Homeschool Hours Per Day: Should I Homeschool for Only 2 Hours a Day?

how do I homeschool Illuminate Bible Series

How many homeschool hours per day should you do? Can you homeschool for only 2 hours a day? These are the questions that many new home educators ask. They want to know if they can effectively provide good educational instruction in such a short period.

Rebbecca Devitt

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.

This is a pertinent question as many schools take over 5 hours to teach the same content to their students!

In this article, I’ll be arguing that you can teach all the academic bookwork homeschoolers need to know in a fraction of the time.

In addition, we’ll crowdsource some answers to these questions and find out if the states have instituted any homeschool hour requirements.

Before we get started, if you are a newcomer to homeschooling, I highly suggest enrolling in the Homeschool Parenting Program.

This program will provide you with comprehensive knowledge of homeschooling, ensuring that you feel confident and at ease. The course is both engaging and enlightening.

But, for now, let’s get started looking into homeschool hours!

How Many Formal Homeschool Hours Should Homeschoolers Do Per Day?

Many people ask, ‘When homeschooling, how many homeschool hours a day should I do?’

I asked homeschool families how many homeschool hours by grade level their children did, and the answers were interesting because they contrast sharply with how many hours schoolchildren spend at their desks.

On average, homeschoolers study for about two to three hours a day. A small survey of nearly 250 parents found:

  • 2% studied for less than an hour.
  • 7% studies for 1-2 hours
  • 54% studied for 2-3 hours
  • 9% studied for 3-4 hours
  • 15% studied for 4-5 hours
  • 7% studied for 5+ hours

But, the amount of time children spend in formal education differs widely depending on the child’s age.

For example, young homeschoolers usually study for only one to two hours, while older homeschoolers study for six to seven hours.

1st to 3rd Grade: Roughly Homeschool 2 Hours a Day

Learn how many homeschool hours per grade homeschoolers do in this graph. Kindergarten don't do much formal work. But, high school students do quite a bit in this graph.
Kindergarten don’t do much formal work. But, high school students do quite a bit in this graph.

If you are in 1st to 3rd Grade, you will most likely homeschool for 2 hours a day. Essentially, most parents with a 5 or 6-year-old will be homeschooling for 2 hours a day.

One parent said she recommends homeschoolers study an hour a grade in the early years. For instance, Grade 1 should be one hour a day, Grade 2 should be two hours a day, and Grade 3 should be three hours a day.

4th to 6th Grade: Roughly Homeschool 3 Hours a Day

If you are in 4th to 6th Grade (among the parents I asked, this correlated to ages eight to eleven), you will most likely do 3-4 hours a day.

7th to 9th Grade: Roughly Homeschool 4 Hours a Day

If you are in 7th to 9th Grade (ages twelve to fourteen), you will most likely do 4-5 hours a day.

10th to 12th Grade: Roughly Homeschool 7 Hours a Day

If you are in 10th to 12th Grade (ages fifteen to eighteen), you will most likely do 6-8 hours a day.

  • Sometimes older teenagers have a part-time job, so they might not be studying every day of the week. This means they might have to have a day when they put in more hours. Or perhaps they end up studying on weekends. Many home educators limit their children’s paid working hours that are too long as it might disrupt their study.How many #homeschoolhours per day should you do? Can you homeschool for only 2 hours a day? These are the questions that many new homeschooling moms ask. They want to know if they can effectively provide good educational instruction in such a short period. This is a pertinent question as many schools take over 5 hours to teach the same content to their students.

Can I homeschool for 2 hours a day?

You can homeschool for two hours a day and get all your formal homeschooling done in that timeframe.

But, it seems homeschool hours are more dependent on your child’s age and their ability to take in information given their brain development.

In addition, some families feel more comfortable covering more information in a day than others. And of course, some children can take in more information in a day than other children.

Some kids will take three hours to learn the same information that another kid will take only one hour to learn. So homeschool hours are more a result of these variables.

Perhaps this is a big reason why many governments haven’t instituted definite homeschool hour logs (although some have requirements for educational homeschooling logs of activities, i.e., Florida).

Homeschool Hour Requirements: Are there any?

In most places, you don’t need to keep an official log of homeschooling hours, although some state governments recommend you spend a set amount of time on each specific subject.

These recommendations are sometimes why a home education application is more likely to be accepted or rejected in some states.

School does an average of 6.25 hours, while homeschools do an average of 2.5 hours.

Things to Consider When Thinking About Homeschooling Hours Per Day

When surveyed, parents said some things which are worthwhile noting as they talked about how they calculated homeschool hours per day:

  • Some parents did longer hours on school days so that they could do no schoolwork during holidays.
  • Sometimes parents don’t do as much ‘logged formal education’ because they go to a park, a field trip, or a homeschooling co-op to socialize and do their work there.
  • Most only had a five-day working week (like school).
  • One parent didn’t want to pick an amount because they said, ‘Life is Educational 24/7.’
  • Field trips go in the daily homeschool log; they can account for around a sixth of your homeschool hours.
  • Personal Education (PE) and personal reading time may not be counted as formal hours. One Mum estimates you can add 1.5 homeschool hours per day for these two subjects. (If you don’t include these as homeschool hours, it may be wise to write down in your homeschool hours log what counts as homeschool hours…).
  • One parent said that parents would spend more or less time in the schoolroom doing formal study depending on the child’s focus. For example, if the child is not focusing well, it might take four hours, but this can drop to two or three hours when they are concentrated well.
  • In three hours, a few mothers noted their children could get through between four to nine subjects!
  • The homeschool hours logged sometimes include a 30-minute break in between subjects.

How many homeschool hours you do will also depend on your child’s natural academic bent, the homeschool method you choose, the homeschool curriculum (and busywork within it!) you’re using, and other factors.

What Other People Say About How Long Academics Should Take

Seaton Homeschool Study

Ginny Seuffert said she taught in 20-30 minute blocks for her four-year-old grandson, who she taught to read.

On the other hand, she said you couldn’t expect a teenager to do their work in under an hour: ‘No student can expect to finish high school level work in less than one hour per day, per subject, with maybe another hour or two of reading each night.’

Seuffert says a teenager needs all that time because they’re trying to not only absorb facts as you did when you were younger but analyze and be able to debate a topic. Again, this seems consistent with how classical educators teach (an approach to education I favor most).

Ultimately, because of all the variability, Sueffert says:

How many #homeschoolhours per day should you do? Can you homeschool for only 2 hours a day? These are the questions that many new homeschooling moms ask. They want to know if they can effectively provide good educational instruction in such a short period. This is a pertinent question as many schools take over 5 hours to teach the same content to their students.

Children in the primary grades are different in their learning levels and attention span; it is challenging to have a suggested amount of time. Most moms and dads can sense when it is time to have a timeout and when they can go back to the schoolwork.

More active children will not stay still very long, and you will need to teach in spurts. Those younger ones anxious to read may carry a book around with them and start learning on their own amazingly.

Middle school and junior high school students will need to add some time after lunch and perhaps catch up on reading after dinner. High school students top out with six to eight hours a day, including evening reading.

Her view appears to be consistent with the mothers surveyed above.

Amy Roberts from Raising Arrows

Amy answered the question about how long homeschooling takes by giving us a quick breakdown with the caveat of, ‘It depends.’

  • Kindergarten & 1st Grade: 30-45 minutes
  • 2nd-4th Grade: 1½-2 homeschool hours per day
  • 5th-6th Grade: 2-4 homeschool hours per day
  • 7th Grade+: 4+ homeschool hours per day

This estimate is similar to our mothers surveyed above also.

Are Shorter Hours Better in the Formative Years?

“Okay,” you might be saying, “These are just comments from homeschooling Mums. Does the research say so few hours is a good idea?”

One Christian researcher, Raymond Moore, asserts strongly that ‘no replicable evidence exists for rushing children into formal study at home or school before 8 or 10.’ Basing his words off 8,000 studies, Moore was certainly thorough in his research.

It seems we don’t need to start with any hours a day until children hit ages 8 to 10 (but who can resist!).

How Long Should a Homeschool Year Be?

There aren’t any homeschool hour requirements in most states (although some do require to see ledgers of homeschool hour logs, so check with your state), so you can be inventive here.

Sometimes asking how long a homeschool year should be is irrelevant if you’re not keeping to the school/school holiday schedule.

For example, if you’re going to work through school holidays or on some weekends, you’ll probably finish your work early and be able to have the second half of the year off.

Conversely, if you have a sick child who needs to take many days off due to health problems or medical appointments, you can work through the holidays and weekends without the child getting further behind.

Because of the great flexibility that home education allows, parents can also do formal homeschooling for only six months of the year. This is a popular option among parents who want to take their children on holiday.

I’ve also met a few families who traveled around the country for a year and homeschooled the entire time. In addition, many parents choose to do a four-day homeschooling week instead of a five-day week.

I think any of these suggestions are acceptable, but it depends on your family’s preference or needs.

My Homeschool Hours: Roughly Three Homeschool Hours Per Day

When I was homeschooled, my parents gave us workbooks. So we sat down and studied our workbooks (usually covering two to three subjects a day) for around three hours a day.Homeschool quote: It seems hours is not so much the name of the game but quality of work. If you can finish in two hours a day, why spend four?
Although we mostly did about three homeschool hours a day, our time doing academic study was determined by the pace at which we got through the material rather than how many hours we did.

This motivated us to do our work more quickly as we could spend the spare time we had at the end of the day doing things we enjoyed.

When I became a teenager, I became more motivated to finish my homework to get to the next grade faster. So I studied long hours – often eight to 10 hours a day! I decided on these homeschool hours myself because I could now see the point of studying hard.

My study habits were successful as I eventually attended medical school. My brothers who did similar hours to myself were also successful, with my older brother becoming an architect (now a pastor-in-training) and my younger brother became a lawyer.

It seems my experience was universal.

Can Homeschoolers Work During School Hours?

Some people wonder if a homeschooler can work during school hours.

Absolutely! Homeschooling is very flexible, and flexibility is a big reason parents choose to homeschool their children.

Perhaps the only drawback to homeschoolers working during school hours is that some people may wonder why a school-aged child is working. They may ask questions, which may be awkward…but this isn’t the end of the world and you can teach your child to gently field these questions.

Can Homeschooling Be Done at Night?

Homeschoolers can also work at night or anytime during the day.

Working at night may be a better option for teenagers who may be drowsy in the morning.

HOwever, you need to be aware that younger children will generally be fresher in the morning, so the morning may be a better time to study when you have young children.

How to Log Homeschool Hours

If you are in a state that requires you do a certain number of homeschool hours, then logging homeschool hours is an important thing to do.

First, parents need to decide what method of tracking will be most effective for them.

There are several different ways to log homeschooling hours such as using a spreadsheet, an online app, or even just keeping written notes in a journal.

Whichever system you choose should be easy for you to use and understand.

Once you have chosen how you plan to track your child’s progress, start logging each activity that your child completes during the day, along with any associated materials used.

Want to Learn How to Homeschool?

There are two great ways t learn more about homeschooling: one is free, and one is a $67 fundamentals course.

The $67 Course

Looking to take your homeschooling to the next level? Join Rebecca Devitt’s online Homeschool Parenting Program and learn the strategies and techniques needed to make homeschooling a success! Learn more about the HPP here and signup here.

The Free Youtube Channel

Also, make sure you join the How to Homeschool Youtube channel, which will give you a fun and exciting look into the homeschool world and help homeschool your children. Check out the channel here, and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE.

If you’re not sure where to start, start with the following playlists:

You’ll love it and find it helpful and entertaining! Discover the channel here.

Conclusion: Homeschool Hour Requirements and Consensus…What’s the Best?

Although home-educated students spend an average of two to three hours doing formal homeschool hours per day, there are usually no requirements that make them do so. More often, hours should be highly dependent on a student’s age. Counting hours is further complicated by what hours you count and what hours you don’t. If you count independent reading or Personal Education, your hours will increase. If you study longer on some days to have other days off, your hours may look different. It seems hours is not so much the name of the game, but quality of work.  If you can finish in two hours a day, why spend four?

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Rebecca Devitt

Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.

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    • Absolutely! My parents started us with ACE paces which is, I believe, Christian Light Education.
      We found the pace of these to be much too slow and (even though we aren’t a family of geniuses) we weren’t learning as much as we felt we could have with other curricula. (Keep in mind that this was 25 years ago…they may have changed.)
      Interestingly another homeschooling family around us had the same difficulties.)
      We then used a few different types from different publishers…my parents had to go to a warehouse two hours away to physically pick out the books in those days…how different to now where we order most online!
      We used Abeka for our math and I remember it was good. I don’t remember enjoying it per say, but I learned my math well in the end. Hope this helps. Thanks for the comment.

  1. Can you tell me if full time working parents can team up to homeschool? Your thoughts please. Thank you

    • Hmmm…well, if you have someone homeschooling your kids at your home, it would technically be tutoring. Or if your child is going to other homeschooling people’s houses to be homeschooled, it would be school.
      If your child is old enough, you can work while they do online school at home ( see Abeka Academy which is an online school as opposed to Abeka homeschool which, I think, just sends out materials). But again, this would be online school.
      Also, I don’t know how enjoyable it would be.
      You could check out ‘homeschool co-ops’ a little too.
      I’ve never heard of full time parents doing this together. There just wouldn’t be time. But, maybe someone else has. Hope that’s helpful. Thanks for asking the question!

  2. I thought all homeschools have the same methods . Flexible schedules and time. Which really worked for us because sometimes we travel for weeks or sometimes for months. We started our eldest son in homeschooling when he started 2nd grade. We had fun and he really liked it. The flexibility of days and time which didn’t affect sick days and short family trips. And the way they provided all the materials and video animations and audio recordings was great. It made learning fun and simple. But after 4th or 5th grade, all of a sudden everything changed abruptly. It became like a traditional school. No absences, specific time for online classes and mandatory homework and other paper works. Took a toll on my 12 year old and almost dropped out because he lost interest in school all of a sudden. He said that he was trying his best but never felt this kind of pressure on learning before. All of a sudden, he just lost interest . Is there any other homeschool that you can recommend here in California that has the same framework other than K-12. The problem right now is that ……not all information are being given to us. My son keeps on asking me on where we can find the same kind of homeschool like before.

    • Noel,
      I don’t know if you will see this, but homeschooling in CA is actually fairly easy. You have 4 options: On your own, with a private Homeschool, hire a private to tutor, or with a State regulated Independent Study or Charter School. What is sounds like you have done is become part of a State regulated Home-school Charter/Independent Study type school. However, that is NOT required. The State regulated Home-school set ups are required to get your child to learn all the things they have deemed needed to meet Common Core Standards. Which from my reading does not really do what they say, because they are trying to ram too much info into children at too young of an age. AND they do not take into account the learning style of your child. Hence you get children who don’t thrive there. I had the same issues when my oldest was in a public home school charter and I figured out her reading issue and the school did not want to hear anything about it. We removed her at the end of 2nd grade and her reading improved dramatically with in a year.
      You can go independent and do everything on your own. Or like our family, find a local private Christian Home-school Coop (or non Christian one if there are any). If you decide to jump ship, you should highly consider becoming a member of Home-school Legal Defense (look it up). So you are your own school, or you are part of a private school who keeps your records. If you are on you own, you get to decide what method to choose. Some private schools have there own methods, or like ours we still get to choose for the most part.
      I would say until the end of 6th grade one should consider focusing on Language Arts and Math, throw in some science of various kinds, History, PE and art. For example, this is all that I have done and my 2nd child (who reads easily) has done extremely well on the National Test our School provides. He received above average on about 30-40% of the test, below average in two items and Average on the rest. My oldest was a late reader and her test scores are not as good (but not horrid either), but she has improved greatly over the last year or so. Child #3 has the same late reading thing as Child #1 and Child #4 seems to be like #2. However, Child #1 and 3 are both very good a Math and Science (not only per me, but the test scores as well). All children are different and the POWER of homeschooling is that we get to help them learn in the best manner for them.
      Keep in mind that home schooled children as a whole out preform ALL other academic settings on high school level standard tests, even private schools.
      Home schooling independent of the “System” seems daunting, but it is very do able. Find a support network.
      Good luck with your son. Take care

  3. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5 ESV