Homework was a big pivot point in deciding whether or not we wanted to homeschool our kids. For a few years, our local public school was not assigning homework. I started hearing about how our public school friends started coming home with homework again.
There is no homework in doing homeschool because children have extra time in their day to complete their work. A homeschool day consists of only 2-3 hours. With fewer students and more individual instruction assignments can be assigned, but are usually completed within the school day.
Homework can hold a big weight on the family's shoulders, creating less time to spend as a family. This is why some families chose to homeschool their children. With homeschool, you get to choose the days of when you homeschool and have a more flexible schedule.
5 Reasons Why Homeschool Doesn't Come with Homework
- There is more one on one instruction. This allows for children to ask questions and complete assignments quicker.
- Less time is wasted with fewer students.
- The primary focus is different in homeschool.
- If extra work needs to be assigned to a child, it can usually be done within the school day.
- There are different methods of teaching material in homeschool.
The Difference Between One on One Instruction with Public School and Homeschool
In public school, one on one instruction will happen when a student is struggling to understand something, or needs extra support in a subject.
During the school day, the teacher is responsible for around 20 students, so one on one time doesn't happen all the time. Teachers have to move on even if some of the kids are behind. This is when homework can be assigned.
In homeschool, one on one instruction is more common. If a family is homeschooling more than one child, they are usually teaching more than one grade level.
One on one instruction is used when teaching English, grammar, spelling, language arts, and math. Or when teaching a specific skill like learning how to play an instrument, art, or drawing.
The Difference Between One on One Instruction with Virtual Learning and Homeschool
Now many kids in public schools are doing virtual learning. The required lesson work for the day is on a platform, some teachers are using Canvas.
A few lessons are written out, while other lessons are recorded. If the students need help they have to email the teacher for questions or wait for a scheduled Zoom call.
Students can perform their work similar to homeschool spending a few hours a day. However, many kids are having problems with their computers crashing, technical issues with their assignments, or overwhelmed by the process of virtual learning.
Homeschool can involve all virtual learning if the parent chooses. But the parent can calm the child down if they are stuck and find a solution instead of having to wait for an email.
Why Less Time is Wasted with Homeschool?
The short answer to this question is because there are fewer students to teach. The more students you have, the more time you have to spend on answering questions or getting back on track from a distraction.
When homeschooling you can spend as little or as much time as you want in a lesson. Even though homeschool involves multiple grade levels with more than one child, subjects like science, history, geography, art, or biblical lessons can be taught with all grade levels.
English, spelling, language arts, and math are taught by one on one instruction with homeschool. So all the questions that a child has been answered and solved while learning it. This results in children not having homework in homeschool.
There are some exceptions in older grades where written assignments are given and could be labeled as homework. But most likely the paper can be written within the few hours it takes for a homeschooling day.
Why the Primary Focus is Different in Homeschool Verses Public School?
In public school teachers have required subjects to teach with a fixed schedule. If all the lessons are not taught, they will be assigned for homework.
Standardized tests are given to students in public schools to achieve academic success in elementary, middle, and high school. Local schools get federal funding for doing these standardized tests.
Teachers can get paid through grants, taxes, or federal funding from standardized testing. This is how teachers can get pay rises or simply keep their job.
The primary focus of public schools is centered around academic success. This is why a simple assignment can be given as homework.
This is where homeschooling's primary focus is different. While 24 states require assessment testing for homeschool, homeschoolers don't have the financial pressure to make sure their child is testing well.
Find out these states here: "Home School State Requirements Explained: What You Should Know"
So the primary focus on homeschool is centered around learning subjects of interests, along with the required subjects for homeschool by your state. With the pressures of testing lifted, learning can be enjoyed by the whole family.
How Extra Work is Assigned in Homeschool?
I will use our homeschool example to give you an idea of how this works.
Each of our children has their strengths and weaknesses. My daughter is at a fourth-grade spelling level while just beginning third grade. She excels in writing, reading, and understanding language arts. My son is great at math and science. These are subjects that he's wired to understand naturally.
While they have their strengths they have their weaknesses too. Math is harder for my daughter. She has to spend more time to get why math works the way it does.
As for my son, he struggles is dyslexia. So reading and writing are difficult for him.
So this year I had to assign an extra phonics assignment for him to build upon his reading and writing skills. And we might have to adjust and add additional resources for him to build upon his weakness.
As for my daughter, we have to take a step back to a second-grade level curriculum to build upon her confidence. But she is doing extra assignments to build upon her weakness.
So extra assignments are given in homeschool to aide in whatever the child is struggling with. For our current extra assignments, we add 20-30 minutes a day.
Some subjects are extra by choice. We decided to learn a foreign language this year which is not required by our state or curriculum.
Teaching Methods in Homeschool Verses Public School?
There are various methods to teach that teachers use in both homeschool and public school.
Instead of writing a paper, watching a video, or doing a worksheet about how dinosaurs became extinct, homeschoolers can visit a museum.
Rather than listening to the facts about Van Gogh, kids can go look at and experience the work of Van Gogh and many other artists.
Attending museums and going on field trips is not the only way homeschoolers engulf the wonders of learning. Most science can be learned with examples right at home.
For example, decomposition can be taught by an earthworm experiment. Kids can witness decomposition right at their fingertips as earthworms break down leaves in a glass jar.
Or they can identify a plant by growing a bean stock and waiting for it to grow.
This method used by homeschoolers makes learning more fun and engaging. Not that public schools can't offer these things, but the primary focus of learning is different.
Homeschooling offers a way for family time to be incorporated into learning. Parents can decide how much each parent is involved in the learning process and know exactly what their child is learning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Invented Homework?
Horace Mann had a big role in the influence of homework. His interests in public school led to the movement of a government-regulated, and tax-funded public education in the United States. He witnessed the Volkschule system in Germany in 1843 and brought the idea back to America. The Volkshule system gave students mandatory homework to be completed in their own time.
In 1930, the American Child Health Association said that homework was a type of child labor. In the 19th and 20th centuries, teachers tried to find a way to make homework more relatable and personable to individual students.
Around 1957 when the Cold War heated competition between the US and Russia, U.S educational authorities decided homework was the best way to make sure students didn't fall behind Russia.
In 1986, The U.S. Department of Education's pamphlet labeled homework as an effective educational strategy.
Determining whether or not homework is effective is still debatable today.
What Are Some Things Homeschoolers Don't Have to Do?
- Homeschoolers don't have to follow the school calendar unless it's mandated by their state.
- Homeschoolers don't have to follow a daily schedule.
- Homeschoolers don't do 5-6 hours of school. Some states require students to learn for a minimum of four hours.
- No standardized testing for homeschoolers. Some states require assessments to be done yearly or periodically.
- Homeschoolers don't have to learn only inside.
- Homeschoolers don't have to wear a uniform.
- Homeschoolers don't have to do only virtual learning.
- Homeschoolers don't have to limit their family time from having homework.
- Homeschoolers don't have to follow what the local school thinks is safe to prevent Covid-19. Homeschoolers can create their socialization by choosing what activities they are involved in, and what friends they see.
- Homeschoolers don't have to stick to their grade level unless mandated by their state.