This state-mandated number is actually the same as was required of kids in the Wisconsin government school system (and in private schools) when the homeschool law was originally written in the early 1980s. Though the law has since changed for those attending institutional schools, it has remained at the original number for homeschoolers ever since.

For all kids, though, the most important principle to remember - which I know from my nine years as a classroom teacher in the public schools - is that

**the required hours rule has always been (and still is) based on children's**The original number (i.e., the number still applied to homeschoolers) was obtained by calculating the number of hours in which high school kids'

*attendance*- i.e., whether their*are present or not.*__bodies__*in six classes per day plus "pupil transfer time" (in between classes) for 180 days a year. That same number was applied to middle and elementary schools and, eventually, to homeschool families.*

__bodies were present__Of course, the presence of children's physical bodies in a location

*doesn't*mean kids are actually engaged in formal learning activities for that whole time. In fact, even in an organized high school classroom, one can eliminate from instructional time at least five minutes after a bell rings for getting settled, and another five to 10 at the end. Additionally, we all know how much wasted time and/or kid zone-out time happens in the middle of lectures and in typical elementary classrooms as well.

But the system says that

**if the kids' bodies are**

__present__(in a school building or as part of a school-sponsored activity)**, the hours count.**So...

**by that**, if our homeschooled kids are

*same*standard*us (or with someone designated*

__with__*us according to the homeschool law's parameters), their hours*

__by__*counting.*

__are__Because this is true, here's the math: Let's say that, on average, a child is awake for 14 hours a day. And our learning year is legitimately 365 days (not just 180). Even if we're not always doing bookwork (because, remember, the rule is based on when our kids' bodies are

__present__, same as with the system), that means we have

*5,110 "school hours" in a year*. And even if we remove three hours a day for meals (since the system's ciphering does "not include the lunch period"), that's

**Of course, we can legitimately and unapologetically count our kids' "recess" time as physical education/health/fitness - in fact, schools are allowed to "include recess and time for pupils to transfer between classes"- but even if we eliminate that, it's clear that we really have**

*4,015 hours each year*.*plenty*of time

**by the system's standard of measure - i.e., that**

__.__*hours count**if the child's body is present***Remember**as well that "instruction" is not defined in the homeschool law - and that it is

*not*limited to the six content areas explicitly named in the text of the law. Thus, "instruction" legitimately includes

*each and every activity*that

*you*deem appropriate to your child's holistic education. Furthermore, the law does

*not*allow bureaucrats to ask you for proof of your hours (or anything else). Thus, we have

*no*legal obligation to tally our hours.

**We must "**

*provide*at least 875 hours," but the law*never*says we must*track*those hours.So...the lesson of the day in terms of time for Wisconsin homeschoolers is simple: Don't fret about it for even a minute. The fact is that the homeschool hours mandate uses the system's rules in place when the homeschool law was written and sticks them onto homeschoolers. We get freaked out by that when we shouldn't, because we can and should take the bureaucrats' rule and make it work for us. If they're going to say they have a right to mandate anything to us, then we can use their definitions to our benefit.

**They define attendance as the**Fair is fair!

*presence of the children's bodies*, so we can too.So relax and enjoy your freedom. You've got the hours covered without even thinking about it...at least three to four times over.