Time is Precious

How much time in school, is actually spent learning?

I’ve been in the education system, one way or another, for 30 of my 35 years: first as a school pupil, then as a University student, and then as a teacher. Since we made the decision to home educate our children, I started thinking about the typical school day. And how many of the hours that a child spends in school, are actually spent “learning”.

**Edited to add: In this article, by “learning”, I am talking about formal curriculum learning; the type of “learning” that local authority staff sometimes expect home educators to provide details of. I am fully aware, and in agreement, that all kinds of other learning take place throughout the day, such as at playtimes and during assemblies etc, but for the purposes of this article (which was written to reassure home educators that they do not have to sit their child at the table to do “learning” for hours every day) I deduct that time, because it is not “curriculum learning” or “formal learning”. Of course, these times happen naturally during home education as well. I’m not denying that learning happens everywhere. But home educators, worryingly, are sometimes told by local authority staff, that they should be doing 4/5 hours of curriculum learning per day. My intention here is to show that really that is not necessary and unrealistic.**

So here is my take on it.

Firstly, I’d like to point out that I am basing my calculations on my own experience of the UK primary schools I have taught in. The day length, the timetable, the efficiency (or lack of it) in and between lessons is based purely on my own teaching experience. However, the schools I have taught in have been pretty average, middle of the road, state mainstream, Ofsted-rated Good schools, so it’s likely that other schools wouldn’t be wildly different.

Secondly, I want to point out that I am not anti-school, and I think many teachers do an amazing job, under very difficult circumstances. It is not so much that time is wasted in schools, more that a lot of time in the school day is spent on routines and procedures that may be necessary when you have 400 learners in one building and you are charged with providing every one of them with an efficient, differentiated curriculum, but they are simply not necessary in the home ed environment. A lot of my “deductions” below, come from the extra time needed to mass-educate in this way. It’s not the fault of the teachers, or the schools, it is the nature of the education system.

So….. How much time is spent actually learning?

Each school day lasts from 9:00 to 3:15.
That’s 6 hours and 15 minutes.

But not all of that is learning time:

Deduct the 15 minute morning break and the 1 hour lunch break.

Deduct the 10 minute “register and notices” time for morning and again for the afternoon, and the 10 minute end of day “packing up, coat-fetching, giving out letters” time.

Deduct the daily 20 minute assembly, which usually exists to either practise a religion, or encourage conformity with stories based around following school rules (or “values” or something similar), or celebrate the fact that they have complied and conformed and earned their merits or certificates for behaving well and following rules. None of which are necessary if you are educated at home.

Deduct the first 5 minutes of each of the 4 main lessons, because coming in after an energetic, exhilarating bout of relative freedom on the playground takes time, and because children are not robots who can instantly switch from loud, physical exertion and play, to a focused, concentrating, learning mindset at the flick of a switch, or the ring of a bell, or the blow of a whistle.

Deduct the final 5 minutes of each of those lessons, as this is tidying up time, collecting book time, deciding who’s on whose team at playground football time, sitting up straight time, arms folded, legs straight, looking at the teacher, waiting to be dismissed time.

Deduct 10 minutes from each of those 4 lessons for the time simply spent taking a brain break (or more likely a boredom break), because even as adults we can rarely stay fully focused on a task for an hour, unless it is a real passion, so we take little breaks: fetch a drink, have a little stretch or walk about, go to the toilet, ask a friend how they are getting on, or just let our minds wander for a few minutes before getting back on-task. Kids do this too, and it’s natural, until it’s metaphorically beaten out of them in the classroom environment.

Deduct 5 minutes from each session, for the time that is wasted when the teacher has to deal with behaviour issues before continuing the instructions, or the time you spend waiting for an answer from somebody else that you already know, even though your hand was first up, but the teacher always has to count to ten before asking anyone and then always picks someone else because they have to target their questions fairly to all pupils.

Deduct 5 minutes (at least) from the day, for the time spent walking in single file, as the teacher herds the class from one room to another, or to the hall, or the playground.

So far we have deducted 3 hours and 50 minutes from the school day.

Our 6 hours and 15 minutes is now down to 2 hours and 25 minutes. And that’s on a good day.

This equates to 12 hours and 5 minutes per week.

However, in an average school week there are whole time-tabled sessions that are pointless, which serve no purpose in relation to learning, or can be discounted because they simply do not apply in the home ed setting.

For example, the hour spent singing in “hymn practise” – see my thoughts on assemblies above.

And during each of the two PE lessons, 20 minutes (10 mins at start, 10 mins at end) is spent collecting kit, getting changed, and waiting for the slow coaches to tie the laces on their trainers. Also deduct another 5 minutes from each of these lessons for the walk to and from the changing rooms and to whichever sports pitches are being used that lesson.

Deduct the half hour PSHE lesson, because in home education you live this stuff. You don’t sit and learn it in a 30 minute lesson; it is part of your everyday life, running continuously through everything you do.

Deduct the 20 minute “golden time” – the reward for complying all week, and the necessary motivation, fed to children in order to keep classroom-based learning going.

These add up to another 2 hours and 40 minutes, that I’m deducting from my weekly total.

So, in a week that started with 31 hours and 15 minutes, we are now down to 9 hours and 25 minutes.

Averaged over the 5 days in the week, that makes 1 hour and 53 minutes, per day.

In a school year there are 190 days (I’ve already taken out the holidays and the teacher training days).

Deduct 1 bank holiday and 4 (as a rough average) sick days (or occasional sneaky holiday days because going one day before the end of term meant saving £300 in flight and hotel costs – who can blame you?).

So 185 days.

That makes 348 hours and 25 minutes of useful learning time per year. So far.

Just a few more “dead” hours to take off, from across the year…

Deduct 2 hours for sitting as an audience, watching other class’s Christmas plays (also known as final dress rehearsals) and 2 hours watching other class’s End of Year plays (it may be fun to watch, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t, but I’m deducting it for its lack of learning value).

Deduct half an hour for waiting in line to have your school photos taken.

Deduct an hour for the Christmas service, and another for the Easter service. Ok, so maybe your family is religious, but if that’s the case, you’d be doing these things at home anyway, wouldn’t you?

Deduct 2 hours for the assessment tests in maths and reading at the end of term 1, which serve no purpose for learning, other than to obtain a number by which the school can “track the progress” of a child, though it is not really progress it tracks, but rather their ability to answer questions in the way the answer booklet requires to get a mark.

Repeat this for the tests at the end of terms 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (except for a year 6 child, in which case these figures should be doubled).

Deduct 2 hours for the afternoon of the class Christmas parties. And another 2 hours for the afternoon of the Christmas film.

Deduct the entire last day of the school year, which is spent colouring, playing games or watching DVDs.

Deduct 2 hours for time spent traveling on a coach or train or walking, on a school trip day, unless you want to count the game of noughts and crosses, top trumps and I spy that fill these journeys.

Deduct half an hour for each term, for over-running class assemblies or “Achievement” assemblies – please no more assemblies.

Deduct half an hour for the ritual end of year whole school assembly, in which many goodbyes and teacher send offs occur, and which may only be half an hour, but in the late July afternoon heat in a school hall packed with sweaty children and sweatier teachers, feels like a lot longer.

Deduct half an hour for all the times over the year that the head-teacher has to come to your class to have a serious discussion (telling-off) about certain things that have been going on, of such a serious nature that all learning has to stop while he reminds the whole class of those school rules, even though everybody knows full well which one or two people were involved, and why do the whole class always get the blame anyway?

Which takes the total number of useful learning hours throughout the year down to 315 hours and 55 minutes.

Averaging that out over the school year, we are now down to just 100 minutes per school day.

This is what schools class as full-time and efficient education, as set out by law.

Considering that if you home educate, you are in your learning environment every one of the 365 days in the year, this equates to 51 minutes per day.

Just 51 minutes of learning per day, would achieve the same length of time spent learning, as a schooled child.

As I said earlier, I’m not anti-school. 51 minutes per day, actively learning, sounds brilliant to me. But what about all the other hours spent in school?

Our family time is too precious for that.

 

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109 thoughts on “Time is Precious

  1. Nikki says:

    Thank you for taking the time (NPI) to break this down. Only an idiot can possibly think kids learn for 6 hours a day at school.

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  2. Reblogged this on Holy Sh** This Is HARD: Thriving as a Full Time Parent and commented:
    I came across this post via a Facebook home education group. It is written by a former teacher who now homeschools. She compares the amount of time spent in school per day with the amount of time spent actually learning by deducting each regular time loss that occurs as the day progresses. She is left with less than an hour.
    We spend about 1-1/2 to 2 hours on concentrated (focused) homeschooling per day, and the rest is in essence life-learning. I always knew a lot of time was wasted during the school day (based mainly on my own recollection of attending), but I did not expect that…

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  3. Denise Moye says:

    Having just started homeschooling and feeling ‘judged’ by a lot of people, this is fantastic to know (and to keep to show the neigh sayers)!!! 😄 Thank you for doing that! My aim of 2hrs a day is more than adequate then.

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Good luck on the wonderful journey Denise, we’re at the beginning of our journey too (my daughter would be starting reception year right now if she was schooled). Glad you found this reassuring xx

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  4. I did a sociological study in graduate school where I recorded and analyzed everything that went on in a fourth grade classroom over the course of a week. Your analysis is spot on, perhaps even generous. I found the average student had just a few minutes interaction with an adult individually and only a few minutes interaction with other students during the day. The numbers, if I remember correctly, was less than two minutes with an adult and less than six minutes with other children! We’ve homeschooled for two decades since that time and I don’t worry if my children get enough instruction or socialization – it’s not hard to beat numbers like yours or mine, is it? The tutorial method we use in homeschooling is just way more efficient – not to mention fun and rewarding!

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Oh wow, it makes me a little bit sad reading those figures. But I know you are totally on the mark. Homeschooling is a no-brainer for me, taking all that into account. Thanks for your feedback and great to hear I’m not the only one frustrated by it xx

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  5. Pingback: Relaxed day for the most part… | S-Milestones

    • Monkey Mum says:

      Yes, that’s not even factoring in the travel…. I suppose that would make the school day nearer to 8 hours for some children 😢

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  6. Get real says:

    massively disagree with all your judgemental ‘school is all about conformity’ rhetoric. What’s wrong with celebrating achievement, who are you to say a classroom metaphorically beats daydreaming out of children, home schooled children spend time in the car, not just school kids on buses. I don’t think that my child spends 6 hours a day learning about letters and numbers etc but I do think they learn about being part of society, spending time with people they maybe wouldn’t choose to, and about compromise and alternative ways of doing things. I don’t think this condescending article helps the pro home school, or rather anti-school cause. My family time is precious too, but we save trips for the zoo, swimming or just playing and being together for the times they are not at school. And as you listed your qualifications I’ll mention mine as a mum and child psychologist who firmly believes in attachment and family values.

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    • Louise says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

      While I completely get why some parents choose to home school, it is unfair to burden those of us who choose to remain within the education system with the idea that we are failing our kids.

      No school is perfect. I would hazard a guess that no home school is, either.

      Every parent I know wants to do the absolute best they can by their kids. I know that my best does not involve having them at home with me all day. When we are together, they get the best of me. But I also believe that they will be exposed to a range of experience in a traditional schooling environment that they simply couldn’t get in my care.

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      • I don’t think the intention of this article was to make those in the school system feel bad. I think the intention, was as stated, was to make homeschooling families see that they don’t have too stress if their kids aren’t actively learning for 6hrs a day. I can say that time spent “doing school” is a huge stresser and often talked about among home schoolers. No one is trying to say traditional school is bad. If you choose that for you family great, the intent was to say if you choose homeschooling understand that the hours spent teaching may not have to be quite as long as you think it needs to be.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. rose says:

    So sad but ultimately true! Regardless of where in the world we live. Kids are not spending enough time learning the basics in school. You have broken this done to perfection! I have one wish though, I wish just half as much time (30 minutes per day) was spent on manners & etiquette as the kids today seem to be so sadly lacking. Especially when dealing with older people who are such a wealth of knowledge & deserve respect & a little help now & again, instead they are all too busy crossing the street texting on their IPhone. God forbid they actually might look around & help an old lady or something. Unfortunately the ignorance we are experiencing is not their fault, it is lack of education about how they should behave in public & how they should treat others, at least the old style discipline of schools taught us that! There is more to Education than the three R’s, I hope everyone who tackles the challenge of home schooling remembers this is part of building the personality of the little one from day 1.

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Thank you Rose, I agree with all you’ve said. My local home Ed community is very diverse, so we are fortunate to be able to get involved with all ages and community projects etc. I’m enjoying teaching my children respect, manners and compassion, but it runs through everything in our lives, rather than being taught in a timetabled session to a class or whole school at a time, so it’s much more personal xx

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  8. Tasha says:

    this is great for confidence, thank you. We have only been home schooling our daughter for 3 weeks now, but already she is ahead of her twin brother who goes to school. Eventually we want to home ed our three children… how do people manage with that?? Thanks 🙋

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  9. Jennifer says:

    FYI, a book called “Disrupting Class” put the average instructional time for U.S. schools as less than three hours a day. I believe the exact time was 2 hours 41 minutes. From the recommendations by the authors, they were advocating schools allow children a personalized education, with the ability to advance at their own pace and have more choice in classes, even if only that one child wants to take that particular class. Sounds kind of like homeschooling, doesn’t it?

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Yes! But with the best will in the world, near-impossible in a school environment where there is one teacher to 30 children in one room, following a compulsory curriculum, surely! One of the reasons I’m very excited to be home educating xx

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  10. Coleen says:

    I completely agree. I have a son that will be starting high school next year and I want to homeschool him but I also remember fun times in high school and I don’t want to take that away from him. I’ve never homeschooled before but I am contemplating with a couple of mine next year once we apply for the scholarship for my special needs kids. It scares me that I won’t pick the correct things for them to learn. They all have IEP’s so it seems like I would be working on school stuff all day to work with their individual goals

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Thanks Coleen, it’s one of those things that will be different for each family isn’t it, so you have to do what’s right for your family – your son might love high school and really do well there, but at least you know there’s another option you could take if need be xx

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  11. Airlie Ferguson says:

    i don’t know why I’m bothering to comment on this but are you saying that in all that time that is not spent learning, that they’re not Actually learning anything? I think they are although not formally. I think they’re even learning when they see behavioural issues being dealt with. They’re learning when they go though routines, they’re learnin when they’re on break and lunch. Always learning. Depends on attitude.

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Thanks for “bothering to comment”. I guess it depends on what you believe a school’s role to be, and what you believe a parent’s role to be. Those things could be taught through parenting. I’m not convinced that home educators, if they were to add up the time they refer to as learning time, would necessarily include those things.

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      • Airlie Ferguson says:

        No problem. It’s not all about Face to Face formal learning though. There’s so much to gain from just everyday life in and out of a formal education setting. Home schooling is fine if it’s what u want and can afford to do (I need to work can’t live on one income) but I think learning is going on in all aspects of formal education so to say they have so little learning time in a formal setting I think is misleading

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      • Monkey Mum says:

        I agree, learning happens everywhere and you are absolutely right, it’s not all about face to face formal learning. But in terms of LA expectations of home educators (increasingly asking to see evidence and plans) and (in school settings) Ofsted expectations, the kind of learning you are talking about (which IS valid learning, and DOES matter hugely) isn’t recognised as particularly high priority. Instead learning of the curriculum and progress against curriculum statements is. And it’s those expectations that a lot of home educators will feel under pressure to replicate. The time spent on that “curriculum learning” in schools is minimal, which is the point I was trying to make. My apologies if that could have been made clearer in the original post.

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    • I think that is the whole point. The was written with home schoolers as the audience, it is not a bash traditional school article it’s intention was to let home schoolers see that they do not have to actively be teaching for 6hrs a day for their kids to be learning.

      Liked by 1 person

    • LS says:

      As a homeschooling parent when I say “school time”, “class time”, “learning time”, etc I mean reading, writing, math, science, etc. I don’t count lunch unless we are cooking based off of a recipe or we are talking about what healthy/nutritious foods are and make it a class. I don’t count free play at the park or museums where she is playing with other children. I don’t count going to the bathroom. Children are sent to school to get a formal education. And while I don’t know where you are from, the country where I live handles behavioral issues as: don’t do that….if you do that you’ll go to the principal’s office…fine, go to the principal’s office…(speaking with the principal) don’t do that. Now go back to class. yeah, that teaches them a lot. Or hey, let’s talk about suspensions. You were bad…take a few days off school and hang out at home.

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  12. Abbie says:

    I’m going to probably reread this page every week! We’re over a year and a half into our home ed journey but the ‘time spent learning’ monster rears it’s head for me really regularly. School is so ingrained in our society that it’s hard to break away. I know my kids are happier, healthier and learning more but I still have doubts. Thank you for this, it’s a massive help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Monkey Mum says:

      Thanks Abbie, glad it’s helped. It’s something that’s been on my mind for a while, and definitely reassuring for me too xx

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  13. Lyn says:

    An excellent article … certainly makes you think. Reminds me of friends of mine – when I was a child, I knew a family who home-schooled their children. Both parents were university graduates (I think with degrees in psychology). They had two daughters of similar age to me. Neither went to school until they reached secondary age and needed to study separate, specialised subjects – languages, science subjects etc require specialist equipment and knowledge not possessed by the two parents. It was at this point it became apparent that the two children had not learned about socialising. They were utterly overwhelmed by the sheer number of other children in classrooms, corridors and, yes, those damned assemblies! They struggled to form friendships, lacked concentration due to the number of distractions they weren’t used to. They found that ‘turn taking’ and waiting for assistance was difficult and frustrating. I’ve lost touch with the family over the years but it would be very interesting to see how they are – they’ll be in their 40’s now.
    Thanks for the insightful and thought provoking read … X

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Thanks Lyn, I can imagine that for some children who are very focused on learning at their own pace and under their own favourable conditions, a high school environment must be quite overwhelming. It would be interesting to find out what they are up to now. Do you know if they stayed in high school or return to home schooling? xx

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  14. I don’t home school as it wan’t something I considered when my children were younger. It does cross my mind every time there’s a change with school that annoys me, but I could never take them out of school now as my boys love going to see all their friends. It is a very interesting article though I do feel that some of the wasted hours in school are spent doing things that are beneficial such as playing with their friends, and chatting about their football teams at the end of class. I wouldn’t deny that most of my childrens learning comes from outside of school but school still plays an important part in their life. I am full of respect for anyone who decides to home school, and also for teachers who do their best to educate my children. Thanks for the post.

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Thanks Joanne, I agree those things are a really important part of any day, even though they don’t get classed as learning xx

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  15. Wow! Well this gives me a great idea for a homeschool math lesson! I’m going to get a copy of our local schools schedule and we will figure up our locals schools time spent learning! This is awesome! Makes me feel a little better about our off days!

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  16. Thank you for taking the time to write that all out. A real eye opener. That now explains how my son learned to read and write so quickly only having 20 mins a day (on average) 3 days a Week!

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  17. Lynn says:

    I have mixed feelings on homeschooling. The one thing I think is lacking in it is the opportunity to learn to take direction from another adult and to understand timelines and consequences for not getting the job done in the given time frame.

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    • Monkey Mum says:

      Thanks for your comment Lynn. If it’s any reassurance to you, homeschooling doesn’t take place solely in the home, nor solely by the parent; there are classes of all kinds (academic, art/drama, and sport etc) that are commonly taken by home ed children, which require direction from other adults. And also opportunities to understand timeframes/deadlines and consequences, but in a practical, real life way, eg planting and harvesting the allotment in the right timeframe, weekly shopping before things run out, competition entries with deadlines…. Just maybe not getting a piece of academic work done by a certain time…

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  18. Loven Sunshine says:

    As a former primary teacher, now home educator, I’d have to say this all looks pretty accurate to me. I’ve often wondered how much school time is non-learning time and I’m grateful someone else has done the Maths! My other recent wondering is how often the ‘learning objective’ of a particular lesson is something that each child (a) didn’t know before the lesson (b) absorbed during the lesson due to being taught it; and (c) retained after the lesson. It’s assumed when lessons are planned that the objective will be met by most but I think a high proportion of pupils will be either re-learning stuff they already know, not learning much at all or learning and then forgetting what is being taught. Since realising all this as a home educator, my teacher-ego has taken a bashing, I can tell you. I occasionally wonder if I truly *taught* anyone anything! LOL!

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  19. Formal education wastes time: I like to think that the informal curriculum wastes nothing. Trouble is informal education is not exam oriented. Since formal education actually takes very little time, we could appropriate slots for formal learning and use the rest for stuff that actually interests us, or our kids.

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  20. szirom says:

    I haven’t read all the comments, I have no idea if I’m repeating anything here…
    This is very interesting until I start to actually think about it. When you are deducting time for this and for that you are assuming that learning only happens during times being instructed by your teacher or working on tasks set by your teacher. Just as homeschooled kids are learning throughout the day, I am sure school children’s learning continues during break time, hymn practice time, etc. We all need those breaks to assimilate new information. Not to mention learning through play and learning non-academic skills.
    You say children are not robots. So why assume they switch off their brains when they wonder over to get a bottle of water?

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    • Adrianne says:

      From what I can tell, the point of the article was to explain how much time a school spent learning curriculum. As a homeschool mom, there is always pressure to figure out if you “did enough” and the standard is the local school. And by “did enough” I mean the curriculum learning aspect – did I spend enough time with math, literature, writing, etc.? It’s easy to get nervous when your math lesson only takes 15 minutes to think that you didn’t do enough, when the local school spends 45 minutes on their lessons. I think this article was simply designed to pull apart all the elements that go into one session, to help us who do homeschool understand that our 15 minute lesson is the same amount of “classroom learning” that our kids would get in school, once we take out the “extras”. Needless to say, even in homeschooling there are plenty of the same extras to deal with. Switching between subjects, taking a break, dealing with behavioral issues. They don’t go away because you homeschool, but I don’t count them as part of my sessions – I only count the actual curriculum part, since that is what I am required to track for homeschooling. I guess if I did, that math class would easily be a 30 minute class!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Kate says:

    I really hated junior school and didn’t much like senior school, by the time I got to university I really quite liked it. I think for me it was the wasted time I couldn’t bare. I’ve always been fairly social and had friends at school but as an adult still much prefer to spend my time in small groups. I found the noise and enforced fun of school hellish. It is still something I find hellish….

    I’m not sure having to go to school did me much long term harm, though I remember being so worried at the thought of hideous last day of term ‘fun’ that I would manage to convince my Mum I was ill (not through consciously faking it, but dreading it so much I developed psychosomatic symptoms).

    I don’t know what I’ll do if my little one feels the same was about school as I did. I know lots of people (my little sister, my partner etc) loved school, so I’m trying to be positive about it. But especially junior school seems like such a colossal waste of time, I’m really not sure.

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  22. katie says:

    Hiya, its great to hear as my partner would love to home school our children. Our twins have just started reception they are absolutely loving every minute!!! School isn’t especially at 4 yearz of age all about learning – its fact that children at this age have the attention,concentration for a maximum of 10 minutes.

    I think school is great as they make friends…gain confidence, interact and be free from home life. Our 16 month old is definitely soo ready for nursery it would be herendous for him as hes so frustrated he has to be outdoors as much as we can.

    I think let them be young have fun and then if when i felt they were ready to be fully educated and they would like to behome taught i would definitely consider.

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  23. Pingback: Time is Precious | Monkey Mum | Tickly Feet

  24. An interesting insight I had was the term I had four pupils in my Reception class, the rest were Summer babies and joined a term later. I had to drastically adjust my plans as we were able to get through so much more than we would have with our regular class size. The gap then between them and their summer born peers was huge. It was a factor that wouldn’t have occurred to me but helped in my own decision to home educate.
    It’s great to have choices isn’t it?!

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  27. smadams11 says:

    the thought that comes to mind (mine anyway) after reading this is that we are constantly bombarded with ‘every second of school is essential! you cant take a holiday, no, and your child cannot celebrate and enjoy his/her birthday at home! even being 10 minutes late for school massively impairs your childs chances of success in life!’
    clearly this is not the case.based on your calculations, which i am very thankful for.
    i have been home educating my 3 children for 4 years now and they are doing very well. my 9 year old (taken out of school after only 2 months due to his aspergers and the schools lack of support) is ahead in every subject due to his love of reading and our relaxed approach to learning. the only thing he struggles with is time; regarding clock times, months, tomorrow as opposed to yesterday, this morning/tonight etc.
    my almost 7 year old is on the cusp of reading (his older brother got there much quicker-hey, kids learn at different paces) and is doing well in his other subjects. my 4 year old daughter has mastered her ABCs and numbers and will soon be on her way to counting/taking. they do formal learning (workbooks and other school type resources) for 1 1/2 hours each per day and are managing perfectly well to stay pretty much to the standards expected by within the school system.
    my children get praised for their individuality. they of course must follow the rules of the house and wherever else we may be/go but they bring their individual traits along with them and are allowed to express themselves in a way that school children are not while in school. they can wear what they choose, have face paint on if they wish, my eldest is about to get his ear pierced and he wont be made to take it out during work time. they are allowed their opinions to be heard and considered etc, if i say its work in a minute they may ask to finish there lego project first and if there is nothing pressing which leaves us free to do work as and when, then i am able and happy to say ‘yes. you finish that up and we will work afterwards.’.
    i adore home education. i completely understand those who are unable to home educate (usually through financial matters) feeling some home educators are being judgemental towards them. i dont feel this way. you put your children in school because you need to and you lack the means to home educate them. you cannot be blamed for that. my partner works full time to support me and our children and completely supports our home education (not that he gets much say in it; the decisions on money are his, the decisions regarding children are, for the most part, mine). although we certainly dont struggle financially, we have made sacrifices for the childrens education, for example we rent with no hope of a mortgage while home educating, we go without many, many things that others take for granted in order to home educate. home educating isnt terribly costly as you can make educational resources rather than buy them, print from the internet rather than buy workbooks etc but, i admit, when it comes to the childrens education, i go all out. i buy everything remotely educational. people on much less money could easily home educate if they did it more frugally.
    whew! i went off on a bit of a tangent there didnt i?! anyway, back to the point-thank you for this article. very eye opening and goes to show the little amount of time children actually get to learn in school compared to the statistics that are constantly spouted as ‘fact’.
    sorry for having no capitals or apostrophes here, i cant be bothered to be honest. my partner has a few days off work to use up his work holidays for the rest of this year so we are busy forgetting the workbooks for this week. off adventuring instead! xx

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  28. Pingback: Home-schooled children have a stronger link to their parents | Home Educating

  29. Gerry says:

    I did my own calculations before taking my child out and this highlights stuff even I hadn’t factored in – I came up with around 2 hours daily study. Brilliant post, and reassuring to a new home educator.

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  30. So interesting! Intuitively, it is what I always thought, but never wanting to dredge up math, I am glad you did! Interesting replies too. Take also into account the child, like myself, who was not always able to be engaged when those learning hours were going on. As an army brat, I moved a lot, so everyplace and everyone was always new. Much of the time I was pretending to be learning, and was furtively trying to figure out in my head where my next class was, or the name of the girl or boy who sat next to me, or what the new locker number was and if it was even on that floor. A jumble of panic most of the time, while I pretended I was actually learning.
    Annie
    http://breaktimewithannie.wordpress.com

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  31. Lindsay says:

    Very well done, thank you for taking the time to calculate this!
    Our particular school, in Canada, would probably have worked out to even less. I was always surprised at how many times my daughter would come home and say they watched a movie for the 2nd half of the day – several times a year at least. Also more time taken out to prepare for things like grandparents day, making cards for veterans, bake sales, a walkathon and other fundraisers. And yet, like another comment said, if we were late to school by 10 minutes her education was in peril. (when in fact just her conformity was in peril!)
    Amazing how people can be so mentally invested in a system that is not actually proven right, just proven tradition. God bless them though, and all you homeschoolers out there!

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  32. Pingback: Actual ‘school’ time… | A Homeschool Journey

  33. Kelly says:

    Thank you for breaking this out… and it seems fairly accurate for the states as well. And people question when my kids only spend 2-4 hours a day (at maximum) on school work… no homework, no extra special project time at home. My question is, if you are able to financially, why are you sending your kids off to an institution for 6-8 hours a day? Didn’t you have kids to RAISE those kids?

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  34. Reblogged this on The crow's gift and commented:
    There is so much truth here. Some days we are on fire and we homeschool actively for 4 hours. We are both focused and ambitious and productive. And then we might have three days where we get our maths done and our reading but not much else. And yet we already have way more down on paper to show for our time homeschooling than we ever had all together from four years in public school. Not to mention, he’s happy. No more angry outbursts. No more wishing he was dead, from him or his peers.

    It has not been easy but I am so glad I finally found the courage to say yes to homeschooling.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. When I was in 2nd grade (USA), I missed so much school from being sick my mum asked if I’d need to repeat (I didn’t, and later won a full scholarship to university). But even as a 7 year old, I noticed I completed my daily schoolwork in perhaps an hour, so why did I have to leave for school by 7:15AM, and return at 3:45PM? I never did get an answer.
    My six children have never been to school. Tonight my oldest girl, 14, is receiving a monetary award for an essay contest. Home education is working out just fine.

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  36. Gary ey says:

    Well done for that thorough insight into school hours👍 I never realised it would be so little learning time, and thus reinforces my belief that we made the right decision to home school😀

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  37. Great article. I have always argued the same myself, but never actually broken it down. I think you may have under estimated the amount of time each lesson dealing with behaviour issues too, and waiting for the kids to be quiet and listen, and repeating the instructions for the benefit of those who weren’t listening even after all that sssshhhing…

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  38. Timothy Monk says:

    I have been home-schooled myself for many years, as well as attending various formal schools. I am currently in year 11 at a private school in Australia, so many of those deductions you made would be changed dramatically for me, but I can definitely see your point. There are two more benefits for home-schooling that I have noticed: Firstly, having a parent teaching you means you are far more likely to pay attention and far less likely to muck around. Secondly, you are able to move at your own pace. I particularly noticed the effects of my second point in that, upon re-entering the formal school system for year 6, I was learning for something like 30 minutes a week. Suffice to say that I didn’t stay for the second half of the year.

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