Real truth about homeschool hour requirements: Asking “How many hours is homeschool?” or “How many hours should homeschooling take?” are all normal how to homeschool questions. We’ll cover the SURPRISING how many hours a day is homeschool in an average homeschool day, PLUS a free homeschool hours log printable schedule to help!
Homeschool Hour Requirements: How Many Hours of Homeschool a Day?
When talking about how many hours is homeschool, I think you’re going to be surprised — especially if you grew up in a traditional school setting (like public school).
Let’s take a closer look at homeschool hour requirements and how much time does it take to homeschool.
How many hours a day do you have to homeschool?
Most home school parents find that they can effectively homeschool their children in around 2-3 hours each day for 3-5 days each week. How many hours homeschooling takes will depend on factors like: how many children you homeschool, age and stage of the children, the curriculum or method you are using, outside classes and activities, and the requirements for your state.
Many states have a minimum number of hours (or days) you must meet each year, and some states even break down how many hours you must meet in specific subject areas. Most states don’t require a specific number of homeschool hours per day and leave that to the homeschool parents discretion.
Always check your state laws first! How many hours are required for homeschooling in Missouri may differ from those homeschooling in Texas which will vary from how to homeschool in California and Florida homeschool hour requirements. Your homeschooled laws will vary (and will have very little to do with a a school grade chart that shows hours by age).
So how many hours a day do homeschoolers work?
In general, homeschooling takes much less time than public school and you won’t need 8 hours every day to homeschool your children! Remember, you are homeschooling a few kids and not an entire class of 27 kids like in public school (which takes way more time).
You don’t need to worry about homeschool hours by grade! You just need to be willing to be flexible enough create a customized homeschool schedule that works for your family!
Remember: One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can tailor learning to meet your needs and schedule, so you may homeschool for fewer or more hours than this based on your needs.
How many days a week do you homeschool?
How many days a week should you homeschool and how many hours of homeschooling a week will vary based on your students. Homeschoolers often homeschool anywhere between 3-5 days (or more) per week. The best thing to do is check your state homeschooling requirements. Some states require that you meet a certain number of days per school year and you want to make sure you meant those. Otherwise, homeschool as many (or few) days per week as it takes to complete your lessons for the week! Learning time for your kids will vary! Some weeks that may be 5 days, some weeks that may be 2 days.
What about a homeschool hours by age chart?
Don’t be fooled by those “true homeschoolers” hour requirements or “typical homeschool days” or “homeschool hours by age” posted online. Every homeschooling family is unique! One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you get to tailor your learning to meet your kids’ needs, so don’t do a disservice to your kids and try to fit in 6 hours of homeschooling when 2 hours would’ve gotten the work done for the day.
THERE ARE NO SET “SPEND 2 HOURS FOR PRESCHOOL OR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 4 HOURS FOR HIGH SCHOOL” (etc.) REQUIREMENTS.
Follow your own gut and let your kids lead instead of thinking that homeschooling literature and advice is set in stone.
How many hours does it take to homeschool at my house will look very different from a typical homeschool day at your house and it will also look much different than a public school day.
How long is a school year?
Many states follow a 180 day school year requirement, but the laws vary by state (and sometimes even within school districts). Many homeschoolers choose (but may not be required) to follow that same 180 day school year as public schools. Remember, check your local laws for how does homeschooling work (including if there are any day and hour requirements) for your state.
How do homeschoolers keep records?
What kind of homeschool records you keep and tracking homeschool hours will depend on two main things:
- Laws where you live (like your state homeschooling laws) on what you need to collect and/or report, and
- Personal preference and how to log homeschool hours if it’s not required by your state.
Homeschool Hours Log
In some states, you are required to track your homeschool hours. At the end of the year, or during intervals throughout the year, you may be required to submit those homeschooling hours to the state. You can track your time on a homeschool hours log, which can be as simple as writing the cumulative hours for each day or as detailed as how much time you spent on each specific topic or subject. There are also homeschool hours tracker available.
If your state does not require to you to track hours, then it is up to you if you want to keep track of them. Some homeschoolers like to still keep track of what they do on certain days, by using a calendar or homeschool planner, just so they can go back and review what was accomplished. (You don’t necessarily need a homeschool hours log book if you’re not required to keep hours.)
GRAB OUR FREE HOMESCHOOL LOG AND SCHEDULE PRINTABLE that can help you track your schedule and homeschool required hours.
IMPORTANT TIP: If you have to track attendance or homeschool hours for your state, pay attention to when the state considers the start and end of a homeschool year. For example, some states will run on a July 1st – June 30th school calendar, which means your reporting hours must be within those dates for the school year.
What counts homeschool hours?
What to count as homeschool hours can be confusing, especially if you’re new to homeschooling. However, you need to remember that learning takes place everywhere! Your kids don’t necessarily need to be sitting at a desk and reading from a textbook to count as learning. So, homeschool hours can be counted anytime your children are learning!
Think of it this way:
- Cooking covers math, reading, life skills (and more!)
- Nature walks to look for different birds and bugs covers physical education and science
- Watching historical documentaries covers history
- Playing Minecraft (video game) uses problem solving, creativity, and critical thinking
- Doing chalk art on the driveway covers art, creativity, and color matching and fine motor skills for younger kids
And, the list goes on and on! Don’t get stuck into an old school mindset of thinking learning only takes place with a textbook and a workbook during certain hours. How long is a school day? However long it takes you to do all the learning you have planned!
►This is not cheating the system! This is just the reality of home education and it takes a new way of looking at things! If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around this or thinking your kids won’t get the learning they need, definitely check out our post about deschooling.
Homeschool Credit Hours
This is also a great place to cover homeschool hours versus homeschool credit hours.
Homeschool hours are the actual hours that you spent on a topic or subject. For example, if you spent 2 hours on Math on Monday and 1 hour on Math on Thursday, your homeschool hours for Math for that week are a total of 3 hours.
Homeschool credit hours are different and are usually tracked by high school homeschool students in order to keep track of their Grade Point Average (GPA) for college admission or transcripts.
How do you figure out credit hours?
Credit hours vary based on type of course (for example, lecture versus lab time). One course credit is generally between 120-180 hours of instruction. This is attending a 1-hour course each school day for a 120 (or 180) day school year. (This is known as the Carnegie Unit.)
You may find this helpful, especially if you’re homeschooling high school: How Do I Get My Homeschool Transcript?
How many hours should you study per credit will vary, but is generally around 2-3 hours of student engagement and studying per week.
How many credits do you need to graduate high school homeschool?
As with anything home school, you first need to check your state homeschool requirements. Many states do not have specific credit requirements to graduate high school for homeschoolers. Some parents follow the public school graduation requirements of 24-26 total credit hours.
If your homeschooler plans to go to college, it is also a good idea to check out the admission requirements for homeschoolers from those colleges to ensure you’re meeting those.
If you’re wondering how many hours in a day should you homeschool high school, you’ll need to adjust your learning hours based on the credits you want to achieve (for college, etc.).
ALSO CHECK OUT: How To Create A Fun First Day of Homeschool
Do you get credits for homeschooling?
First, check your homeschool high school credit requirements. You can choose to assign high school credits for homeschooling, even if it’s not required by your state. You may also get dual credit at home by enrolling your high school student in college courses and counting them as both high school credits and college credits.
If you’re wondering, “How do homeschoolers get college credits?” this is how!
ALSO READ: Can you do part time homeschooling?
How Many Hours a Day Does Homeschooling Take: Example
Sample Homeschool Schedule: How Homeschooling Works For Homeschool Multiple Ages
To give you an idea about homeschool hour requirements, let’s pretend that we are homeschooling three children: preschool (age 4), middle school (age 12), and high school (age 16).
Here’s what a sample homeschool schedule may look like for this family of three children:
8:30-10:00 a.m. Chores/breakfast/quiet time/quiet play or reading
10:00 a.m. Group Bible or Religion study time / Other Group Study Tailored To Your Family
10:30 a.m. Preschool quiet play/coloring; middle school math (assist); high school math (online self-paced course)
11:00 Read books to preschooler (assist); middle school keyboarding (online self-paced course); high school art (online, self-paced course)
11:30-12:30 Group nature hike at park/lunch picnic/finished for the day
And then, the next day, you cover different subjects and topics.
Don’t think about a homeschool schedule as “what we do all day” and just trying to meet a certain number of homeschooled hours. Instead, think about how you can engage your student to learn!
When you’re homeschooling multiple grades, you can combine some of your studies across the ages/grades and other studies will be individual.
This will affect how many hours do you homeschool. Some days it take longer to homeschool. On other days, homeschooling will go really fast.
Also, remember that homeschooling preschool and kindergarten will take a lot less time (and be more about free play and motor skills) than maybe a third grader who needs more direction with a specific curriculum.
As your child gets older, chances are they’ll need less help and they will become more autonomous in their studies and only need assistance here and there.
The great thing about homeschooling is that you have the flexibility to tailor homeschooling to what works for you and your children and the home schedule.
If the high schooler likes to sleep in and complete their work in the afternoons, then let him/her!
You can focus on the younger kids while your high schooler sleeps and then maybe work on outdoor activities with them later.
Don’t be afraid to switch things around and figure out what works best! (And don’t worry about those pesky average school day length charts!)
Also, homeschooling an only child will take a lot less time each day in your homeschool schedule than homeschooling several kids. If you find yourself stressing about what to do for 2 hours each day because you’ve already completed what’s on your schedule, you’re definitely approaching home schooling the wrong way.
REAL Truth About Homeschool How Many Hours A Day
OK, now that you have some info about homeschooling hours, I want to drop a truth bomb on you when talking about what do you need to homeschool:
You need to be less worried about a specific number of homeschool hours and more about the best way that your homeschooler learns.
Each time I see that homeschool hours per grade graphic circulating on social media, I cringe.
That’s because learning at home doesn’t fit into a nice tidy hour requirements box.
Not only that, those hour requirements that circulate set up unrealistic expectations in your head.
What if you are wondering “How many hours homeschool kindergarten?” and you see a graphic that lists you should be homeschooling kindergarten for 4+ hours each day, but you find that you are covering everything you need in 1.5 hours?
Are you going to pile on more work for your 6 year old each day?
Are you going to wonder what you’re doing wrong and maybe feel like a failure?
Instead, remember this:
YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN THE GIFT OF HOMESCHOOLING AND ALLOWING YOUR CHILD TO LEARN HOW THEY BEST LEARN.
PLEASE DON’T WASTE THAT TIME BY TRYING TO MEET A NUMBER OF HOURS PER DAY THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOUR FAMILY BECAUSE A DAY AND AGE CHART SAYS YOU SHOULD.
When thinking about homeschool how many hours per day, your day will vary greatly from other homeschooling families.
And, it should!
One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is being able to tailor your learning the way that best meets the needs of your homeschooler and your family!
One Last Note on Homeschool Hour Requirements
Before you do anything else for home school work, you must check your state (or country, if you are outside of the United States) laws and requirements for your area.
Every state in America has different laws and requirements for homeschooling.
So, be sure you understand what is required of you, including if there are any minimum hour or days of instruction requirements.
How many hours of homeschool per day will vary greatly on where you live and how you homeschool, so don’t be afraid to be flexible in your homeschool schedule. Forget those grade age charts!
DON’T MISS: BALANCE: HOW TO HOMESCHOOL AND WORK
Would like to get that book on how to start homeschooling your child by Jacqueline Wilson
You can get it on Amazon:
What do you do if you move in the middle of the year to a state that requires a certain number of hours per day? We are moving from a state that has no tracking requirements for homeschooled kindergarteners to one that requires more than 1000 homeschool hours per year. I have been tracking days but not hours…guessing it has been less than the required 6 hours per day, so I am not sure how to handle our incomplete records.
Hi Kay, Are you moving in the middle of the school year or at the end. If you are moving at the end, I would just start the new school year counting hours. If you are moving in the middle and are being asked to provide homeschool hours, I would review your activities and equate hours to them as best you can. Also, check to see if there is a homeschool liaison or a FB state homeschool group for your new state. They should also be able to help with this kind of question.