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Why do my days seem shorter than they should be?


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I just say on a post on here their child works about 5-6 hours and they're in 8th grade. I am in 11th and only work about 4. Am I not doing enough?

 

My subjects are: Pre-calc, Chemistry, Italian, Music, Health, English, U.S. II, and Bible.

 

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

I alternate during the week between Music and Health.

 

So basically, I do 7 subjects a day.

 

Am I not doing enough? What would you suggest to bulk up my day, if anything? Am I just overly paranoid??

 

I also have an English question:

 

I am doing Grammar, but not sure when to do it. Should I split my English classes during the week into different things. Right now for English, all I'm doing is reading. I'm reading A Death in the Family. What else should I be doing for English other than reading? Small writing assignments, grammar, what?

 

Thanks.

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It can be that:

 

a) you're very quick (there are such people) - one of those that don't waste a lot of time along the way (and often, much time is wasted), don't take excessive breaks or daydream;

b) you skip parts of the process (focus only on the most important things; don't do so much repetition or examples; etc.) - this itself is not necessarily a bad thing in many cases, though it may be a disadvantage at a more thorough understanding of some areas;

c) the goals you set are rather low compared to those other people's goals (so even though you might be achieving them, the scheme itself might be inadequate) - but it still does't mean you aren't doing your job, it's only relative in comparison with somebody else.

 

Generally, 40-50 minutes of the actual concentration per subject should be more than enough for a bright student even working on rather advanced programs; by that scheme, you can squeeze in five or six subjects. Let's say you slack daily in one or two (or purposefully plan to cover less in a subject or two daily), you can squeeze seven quite easily in those 4 hours, so I can see how you can end up studying so little.

 

Whether to bulk it up or not would depend on you, I guess, and your specific goals. If you're looking specifically to reproduce regular high school setting (what we call "school at home" :D), there's no need to, as so much time is wasted in schools and it's NORMAL that your day is shorter at home.

If you're looking to educate yourself past those standards, and have will and energy to bulk it up, then yes, you can add additional activities, additional readings, go past your current sources, etc. Just make sure not to overwhelm yourself and produce a counter effect. :)

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I know that my 15yo spends a lot more time doing schoolwork than my 17yo ever did. Part of it is that my 15yo always answers everything completely. If I was looking for 2-3 sentences for an answer, my 17yo would give me a hastily scribbled 5-6 words and my 15yo would give me a well-thought-out 10-12 sentences.

 

My 15yo starts at 9am and works until noon with maybe two 10-minute breaks. She takes care of a neighbor's dogs and eats lunch. She starts working again about 1pm and works until 4pm or 5pm most days with maybe two 10-minute breaks. She usually finishes up around 2pm on Fridays. Her usual workload is 6-7 hours M-Th and 5 hours on Fridays.

 

She is working on 6 credits right now: English, history, Algebra II, physics, Spanish I, piano, and p.e.

Time for p.e. isn't really included in her school time. She does a lot of biking and walking for stress-relief after she's done with school.

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I would add more to your English. Have you looked at any vocabulary programs? There are a few that are recommended here - Vocabulary for the College Bound, Wordly Wise, and many others. How is your grammar? Some public schools don't teach this very thoroughly, and this year is an opportunity to fill in the gaps - it'll help with SAT scores too. It's also a good year to work on the timed essay such as you'll have on the SAT. Maybe do one a week? Do you have all the skills needed for research reports including footnote and bibliography writing skills? It would be good to have at least one major research writing assignment this year. Are you analyzing what you're reading? Book analysis is also great for writing, or comparison papers, or persuasive writing, etc..

 

I had noticed in your other thread that math took only a few minutes some days. I think that's typical with the MUS program, from what I've learned of it here, but it seems light to me. How are you doing with the SAT math? Maybe you could spend some time working on those types of questions, or supplement your math program in some way. I don't know enough about it to know if it's necessary or not.

 

Are you writing for history? Maybe find some area of interest and do a paper or some kind of an interesting project. Think in terms of upcoming college applications and interviews, and maybe this will give you something unique to add or to discuss.

 

I think that in your other post you also mentioned that in addition to the four hours you were also spending a good bit of time reading. If this is "school" reading, then the actual time you spend is more than four hours, and may be just fine. :) Don't penalize yourself for working quickly and efficiently, but make sure that you have all the bases covered too.

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English has several components so if you are just reading, you're really not even doing one, imo. Literature is part of English, but there is more to literature study than just reading. Additionally, grammar, vocabulary, and writing are important. These components won't be even regarding time, but they should be included. Of course, you can combine them a little also. For example, writing could be literature analysis or research regarding another subject. For many literature selections, you can find helps online also. Vocabulary can be systematic or could be taken from your reading. Even if you can figure out the general meaning of a word from context, look it up, read many such sentences, try your own hand at sentences for it, etc. That will give you much greater understanding of the word as well as your true understanding of it. I think this is probably more helpful than just finding someone's list online as it's personalized. You can skip words you already know well, but can focus on those you want to learn the nuances regarding.

 

Your signature says Lials and the poster above said MUS. If you are doing Lials, even if you're a fast worker, I would expect you would fill up a class period. At that level, my daughter was given free reign to choose how many and which problems she needed to do. This took some figuring on her part and some maturity. She started with a basic "do this much" (in her case, it was every other odd), but then add in any specialized problems, ones that look "hard," and of course additional ones if you struggle at all. This ended up being a good thing because in college, the professor often picked several problems for "homework." So if you knew you needed it, you would have to go about doing more on your own. I'm glad I had encouraged her to do such early. And even my son who HATES school will do an extra problem or two (even problem set!) if he feels he needs it!

 

Now, if you're doing MUS, that is different. The teaching is done in a way to encourage conceptual and "story" knowledge so you ideally would understand the math enough to not need extensive practice and yet, there is a reasonable amount of practice. Make sure that you don't move on too quickly as sometimes there is good reason to continue along the same vein a couple days though you found day one or two easy. You might even watch the video a 2nd or 3rd time through the week as you may glean a little something more. However, I would work on things like SAT prep, review of other math, etc to fill out a class period. If you have any concerns regarding your previous math instruction, you can find free online study materials so you can brush up as you go. You want your PSAT and SAT (as well as PLAN and ACT) scores to reflect what you choose to do :)

 

How is Chem coming? Apologia is generally considered efficiently set up. You might check with the Donna Young site to see if you're doing, more or less, what she suggests daily. Make sure you're practicing study skills though. Learning to take good notes, practice outlining, doing vocabulary study, etc are all good things to do with this sort of class which may be easier otherwise.

 

So you might flesh things out a bit. Remember that no class has to be JUST that class. You can gain life skills, skills you'll use in other classes, etc while studying whatever. Just for example, one of the assignments required for a mathematics education student (using WGU.edu) is to prove their certain mathematics knowledge with a detailed paper. Another assignment is to write a detailed lesson plan meeting requirements for highly effective lesson planning. So though the subject is math which is very important, of course; many of the assignments will stretch a student in other directions also (writing, lesson planning, etc).

 

However, even with these sorts of things, you may just be fast. I would be surprised if my daughter ever spent 6 hours on school. I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened! And yet she had a full course load for high school, did dual enrollment, and started college early. Some people just work more quickly and spend more time "sleeping on it" than actually working on it. It could actually be BETTER (check some of Dr. Robinson's thoughts regarding that).

 

You are really the only one who can evaluate whether what you're doing is appropriate.

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Many people here are homeschooling because their children struggle with academics. And many people here are homeschooling because they are doing more than the US average. Both those cases would extend the school day. If you are doing about the US average with a natural aptitude for academics and good academic skills already in place (which I suspect is the case - many of those 8th graders are still working on basic academic skills like spelling) then you should be able to get your school work done in something less than many of the hourly amounts posted here.

: )

-Nan

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Thank you everyone.

 

I switched back from Lial's again to M.U.S. The reason I quit M.U.S. in the first place was because all the calculator work. I realized it was a petty reason and went back, and am liking it better now.

 

I do Chemistry with VHSG, so it generally takes me about 45 minutes a day.

 

English, I definitely need to work on a plan for that.

 

How do other do English? Do you have your children do Grammar x amount of times a week, writing x amount of times a week, etc?

 

Thank you.

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In high school, my kids are responsible for their scheduling past broad goals. So if the grammar has 42 sections, then you'd have to do a little more than a section each week. If you see that it has 6 parts to each section plus a test, you have to factor that in. But *I* would say that each 9 week grading period, you need to have done 10 sections. You have to figure the difference.

 

Writing is much tougher because there are so many different kinds of writing. Some kinds of writing are those that you would want to practice weekly or biweekly; however, others are bigger projects that you'd do just a few times per year. You might look into different programs either to get one to use or so you have an idea what is often done when to structure yourself. Also, there are online writing classes which may be helpful since you are self-educating so you have appropriate feedback.

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This is exactly how I feel some days too. I can work about 7 subjects a day if I am not busy, and about 4-5 subjects a day if I am. If I have a test or quiz in one subject, I will take the extra time to study for it, which will make my days longer. But when I have my good days when I can work all of the time, then I get all of my subjects completed no problem.

 

I am accelerated in some areas, and average in others, so it al depends really on how fast you work. What I do after I am done with every subject is look over the things I have learned and just review. Then I do the same thing at night.

 

This makes my days equal to about 5-6 hours of school, which I enjoy!

 

English I do American Lit and R&S grammer and parts of speech, so that takes me about an hour to an hour and a half. I do American Lit and then do a combination of American Lit and grammer every other day. Then I read every night from my bible and review what I have learned to discuss it with my mom each day. Then I read from a regular book every day as well. I read through two books a week!

 

It really all depends if you are accelerated, or if you don't have enough in your subject area. If you need more in a subject area, let us know!

Edited by LuvingLife
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Well, actually on Tuesday and Thursday his "book learning" time is less than 4 hours. On those days he goes to a rigorous homeschool PE class for 2 hours at a local gym (we consider this just as important as math & English and even MORE important than a foreign language) and after that volunteers at our church with an after school tutoring/mentor program for 2 more hours (again, we consider this just as important, if not more important, than his "academic" subjects. This program is part of our Urban Ministry program at church. My son has expressed *great* interest in doing some kind of mission work, especially with children, when he's an adult).

 

I see that you, like my son, have a volunteer position. Real interaction with the "adult world" you receive from volunteering is just as valuabe as your academic subjects.

 

Also, it appears from you siggy that you enjoy reading and knitting. What is life without time to do things we enjoy? So many kids your age are SOOOO busy with school-work and extra activities (like sports, volunteering or part time jobs) that they never get the chance to learn to entertain themselves. These kids are growing up thinking you must be "going and doing" ALL the time. We *all* need DOWN TIME to be happy, prodcutive people.

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Thank you, everyone!

 

I am adding it more Language Arts, and will be planning that this weekend.

 

I will be adding in Grammar, Composition and American Literature. For awhile, I was just reading until I could figure out what to do.

 

I am also adding in SAT math as a separate part of my day.

 

:)

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I've always picked up grammar and vocabulary naturally from reading. Programs to teach it don't even make sense to me. They don't make sense to my kids either. Reading is a more efficient and enjoyable way to learn the rules and words, and they stick in your head a lot better too.

 

I've learned more formal grammar from learning other languages. If you want a rigorous grammar program, just spend some time learning Latin.

 

Without doing programs, ever, for either of these two areas, my kids and I have always scored extremely high on reading/vocab/usage tests. (Which isn't to say that my posts are ever error free -- I don't type so good, sometimes.)

 

If you're looking for more to do, I'd just suggest you read and write more. You might want to challenge yourself by reading harder classics, but be forewarned that you will end up writing with way more commas than what's common in current usage. You can just read fiction, if you enjoy that, but you might also want to find some nonfiction that you are interested in.

 

What are you doing for writing? That seems like a difficult one to do on your own. (I'm just looking for ideas :)

 

Another thing you could do (if you're really hoping for more work) is to get through chemistry faster so you can do more science overall. I'm not saying that's necessary, but if it interests you, that could add more to your program.

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What are you doing for writing? That seems like a difficult one to do on your own. (I'm just looking for ideas :)

 

I'm doing SAT writing since I will be taking that in Spring.

 

I don't time myself yet. I just find a topic, do the outline, and then write the essay. I then compare it to the SAT Essay Format in a PSAT/SAT book that I own.

 

Pretty soon, I will begin timing how long it takes and start to trim time until I get to 25 minutes.

 

HTH and thanks for your advice!

 

I got poor grammar instruction in public school, and while I am naturally decent at it, I'm not as good as I should be, especially for the SAT. I am using Harvey's Revised English Grammar which I actually enjoy. Easy to follow, and it is older English, so that makes it more interesting (IMO, anyways).

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The things you were planning to add in in your recent post will fill out your days nicely. Those were exactly the things that we do that make our days a bit longer than yours are. We also do PE- exercise of any kind is a good habit- but you are probably just not counting that as part of your school day. Plus, if you do any art or music that will fill your days, too!

 

You're doing a great job.

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