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Work vs break time ratio?

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This is what works for us:


Dd gets 30 minutes of free tv time each day. If she wants more, she needs to earn it.


We have a goal of 10 lessons/day.


After 4 lessons, dd earns 30 minutes of tv.

Then, after 3 lessons, dd earns 30 minutes of tv.

Then, after 2 lessons, dd earns 30 minutes of tv.

Then, after 1 lesson, dd earns 30 minutes of tv.



--Dd just turned 5.


--The goal is 10 lessons/day. She can do it if she is motivated. This is not impossible, and she is often successful.


--We don't do lessons every day. MWF she goes to coop preschool in the a.m., and that eats a lot of time. Plus, dd is 5. There is no hurry.


--One lesson may be several things, like reading sentences AND coloring a page AND playing a vocabulary game AND reading little books for Sight Words lesson....or just doing 1 page for Explode the Code.


--We start out with the labor intensive and important subjects of Math and Phonics. As our day continues, we move on to easier subjects with fewer required parts.


--If dd uses her time during the day, she must watch educational tv or videos. If she saves her time for when daddy comes home, she can watch whatever she wants (Scooby Doo, or Disney's Aladdin, etc). When she chooses this option, she practices delayed gratification/emotional intelligence, and it frees us up to keep working and get done during the day.


--With a 13mo in the house, I encourage dd to keep working when the toddler is sleeping, and watch tv when the toddler awakes.


--I find that if dd gets to the 7 lesson point, she usually finishes for the day. The rewards are too great!


--Recently, I created long rectangles on a sheet of paper with squares of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 in them. Plus, unattached, but at each end, a square with P for practice piano and 3 attached squares that are R20 each for Read 20 minutes. Dd colors in the numbered squares as she completes her lessons, so she knows how close she is to her next tv time.


--Unfortunately, this often goes out the window on the weekend. Daddy lets her watch a lot of Scooby Doo. :)


--We have a TIVO in the house. (Note: Cable and HBO are not required for TIVO). This allows me to tape several PBS shows for dd to watch so she can

1) choose what she wants to watch,

2) start it when she is ready, and

3) I am not the bad guy when the show/tv automatically turns off after the 30 minute show ends.


I hope you find what works for you.

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I've found that when we are "in the groove", it is best not to take any breaks for the majority of our 3-4 hours of school time. My sons are 1st & 2nd graders - they tend to get "goofy" if given breaks and it is hard to drag them back into focus.


Not to say that we have our noses in our books the whole time, though!! We shift around a bunch - reading is often done me to them or them to me while they are sitting on my lap, health books often include lots of acting out of whatever it is we are discussing (fun when we do stop/drop/roll, NOT so fun when we are doing say no to drugs - since they always want to twist everything around and be silly). Also some of it is written, some oral, some on the computer.


I would say that we start school, in general, at 9am and continue until 12 with no away-from-school breaks. By then, the 1st grader is definitely done & usually just doing "fun extras" to keep him occupied & off the wii (coloring, reading, etc). The 2nd grader might have another 1/2 to 1 hour after lunch (solid) depending on how focused & co-operative he was before.


As they get older, I anticipate that the work load will get harder and longer - but the breaks will come with less stress, too. I will probably do them based on when we are finished with a particularly grueling subject & need a break rather than at a specific time.

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