How many hours for homeschooling?

This depends on the age of the student and for secondary students, the number of subjects they are taking. As would happen at school, you can divide the day into time spent in academic lessons, possibly taught by external tutors, time spent on individual learning, and extra-curricular activities.

A guide to Primary (Key Stages 1 and 2)

Core Subjects: Dedicate around 10 to 15 hours per week to core subjects, including:

Numeracy/Mathematics: Aim for 3 to 4 hours per week, focusing on foundational skills such as counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as problem-solving and critical thinking activities.

Literacy/English (Reading and Writing): Allocate 4 to 5 hours weekly for reading practice, comprehension activities, phonics instruction, and creative writing exercises. Encourage independent reading and provide a variety of reading materials suited to your child’s interests and reading level.

Science and Social Studies: Plan for 3 to 4 hours per week to explore scientific concepts, conduct experiments (a limited number are possible in the home environment) and delve into topics such as history, geography, and current affairs, i.e. what is happening in the world. 

Art and Music: Aim for 1 to 2 hours per week for artistic expression through drawing, painting, sculpting, and music, which could be learning an instrument. Explore different art mediums, techniques, and musical genres to nurture your child’s imagination and aesthetic sensibilities.

Physical Education: Ensure at least 2 to 3 hours per week of physical activity, including outdoor play, sports, yoga, dance, or organised activities that promote fitness and motor skills development. Emphasise the importance of staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Joining a local sports or activity club is an obvious way of enabling this and strengthening social skills.

Field Trips and Experiential Learning: Schedule regular outings to museums, parks, zoos, historical sites, and community events to supplement classroom learning with real-world experiences. Encourage observation, inquiry, and hands-on exploration to deepen understanding and foster a lifelong love of learning.

Flexible Schedule: Design a daily routine that accommodates your child’s natural rhythms and preferences, but also fits in with the schedules of any external teachers that you may be employing. Allow time for breaks and snacks to prevent burnout and maintain focus during learning sessions.

By prioritising quality over quantity, fostering a supportive learning environment, and nurturing your child’s natural curiosity and love of learning, you can provide a rich and rewarding homeschooling experience that lays a solid foundation for future academic success and personal development.

A guide to Secondary (Key Stages 3 and 4)

For Years 7 to 11, the 11 to 16 age range, your child’s homeschool time will be spent in individual or group lessons, which should be taught by a subject specialist teacher and on individual learning, homework and extra-curricular activities.

Core Subjects: Up to GCSE, dedicate 10 to 15 hours per week to core academic subject lessons. If your child is taking exams, ensure they follow the UK National Curriculum and more specifically, the relevant exam board specification.

Maths, English and Science are the core subjects and should be taken by all students. The other subjects are options, but some should be taken to maintain the breadth of education and increase options for A-level or college choices.

Mathematics: Aim for 3 to 4  hours per week, covering algebra, geometry, trigonometry etc. focusing on problem-solving, critical thinking, and mathematical reasoning.

English (Language and Literature): Allocate 3 to 4 hours per week for reading classic and contemporary literature, writing essays, analysing texts, and honing grammar and language skills to meet GCSE standards.

Science: Plan for 4 to 6 hours per week of biology, chemistry, and physics, supplemented, where possible, with practical experiments, investigations, and scientific inquiry to develop a strong foundation in scientific principles. 

Humanities: Allocate 2 to 3 hours per week per subject for studying, for example, history, geography and religious studies, fostering an understanding of historical events, geographical phenomena, cultural diversity, and ethical issues.

Modern Foreign Languages: Dedicate 1 to 2 hours per week or more for studying a foreign language or languages, emphasising communication skills, cultural understanding, and appreciation of linguistic diversity.

Technology and Computing: Offer 1 to 2 hours per week for computer science, coding, digital literacy, or technology-related subjects, empowering students with essential skills for the digital age.

Arts and Design: Allocate 1 to 2 hours weekly for visual arts, design, music, drama, or media studies, nurturing creativity, self-expression, and aesthetic appreciation through hands-on projects and artistic exploration. 

Physical Education and Health: Ensure at least 2 to 3 hours per week for physical activity, sports, fitness training, and health education to promote physical well-being, teamwork, and lifelong healthy habits. Joining a local sports club is an easy way of achieving this and maintaining a broader social outlook.

Extra-curricular Activities: Allow time for students to engage in extra-curricular activities, hobbies, volunteering, or leadership roles that enhance their personal interests, social skills, and community engagement.

A guide to A Level (Key Stage 5)

For A-Level homeschooling in the UK, students typically require a significant time commitment to cover the rigorous curriculum and to prepare for examinations. 

A-Level Subjects: Each A-Level subject may require around 5 to 7 hours per week of study, half on class time and the rest on independent reading, research, problem-solving, and exam preparation.

Practical Subjects: For subjects with practical components, such as sciences or performing arts, additional time may be necessary for laboratory work, practical exercises, rehearsals, or performances, though it may be necessary to find specialist centres to carry out this work.

Independent Study and Research: Essential for a thorough understanding and good exam grades. Students should be encouraged to engage in independent study and research to deepen their knowledge and develop critical thinking skills.

Enrichment activities: Participation in academic competitions, university open days, internships, or work placements will broaden students’ horizons, develop transferable skills, and enrich their educational experience.

Extra-curricular activities such as sport, music, and drama will enhance personal interests, social skills, and community engagement.

University and Career Preparation: Students will need to research higher education or work options for life after A-Levels. This may involve applying to universities, colleges or companies; attending open days; writing a CV and personal statements and preparing for interviews or possibly admissions tests.

For more information:

Facts about homeschooling in the UK. A guide for parents.

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