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High School student "workday"--how long?

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I'm starting to become impatient with D and practically at the end of my rope. She's 17 3/4 and intends to go to college next year. She says she is working hard and yes, I do see her studying and doing her work, but to me, it just isn't enough. I am trying to prep her for the grind of college and seeing what she does now in no way reassures me that she will be able to handle a college load.


If we start at 9 am, D is burnt out by noon and needs a long (2 hour) break, where she goes off and rides her bike, runs, etc. then has lunch, watches a bit of TV... Before you know it it's 2 o'clock in the afternoon and D is unsettled and not as focused about sitting down and doing her schoolwork. Dragging work on from 2 pm to 5 pm is not always productive, and then D is chomping at the bit to go to the gym or go to dance class. She may be gone until 8 pm and when she comes home she eats dinner and then is half-hearted about doing anymore work.


On those 2 days where she goes to the CC for a 9 am to 10:30 am class the morning is gone.


Here is her day:


1 hour on Algebra 1 review (remedial course for SAT in December)

1 hour on Geometry review (remedial course for SAT in December)

1 hours on Marine Biology (Apologia)

1 hour on Spanish 2 Community College (online) class

3 hrs weekly CC English class and 4 hrs on homework


2-3 hours a day on Dance/Aerobics/Kayaking/Zumba/Kickboxing, includes driving time. [Additional Dance performance time on weekends not included]



>>Total: 27 hours a week on Academics ON A GOOD WEEK! Some weeks it is as low as 20 hours

>>Total: 15 hours Physical activity per week


D WAS doing Chemistry but I put it on "hold" while she works through Geometry (silly me!).


I just don't see this as being rigorous enough. But D tells me that this is a lot harder than in p/s because in class a student doesn't always have to pay attention and there is down time within the class (true). However, the students have to bring home and do a lot more homework! Also, D has learned the p/s wasn't such an optimum place for learning.


Does anyone else have experience with this? Do your children sit placidly at a kitchen table from 9 to 5 every day? I feel like like I am constantly :banghead:

Edited by distancia
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What is she getting credit for? The two math classes seem like just SAT prep that shouldn't take 2 hours a day since as a senior it is presumably not new material. Is she doing any math for credit? Our 'for credit' work as a 10th grade runs about 7 hours a day - a bit less on Fridays since it's the one day she doesn't have an online class. We use Life of Fred for math so by nature it takes a bit less time than a more traditional program. Each morning she either has Latin or Rhetoric from 9:30 - 11:00 (they are online classes. One meets M/W and the other T/Th). Then she does the rest of her work including reading and it usually done by 4 - 4:30. She is a fast reader so that helps. This will probably expand a bit after Christmas when we start CW Plutarch. Starting in 10th, CW is only a 15 week course so that lightens it up a bit for part of the year.



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My physically oriented sons say they can't settle to study until they have worked out and exhausted their body. I didn't give them much choice about this at home, insisting that they start at 7 and only take twenty minute breaks after several subjects, or 10 minute ones between, but left to their own devices, they work hard for a few hours, then work out, then relax a bit, and then go back to studying. One year, their gym collapsed suddenly (gymnastics is what they did/do with their evenings) and I and they decided that we would wait until the end of the summer to sign them up at a different gym, since it was the beginning of June. We lasted one week with difficulty. They said they felt like they were crawling out of their skin. They couldn't think. As the week progressed, my normally calm sane boys became wild-eyed. At the end of the week, I took them to the closest gym and put them on the team there. The next week, all returned to normal. I think people who are used to expending large amounts of energy physically have trouble not doing so. The older one is in college now and he has discovered that he can't really sit down to study at the end of the day unless he has worked out.

I don't have a solution for you. We use the timer a lot, and I told them at the beginning of the school year that it would only be hard for a few weeks, then they would get used to it. It is hard.


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Well, my almost-18yo senior daughter attends cc class eight hours per week (chem w/ lab and ethics) and also has an online class (psych 2). She spends about four hours per day doing homework when she's not in class. The rest of her waking hours are spent at ballet school.


So, I guess that works out to about 20ish hours doing academics per week, which is LESS than what your daughter is doing. I'm not concerned, though; chemistry is her last high school class, and she is halfway through her AA degree and is an honors student. Is your daughter doing well in her classes and is she on-target to graduate? If so, she's probably doing ok and may surprise you by rising to the challenge when college demands it. :)

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I do not have any experience, but I agree that it is not enough- unless her physical activity is directly related to what she wants to study (if she wants to be a dancer, it would make sense)

A college student is expected to work two hours outside of class for every hour in class. With an average load of 15 credit hours we are looking at 45 hours a week, more if the courses are particularly challenging. Is she aware of that?


This said, my kids do not sit and study from 9 to 5 ;-)

I expect my highschooler to work one hour a day for every credit earned towards graduation. My 8th grader is currently doing 5 hours of academic work, I expect that to increase next year.


I do not have any really good advice, except for a few small things:

1. I understand the need for a lunch break, but I would cut that to one hour.

2.She could get more work done before lunch if she started at an earlier time. We start at 8am, so by noon we have four solid hours done.

3. On the day of the outside class, can she remain on campus and do her homework for this class right there, maybe even with other students? My DD takes a college physics class; on class days she remains on campus till lunch and works on her homework for this class which is very efficient.


Good luck. What does she want to study?

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We lasted one week with difficulty. They said they felt like they were crawling out of their skin. They couldn't think. As the week progressed, my normally calm sane boys became wild-eyed.


Boy can I relate to this. My middle daughter is a competitive gymnast. It's year around 20 hours+ a week training with only one week off in the summer. You would think she would welcome that week to rest her beaten body. But nope. She's a nightmare. My oldest says when R is out of the gym it's like PMS gone wild. She must go or we all suffer :-).


And I was thinking - it actually is more like college to have class, break, workout, study, eat, study, workout, study etc. College isn't 6 classes a day in a row. They do things at all kinds of odd times.



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I'll just tell you what my son (9th grade) is doing. He is taking 7 classes:


English Comp 9: This is focusing on writing along with vocabulary and grammar. 1-1.5 hours/day

Algebra II: 1 hour/day

American Literature: 1-1.5 hours/day

American History: 1-1.5 hours/day

Astronomy: 1-1.5 hours/day

Latin: 0.5-0.75 hours/day

State history: 0.5-1 hours/day


Usually if one class is on the high side in terms of time, another will be on the low side. I'm including the time spent on reading in there as well. He usually works from 8 to 3ish with 15 or so minutes for lunch. On a bad day it will be until 4 or 5. Then in the evening we might do some state history and afterwards he reads assigned books in his room for 1-1.5 hours.


He has some learning disabilities which make him take way too long to do certain tasks. He also wants to go to MIT or Caltech, so he can't really do less than he is.

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With those classes, it would take my kids 4 hrs tops to complete their work. If she's working from 9-noon, she may be getting most of it done.


Having that few of credits in your senior yr, may not be that far off. Our high school lets the seniors out at 11:30 if they have enough credits.


I think you'd have to add more classes if you wanted her to work more.

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Thanks, everyone. You helped me put it into perspective. And I appreciate being reminded about how college schedules aren't 9-5, they are "catch-as- catch-can", so what my D is doing can actually be a training tool.


One thing I did forget to mention: right now it is kind of stressful because D is also under pressure to finish up her college essays, tour a few more colleges for the final elimination round, and physically she is having health problems while we adjust her medication.


D is a senior and has 5 college credits now and will have 7 by the end of December. She is hoping I will graduate her then (I will), as she has gone beyond her h/s graduation requirements. She intends to go to the CC in January for 3 classes and work on prepping for CLEP at home in her spare time (she's already passed 2 CLEPs). So she knows her work load will be harder. To her credit, when she works, she works, and she is intense. She is also an excellent writer (700 + on SAT writing) so she is able to write papers easily.


She truly loves dance and although it will not be her major, if she pursues anthropology (a back-up if she abandons science, which I suspect she will) then she would like to pursue a study of dance in primitive cultures. Also, another reason for expending so much energy is that she has ADHD. If my D does not work out, she does not focus. Period.


Thanks so much for :chillpill: reassuring me.

Edited by distancia
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but my son was not. Both took CC classes and always procrastinate. My sons schedule is a lot like your dd in fact we school from 9-12 and 2-6. That's been their choice and they've usually done well with it. Last year Ds could barely get anything done. I kept pushing him and pushing him and then I realized that he had enough credits to graduate, was not failing CC, and I was not going to be there when he was in college to prod him. I let him be the adult that he wanted to be. It is risky but my ds has done well. He graduated and is taking full time load at CC. His time management is not what I would want or would do myself but it works for him. It's so hard to sit on my hands when I'm his mom and want the best for him but in actuallity the best for him is to sit on my hands. As long as Dd is passing I think it might be time for you to try to let her fly and join me in learning to sit on our hands. They become adults so fast but they have to do it their own way eventually. If it gives you hope I just knew Ds would fail his CC courses because of the way he was his senior year. I've been pleasantly surprised at how well he is doing. I'm glad to see him starting to blossom into that adult I've been trying to prepare him to be.

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For Ds and Dd they generally spend 9am to noon, 1pm to 3pm on their school work.


Mondays Dd has music lesson and chiropracter from 1pm to 3pm. So she "looses" that school time.


Thursdays they have a teen homeschool group from noon to 3pm.


Dd's evenings are:

Monday Kung Fu 4:30pm to 9pm;,

Tuesday Kung Fu 5:30pm to 9pm,

Wednesday band practice from 6pm to 8pm (hour drive each way),

Thursday Kung Fu 6pm to 9pm,

Friday drum lesson 5-5:30pm, Kung Fu 6 to 8pm.


Ds evenings aren't so busy:

Monday Kung Fu from 4:45-5:30pm, Cyber Patriots from 7 to 9pm

Tuesday open

Wednesday Kung Fu from 6:45-7:30pm.

Thursday Civil Air Patrol 6-9pm.

Friday Kung Fu from 5:45-6:30pm.


They usually do some school work on weekends. Ds sometimes does school work in evenings.

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I start at 9, usually finish at 1.


I don't take breaks though.


I'm the type of person who's not able to relax unless everything that is needed to be done for the day is done.


Daily, I do: Math, Italian, History, Science, English, and Bible.


I do Music 3x/week.


Even when I am done with school though, I do research and reading for school. So, all in all, about 5-6 hours daily.


Sometimes certain classes (math for example) will take 45 min-1 hour, other days it'll take 15 min-25 mins.


So sometimes, my days can be done by 12 and everything is done for the day.

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