I mentioned before, how the book "Boys Adrift" influenced our decision to homeschool. In the book, the author suggests that there are five ideas to explain the "failure to launch" phenomenon in young men. One of those contributing ideas regarded education. Specifically, that the traditional education model today is not well suited for boys. Why? Well, boys (and some girls, if they're like me) are designed by nature to be active, hands-on, and always moving.
The majority of schools squelch these natural tendencies. Order, rules, and sitting quietly are paramount. I understand why this is seen as necessary. I recognize that there are a lot of kids, and to keep things under control, this works. Still, I was uncomfortable visiting my son's school and seeing how little the kids actually played, used their imaginations, and used their hands to learn things. In fact, my heart broke when I learned that the kids really only had one short recess a day.
When we started researching homeschool, we found a learning model that fit our hopes for our kids. It incorporates the things we saw public school was lacking. It just felt right, the more and more we researched it.
So why am I telling you all of this instead of just answering the question? I think it's important to understand that we are intentional about how we approach our kids education. It isn't by chance that we do the things we do. That's all.
So, how much time? Last year, we spent about half an hour three days a week sitting down, working on school. This year, we spend about an hour each day sitting down working on school. Surprised? I know I was. I had no idea how much learning a kid could get through every day things. I was amazed to see how much my child learned through several out of the box avenues. Time to think. Talking about things on a drive, walk, or horseback ride. Observing nature. Painting. Molding bees wax. Listening to stories. Learning verses. Creative play. Cooking and baking. Folding clothes. Doing dishes. Learning about bike mechanics. Coloring. Riding bikes. Knitting. Singing. Dancing. You name it!
I'll admit, I was worried. I wasn't sure if it would work. I wasn't fully convinced until the beginning of this year. This years curriculum called for Jeff to do quite a bit of reading. Last year, as per the educational model we were following, Jeff didn't focus on reading at all. When I got out the book that we were to read on the first day of school, I was in awe of how easily it all came to him. He transitioned right in to reading a chapter book. It was pretty incredible.
I can see that Jeff LOVES to learn. He has has plenty of time to run and play, and he's still right on track with his education. All things, we hoped for when we chose to homeschool.
With this all being said, I want to reaffirm that I don't think homeschool is the only way to educate a child. This is just our experience.