These questions about what kids do all day (sometimes up to 7 1/2 hours each day) in this institution called school happened to come to the forefront of my mind just around the time I was reading Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax. The book was a good read and really helped to re-confirm many of my ideas and reasonings for homeschooling. As I read this I found myself nodding in agreement (and even at times verbally exclaiming my agreement), and wondering why doesn’t everybody homeschool. While there were many parts that I do agree with one part that I found particularly interesting was this exact discussion of how time is spent in institutional classrooms. According to the Colfaxes a “child who attends public school typically spends approximately 1,100 hours a year there, but only twenty percent of these–220–are spent, as the educators say, “on task.” Nearly 900 hours, or eighty percent, are squandered on what are essentially organizational matters” (46).
I have seen/heard of similar figures before from others so these numbers weren’t necessarily shocking to me, but it was timely since, as I said, I was just having a discussion about what exactly do kids do at school all day long?? Eighty percent on “organizational matters”–come on, you have got to be kidding!! When I think of how much time kids spend in school and then think about how much time they spend on basically insignificant material, on topics that they might not be interested in at the time, and with people they don’t even really know I feel even more confident in our decision to homeschool! I am grateful that I get to spend all those hours with Aidan and that our family gets to share in adventures and learning experiences together–on our own schedule and with our own interests in mind. Our eclectic, child-led approach to homeschooling simply rocks!!