Friday, May 3, 2013

Highschool Homeschool Carnival: May Edition

May's Homeschool Highschool Carnival is hosted at Lapaz Home Learning

The topic for this month is
A ‘Day in the Life of a Homeschooled Teenager’ Share with us a glimpse into a day of your highschooler, in particular focusing on the learning aspects.
I am going to use that as a launchpad for a slightly different topic.... more "where a homeschooled highschooler's time goes" and less about a particular day. 

In high school, a student divides his time between:
  1. Academics 
  2. Spiritual Life 
  3. Vocational/Apprenticeship activities
  4. Exploration of hobbies/ interests
  5. Recreation with family/friends
I suppose you can add community or Christian service in there but I would probably put those in with vocational or spiritual.

My high school kids all get up, work on their studies, then do other things in whatever time is left.   If you visited us you wouldn't necessarily see them studying hard.    Most of the time they fit their studies into whatever else is going on around the house.

For example, this week my high schooler spent a lot of time helping me build shelves and a desk (not from scratch -- just out of the box type construction).  He also helped me move furniture since I was rearranging everything around the house. 

Last week I did some number-crunching to find out just what amounts of time would be required to get a credit in a subject, and from there, how much time it takes to meet the California college prep recommendations.

I won't bore you with the results in detail, but you can see them here if you want:
To sum it up, based on 210 days a year (we school year around with 10 weeks of holidays mixed in there) the student would want to work approximately 35-40 minutes per day on a subject to complete a credit in a year.

To graduate from high school, a student is required to get about 13 credits over the course of 4 years.  You can see that he could easily graduate by 11th grade and perhaps take college classes for a year more before leaving for university.

To prepare for a 4 year university it is recommended that a student get about 21 credits over the course of 4 years, which adds up to about 5 credits a year.     Based on my 210 day school year that comes out to about 3 hours of work per day, which seems about right.

This is California only, I suppose, but I am guessing most other states are somewhat similar (in the US).

To get back to my student's typical day, none of them ever did a continuous 3-hour school day.  Most of them would work part of the morning and part of the afternoon, interspersing with various other things included on my list above.       It would total 3 hours, and sometimes quite a bit more since some of their hobbies and activities could easily be counted as electives at a pinch.

My oldest was a slow worker, though very thorough, and took 6-7 hours a day to get everything done.  For a break he would cook with his younger sibling, play classical guitar, apprentice at programming with his father, make wooden swords and swish them around as he went for walks in our woods.

My second had a different routine.  We would start the day together -- I would read an Homeric epic or a medieval romance or modern biography to him, then I would give him a start on the day's work by tutoring him in Math, Logic, German and Latin.  Then I would write out the day's assignments in a composition book.   In his spare time he wrote a novel and studied forest lore and football statistics.  He and his brother made up a fantasy football league and number-crunched the statistics.

My third was different again.  She read widely across the curriculum, did some math and Latin and German, and in her spare time blogged, corresponded with pen pals, wrote fiction, sewed, knitted, participated in choir and cantored in church, taught herself to play a little piano, guitar and tin whistle, and took lessons in different areas -- violin, English riding, step dancing, and acting.

My fifth is my current high schooler (my fourth went to public school).  He likes to bake; he writes fantasy stories; and he is trying to learn to draw.   He runs daily partly for the exercise and partly because it helps him think.    He is my most easy-going child, and is just starting to realize that his laid back nature sometimes hinders him from getting everything done that he wants to do.

I guess that is all I have to say about this topic! 


  1. I never actually did the math - we school year round also and I didn't realize how much less time you would need per day than I was estimating. Makes me feel better on those days when it looks like my student did very little but I'm sure got in that 30 minutes. :)

    1. That's how I felt too, Amy. I realized I was carrying a chronic burden of guilt, like we were slacking. Well, we have our slacker days but I feel a bit better in regard to my obligations to the state, at any rate : ).

  2. Willa,
    I like how you have written about, "Where the time goes" I realised as I wrote up one day, that it is only a snippet of the big picture. You've expressed the big pic very well.

    1. I think it helps people to see what a typical day looks like. Our homeschool days are not generally very impressive though, so I went with the big picture since that is what I have been thinking about.

  3. I've always considered ourselves Eclectic and relaxed homeschoolers. It was a lot easier when my kids were all in elementary. It's easy to learn while having fun when the kids are little. Now that my kids are older, in high school, I need to be sure that they're learning enough to score well in their SATs so they can pursue the dreams they have. I'm not very disciplined or organized. We use Time4Learning. This year I was so excited to find out that they've added high school to their program! I don't have to worry about lesson plans or record keeping because it's all done for me. And we have our own accountability that it's getting done, yet the freedom to do it at our own pace. :)
    I don't even have the discipline to break it all up into hours like you did. :) But now I know they're taking the credits they need.


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