for Homeschooling Families

Authors: Janice Baker, Kathleen Julicher and Maggie Hogan
For more information or to order: www.brightideaspress.com


"Have you wondered - or perhaps you already know - if you have
an intellectually gifted child? Written from a Christian
perspective, 'Gifted Children at Home' provides guidance and
practical advice from three moms who have experienced the chal-
lenges and joys of raising a gifted child.

'Gifted Children at Home' begins by providing some assessment
tools to aid parents in determining if their child is gifted,
and then guides the reader through a process of deciding if
homeschooling is the best option for their child. The rest of
the book focuses on a variety of academic and parenting topics.
I found the chapters 'Acceleration and Grade Skipping' and 'Tips
You Can Use' to be especially helpful. It was encouraging to
know that it is okay to skip some material in a general textbook.
I had been looking for accelerated textbooks but I never really
found any. Instead, 'Gifted Children at Home' gave me the confi-
dence to basically structure my own 'gifted' curriculum. In
addition to more traditional academics, the authors have also
included information on using outside activities, encouraging
each child's unique learning style and the benefits of using
apprenticeships. The only minor weakness I found was a lack of
information on the social aspect of homeschooling a gifted child.

As a first year homeschooler with a gifted child, 'Gifted Children
at Home' has been invaluable to me. With lots of practical tips,
insight and encouragement, it has given me the confidence to be
creative in my homeschooling approach. I would highly recommend
this resource to anyone homeschooling an exceptionally bright
or gifted child." -- Paige McMillan, homeschool mom of 2


Review brought to you by www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com
Visit Cindy's website for more wonderful resources and reviews!


Suspecting you have a gifted child? One of the authors and the
publisher of "Gifted Children at Home", Maggie Hogan, sponsors
our Homeschooling Gifted Yahoo Group! Join up -- and find out
what other moms and dads of gifted children have to offer!


Last Issue's Reader Question

"I'm new to home schooling and curious about an average time
length of a 'school day'. I have a 10 year old girl in 4th
grade and an 8 year old boy in 2nd grade. I work with my chil-
dren using curriculum in the morning from 9 to 12 with a couple
of breaks. It is difficult for me to get their attention after
lunch. They feel like they are 'done' and their learning seems
to shut down. Are we doing enough?" -- Jenn

Our Readers' Responses

"Jenn -- That is definitely enough time to cover everything for
those ages. My daughter, who is also in fourth grade and almost
ten, is the same way. We have NEVER spent more than a few hours
(rarely that much) on focused curriculum, and she tests extremely
high on national tests. If you feel like you should be spending
more time 'learning', then do activities with your children that
are not 'schoolish'. Go outside and enjoy nature, bake, build,
garden, play games, work puzzles, learn a craft, work on house-
hold or other life skills, read aloud, volunteer, do yard work
for yourself or a neighbor, etc. Children learn in so many ways;
even while playing. My daughter loves to pore over her Zoobooks
magazines in her spare time. But mostly she just wants to play
and be a kid. Tonight she and a friend are playing and they
decided to write a TV show. They made up super hero type charac-
ters for themselves as well as their pets. They came up with
villains and other characters using family members and neighbors
as models. At last glance they had pulled out her little sewing
machine and were making costumes for the dogs. I should mention
that I don't sew so well. She has taught herself because she was
interested. As a side note, not only did they create characters,
but each character was given special strengths and weaknesses.
All of this was done in the name of play. I'm not saying that
we should allow our children to just be lazy and play all day,
but there are so many opportunities we have to teach our children
skills, information, and character qualities outside of the realm
of 'school time'. I have started reminding myself of the slogan
'teachable moments'. When a child has a question or an interest,
delve in right then. Don't wait! I have learned that by the
time I get around to it (*if* I get around to it) the interest
is gone. They will learn more while they are interested than
the whole pile of information that was planned. You can always
go back to the plan in an hour, or a day, or a month. Trust
your instincts. God gave your unique children to you, no one
else. Your day will probably never look like anyone else's.
Do what works for your children and your family. Enjoy them
and allow them to enjoy you!" -- Kandyce


"Yes, you are doing enough -- maybe more than enough, consider-
ing how young your children are. Remember the traditional 6-hour
school day is for classroom teaching. What you are doing is
private tutoring, which is far more efficient and productive.
You will be able to accomplish twice as much in half the time."
-- Mary Beth


"You are doing plenty! If they are shut down to learning the
traditional way, I would change gears. Read aloud to them, take
a nature walk, play board games or just spend time enjoying one
another. Ride bikes together, explore a local park, get your
hands into paper mache', do a art/craft project, listen to stories
on tape in the car, join a local homeschool group and make friends.

You will find that this is all learning time, too. Don't restrict
their learning to curriculum and think outside the box. Most of
all I would say enjoy your children while they are young. They
grow up so fast! Jenn, you will find that these are some of the
most enjoyable years with your children when you just do things
together." -- Lori


"Many families have their own take on this question. For us,
our morning is for activities other than school. I am schooling
my two youngest (ages 5 and 6) with the same curriculum (we just
call it 'early elementary') and it takes about an hour a day with
a little reading before bed to wrap things up. We usually do it
in the early afternoon, within an hour after lunch. My 12 year
old daughter, in middle school, does some independent work in the
morning, and then I work with her in certain subjects (science,
math) after the little ones are done -- maybe from 2 to 4 pm, for
an hour or two.

In other words, we do not formally school in the morning -- just
the afternoon -- and I feel like we get plenty accomplished.
Most 'school' children spend time doing things other than learn-
ing while at school; lunch, play, standing in line, etc. I think
that one to three hours of formal seat work or learning a day is
more than adequate for elementary age students. As long as they
are learning and you are happy with their progress, I don't see
any reason to drag out the 'school' part of the day longer than
necessary." -- Anne M.


"Hi Jenn -- think of it this way -- in 3 hours you may have
finished what a 'normal' public school day does in the whole day.
Yes, after lunch my attention span goes bye-bye too. And I'm a

Think about it -- an average public schooler spends time getting
settled in a class, going from class to class all day, and then
putting books away, etc. So, 3 hours is probably enough. How-
ever, if you feel the need to homeschool more -- in a certain day
-- let them exercise a little outside. Usually that wakes me up,
and might them also. Or are there ways you can do some 'schooling'
outside of the house, a field trip, going to a store to check
labels, prices, etc.? Keep on keeping on in HIM." -- Anita in WI


"It may be different per state. Tennessee requires 4 hours per
day for 180 days. I usually do seated school work in the morning
and after lunch and recess we do 'life skills class'. My children
help fold clothes, wash dishes, prepare supper, go to the grocery
store, etc. They know they have free time to watch one hour of a
video or play outside when life skills class is over so it usually
goes quickly." -- Amy S.

Answer our NEW Question

"My son will be 13 years old in the fall. He really wants to
work independently but is a slow reader, which inhibits his
ability to work as quickly on his own. His days are done faster,
easier and with less frustration when I work with him. Does
anyone have any suggestions for any curriculum which is suited
to independent work?" -- Beth


Do you have suggestions or some wisdom for Beth?
Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

Need Immediate Help?

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Check out our schedule of daily chats and jump right in! :-)


[Note: This ministry is geared toward Christian parents, but all
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