Many homeschooling families wonder how long a typical homeschool day should be. The answer is that this varies for each student and each family, and will change as the child gets older. In the early grades, the parent is completely involved in the learning process, but as the child moves through the grades, more and more work is done independently.
Grades K-3: roughly 3-4 hours per day
In the younger grades, the curriculum is presented in a natural, informal manner, providing opportunities for focused work as well as active exploration. It is always beneficial when children do not feel forced into the activity but instead become involved because it sparks something within them. The following schedule offers a natural balance between active and focused periods, and it provides a good foundation for a daily routine.
- Circle time: 15 minutes of songs, verses, fingerplays, and movement games
- Language arts: 45 minutes of reading and writing
- Math or science (alternate days): 45 minutes
- Reading: 15 minutes of reading
An additional hour of the learning time is spent actively engaged in hands-on projects, bringing the total up to three hours a day. As the student progresses, more time is spent doing academic work.
Grades 4-8: roughly 4-6 hours
By the time students are in middle school, they should expect to work at least one hour per day, per subject. Of course, some students will need more time to do their work well, and others may be quicker in certain subjects. Every student is different but this gives you a general idea of what to expect.
Middle school is also an important time for your student to practice ownership over their homeschooling day. Some students like to complete their most challenging subjects early in the day or week while others prefer the opposite, working first on the subjects they can breeze through and check off before tackling ones they may need help with. Present different options for organizing the school day, but ultimately let your student set their daily schedule. If the schedule doesn’t work well, discuss the reasons why, and allow your child to adjust the schedule to better fit their energy levels and peak focus times.
High school: roughly 1 hour per course per day
In general, most high school students work best when a specific time of the day is dedicated to doing school work, and there is a healthy mix of focused book work and creative, experiential projects. Including an element of physical activity during each school day is also vital to a healthy, happy student.
Use these suggestions of how much time to spend homeschooling per day as guidelines, and remember that every student and family is different. Continue to embrace the things that work and gently let go of the things that don’t. With a little flexibility and creativity, most families and students quickly discover a rhythm to their school day and week that works well for them.