In my new state we have to keep track of school days (180) or hours (900 for elementary students). Some people I've met take this very seriously and diligently track hours for each of their children. Imagine trying to log hours for 4 children, individually! One woman told me she does this; she hates it and finds it frustrating, but says she can't think of a better way to fulfill the requirements of the law. Some homeschooling moms just print a grid of 180 squares and write in the date every day till it's filled up. (The lady with 4 kids shuddered when I told her that.)
Most people probably fall somewhere in between. I came to the conclusion that if we do math, I count the day. I know that if math gets done, at least 5 hours of learning is going to take place in my house that day, or I'll make it up some other day. Because, of course, learning goes on all the time. We can't really stop it, if the kids have interesting stuff around to read and do and look at.
But even that's not an accurate method. Today we are all feeling a little under the weather, so we made a blanket nest on the family room floor and I've been reading. We did our Bible and Catechism reading, and then read By Wagon and Flatboat, a historical novel set just after the American Revolution. Both of my kids could read this book on their own, but it makes a good read-aloud too, and there are lots of opportunities to stop and talk about slaves, and flatboats, and hospitality out on the frontier. ("People just let strangers stay in their house?") And the ever-popular topic: who were the bad guys, the Indians or the settlers?
By about 1:30 we'd gotten in the 5 hours that could call it a day, at least. Because even when I stopped reading for a few minutes - to make soup, or call to complain about an incorrect phone bill, or get some more tea - the kids were doing something. E draws constantly, even while I'm reading. J reaches for his new airplane book, Paper Pilot, reads it and works on a model from it. In fact, he was reading it even before he got out of bed this morning; he brought it to me and read some interesting facts about one of the planes. (He'd be mad that I've already forgotten the plane and the facts; he, on the other hand, will never forget them. ) E has been reading one of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books; not great literature, but a kids' classic anyway. Oh, I guess she finished it because now I see she's reading The Hundred Dresses which will surely start some more conversation.
In a couple of weeks we'll attend a reenactment of one of the Revolutionary War battles fought nearby. I'll count that day too, you bet. Even if we don't do any math.