October Update

So how are we doing?

According to the laws of the state that we live in, we must have our oldest registered, informing the state that we are homeschooling her. It is also recommended that a certain number of hours be dedicated to lessons each year. They also recommend tracking these hours for one’s own reference.

I’m actually finding the exercise useful, being as it makes it easy to see what we’ve actually been doing. However, even with working a couple of hours six days a week, I’m not sure that we’ll actually hit the number of “lesson hours” recommended. The problem is, of course, the easier it is to work with the kids, the less time it takes to go through the work. For example, with Tabitha, a normal reading exercise usually takes her 15-20 minutes to complete. On a day when she’s being stubborn, it can take up to an hour. In terms of “lesson hours”, it looks better when she’s acting up, because then we have an hour of a reading lesson. In reality, though, she does better when it takes her the 15-20 minutes, because she’s actually listening well, and thinking about the lesson rather than expending her energy being upset and not concentrating. So, practically, I’m trying to make sure that she gets a number of thing in in a day, and not worry so much about the “lesson hours”.

However, it does get me to thinking – a LOT of what ‘education’ has become is the counting of hours rather than accomplishments. A school day these days typically lasts between 6-7 1/2 hours. If a child is in school, all of that gets counted, regardless of what was actually done. Now, I’m not counting lunch or ‘recess’ or any of these things as lesson hours, even though a regular school would be able to, which seems somewhat unfair. Furthermore, a teacher will have 30-45 minutes blocked off for students to complete a worksheet, for example, but if a student has it completed in 10, it still counts as 30-45 minutes of “class time”. At home, if that exercise took 10 minutes, I certainly wouldn’t feel right counting it as 45.

I’m somewhat surprised, though, at how much Tabitha and Asher actually enjoy their school time. This isn’t to say that it’s always easy, in particular for Asher who wants to wiggle a lot. They are learning a lot, and probably well ahead of where most of the kids are in the classes for their grades.