- English (reading and writing)
- Life skills (chores, learning to cook, etc.)
The thing is that the workload really isn't very heavy, even though I'm taking a smorgasbord approach with science this year, covering multiple areas of the topic every week. The reason it isn't overwhelming is that there are multiple definitions of learning.
In a classroom, learning is characterized by retention, and necessarily so. This has become increasingly the case in recent years as schools have had to devote more time to testing. If you don't retain the information, you haven't learned it.
Another definition is more fluid, but not suited to the classroom at all. My grandfather once told me that everything must be learned three times: once to forget, once to remember, and once to understand. Within this context, much of classroom learning focuses on the second iteration--the one usually required for testing--although it can also, in later grades, emphasize the third level of learning through essay assignments. However, institutional learning really requires an objective mechanism for evaluation to be effective in any way. Teaching for the sake of introducing a subject is a waste of classroom time because it is not quantifiable either for administrative records or for report cards.
In the context of homeschooling, I have the freedom to introduce a wide variety of subjects while not requiring my students to retain information from all of them. As an example, I can teach addition and subtraction to the Eel and Bat emphasizing retention of the processes involved, but allowing more leeway and time on the memorization of specific problems. We cover a wide variety of science topics, but I honestly don't expect them to retain much if it. I just want the ideas to be fairly familiar when we approach them again later. With other topics, I might expect retention, but developed over the long term. I don't expect them to learn to write each letter well in the short term, but I do expect them to improve over the course of the year. Likewise, I expect the memorization of ASL and Hebrew vocabulary to occur over time.
Both approaches to education have benefits a drawbacks. In the case of the Bat, the presence of variety helps us cope with his short attention span. In the case of the Eel, a more quantifiable approach might be better, because he likes the certainty of definite endpoints. Still, he benefits from a broad range of subjects, because I can offer him a range of subjects to choose from when we sit down to study--an approach that works very well for him--or let him do less intensive work if he didn't sleep well the previous night. I also like for both of them that the approach we use gives me the opportunity to find their skills and interests without a significant time commitment to any one topic.
Obviously, retention and understanding are more important in later grades, but flexibility can be very useful early on.
Value judgments aside, two of the things most homeschool families enjoy is the ability to be responsive to the needs of their students and the opportunity to develop and pursue their own educational goals. With the inevitable diversity the results, comparing notes among homeschool families can be a hotbed for miscommunication if we let it.
So, what do you mean when you say "learning"?