When we think of a school day or a workday, we think 8 hours. Where did this number come from?
Well, it may surprise you, but it originated along with the Industrial Revolution. Factories had to function 24/7 and, in many cases, workers worked 10-16 hours each day. In 1914, Henry Ford instituted a more humane workday of 8 hours. Public schools also developed during the early 20th century and, for convenience, the hours were much the same.
However, we are no longer in the Industrial Age. We are in the Information Age, and work is much more mental. When a study recently was carried out by Harvard, they found that the average worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes. (Work Smarter, April 25, 2018)
So, it follows. . .if an adult is only productive mentally for about three hours a day, how can we possibly expect our children to focus online and independently for hours on end?
After mothering and teaching for a few decades, I have seen how children fade throughout the day with an imbalanced schedule. I have seen my children start strong in September with several hours of work, start to fade around Thanksgiving, and, in January, Mom becomes the drill sergeant and the struggle is full-out. Over the years, I have found that less is more. A well-balanced education allows a child to learn more thoroughly, think more clearly, and test higher.
If you want your child to maintain their love for learning and enthusiasm for homeschooling, you will want to integrate variety throughout the day: online learning, individual reading time, hands-on activities, home responsibilities, family read aloud time, math studies, and free time. After all, variety is the spice of life. And, when we take a step back, we will see that children are learning all day long as they observe family members in action, interact and converse with you and others, complete home chores and projects, practice a skill (music, sports, cooking, etc.), and by just being alone and thinking.
It’s a win-win. Less hours- more productivity, less activity- a calmer child, less work- a rested child, more time to think – a child who understands their feelings and themself better.