How Long Should I Spend Homeschooling Each Day?

A question I am often asked is how long I spend homeschooling my children each day.  For background purposes, my children are ages three and five.  Homeschooling (as I have probably stated in other blog posts) is simply home education.  And, as long as my children are awake, then they are learning! Life is an ever-changing process, and all humans must continue to learn every moment how to function in this process we call life.  So, in essence, my children homeschool all day and most of the night. Even while they are sleeping, they are often thinking (dreaming!) of new ideas and new experiences that we often discuss in the mornings over breakfast.

“But, really,” you might say, “how long do you actually sit down and teach?”  Well, here’s the deal.  We are creatures of habit.  And, because of that, most people learn best by seeing and reacting as well as putting ideas into practical use.  I mean, seriously, what do you do when you want to learn something new?  Perhaps you want to know about the culture in Spain.  How would you go about doing that?  Would you break out a textbook and have someone lecture you on the culture of Spain?  Would you then take a test on that lecture to prove to the speaker that you were listening?  Probably not.  Unless you have the time and money to visit Spain and experience the culture firsthand (that would actually be the best way to learn, and I guarantee you would never forget what you learned), then you would either contact someone who you know has been to Spain and simply ask them about their experience or you would research online or maybe even check out a library book or video all about Spain.

So since I believe that the best way to learn – really learn – is to experience something or research on your own, I am not a big fan of sitting and talking for hours on end about one subject and then filling out papers to “prove” that the information sticks.  What usually happens when we attempt to learn in such a way is that the information stays with us just long enough to pass the test. Then we forget at least half of what we “learned”.

My children are still so small that playing is a huge part of their learning experience.  So, we probably spend an hour or two each day sitting down and talking about “school” subjects and we do worksheets a couple times a week.  Why do I have them doing worksheets if I don’t believe it is the best way to reinforce information?  Obviously, they need to learn to read and write properly in order to function well in this world.  They also need the opportunity to discover any interest they may have in literary arts, coloring, painting, etc.

To recap, I try my best to make sure my children learn in a way that suits each of their diverse personalities; and, learning does not always involve long lectures and paperwork.  We are a moderately relaxed homeschool family who values education according to God’s intention for mankind.

Advertisements

A Beka: Discovering God’s World Science Review

I’ve done a video already about the Science Reader that I am using this year for my preschool and kindergarten aged children, but I thought I would post a written review here as well.  A Beka Grade 1:  Discovering God’s World is the name of our Science curriculum.

 

I am using this textbook with both of my children at the same time rather than choosing separate textbooks for each child.  My children are close in age (19 month apart) and have above average comprehension levels.  I am not saying that to brag.  Although I am very proud of my children, I think it’s necessary to share this information in order to give an accurate review.

 

Since we have a very laidback approach to homeschooling and my children are only three and five years old, we don’t do the activities and review questions that are included in the text.  However, as we read, I ask my own questions about the passage.  We also do not read an entire unit per week.  We only read and discuss roughly two or three pages per lesson.  And, we only do lessons once or twice a week.

 

My kids and I really enjoy the lessons from the A Beka Science reader.  They love the colorful pictures and easy to understand wording, and I enjoy the Bible verses that go along with each unit as well as the layout of the book.  This textbook was written so it can be used in family style learning such as we do or as an individual study.  Also, it can be broken down into short lessons as we prefer or in longer lessons suitable for 6-8 year old children.

 

There are always vocabulary words, activities, poems, scriptures, and more that could be used if you choose.  Like I already mentioned, we do not go over vocabulary words or do the activities given in the text.  But I do test my children’s understanding of each lesson by pausing occasionally and asking related questions.  We also create our own activities.  For example, one of our lessons was about fingerprints and how each person has unique prints.  So, we checked out our fingerprints by using washable paint.  Any lesson from this textbook can be altered to fit your family.

 

I will link my video review in the comments below!  Also, I would love to know what your family uses for Science!