1,000 hours of Homeschooling

Email of the Day:
I recently saw a list of the annual hourly requirements per grade and freaked out…do you have an updated list of how many hours we are supposed to homeschool each year based on grade level? I’m not sure that our curriculum is enough.

The law calls for 1,000 hours per year. That’s about 180 days at 5.5 hours a day (that’s how the schools do it). The way I figure it is this:
There are 8,760 hours in a year. You spend about 2,920 of them sleeping. That leaves 5,840 hours left to homeschool. You can’t help but end up with 1,000 hours of homeschooling in all that.
Two things to keep in mind:
1) The law does not require you to keep track of the hours that you homeschool.
2) The law specifies that “home-based instruction is less structured and more experiential than the instruction normally provided in a classroom. Therefore, the provisions relating to the nature and quantity of instructional and related educational activities shall be liberally construed.” There’s lots of stuff that you do that isn’t curriculum that “counts” toward homeschooling.
This is how you can unschool (not use any curriculum) and still homeschool in WA. Our law specifies that “all decisions relating to philosophy or doctrine, selection of books, teaching materials and curriculum, and methods, timing and place in the provision or evaluation of home-based instruction shall be the responsibility of the parent.”
Your homeschooling doesn’t have to be entirely workbooks and curriculum. Art projects, music lessons, cooking together, phys. ed., fort building, fieldtrips, reading (together or separately) — all these things are part of homeschooling.
Frankly, if you start looking at your whole life as learning, you’ll see how many more hours than 1,000 you end up covering.
~Jen GS