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How Long Should Homeschooling Take And What Curriculum Do You Use?

From Our Forum a Reader Asks:

I was wondering how much time I should spend a day homeschooling my daughter. She will be in kindergarten this year. I have heard some people say it only takes an hour or two, but I want to make sure . Also I am looking for an afordable curriculm that has some invovment but leaves most of it up to me. What do you use?

8 comments to How Long Should Homeschooling Take And What Curriculum Do You Use?

  • glurpy

    I didn’t do ANYTHING formal with my kids in kindergarten. Don’t get me wrong: we still talked about numbers and counted and I read stories and we played phonics games and explored age-appropriate science, etc. But we did not sit down for “school time”. It was just part of our daily life!
    How long it takes depends on what you want to do, what materials you want to use and, most of all, on your child.
    If you want something that leaves most of it up to you, don’t look for a pre-packaged, single-grade, all-encompassing curriculum. Just get the support things you want, like a workbook to practise writing letters or a cheap K-level skills book from Staples, a grocery store…

  • Maryfran

    1-2 hours is all it takes.
    I didn’t care for 100 Easy Lessons because, when my child ran into a roadblock, there was no way around it. There wasn’t enough variety. Maybe I wasn’t teaching it right, though.
    I used Sing, Spell, Read, and Write, which is much more expensive and, while I liked it and do recommend it, it is not what it’s cracked up to be. It’s very strong in the beginning, but gets weaker as you move through the curriculum (for instance, it never tells you when y and w are vowels and when they are consonants–at least not in the original one). Still, there’s a wide variety of activities in the beginning, so if your child is stuck, you have something to do, some way to work on their weakness besides just rote drill. They now have a version for kindergarteners, but I’ve never examined it. You probably want to look for something cheaper, but I have several kids and my mom bought me ssr&w for my oldest, so for us it worked well.
    You might want to try the “What Every Kindergartener Should Know.” It’s one volume. They have one book for every grade. They claim to be a complete curriculum for the grade, but I have my doubts. Still, it’s inexpensive, comprehensive, and interesting. You can use it as a guide and your basic curriculum, and supplement it.

  • Barbara C

    You usually read that for kindergarten you don’t need to do more than 30 minutes of formal instruction, if that. For first through third grade about an hour, for fourth through sixth about an hour and a half, for seventh and eighth about two hours, and high school 4 hours. These are just approximates on the maximum side of things. Not every kid needs this much time everyday. And depending on the method they choose, some people do more, less, or no formal instruction.
    At your daughter’s age she will learn a lot from playing, activities, and field trips. If you want to start her on math, I suggest the Singapore Math curriculum http://www.singaporemath.com/Default.asp .
    They have a two-year (4 workbook) kindergarten curriculum starting at age 4. You can check the table of contents for each workbook and sample pages to see where your daughter should start. It pretty affordable and is one of the top notch math curriculums.
    You can also check out this website for the top homeschool curriculum choices to see what you like:http://www.cathyduffyreviews.com/index.h…
    As you plan what you want to do with your daughter you need to consider your state’s laws, your budget, and what your goals are. What subjects do you think are most important? Do you want a religious slant on everything? What do you want to emphasize.
    My daughter is almost five but wouldn’t be able to start kindergarten for another year. We use Singapore math, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (on break until she is completely ready), and some Kumon workbooks (number games is great). We keep a world map and U.S. map on the wall. On good days we have story time in the morning. Through our homeschooling group we raised caterpillars into butterflies and do playgroup. We also look for learning opportunities in daily life.
    You can also check this site for a typical course study list for each grade: http://www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?cur…
    Good luck!!

  • Jessie P

    My daughter just finished K. She did worksheets for about 20 mins to half an hour (mainly about letters, numbers and colors). Then we would read books together and I would let her do an art project. It never took more than 1.5 hours a day. And I would not buy any curriculum.

  • Craig R

    The others are right that you don’t need more than an hour. Probably not even that. You should work on all the basic stuff, which you don’t even need to do in a formal setting. For example, counting, alphabet, days of the week, months of the year, seasons, etc.
    For formal subjects I would think all you’d need to work on is reading, writing, and math. You should read to her as much as possible. Set aside a day each week to go to the library. You can read books there and check books out.
    She can work on writing her name and her phone number (always good to teach them their phone number) and maybe even her address.
    For math it’s important to work with physical items in order to establish the connections between the physical world and the abstract world of numbers. Count things, sort things. Cuisinaire rods are fun. If you have a teacher’s shop nearby they have all kinds of little doodads for counting and sorting.
    If your daughter seems ready to read there are some good phonics-based reading programs out there. It’s been so long since we had a kindergartner that everything has changed. (We used the old Alpha Omega “Little Patriots” series, which was very very good but is no longer made AFAIK.)
    Think about involving her in grocery shopping and other activities that will exercise her mind in different ways. That’s important at this age. Don’t spend too much time on “school work”. It’s just not necessary.

  • Lorelei

    We did nothing when ours were that young. Dont get me wrong, they learned alot but most was not book work. For science we did things like watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly, or a tadpole to a frog, fun experiments like mentos in a bottle of soda, nature walks, field trips to the science center, zoo etc. For history, we visited museums, read books (Usborne has some great ones and the American Girl series is a nice introduction as well), For math and language arts, we did some worksheets, used the leappad, played games (I even made up a few that were a big hit), read books, etc. We did art projects, went to play groups and just enjoyed spending time together.

  • When my son was in "preK-K" I spent an about an hour with him. My daughter (4) sits in on school with my son (8) so it is longer for her but by her choice.She really likes to listen to science and history etc. It amazes me how much she picks up. I really only spend about an actualy hour with her on her school work,"preK-K" should be very laid back and fun.

  • Melissa C

    I agree with Glurpy in not really needing a formal curriculum. May I suggest though, if your child is ready, a great book for reading. It is called “Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I really loved it and I had a 4 year old who was in my care reading before he went of to kindergarten.

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