What counts as school?

In WI, HSers need a certain number of hours each year. Though we aren't there yet (J. is only 3.5), I am curious about those in places with similar requirements. What do you count as school?

I don't see us every being a "we do school each day from 8 until 11 type of family. We will be more the "let's do 20 minutes of math now, then run errands, then have lunch, then do half an hour of...." type of family. And in the spring/summer/fall, a lot of science will be gardening outside for us. 

So how in the world do you count hours? Or, if you had to, what would you do?
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Re: What counts as school?

  • wifeofadamwifeofadam member
    edited February 2014
    We don't have to keep track in Ohio, but if we did, I would probably count just about everything as "school".  We only do 1-2 hours of formal lessons each day and then we have time where we read books that would count.  We also have their music lessons and sports practices that count. 

    Here is my 6YO's day so far (apart from lessons) and how I would "count" everything he did as something:

    -Morning chores, getting dressed, etc. (personal development)
    -Playing with Legos (math/geometry/art)
    -Driving to the grocery store he asked about the temperature gauge on the dashboard and how it moved from negative to positive (math)
    -Grocery shopping - he helped me find items and calculate cost (life skills/math)
    -Preparing lunch - he watched me while I cut up the fruit for everyone's plate and talked about fractions (math)

    Right now is quiet reading time, which counts as his reading work for the day.  After everyone wakes from naps he'll leave his room and the rest of his day will look like this:

    -Chores (personal development)
    -Video games for a little bit (problem solving/critical thinking)
    -Violin practice (music)
    -Playtime - maybe he'll make a book or comic at the dining room table (art), put together a puzzle (critical thinking), or play with some action figures with his siblings in imaginative play (life skills - learning to share and how to interact with others through play)

    If it were not so cold out, he would probably play outside at some point and do some independent nature study (science)

    At bedtime he reads a few chapters of a book before falling asleep (reading)

    This weekend, even though it's not technically a school day, he may go rabbit hunting with his dad, where he learns how to track the animals (science) and if they catch anything he will learn how to skin it and clean it (anatomy).  He'll also go to a soccer camp (physical education). 

    You can turn anything into a lesson that "counts".  One day we were going through old photo albums and we came across photos of an ancestor in a military uniform, so we talked about what wars he served in and where (history and geography).  When my kids go with me to vote, they help me complete the ballot and we talk about all of the issues on it (government/social studies).  When I get my oil changed, the guy at Valvoline is nice enough to explain what he is doing to him while we are waiting (life skills/science).  When we get out our Bibles to read together, he helps me find the page number or will help me look something up in the index (alphabetical order/math/Bible/reading).  When I'm cooking or baking he will help read the recipe, gather the ingredients and measure them out (reading/science/math). 

    When you homeschool, your kids are with you all day, every day.  Every moment is a teachable moment and can apply to one of the subject areas you have purposed to cover.  Just because it isn't in your formal lesson planning and curriculum, it doesn't mean it doesn't count as something.  I find that my kids learn and retain far more from the impromptu lessons that happen as a result of just spending time with them and going about our days together than they do at the dining room table with a planned lesson and accompanying worksheet.

    ETA - I was rambling and didn't even answer the question.  If I did have to keep track of hours, I would have a day planner that I would use and at the end of every day I would write the subject and activity we worked on in each hour slot.  You could then add up the total number of hours spent each day and write it at the top of the day.  I bet you'd find that you're spending well over the required hours on school!
  • @+adamwife+
    I think that's where I struggle. IMO, pretty much everything can count as school. But counting 24 hours a day (okay, minus sleeping time as school) doesn't seem right either.

    So how in the world do I count school hours in the future? Do I just estimate at the end of every day and keep a running tally? 

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  • barnwife said:
    I think that's where I struggle. IMO, pretty much everything can count as school. But counting 24 hours a day (okay, minus sleeping time as school) doesn't seem right either.

    So how in the world do I count school hours in the future? Do I just estimate at the end of every day and keep a running tally? 

    That's what I would do.  I would just narrow it down to whatever your required subjects are, fill out a calendar each day to describe what activity you did, and then tally it at the end of the day.

    I'm a nerd like this, but I would probably create my own form.  It would be two pages with eight columns along the top (one for each day of the week and one for a total at the end) and enough rows to cover all of the necessary school subjects.  Each day I would fill in the info under the appropriate subject and then at the end of the week I would use the last column to tally up the total time spent in each subject.  I think something like that would work well. 

    Here are some free forms from Donna Young.

    If you narrowed down your subjects to just the basics - math, reading, phonics, science, geography, history, social studies, art, music, physical education, and life skills - you would easily fill in enough time to satisfy the school district.  If you find you're counting too much as school, you could just set some requirements and say that from now on you're only going to "count" formal lessons and activities.
  • @AA0417
    We are in the La Crosse area. LMK if you will be moving to this part of the state.

    I totally agree with clocking in and out being a pain. That's why I was hoping to hear what some others do. I have scanned the WPA handbook. I like the idea of counting 5 hours a day for days that don't seem to be off days. 

    Thanks for the food for thought!

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  • My parents homeschooled in Wisconsin for almost a decade. We went year round, so she split the time based upon age. She wrote up a daily academic schedule, similar to what kids would have in public school, and reported that- whether that was the actual time the activity was completed or not. For example, 8-9 was math. But say we didn't actually get started until 9:30. The same math lesson still was completed, it just happened from 9:30-10:30. Rather than keeping a daily tally or making us clock in, she just always recorded every day being math 8-9am.

    All that said, I don't think they ever actually had to report hours to anyone! Has that changed in the last 10 years? (Youngest sister stopped homeschooling 10 years ago).
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  • @TamaraR4
    I don't think you are required to turn in proof of hours. I think it's just part of the law that you must school for 850 (I think) hours. But I don't think they require documentation. Unless they have some reason to suspect you really aren't HS maybe.

    I thought I should at least have some sort of plan in place, just in case. 
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