Seat Time vs. Instructional Time

I am happy to get private emails about homeschooling with Leadership Education principles. I’ve been getting a few about Transcripts lately. This is a challenging subject for the following reasons:

  • Each person is different and is going to study different things.
  • Each person is going to do different things once they “graduate” from homeschool. They will attend different colleges and universities, or just different types of careers. Each college/university has their own entrance requirements.
  • Each state has different requirements for homeschool students. One state has no requirements other than an agreement to teach certain subjects while another has hours that need to be met each year. Yet another has subjects and hours per subject plus yearly state testing. This means each student will have to jump through different hoops.

Another thing to consider is how public school hours work. They have what they call “seat time” and then “instructional time”. Seat time is the hours they are at school – 8am to 3pm. Instructional time for high school is 15 minutes of each 1 hour period. A student that goes to 6 periods a day actually only receives 1 1/2 hours of instruction time. Anyone who actually does a Scholar Phase is going to have tons more than that.

What are the other “seat time” hours spent on? – standing in line, walking between classes, lunch, waiting for class to start, waiting for class to end, finishing busy work assigned in class, etc.

So 180 days of instruction for 1.5 hours a day is actually only 270 hours of instruction per year, yet the public schools claim 1260 hours a year. I worked in public schools as a teacher and heard many discussions about seat time and instruction time.

If your child is spending 3-5 hours a day for 180 days a year, they are studying (not just sitting in a seat or standing in line) 540-900 hours a year. By the way, most state homeschool laws say they want 900 hours of instruction per year, which we all know is ridiculous for anything below high school and that the public schools don’t even come close to that.

The average Scholar will study 5,000 hours in their Scholar years! Divide that by 4 years of high school and you get 1250 hours per year of instructional time, not seat time.

Granted, not all young people will finish their Scholar Phase in the “high school” years. This is okay. As you can see by breaking down the hours that even a student who is Transitioning until their Junior Year and then gets down to business for 2 years will have enough instructional time.

Seat Time – NOT!

Seat time is a myth. Who says learning only takes place in a seat? Think of all the things that are learned through homeschooling. We get out into nature. We get out into the real world to learn about how things work and to work with others of all ages.

I was also asked about Physical Education. During good weather, we spend a lot of time outdoors with a 2 hour per week park day where we invite other families and play basketball, tennis, baseball, etc. We also schedule hikes and visit various National Parks and things that are available to us.

Over the years we’ve hiked canyons, visited several kinds of caves including naturally formed and man-made, visited Indian ruins and cliff dwellings, seen Civil War battlefields and outdoor museums, visited National Grave Sites, etc. We’ve been to the Grand Canyon and seen natural waterfalls. Probably the funnest place we saw when they were little was the City of Rocks and Cliff Dwellings in New Mexico.

The world is our school!

Posted in classics, Classics Not Textbooks, education, Physical Education, Transcripts

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