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What do you do when you need more hours?


Kela
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My daughter is in K5/1st grade. My state requires so many hours per school year. Today we did about 45 minutes for Bible, 1.5 hours for math (I know that's a lot but she was loving it and I actually had to make her stop.) About 45 minutes for reading and probably 1/2 hour for science. In order to fulfill the requirements we need to do 5.5 hours per day. Our day was still only 3.5 hours of actual instruction time. According to HSLDA, this is not units of study or chapters but actual instruction time. I am doing activities with them such as games and manipulatives in addition to seat work. What else can I add?

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I would count art of all kinds: conventional mediums plus Lego/block building, bathtub paints, stringing beads, play dough, etc.
I would count PE time: playing outside, biking, hiking, swim lessons, etc.
I would count educational shows: Wild Kratts, Super Why, Storybots, etc.
I would count all audiobook and read aloud time including bedtime stories.
I would count music: singing, playing (or playing around with) instruments, learning about instruments, discussing music, etc.
I would count all logic/problem solving/critical thinking: jigsaw puzzles, logic games, etc.
I would count all health and "home ec" instruction: learning about diet, cooking, boating safety, etc.
I would count all classes, museum and zoo visits, even shopping or bank visits if you discuss budgeting/economics/comparison shopping, etc.
I would count technology and computer skills.

Really, I would count all the things they "count" as part of a public school day.  And I would not limit that to only what they normally offer to kids her age...just because they don't offer cooking, computer programming or sex ed to 5 or 6 year old, doesn't mean that we can't include those in our school day.

Then again, take this advice with a grain of salt because I live in a no-regulation state where I don't even have to register my homeschoolers.

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19 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

I would count art of all kinds: conventional mediums plus Lego/block building, bathtub paints, stringing beads, play dough, etc.
I would count PE time: playing outside, biking, hiking, swim lessons, etc.
I would count educational shows: Wild Kratts, Super Why, Storybots, etc.
I would count all audiobook and read aloud time including bedtime stories.
I would count music: singing, playing (or playing around with) instruments, learning about instruments, discussing music, etc.
I would count all logic/problem solving/critical thinking: jigsaw puzzles, logic games, etc.
I would count all health and "home ec" instruction: learning about diet, cooking, boating safety, etc.
I would count all classes, museum and zoo visits, even shopping or bank visits if you discuss budgeting/economics/comparison shopping, etc.
I would count technology and computer skills.

Really, I would count all the things they "count" as part of a public school day.  And I would not limit that to only what they normally offer to kids her age...just because they don't offer cooking, computer programming or sex ed to 5 or 6 year old, doesn't mean that we can't include those in our school day.

Then again, take this advice with a grain of salt because I live in a no-regulation state where I don't even have to register my homeschoolers.

This! Everything is educational! 

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Public schools do NOT "instruct" for 5.5 hours straight each day at the kinder/1st age. Nor at any of the elementary ages. For the Kinder/1st ages, at MOST, maybe 2 hours of actual instruction is happening, and the rest of the day is the teacher herding cats, classroom management, re-explaining, and re-directing children on-task.

There is no need to waste your time in homeschooling on that. Count everything you do in real life as school, and just label it in the "jargon" required. Examples:

- Math = any mention or use of numbers, counting, patterns, sorting, etc. during the day
- Language Arts = all of your read-alouds, audiobooks, solo reading, informal writing, etc. etc.
- Field Trips: any errands or outings you do
- Reinforcement: card games, board games, educational computer websites/games, educational videos, etc.
- Social Studies = discussing community/jobs while running errands;
- Arts & Crafts: coloring pages, stickers, painting, stamping, clay, glitter, etc. 
- Music = singing; playing music; listening to music; dancing to music; etc.
- Consumer Sciences: assisting with making/cleaning up breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc.
- PE: morning walk around the block; nature hike, trampoline bouncing, jump roping, etc.

Again, as a homeschooler, you do NOT need -- or WANT -- to imitate a public school classroom. That is NOT going to be in your individual child's best interest.

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Those are great suggestion! 

Here are the regulations:

You must provide your child with at least 1,000 hours of instruction every school term.

Six hundred of the 1,000 hours of instruction must be among one or more of the following core subjects:

  • reading,
  • math,
  • social studies,
  • language arts, and
  • science.

These subjects must be taught consonantly with the child’s age and ability. Of those 600 hours, among the core subjects, 400 must occur at the “regular” homeschool location, which is not defined in law.

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If you are homeschooling a child who is younger than 16, you must maintain (but do not need to submit) the following records for the child:

  • A plan book, diary, or other record indicating subjects taught and educational activities engaged in. This requirement can be satisfied by keeping a daily log of hours of instruction. (HSLDA offers a fillable spreadsheet that our members can use to keep a daily log, attached below.)
  • Samples of your child’s work.
  • Academic evaluations. (These could be regular tests in the various subjects, annual standardized tests, etc.)

Alternatively, you can maintain “other written, credible evidence” that is equivalent to the three types of records listed above.

Always have on hand at least two full years' worth of records (unless you are just starting out).

During a child’s elementary and middle school years, you should always have on hand at least two full years' worth of records. For a high school student, the records (for all 4 years) should be kept indefinitely.

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I have a first grader and we are in a high regulation situation too. I am naturally a very scheduled and organized person, almost to a fault. I completely understand and respect the other posters saying they would count living life as school, but that doesn’t work here. There is a LOT of planning involved on my end. I tinker around with the activities to ensure we don’t wind up short on our requirements. I’ll post a pic of my daily plan. “The Daily 5” is straight out of the public school playbook, I had it in there last year and my evaluator said it was great. YMMV because technically it does have the adult reading aloud chapters. In my experience, the key is using the educator language. When I type this plan up for my official records I will denote that I used a 5E lesson plan for math. Math Lit is considered the first e, engagement. Miquon worksheet will be evaluate. I haven’t decided on the other aspects yet. 🤣
 

For testing, I just make up my own exit tickets that have the main themes from whatever we learned and then I grade it (not in front of my son because I think it’s ridiculous to grade a first grader.) We’ve also done projects at the end of our science and social studies units and I use those as our “test.” We use Miquon too, but I bought Red Bird math (computer) so I can print out the measured progress. He only does Red Bird once a week. 

image.jpg

Edited by AnneGG
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32 minutes ago, AnneGG said:

I have a first grader and we are in a high regulation situation too. I am naturally a very scheduled and organized person, almost to a fault. I completely understand and respect the other posters saying they would count living life as school, but that doesn’t work here. There is a LOT of planning involved on my end. I tinker around with the activities to ensure we don’t wind up short on our requirements. I’ll post a pic of my daily plan. “The Daily 5” is straight out of the public school playbook, I had it in there last year and my evaluator said it was great. YMMV because technically it does have the adult reading aloud chapters. 
 

For testing, I just make up my own exit tickets that have the main themes from whatever we learned and then I grade it (not in front of my son because I think it’s ridiculous to grade a first grader.) We’ve also done projects at the end of our science and social studies units and I use those as our “test.” We use Miquon too, but I bought Red Bird math (computer) so I can print out the measured progress. He only does Red Bird once a week. 

image.jpg

Am I doing the math right that those times add up to almost 6.5 hours of school for a first grader?!?!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of plan, but around here aiming for that would burn us out and drive us away from homeschooling. Almost all of that work looks like it is high prep, teacher intensive, requires high levels of impulse and self control, long attention spans, and tons of fine motor stamina.

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When mine were in early elementary, I had a daily plan that took 1-3 hours - some math, handwriting, reading (phonics or reading comprehension, depending on age), and then a bit of science, history, geography, art, or music (we did these in blocks of 2-6 weeks, so only one at a time).  At the end of each day I listed what we had done in a standard student homework agenda.  Some days might include a hands-on activity (build a model, draw a picture, color a map), and I saved these or took pictures.  Some days had field trips.  I read classic stories (fables, the original Winnie the Pooh, etc) out loud and considered that part of our time, too.  They had outside time or active play inside if the weather was bad, and you could list that, too.  Many of their toys were educational - building toys, games like Memory, floor puzzles with maps or the human body or the solar system, etc.  Those could be counted as science or history time. Their screen time was stuff like Magic School Bus, Wild Kratts, etc, and I'd count that as educational, too, if I needed to.  

With my kids, we could not have done anything approaching direct instruction for 4+ hours/day.  But, they could happily spend a whole day at a kids museum, old-time farm museum, or national park.  We weren't exacting - some days were probably stretching to be 4 hours, but activity days were sometimes 6-8 hours of exploration.  I think that for young kids the hours thing doesn't really fit.  As they get older, they naturally take longer.  

As for the records-keeping, I just got a file box and dumped everything in it.  I had a couple of boxes for each kid.  After 2 years had passed, I'd weed out everything that I didn't want (workbook pages, etc) and keep 1 file folder of examples (one math test, one handwriting page, and any fun projects or neat writing assignments) so that I could compare over the years.  We found that our saved work got smaller, likely because little kid crafts are so bulky, but printed copies of a high schooler's typed papers are very compact (although math is still bulky). 

Edited to say:  Other than math, handwriting, maybe spelling, and the occasional project, we did very little output  in early elementary.  I had planned to do more school-ish things, but found that having to produce output got in the way of learning.  My 2nd grader didn't write papers, but they used army men to re-enact various famous battles for fun.  Sometimes I'd snap a picture.  We started working on output more in 5-6 grade, when I focus on essay writing.  

Edited by Clemsondana
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12 hours ago, Kela said:

My daughter is in K5/1st grade. My state requires so many hours per school year. Today we did about 45 minutes for Bible, 1.5 hours for math (I know that's a lot but she was loving it and I actually had to make her stop.) About 45 minutes for reading and probably 1/2 hour for science. In order to fulfill the requirements we need to do 5.5 hours per day. Our day was still only 3.5 hours of actual instruction time. According to HSLDA, this is not units of study or chapters but actual instruction time. I am doing activities with them such as games and manipulatives in addition to seat work. What else can I add?

Is she doing any writing (or anything that could prepare the wrists for the effort of writing, such as creating art)? Also, is she doing any physical education? These don't necessarily have to happen every day, but they'd definitely help your daughter's education, deserve some place in the plan if not already there, and should be included in your hour count for state purposes as and when they are included.

If you're not sure if your daughter can handle much more output, pick something that is all or mostly input, like reading books (or having books read to her, either by you or by technology), watching educational videos or music appreciation. These can be things you can do without having to put in as much work as for subjects like maths (where teaching effort can't really be scaled down at this age).

The other option is to extend your school year. A 40-week year with a 1000-hour requirement means only 5 hours of teaching per weekday, except for those weeks where you have an all-day outing (pretty much all of which are educational at this age), when the other days only need 4.5 hours of teaching. And at first-grader age, I think it is likely the child will learn more by having more consistent education than doing longer hours punctuated by long holidays.

Edited by ieta_cassiopeia
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It looks like you're homeschooling in Missouri? A quick Google search shows that school isn't compulsory in MO until age seven.

https://fhe-mo.org/missourilaw

 

(I'm not in MO. Find a local homeschool group and ask for help!)

ETA: find a LOCAL group, and don't just take what hslda says for truth without looking into it. They aren't always correct. 

Edited by Noreen Claire
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3 hours ago, wendyroo said:

...There is absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of plan, but around here aiming for that would burn us out and drive us away from homeschooling. Almost all of that work looks like it is high prep, teacher intensive, requires high levels of impulse and self control, long attention spans, and tons of fine motor stamina.

Agree. That is one of the problems in how public schools are set up for elementary ages. Because of declining test scores and ability with basic math & reading skills, rather than actually directly addressing the problems, administrators say "we need more rigor" -- and shove increasing amounts of inappropriate work for that age into lower and lower grades, believing that is what "rigor" is, and that "rigor" solves the problem.

Rather than increasing academic skills and performance, the result is:  increased seat work + decreased time for exploration/imaginative play = burned out on learning by 4th/5th grade.


Back to scheduling academics in the homeschool setting:

Because homeschooling allows for so much learning to happen in a short period of time through 1-on-1 teaching/tutoring, the general rule of thumb is roughly 1 hour of academics per grade level. So 1 to 1.5 hours for a full-on 1st grader is plenty -- with a young kinder/1st grader, 1 hour of formal work is plenty.

If a child is genuinely interested in doing more, and enjoys reading/read-alouds, activities, exploring, etc. -- then I could see a 5yo kinder/1st student doing something like 15 minutes of morning "together time + 45-60 minutes of core subjects (math & LA) + 30-60 minutes of content subjects (Science, Social Studies) + 15 minutes of rotating 1-2x/week for each of Art/Music/other subject(s). So a total of 2-2.5 hours of formal, structured learning time per day.

With all the great suggestions from @wendyroo, @Clemsondana, and @Noreen Claire -- LOTS of informal activities can be put on the schedule to fill high-regulation state needs, while NOT burning out child (or parent)...

Edited by Lori D.
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5 hours ago, wendyroo said:

Am I doing the math right that those times add up to almost 6.5 hours of school for a first grader?!?!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of plan, but around here aiming for that would burn us out and drive us away from homeschooling. Almost all of that work looks like it is high prep, teacher intensive, requires high levels of impulse and self control, long attention spans, and tons of fine motor stamina.

I’m trying to bank some extra time since we are getting ready to move and will not be doing anywhere near 5.5 hours for several weeks.

Its not hours of formal sit down school at all. It’s TV that happens to correlate (peg + cat) , it’s books that I frame as teaching time, it’s games and activity I deem as exploration (making cookies and playing using our senses), it’s a walk around the block and tallying up taxis we spot. 
 

It’s definitely high prep. He’s the only kid I homeschool so I have the time. The professionals (he has therapies for SN) in our life are definitely against homeschool so that adds another layer of stress, not knowing if and when the authorities may demand proof of education.

As I said, a lot of proving your hours just comes down to knowing the educational jargon. Daily 5/5 E/ Workshops don’t have to be formal desk work , they are a code for plugging in whatever it is you are doing. If you were planning to clean the house together, plug it into a lesson plan. There are like 100 ways to make that sound academic and actually be academic. 
 

We all do what we need to do and what works for us in our specific situations. Maybe one day I won’t have to do all of this.

 

Edited by AnneGG
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When I heard the 5.5 hrs a day... I kinda figured Missouri. Why? Because I misunderstood it that way when I was looking at laws in case we moved there to be nearer dh's family.  glad that did not happen. but.  anyway.....  Agreeing to check if you're required to count hours before a certain age.  Most of my friends did not worry about counting hours like that before a certain age due to the laws.  Let me share their collective experiences. and yes, the mom graduated her children to college, etc......

My Missouri friends were big on telling me, 1000 hours does not mean 180 days at 5.5 hours a day. I was really freaked out about it with my youngest who just could not do that.

They were quick to remind me that life/learning/school happens all year round. So those non M-F hours count.

They counted nature walks as science in those early years.  Church time was "bible lessons" (aka non-core subjects).   and one of them was very insistent that it was part of "social studies" in early years to learn "life skills" as chores, etc.  That same person was also insistent that once they were older, regularly establish chores were not counted.  But cooking in early years for that person was counted in her core hours. Why? lots of measuring and clock reading was applied math.

definitely echoing to find some local groups.

 

ps: disclaimer. I'm not a legal person and I did not end up moving there. so this is all hearsay from my friends. and is food for thought how to approach it

 

Edited by cbollin
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