Homeschooling 101: What Is Homeschooling?

What Is a Typical Homeschool Schedule?

Do homeschoolers follow traditional school hours or do they structure days differently?

Homeschoolers organize their days in whatever way works best for them. Many begin their schooling early in the morning, as in a traditional school, but some opt to make less distinction between "school" and "home." If a child gets excited about a science experiment before bed, some parents follow the child's enthusiasm to see where it leads -- this becomes part of the school day as well.

The educational philosophy a homeschooling family chooses will significantly influence the structure of their days. Most of us are familiar with only one style of education -- the traditional system of textbooks, desks in rows, and standardized testing -- but a wide array of educational philosophies exists. These methods include Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, classical, leadership education, interest-led learning, unit study, and more. Homeschoolers have the freedom to blend ideas that best meet their children's needs.

Do homeschoolers follow the public school calendar year? Are homeschooled kids more behind or ahead than public school kids?

Homeschoolers have complete freedom over the structure of their school year. Many follow the traditional school calendar, some school year-round, and others take off during specific weeks when they need breaks.

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that students can progress according to their own temperament and timetable. In a study done by the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschoolers had an average standardized test score in the 87th percentile, compared to the average score in the 50th percentile by children in public schools. They could, though, be several grades ahead in certain subjects but behind in others.

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