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Five hours a day of instruction?
© Beverley Paine, Nov 2007
Five hours a day of instruction?
My initial response to this requirement often asked of home educators by educational authorities is - what's really needed, 'instruction' or 'learning opportunities'?
Five hours of instruction may seem onerous but five hours of learning opportunities is more than achievable. Most homeschools do that without much effort at all.
Don't forget that the five hours of instruction that a child receives in school also includes being instructed to take out her books, move from one area to another, go to lunch, play games, stop talking, etc. Classroom management involves a great deal of instruction. The learning opportunities embedded within this instructional time is limited.
By comparison, consider how many opportunities exist for learning in a homeschooled child's life. He is given instructions throughout the day, all of them relevant and meaningful to his personal life, with immediate outcomes that he can further reflect and learn from.
From the minute he gets out of bed to the minute he climbs back in to go to sleep a homeschooled child encounters context rich learning opportunities.
Consider the daily chores and the necessary daily tasks your child must perform to stay healthy and happy - these are all essential parts of his education. It's worthwhile spending some time to analyse each to see what curriculum subjects - skills and content - are naturally and easily covered.
Feeding pets, walking the dog, cleaning out the pets' cages... there is a huge amount of health and science packed into these examples. Children don't need lessons, they need information, advice, simple achievable instructions, pertinent feedback and encouragement.
Personal hygiene - washing his hands and face, cleaning his teeth, dropping his dirty clothes in the laundry basekt, brushing his hair and applying sun-screen - are natural learning opportunities covered in the curriculum subject Health and Personal Development. We don't teach our children the importance of these everyday matters in discrete lessons, they are learned gradually over time by reinforcement, patient explanation of reasons and growing responsibility and understanding.
Summer presents additional challenges for rural folk like us: we run through
Everyday life at home is packed with moments of learning and instruction!
When asked what time my children started home educating every day I'd reply, "About 8am, usually before breakfast." What time did they finish? "Around 9pm, at about bedtime, often after watching a documentary or two on the telly, or having played a card or board game with their parents." That's about 13 hours of education a day.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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