How Much Time Does Homeschooling Really Take?

Feb 8, 2016

mom and child homeschooling

"I could never homeschool. I don't have enough time."

  • Maybe you're a single mom.
  • Maybe you have to work outside the home.
  • Maybe you have a large family.
Not having enough time is a common reason for not homeschooling. 

Does homeschooling really take a lot of time? Is it necessary to school the children for 6 or 7 hours each day? How does that work?

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If you are concerned that homeschooling will take all day, let me help you set this concern aside.

Homeschooling takes less time than school.

  • Most of us aren't dealing with 40 kids at a time.
  • There's no need for busywork. 
  • There's no passing out and collecting papers. 
  • The kids aren't switching classes.
In fact, when we remove all the extraneous activity from a school day, we are left with about 1.5 hours of actual instruction.

Think about that.

Now think about being at home with our own children. How much time could that take?

Not much.

In a homeschool, you can teach your child more in less time.

I can't speak for everyone's homeschool, but during the elementary years, our  homeschool day was about 1.5 hours of formal instruction per day. 

What subjects did that include? 

  • history
  • geography
  • math
  • science
  • literature
  • foreign language
  • art and artist studies
  • music and composer studies
  • poetry
  • bible studies
  • scripture memory
  • math
  • language arts (writing/composition, grammar, spelling, reading)
  • handicrafts
  • life skills
How did I fit that many subjects into only an hour per day?

Short lessons

Young children have short attention spans. They can fully focus on a task for about 10-15 minutes. Keeping the lessons at only 10 minutes, means we could cover more topics per day.

Combining lessons

History and geography, for instance, can be combined more often than not.

Alternating lessons

  • Picture and artist study on Monday. 
  • Music and composer study on Tuesday.
  • History every day, but poetry only every other day.
You see where that's going? We didn't study every single subject every day.

What about upper grades? Did that change anything?

Middle and high school call for longer homeschool days.

As children grow older, their lesson times can be increased according to their attention spans. (See special needs below for exception.)

- elementary ages: 10-15 minutes per subjects

- middle school ages: 30 minutes per subject
- high school ages: 45 minutes per subject

Why those specific lengths of time? Because that's the average attention span at those ages. Working with the child's natural attention span means they can form the habit of focusing, and we don't wear them out, mentally.

Obviously, this means the homeschool days grew longer, right? Yes, of course they did.

Click to see a sample of our middle and high school schedule.

By the time the children are homeschooling high school, they're doing full homeschool days.

But did that mean my homeschool day was longer? No.

Take another look at the Family Work portion of our schedule. that's the time when we work together.

Family Work - Middle and High School

Now look at the schedule below. This was the family work portion when the girls were younger (upper elementary and middle school). See how much more time I was spending on family work? 

Although the schedule read 9-11 a.m., it rarely took that much time. It took about an hour. But that was an hour. Nowadays I spend about 10 minutes on family work.

It is clear the children's lesson time increased, while the time I spend working with them decreased.

You know the saying: 
The goal of parenting is to work yourself out of a job.
The same applies to homeschooling. Over time, the children work more independently. Meanwhile, you're working yourself out of a job.

As you can see, homeschooling isn't nearly as time-consuming as you might think. As a single, working mom, I have been able to do it in two hours or less per day.
Are you afraid homeschooling will take too much time? You'll be surprised at how much time it REALLY takes! #homeschool

Will homeschool take longer if I have special needs kids?

If you're thinking, "But my kids have....," let me tell you what my kids have.

My kids have autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, sensory processing disorder, dysgraphia, mental health issues, and other processing disorders.

If anything, some of those processing disorders led to their homeschool days, as high schoolers, being shorter than the planned schedule above. In other words, we couldn't quite reach the 45-minutes-per-lesson goal because their attention span or struggles didn't permit it.

Are you surprised at how long homeschooling really takes? If you homeschool, how long is YOUR homeschool day?


  1. This is so interesting and resourceful! My husband and I have already had several conversations about our son's schooling-and he's not even a year old yet! Haha. But this is so encouraging to know, because I always had the thought it was an all day thing as well. Thank you so much for sharing! <3

    1. Hi, Savannah! So glad you found it encouraging. I started out with the public school mindset, too. I actually made my son HATE learning before I figured out what really works.

  2. This is so true! Learning at home doesn't take anywhere near as long as learning in a school setting. And you're right - our goal should be to work ourselves out of a job. People always ask me if homeschooling is getting harder now that my boys are older and I say, "No, it's actually getting easier... for me, anyway."

    1. Michelle, Yep. That's the natural process of growing up - autonomy.

  3. Ashley2/13/2017

    When you replied about above, you mentioned that you made your son hate learning before figuring out what worked. So have you blogged about what worked or how to find what works for your child?


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