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The number of homeschool hours is a hot topic to discuss among homeschool moms and families who want to start homeschooling children. The homeschool hours I refer to is the number of hours children need to sit down around the table.
As homeschooling is very flexible, the numbers of hours are also different from one family to others. Even from one child to other children. However, many people often compare it with the standard that the government set or the public schools have. Elementary students in Indonesia start school at 7:00AM to 12:00PM-3:00PM from Monday to Friday on average. It varies from grade to grade. High school students start at 7:00AM to 2:00PM-4:00PM.
To contrast with our schooling time, we start at 8:00AM and with several break or ineffective time, we have to finish at 2:00PM for all levels in rough. If I count it properly, it will do only 4 hours in the morning with 2 high schoolers and a 4th grader. If they have unfinished things, they need to finish after the extra evening activities. However, my fast learners and workers will finish before that time with over 6 subjects. Even they finish earlier when they are younger.
Do you see the contrast number of hours our homeschool has, compared to the common school practice? That really gives me homeschool mom guilt. People will think that we learn less than common school children, which make me more guilty. They think homeschool children cannot work as hard as the school children.
The Reality of Homeschool Hours
The 6 to 9 hours of schooling will include
- making a line in front of the classroom early in the morning
- the noisy classroom between the lessons
- the opening and closing “ceremony” (Indonesian Tradition to shake hand with teachers after class, greeting teachers, etc)
For us, the 6 to 9 hours will include
- character and manner education every single minute that is not detailed in school.
- daily practice for the skills which children feel interested and commit to do. It includes music, reading fiction, dance, and sports.
- Our hands-on activities which are possible to adopt in common school here.
Well, learning at school and homeschooling is very different. Academic learning is important for us, but it is not everything. Life skills, religion and other moral education, like the sex ed are also not less important.
Some countries or states might require homeschool prove to make sure that all people receive the right of being educated. That is one responsibility of the government. Homeschooling family usually needs to submit a portfolio and attendant list to help the government controlling the responsibility. As a good citizen, we need to help the government in working on the education mission. We still need to submit the learning evidence.
Homeschool Mom Guilt
However, when it comes to the attendance list, it is unavoidable for homeschool mom to exaggerate homeschool hours to meet the standard. Rather than reporting hours of learning in detail, it is better to make a presence list by days of “schooling”. We don't need to be in details because homeschool is really different from common school.
Do you think we have told lie or given the fake information about the attendance list? The most important thing is being honest to yourself about your commitment to the homeschool vision and mission. As long as you have done what you suppose to do with the homeschool mission achievement, the information about the homeschool hours is only a rough way to measure the parents' responsibility toward our children's education.
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Adelien Tan is a mother of three awesome boys and a wife of a great husband. They are a home education family who live in Surabaya, Indonesia, where home education is still very rare. English is her foreign language, but She tries to use it in blogging.