I had some questions from my previous post regarding allowing your child to determine the hours to homeschool. You can read that post here. There are some oft-repeated questions when it comes to homeschooling hours. How many, how often and when? Flexibility is one of the key underlying principles behind homeschooling. This flexibility applies not only to the curriculum but also to the number of hours.
One of the most ignored issues of the public school system is the sheer waste of time and energy that it causes. Many periods are simply wasted away and the child effectively derives only 1-3 hours of study everyday. Then, there are days when the studies become too intensive (and not retained) and other days when it's only games and no work at all. There is a lot of time children spend in school, but not actually learning.
Early on in your homeschooling practice, work out a schedule. It is advisable to stick to the same schedule everyday. A routine makes it easier to learn and gives structure to the learning experience. It also tells the students that parents are sincere about their learning. A routine also allows your child to free his mind from other activities and concentrate on studies. He knows that a particular time is strictly set aside for learning. However, if he has completed his studies for the day and shows a grasp of the concepts, don't just fill up the rest of the time with busy work. Reward his hard work by letting him pursue his own interests. Remember to be flexible and adjust this schedule as needed.
The actual number of hours that you need depends on the curriculum you have chosen and the learning style that suits your child. If you are dealing with a subject that seems to be more complex, you may need to sit with the child for a longer period. Using various techniques, it may be necessary to demonstrate what you are trying to teach. For instance, a lesson in Algebra may take more time than a lesson in English.
Homeschooling does not refer to the practice of sitting in front of the books and learning the printed matter. Field trips, watching documentaries, visiting factories and libraries also make up an important slice of the homeschooling process. It makes sense to intersperse these activities so that learning becomes fun. Outside activities and field trips can also help make the concepts in the book come alive. Such as a trip to the grocery store or cooking to a recipe to show how math fits into everyday life.
Given the fact that too many public school hours are wasted in meaningless activities ranging from talking to busy work, do not allow public school hours dictate the time you should spend teaching your child at home. Remember that at home, he is getting high-quality one-to-one time that is highly productive. About 1-3 hours of study is enough in the primary level. It is not necessarily true that the more hours you put in, means more learning takes place. It really is the quality of time spent and this is the reason why home-schooled children are often much smarter and more balanced than regular school going children.