How often should kids write?

I admire the unschooling approach to homeschooling. Each time I take a step back the kids engage in quality activities such making paper, knitting hats and growing their own fruit trees. Every time I see this I want them to have more control over their education.

On the other hand, although I admire this approach, I think reading, writing and math are subjects too important to be controlled entirely by children. Our current curriculum incorporates reading, writing, math, science, history, music and language.

I struggle with how much work to require from the kids on a daily basis. Where should the line be drawn between required work and allowing free time activities? The older two kids both have a list of things to do that is far too long. Rather than require them to spend all their time on school work, we end the day at lunch time. In the afternoon we go on walks, do projects, visit friends, attend sports classes and have free time.

As far as the list goes, it is slowly getting completed. I'm leaving blank days so they can catch up. To me it would be better if the work load assigned could be completed by lunch time, but I wonder in what proportions to assign the subjects.

How much time per day do your kids spend on school work? How often do they read, write and do math lessons? How often do they do history, science, language and music lessons? I know there is no right or wrong way to educate children. I'm just interested in ideas and ways to alter our requirements and approach to maximize the free time the kids have to pursue their own interests while ensuring they are competent in reading, writing and math.

This post is linked to:
True Aim Education
Hip Homeschool Hop
Living and Learning at Home
Hammock Tracks


  1. I think the fundamental question is to know where the "standard" that you're trying to achieve with your children lies, e.g. at what level of reading, writing and math do you want to see your children at before you feel comfortable about their level of competence, whatever that may be. As you corrected pointed out, there's no right or wrong answer, only one that is personal to you and your family.

    For example, some families are cool about their children not reading at 8 years old, while others like to see their elementary-aged children read high-school level literature. Who determines what level of competence each individual child should be at by a certain time? I think only you can answer this for yourself. :-)

    Along the same line of argument, some families are all for interest-led learning which then becomes the main part of their homeschooling, while other families need to be sure that the 3Rs get done first before anything else is considered. So, there is not one way of doing things. It really boils down to your own level of comfort, and what you know to work best for your children's way of learning.

    1. That's an excellent point. When people ask me "How do you know your child is at a third grade level?" I always answer that I don't know and don't really care. I want them to be challenged at an appropriate level. If they are 8 years old and can read at a first grade level they are given first grade books, and if they can read novels, they are given novels. I just want them challenged at the level they are at.

      You helped me answer this question. I want them challenged, engaged and exposed to new ideas and information for the morning hours each day. That way they can take what they learned or are interested in in whatever direction works for them during the rest of the day. - Thank you!

  2. I agree with Hwee's sensible comments although I confess this question also bothered me a little recently because I read somewhere that some homeschooled children returning to schools found that the hardest thing to keep up with was the copious (and rediculous) amounts of writing (or copy work really!). I even spoke to a young lass who had returned to school (she's around 16) and she said it wasn't an issue at all for her.

    I do try and have the children devote at least 20 minutes a day 4 or 5 times a week to writing (spelling, poetry, grammar, hand writing practice or story writing) and the same with arithmetic.

  3. We do Piano, math and grammar daily. We use IEW writing program 3X a week. My daughter is writing her own story book on the computer for creative writing. My son hates writing of any type so I don't push him too much for fear of making him hate it even more (my daughter use to hate it but is now showing great creativity with her own story book so I am hoping this happens for my son too one day). Science and History we do 1 or 2X a week. we school from 9 until 12 take 90 lunch break and then usually do another hour which is reading or project time then we are done and they are free to do other things. We also go on tons of field trips and on field trip days we don't do much in regards for school maybe just Piano and Math. On my goal list I have listed approx. 12 areas of "School" that I try to incorporate in our year I am usually always behind in something:)

  4. My kids are still very little (6 and under) and my primary focus for this age is reading. We try to do a little math every day and when they get older we'll use Charlotte Mason's narration method for writing. But I think it's more important for them to enjoy learning than to have school become a chore that they despise. Free time is such a rarity these days, yet we all want our children to become creative thinkers and leaders, they can't develop that side of them if they have too much structure.

  5. I know I am just starting, but I struggle with finding a balance too. Between chores and school I worry the kids don't have enough time to do what they want. A lot of it is their own fault because they can be very resistant to chores and on some days school which makes things take longer. I hope it will work itself out in time!

  6. What a great topic for conversation! I agree that those subjects are important, but not to the extent that some do. I think it depends on the child. I will teach my daughter basic math concepts and make sure she understands how to solve those equations, but I will not teach the higher level subjects unless she shows an interest or passion. Then, she can study those on her own. I learned calculus in school and got As, but haven't used it ever since and probably couldn't solve a problem to save my life. It was a waste of my life. You could argue that it possibly benefited my problem solving skills, but I beg to differ. Also, who knows what valuable skills or meaningful relationships I could have developed with that extra time. That's just what I think. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love the idea that you say you already do: end school at lunch and leave the afternoon for pursuing personal interests, developing skills, physical activity, serving others, etc. My kids are younger than yours, so my advice is limited =) but I think that is a good balance.


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