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Afterschooling = Two Extra Years of School?

Can 2 hours and 20 minutes a week of meaningful, parent-led instruction lead to 2 extra school years of education by the time your child leaves for college? Do the math for yourself.

Think about how long your son or daughter is in school each day. Then, subtract lunch, recess, snack, library, PE and school assemblies. What number of instructional hours do you end up with? In our case, this number is about 4 hours a day of solid, prepare-my-child-for-college education. (That’s not to say that recess, snack, lunch, music, and PE aren’t important, because of course they are!)

4 X 180 school days = 720 hours of instructional time in a school year.

720 hours x 2 school years = 1440 hours in two school years

1440 /12 years of Afterschooling = 120 hours a year of Afterschooling you need to do to reach the two extra years of school mark.

Here are some ways to accomplish that:

  • Year-Round Model: 2 hours and 20 minutes a week
  • School Year Only Model: 3 hours a week
  • Summer Heavy Model: 1 hour a day for 50 days of summer + 1 hour and 45 minutes a week while school is in session (This is what our family does.)

What counts as Afterschooling?

Opinions vary on what counts as Afterschooling and you are free to define this for yourself. In my view:

Afterschooling is when parents introduce a core academic pursuit that is in support of, or in addition to, what their child is already learning in school, and when the parents organize this instruction in a meaningful way.

For me, the litmus test of Afterschooling is: Will this activity someday help my child past an AP test in high school? Reading, spelling, handwriting, math, critical thinking, fact gathering, scientific experiments… all of these things would pass that litmus test. Does that mean giving up other things like soccer, music lessons, and playing outside? Heck no! Those important activities are incorporated into our lives, but they just don’t count as Afterschooling.

Where to Start with Afterschooling?

  • Don’t have a lot of time? — Try starting out with Carschooling.
  • Need ideas for Math? — Check out my Cheap Math page, or consider investing in a good homeschool math program like Right Start, Miquon, or Singapore. Hands On Equations is also a program I love for teaching beginning algebra skills to young children. Dreambox Math is an online option for grades K-4.
  • Need ideas for Science? — Check out the free lesson plans at Science Without a Net.
  • Are you ready for some History? — I recommend Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World Series Volumes 1, 2 and 3.
  • Does your child struggle with Spelling or Phonics?All About Spelling is really amazing!
  • Concerned that your child is behind grade level? –Check out my Sylvan Learning Center Alternatives page.
  • Wondering if your child might be gifted and in need of enrichment? — Check out my Gifted page for information and resources.
  • Are you really ready to Geek out? — Check out my Inspired By Stanford’s SLE Program: A Reading List for Children Part 1 and Part 2.

Need More Inspiration?

Although there are a ton of homeschooling blogs out there on the internet, Afterschooling blogs seem to be few and far between. Here some of my favorites:

  • Enchanted Schoolhouse Blog Fairy Tale Mama writes “My daughter attends a public Montessori school so we do what some call “afterschooling” with extra activities. My son stays home with me and does not attend preschool. We’re all avid readers so I blog about what we’re reading (kids and adults alike), what we’re learning, what projects we’re working on, and our quest to improve our lives and hopefully those around us too.”
  • Post Apocalyptic Homeschool Blog Jennifer Arrow’s education focused blog could very well qualify as an Afterschooling blog, since her son is not yet old enough for regular school! She writes “This blog is called Post-Apocalyptic Homeschool because I obsessively collect and stockpile used children’s books just in case I need to personally educate a small village after some sort of catastrophic scenario where all the other books and technology and book-obtaining means of all kinds have been destroyed, such that the only reading materials left for miles around are the piles of books in my garage.”
  • AfterschoolingTAH This blog’s motto is “blending parenting, school & community”, and includes a lot of resources and ideas for third grade students on up.
  • Mama’ing Again Pamela Afterschools all of the birth, adopted, and foster care children that flow in and out of her house. She goes the extra mile to make sure all her kids get on grade level and beyond, no matter how far they have fallen behind before they reach her family.
  • Enrichmints “The purpose of Enrichmints is to share ideas for educational enrichment and to encourage and empower parents to teach their children and be actively involved in their education, whether they’re homeschooled or public- or private-schooled..” Fabulous!

Finally, if you have never before read The Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, you are in for a treat because it is full of ideas for taking a more active role in your child’s education at home. This book is not just for homeschoolers! You can also check out The Well Trained Mind Message Board “Hive Mind”, specifically the Afterschooling board for more ideas.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the blog shout out, Jen. 🙂 I’m hoping to get some more goodies up over our two week holiday break. Did I say two weeks? Oy, I feel faint. Ha ha!

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