Can a One Hour Homeschooling Schedule be Effective?



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Can spending only one hour a day on formal homeschooling be enough to educate your child to a high level?

Find out if this approach works, and how to go about it.

We have used my fun one hour schedule with great success, but I have had some emails asking if this is a 'real' schedule.

Would children really learn on it? Would you be doing enough?

I tend to use that specific schedule as a short term one (to keep things fresh) - but it got me thinking.

How many hours a day do you need to homeschool for it to be effective?

Most people homeschool for three to four hours a day depending on the age of the child
- so could this really work?

Well firstly, how do you define the time spent 'homeschooling'?

There is a difference between formal teaching and learning opportunities.
Homeschooling quote

Children can have learning opportunities at any time (and at lots of times). Just because you aren't teaching them for several hours a day doesn't mean they aren't learning. Everyday life is informative enough, even without including all those fascinating projects that your child will get into when given the time and space to do so.

A one hour homeschooling schedule would involve one hour of formal instruction, and then lots more time spent on field trips, fun projects, games, reading, chores, and any other activities you or your child get interested in.

One hour homeschooling, and the rest of the time spent on natural learning opportunities.

So why even do an hour?

Well, many unschoolers would argue that you shouldn't.

But I think a lot of us are still worried that certain elements of education may be 'missed' if we don't 'teach something'. I do feel a lot that this is more a reflection of me (and my insecurities) than on the children (who seem remarkably capabable of learning all sorts of things when I am not looking). But still. It makes me feel better.

Yes, but will I be doing enough?

I can be confident about saying yes to this. There is a wonderful book available by Matthew James called Homeschooling Odyssey. He says

"Hour-a-day homeschooling has sent our six children to Stanford and beyond. While academic achievements are gratifying, they represent a drop in the bucket of benefits in store for families who schoose to homeschool."


The book itself is a wonderful, heart warming read. Matthew doesn't talk much in the book about his 'curriculum', but he used the hour to work on subjects such as such as grammar, spelling, and arithmetic.

In the year 2000, Paula Rothmel did a study at Durham University that concluded ;

"Despite excelling in the academic assessments, the home-educated children tended not to engage in formal study. There was evidence of these children picking up reading, maths and other skills without systematic instruction"


And unschooling websites are a real eye-opener. There is a LOT of evidence, that this relaxed method of one hour homeschooling works.

Of course, it won't always seem to you that the children are learning! You have to remember that learning is a gradual and cummulative proccess. It is like watching children grow physically - you can't see the difference on a day to day basis - but one day you realise that they have shot up! It is the same with learning. You may think they are spending too long on 'apparently mindless' activities' - but then you will be surprised at how that will spawn all sorts of interesting questions and projects.

    Investigate this further :
  1. Autonomous Learning
  2. Self directed Learning

Why you should try it.

Spending just one hour homeschooling a day really focuses you on what you want to achieve with your children. It helps you cut out 'busy' work, and get to grip with basics. What does your child REALLY need to be taught. And how can you do this in the most effective way?
Ohe Hour Homeschool Schedule

How can I do One Hour Homeschooling?

If you would like to try this approach then you need to begin with your homeschooling goals. Which subject areas you are most uncomfortable 'leaving to the children'.

Decide how to break up the time. 15 minutes each of 4 subjects, or 2 thirty minute sessions would work well - depending on the age of the child. How about 15 minutes of Math, 15 minutes of spelling and grammar, and then a dedicated read-aloud session? If your child works best when concentrating for longer periods, then maybe one hour of math, history, writing, geography and science (one subject per day) would work better. I have some ideas for one hour schedules here.

And for the rest of the day?

Why not try some of these educational activities? And if you would like to recieve a monthly list of homeschooling ideas, then do sign up for my newsletter below ;
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Can this work for High School?

Sure - this is the way we have tended to work as my children have got older. We use the hour to review any problems they are having, look at work completed and set goals for new projects they want to complete. I have found this a great way to help them become independent learners. Outside the hour, of course, I am still available to help - but this way they schedule their work themselves and make their own decisions about what to do and when.

Why not give it a try?

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