Here are a few examples of the questions we get:
“We were wondering how to count attendance? Some days, we do everything I planned for several days in a few hours and other days we don’t do as much but it takes a lot more time.”
“Also, can other things besides just “books” count as learning? Sometimes our kids spend time counting, sorting, making shapes with different toys. With younger children, I know they need to do things like this, but wasn’t sure if it should be classified play or schoolwork.”
“How much should we be keeping in terms of records?”
Most state laws require that private schools be conducted for the same length of time as public schools. Public school law states: “four hours a day, 180 days a year.” However, the law does not dictate what is considered “time.” Therefore, we consider ANY education activity – lessons, field trips, educational games, leisure reading, etc. — as “time” toward the 4 hours a day and 180 days a year.
Our hope and prayer is that this goal will be easy to reach because learning is enjoyable. If, for example, your plan was to cover fractions one day but your son or daughter saw a picture of a skeleton and asked you some questions, and you ended up on Biology and Geography for three hours, that is perfectly fine. The teachable moments should almost always take precedent over the planned ones. This is the best way to ensure your students will retain a heart for learning. If you need or want to call it a day after only three hours because you have a doctor’s appointment or need to run errands (or something of this nature), that is fine. The next day you may go way over four hours learning a wide variety of things. Or, you might come home from the doctor’s office and teach your children from the experience.
The bottom line is we do not want you to feel like the four hours a day or 180 days a year is something that is hanging over your head. We do not want the students to be thinking, “OK, I can make it…only an hour and 1/2 left.” Or, “OK, we only have 32 days of school to go and I’ll be FREE!!!” Instead we desire that every student, regardless of their age, enjoy learning the same as they did when they were 3, 4 and 5 years old. And we desire that every HLA teacher be a guide and a friend on this homeschooling journey.