As a homeschooler you have taken on a huge responsibility for the education of your child. Basically, you have accepted to get directly involved in all aspects of a school- everything from curriculum selection to grade management. This post will focus on a small part of all the things you have going on as a homeschooler but a very important part indeed. The question is “how much time does your child need to spend learning math?”. From my experience there are three guidelines that I feel all parents should try to follow as closely as possible.
Now, before I go over my list I want to stress that I live in the “real world” and I know that schedules for families can change on a dime- so no parent should feel that they need to follow my recommendations perfectly. However, having these general guidelines will be very helpful when evaluating if you are spending enough time on homeschooling math.
- 30 min for instruction /30 min for practice each day.As a general rule middle and high school students should spend somewhere around an hour a day learning math. However high school students in more advance math courses will likely need 1.5 hrs study time each day. In a school a teacher needs to conduct various classroom management tasks before they get to actual instruction. Most teachers will be lucky if they can get 30min of instruction time in a normal class setting- so if you can get your homeschooler in front of a math lesson each day for 30 min that’s excellent. Moving onto homework, a middle school level student should spend no more than 30 min a day working on homework and a high school student no more than 1 hour. So now that you have a guideline for the day lets look at the week for math.
- 5 days a week.I believe the best math results for middle and high school students is a 5 day a week schedule. I know that many schools have block schedules where students get math 3 times a week however I in my experience a 5 day program of learning is more effective for most students. As such, I would recommend that math be apart of your Monday – Friday routine each day. There are many reasons why I recommend 5 days a week but let’s me try to sum it up in one word “immersion”. When students are more immersed in math learning and practicing on a daily basis they tend to retain better and their skills are sharper- so if you can stick with the 5 day plan.
- Full academic year per course 8 – 10 months.My last guideline on time is how long your child should spend on completing one course. I believe that the standard academic year (8- 10 months) works very in terms of the amount of time needed to cover a grade level. As a matter of fact, many teachers have to compress a curriculum to finish a course within a year. Moreover, almost no teacher at the middle and high school level can teach everything in a typical textbook – even when given a full year. So, give yourself an academic year to focus on that one course unless an issue comes you where you need to adjust.
Well, there you have it- my suggestions on how much time you should be spending homeschooling math. As I said, many things can come up and disrupt your math schedule in a day, a week and a year. Nevertheless, when you can get back to a routine these guidelines will hopefully give you some ideas on how to build a great homeschooling experience for your child.