When you first read the Home Education Notification Form that you need to provide 900 hours of home education you might have had visions of your precious child sitting at a hard wooden desk for 8 hours. Maybe your thought was, “How are we supposed to do that?”
The good news is that you do not need to spend those 900 hours only doing schoolwork at a desk and reading monotonous textbooks. Although, using an interesting textbook is an excellent way to learn. :) Home Education takes place each day, all day long. You are instructing your children throughout the day. Discussing the importance of taking a bath, brushing teeth, and eating a well-balanced breakfast all are part of a health curriculum since these are components of hygiene and nutrition. Receiving an allowance; deciding on a plan for saving money to purchase something; tithing; and saving a portion of it are areas of math that are not necessarily covered in a textbook; but are essential to teach our children how to manage their money. Keeping toys picked up, not touching a hot stove, discussing and practicing how to get out of your home in case of a fire or an emergency are all part of a safety curriculum. All of these activities help to reinforce and enhance what you are studying.
One time I was telling the boys about how sound carries better if you cup your hands around your mouth and shout. Well, of course, we had to go outside and prove that idea. I couldn’t just have them go outside and yell, I decided to incorporate stranger safety into the activity as well. One son was on our play set slide while the other son was on a swing, each yelling “help” and kicking their legs with all of their might. It didn’t occur to me until well into the activity that someone might really think the boys were actually in trouble. Fortunately, no one was around to witness this event except me.
So, how do you go about making sure that you have covered 900 hours of home instruction? If you take a typical school year, which is approximately 180 days and you divide into 900 you will arrive at 5 hours. This means you would provide instruction for your student a schedule of Monday through Friday beginning at 8:00 (if you are an early bird) and finishing at 1:30 with a 30 minute break for lunch. Of course, you can begin and end school with the schedule that works best for your family.
Many families go on school-related outings on the weekends with things such as park programs with a naturalist (science), participating in sporting events such as a soccer team (physical education), going to a museum (history, art) or going on vacations and identifying birds, wildflowers, seashells (social studies,science), etc.
I created an attendance sheet that was Sunday through Saturday since we had several weekend events and field trips. You can keep track of the number of days you are homeschooling and have a record of that to put in your lesson plan book or school binder. Days add up quickly and you will find you easily meet the required hours of home instruction.
Am I advocating you sit around and watch cartoons, eat 3 bowls of ice cream and call that home education? No, I am not. You need to be purposeful in your home instruction and plan your school year, which includes all of the subjects listed on the Home Education Notification Form. You can watch cartoons and eat one scoop of ice cream in your free time. :) You can, however, make your school practical and fun while teaching your children; that is one of the benefits of home education. Educating our children doesn’t stop when we put away the school books.
If you are in need of a calendar to plan school and extra curricular activities there are many free printable calendars available. Some you can even edit, which is a nice feature. I marked the calendar date with a diagonal line through the date if it was just a half day (such as a weekend) or an x for a full day. This is a website I have used over the years and i just type right on the calendar and print it off. Easy! To view, CLICK HERE.
This is not legal advice. It is my opinion. I am not a lawyer, have not studied law, nor do I play the role of an actor in any play or motion picture. :) Please consult your local homeschool group, CHEO, or HSLDA if you are in need of legal advice.