I came across a mom’s blog from 2015 where she breaks down the actual time used in the school system for “Learning”. (Link provided here for full details). Her analysis is based on a school system in the UK, where she states they have 190 days (after holidays and such) of school. Here in Canada we have 180 days of school. So in comparison, where they have an average of 100 min a day of learning, the analysis works out to Canadian students spending approximately 105 min a day learning. She further breaks it down to compare homeschoolers schooling 365 days of the year, for an average of 55 minutes a day of learning.
For most homeschoolers in our area, we do follow the September to June calendar for school, but we do not stick to the 180 days as most of us do not even know when the P.D.Days are scheduled in the school system. (Unless we have a lot of kids in our neighbourhoods, and then we see them running around outside).
An average homeschooler probably has about 196 days of ‘school’ a year.
365 days in a year
– 104 weekend days
– 50 week days from 10 weeks in summer (if you take summer off)
– 5 days during march break (or any week vacation)
– 10 days during christmas holidays (if taken)
196 days for school
Every homeschool situation is different and uses different learning styles and tools. All I can relate on is what we use and do. In our personal situation, my husband uses his time to drive a school bus for a private school so we tend to follow his schedule (a.k.a the school calendar – 180 days).
The average school student covers 4-5 subjects in one day, and not every day. The subjects are spread out through out the week. In High School, students only study 4 classes a semester.
For our kids, they spend at least 15 minutes a day in any given subject. Our subjects include penmanship (hand writing), bible studies, math, literature, grammar, french and Latin. Just those subjects alone put us at 105 minutes a day! We have already matched the average Canadian student. Now add into it the time spent on history, geography, and science – at least 90 minutes a week; and then add into that piano lessons, dance classes and other classes. On average our youngest spends at least 2 hours a day doing ‘school’ work. Our oldest spends an average of up to 4 hours a day (starting high school level courses next year). These are minutes with their actual noses in books, or pens in hand.
There is a big difference in comparison to what I went through in school. Don’t get me wrong – I loved school. Well, I realize now it was the love of learning that I desired. However looking back, especially in high school, I was bored. For most classes, I had to sit in a class for 70 minutes while the teacher taught the lesson, and in most cases we didn’t get to do any work during the class, we had to complete homework at home. I learned more doing the homework than from the teacher. So on top of spending all those hours in a class room during the day, I had at least a few hours at home too! (Now I see why some students skip classes and still got high marks).
For homeschool high schoolers, they study at their own pace and can usually get a course done quicker than it is provided in the school system. Here in Ontario, the standard requirement for High School courses is 120 hours each course. This is based on the time spent in a class room. If a teen utilizes distance learning courses, they can complete the same courses in a fraction of the time. Some distance learning gives the student the full 12 months to complete a course. There is a lot of flexibility.
After taking a look at these numbers, it should set any homeschool parent at ease. If we miss a few days, you can relax knowing that it won’t set the kids back. The time they do spend in their studies is actual learning time, and if done in an environment that encourages of love of learning, your children will retain so much more.
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