3 Reasons Why Keeping Track of Homeschool Days Is Pointless

Children learn everyday!

There are some things about homeschool laws that I just don’t get. Keeping track of homeschool days or hours is one of them. I live in a state that requires us to homeschool for 180 days a year and to somehow document it.

What is the point?

Do they think our kids will ever be absent? They’re homeschooled- they’re always “in school”! 

joys of homeschooling

Since the end of the year is upon us and evaluation time is looming, I’m going to vent a bit about…

3 Reasons Why Keeping Track of Homeschool Days Is Pointless

1. Kids learn everyday, not just “during school.”

learning all the time

Sorry to expose the elephant in the room, but there it is. I realize that the laws were written with the public education method of schooling in mind, but this really makes no sense in a home learning environment. There is no on/off switch when it comes to learning. It happens all day long, everyday, no matter where the child may be.

In our family, living and learning do not happen separately, so the idea of some days meriting the label of “school days” while others do not is a little ridiculous to me.

2. It can make you much more neurotic rigid about staying on schedule.

keeping track of homeschool days

When I started homeschooling, I started out keeping not only a calendar to mark off our homeschool days, but I kept a numbered daily log of activities, as well.

It was terrible. The visual reminder of where we were in our homeschool year made me absolutely nuts about staying “on schedule,” so if the kids got sick or life happened and we couldn’t do school, Saturday (and sometimes even Sunday) school, it was! If we had to do school until it got dark, so be it, as long as we were where we needed to be in my lesson plan book. It was like I was in a race, and I had to be in first place. It was nuts.

3. It makes it too easy to slack off after the 180th day is checked off.

lazy

I don’t know about other people, but checking off that last day was like a permission slip to become a lazy mom. What made it even worse our first year was that, after being overzealous about staying on schedule, I came upon some books that wrote about how playing is learning (which it is), so I started counting our non-homeschool days as school days if my kids did anything I found to be worthy of the distinction of being “educational.”

Because of all these factors, our first homeschool year ended in mid-April. Since I was still under the impression that homeschoolers needed to start the new year when the school district does, that left us with an almost five month summer vacation.

Normally, that would be okay because, again, learning can happen all the time. Unfortunately, though, since I was so relieved about that first, crazy homeschool year ending, I got lackadaisical about providing stimulating activities for my kids because, in my thinking at the time, I was just like, The school year is over. My work is done.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Our work is never done!

So, it may not surprise you when I say that I no longer keep track of our homeschool days.

I found that I’m a better homeschool mom when I don’t. Homeschooling isn’t a part of life for our family. It’s a way of life. It encompasses everything we do each and everyday.

Do I have an idea of where we are in our year? Sure. I structure our year round schedule to come out to exactly 36 weeks before we take our 6 week summer break. Do we do school each and every day that I planned to? Nope. But that’s okay, because there are plenty of days we “have off” of school and do “educational” activities anyway.

It’s all about balance.

We’re coming up to the end of our 8th homeschooling year. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that the further we deviate from how schools do things, the more readily learning happens. That goes for seemingly trivial things like this too, because sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact.

I know some of you are wondering how I manage to document our 180 days if it’s not all written on a calendar somewhere. Simple. I put a statement in writing that I homeschooled for 180 days. (As a backup plan, I have a year’s worth of lessons written out. Each time we complete a day, I cross it out.)

Is it the truth? Yes. In fact, I could say that we homeschooled for far, far more days than that.

Why? Because learning isn’t based on a calendar made of red tape. It happens in spite of it.

 

 

 

 

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Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

25 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why Keeping Track of Homeschool Days Is Pointless”

  1. I love your homeschool posts, Shelly! This had me laughing at the beginning because you’re right, our kids are never absent in the same sense as public schools kids are absent. It really is quite silly for there to be an attendance requirement for homeschoolers. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We don’t have to keep track of days either but when I asked by a school official how many days we homeschool my replay was “365”.. because yep, we’re always learning and there is no way I can separate out school days from non- school days.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was a homeschooled kid, my mom always kept an actual attendance record. That was what they state would accept. Nothing less. I’ll have to ask around and see if it has changed here. Because seriously, who want to deal with attendance? 😉 My daughter is in early kindergarten so I have a couple years before I have to submit anything to the state but I like to be prepared. 🙂 #CoffeeAndConversation

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dang evaluators! 🙂 Love your writing, by the way. I live in Indiana, where 180 days is also recommended… but they neglected to put in any specifics about the bells and whistles and checkboxes and forms that are supposed to be filled out.
        IOW… no evaluators. No one looking over our shoulder… and no one looking at our attendance records, giving us the willies about whether they ‘feel’ like approving our homeschooling or not. I tell new homeschoolers (I’ve homeschooled 4 for over 20 years; 2 in college, one graduating high school this week) all they need to do is put an X on a cat calendar every day they learn something. The only person legally able to look at an attendance record is the superintendent of schools. And they all know the piece of paper is meaningless.
        Keep up the good words!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We homeschool all year. I find that the routine of everyday learning is easier on my daughter and myself. (Plus, I don’t think it’s a bad habit to create. *Smiles*) So, if we need to take a day off here or there, no problem. (Also, we usually take our family vacations in the fall anyway.)

    I’ve gotten into the “school year” debate with my family and even other homeschool moms. Historically speaking I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the farmer’s schedule (to allow kiddos to help their families during the summer). But I agree with you, “school moments” happen everywhere. Just the other day my daughter and I were at the grocery store, and she was helping me count up the total we were spending on groceries and talking to me about where certain crops came from. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am required to demonstrate the equivalent of 5 hours per day for 200 days per year (state of NSW in Australia). That magic word, equivalent, is terrific! If I’m sitting down with my year 4 child and working one on one, he achieves more in 1 1/2 hours than he would in a whole day in a regular school setting. So, yes, I’m schooling for the required time plus he learns lots of other stuff, too. It’s been the same for all 6 of them. I do keep a spreadsheet with a lesson schedule of my own devising. It’s easy to move things across when life happens but they still complete more than enough work each year, especially when you take into consideration all the projects they do on weekend and during holiday time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is trying to fit a round block into a square hole! Nicely said. I blogged about something similar, kvetching about trying to do a high school home school transcript for a special needs child. Equal time is not equivalent at all!

    Liked by 1 person

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