I am new to homeschooling this year. I’m not quite sure what can “count” as school hours. To me, almost anything can be educational, but can I legally count such things in my 1000 hours? I want to know about such things as: story time at the library (reading, music, crafts), story time at the park (science), listenting to audio books while doing laundry or driving on trips (reading), watching educational DVDs (science, social studies, math, ect), helping to cook dinner (math, science). What is Missouri’s idea of school hours? Thanks so much! ~Angie

Angie ~YES! You can legally count such things in your 1000 hours! Sometimes one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is that a home school does not have to mimic public school. Many of us have large households that have large amounts of duties to attend to throughout the day besides accomplishing school for the day. Even if our households aren’t large it can be a real struggle to balance house and school. The suggestions that you made about audio books, DVDs, helping to cook dinner, library story times are all very valid suggestions and should be included in the hours that are counted for school! Missouri laws do not dictate to us how to perform school 0nly to achieve the recommended amount of hours. 

Our homeschool day includes a subject called “Life Skills” as a course and this covers things such as cooking, cleaning, meal planning, trip planning,  creative playing, laundry, child care and many other chores that have to be taught and attended to upon a daily basis. Learning to take care of a home is a matter of teaching, correction, and learning to be diligent. All of these are excellent tools in the shaping of our children’s character and something well worth recording.

 When I was 13 I only knew how to “go to school.” I couldn’t cook, take care of young children (I only was around children MY age), organize a game, complete chores (I wasn’t required to), or clean anything. When I got married you can imagine what a struggle I faced trying to maintain a clean house and begin raising children! When my daughter (or my sons for that matter)  turned 13 things were different! They can do all those things I couldn’t do at that age because they have  been trained. Every bit of that learning was more than valid and an asset to their future lives!

Your teaching method – regardless what tools you choose to use-  is a valid method and you can be creative with any resources you have available and log it as hours. We often fold laundry while listening to an audiobook or watching an educational DVD. We often have science and math while we cook lunch or supper. (What better way to learn fractions then hands on!?) If an unexpected trip to town comes up what better time to explain nouns or play a game like “name the nouns you see.” Pop in some classical music for music appreciation or an audiobook while traveling. It is always great to combine learning with real life! In my opinion, many times my children remember the lesson far better than sitting at the desk with workbooks.

Of course, we have book work as well and it is much easier to log hours in a workbook because you have tangible “evidence.” When I first began homeschooling I only logged my book hours and I was frustrated at how slowly the hours were coming along. Then a veteran homechooling friend of mine pointed out all the hours I was leaving out if I didn’t count verbal activities and games we played, or exploring flowers and bugs outside, etc. A whole new light dawned for me as I realized I wasn’t a slave to the workbook. It was a challenge to remember to write these fun times down as school however.  Many of us are still stuck in the mentality that school is not “fun” when we first begin.

Thanks Angie for your question!