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how long will it take? 3rd and 4th graders


chelsmm
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I know this will vary greatly, but I'm having a hard time figure out how we will fit it all in.  And maybe we just won't, and it will be ok.  I have two children.  DD will be 10.  She will do her work easily most of the time.  She needs a little help here and there, but she can also do some things on her own.  DS will be 8.  He needs a lot of help.  ADHD, NLD, dysgraphia. He does read pretty well. 

 

I'd like to do...

 

math every day - different levels of singapore for each child

CAP fables together or possibly Jot it Down since I own that and they've never done any formal writing.

AAS 4x/week- different levels for each child

KWOT- this they can each do on their own once I help them get online. Could do at the same time as the other child is working on math with me.

science- REAL science chemistry- 2x/week, I think, together

history- ?

art- Meet the Masters- twice a week would be ideal. presentation one day, project another.

music- I'd love to give each child a piano lesson once a week as well as composer studies occasionally

PE- we've got this covered with judo, swimming, health talks as they come up, and trampolining

Spanish- I'd love to do Elementary Spanish, but we hardly ever find the time.

 

Here are the reasons we can't seem to get it all done...

 

Monday- we are free to do school all day until judo at 3:30

Tuesday- DD art class 10-11:30 ten min drive away, trampoline home school time 12-2, then judo at 4:00

Wednesday- OT for ds at 9:30. DD and I have 45 min together and can do her math or spelling. we do half day and then meet friends at the park at 1pm.  judo at 4:00

Thursday- home school nature study class 12-4. We spend 2 hours in the car total getting to and from class.  We usually listen to audiobooks (literature).

Friday- every other Friday I have to work so we only do a little school work.

 

We also love field trips and have memberships to two local zoos, the science museum, and the fine art museum.  We enjoy a weekly trampoline time on Tuesday and our park day on Wednesday.  We listen to a lot of audio books in the car. 

 

Last year we managed to do spelling, reading, handwriting for ds, and math every day.  That's about it.  And that was tough.

 

I worry that my kids aren't getting as much as they would in school sometimes.  But then I see all of the amazing things they do get (like their nature class and field trips where they aren't rushed along), and I know we are better off home schooling.  But it's so hard to fit it all in! 

 

They also both do scouts.  :)

 

And DD will do soccer in the fall, once a week practice and games on the weekend. 

 

Any thoughts?  thanks!

 

Edited to add Jot it Down.

 

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Not a clue, but when I asked about doing CAP Fable for 3rd grade for my almost 8yo who isn't a strong writer either (though I don't think he has dysgraphia) I was told by many people that that may be too hard for a young 3rd grader who isn't a strong writer (CAP itself says it's for 3rd or 4th grade).

 

ETA: you could maybe do some academics on Saturday or Sunday. When my mom was a kid in public school they had school on Saturday mornings (as well as M-F), and it sounds like you have some extra-curricular-ish activities during the regular weekdays so you could compensate by doing some schoolwork on the weekend.

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Oh, wow! No, we would never get anything accomplished with that schedule. How do you get your brain to focus with all of that running around? I like to have our mornings completely free through lunch each day. We schedule extracurriculars in the evenings only. DH works late once a week, so we can't start school until 11 a.m. or after that day and it's so hard! We have doctor appointments once or twice a month and those days are a complete wash school-wise. We usually end up at the science center, zoo and/or art museum.

 

We schooled 3-4 hours (or more some days...ugh) for second grade (and that was just getting everything done and oftentimes felt rushed) and I anticipate we're going to have to break for lunch for third grade and then resume afterward with content subjects like science and history. I am anticipating a solid four hours a day, but probably more because we need more flexibility with our content subjects. I think moving them after lunch will be better so we can be leisurely with them. DD is 8 and sounds a lot like your son, although we have no official diagnoses.

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That's what I got when I asked too. Hah! We are continuing anyway. DD has a good, solid mind. We will just figure out how to accommodate for the handwriting issues. I think we're going to use it every other week. CAP recommends rotating it with grammar, but how are you supposed to get through two levels in a year that way?

 

It's very confusing. Some say CAP is too much for third graders. Others say it's too easy for fourth (Fable, that is).

 

Not a clue, but when I asked about doing CAP Fable for 3rd grade for my almost 8yo who isn't a strong writer either (though I don't think he has dysgraphia) I was told by many people that that may be too hard for a young 3rd grader who isn't a strong writer (CAP itself says it's for 3rd or 4th grade).

 

ETA: you could maybe do some academics on Saturday or Sunday. When my mom was a kid in public school they had school on Saturday mornings (as well as M-F), and it sounds like you have some extra-curricular-ish activities during the regular weekdays so you could compensate by doing some schoolwork on the weekend.

 

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That's what I got when I asked too. Hah! We are continuing anyway. DD has a good, solid mind. We will just figure out how to accommodate for the handwriting issues. I think we're going to use it every other week. CAP recommends rotating it with grammar, but how are you supposed to get through two levels in a year that way?

 

It's very confusing. Some say CAP is too much for third graders. Others say it's too easy for fourth (Fable, that is).

 

C's handwriting isn't stellar, but it's not what I was referring to when I said he isn't a strong writer. What I meant is that he needs quite a bit of prompting to get words on paper (as in, deciding what to write), and then tends to get stuck if he doesn't know how to spell something and needs to either be told the answer or be cajoled into not worrying about it and to just keep writing (to correct spelling after he's done writing), etc (he's HFA). If the only issue is handwriting, that'd be completely different. However, since the OP mentioned ADHD, NLD, and dysgraphia for an almost 8yo boy, CAP Fable may be pushing it.

 

Personally, I created a blog for C a few days ago that he's been writing on every day (and I'm planning on having him write for that indefinitely). A few people recommended The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever, which I'm planning on using some, and then trying Fable at some point during 3rd grade... maybe sooner, maybe later, who knows. I just wasn't sure if the OP was aware that CAP Fable might be reaching a bit high for her son for now.

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That's tough. We used to have a similar schedule but couldn't make it work with academics. We did school on weekends too but it wasn't enough. Had to streamline our "out of the house" stuff and drop a few things. We also school year round, partially to make up for the past couple years.

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In your shoes, I would make an approximate hourly schedule for the week in Excel (with plenty of margin built in), and I have to say, I'd drop the trampoline time. I mean, with scouts and everything, you have about a dozen time-specific outside-the-house commitments there for every week. That's a lot--especially because you probably have the usual errands and irregular appointments (dentist, etc.) to fit in.

 

OTOH, do you school year-round? If not, that would lighten up what you need to accomplish each week. Can you take, say, 48 weeks to stretch everything out over?

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I know this will vary greatly, but I'm having a hard time figure out how we will fit it all in.  And maybe we just won't, and it will be ok.  I have two children.  DD will be 10.  She will do her work easily most of the time.  She needs a little help here and there, but she can also do some things on her own.  DS will be 8.  He needs a lot of help.  ADHD, NLD, dysgraphia. He does read pretty well. 

 

I'd like to do...

 

math every day - different levels of singapore for each child

CAP fables together or possibly Jot it Down since I own that and they've never done any formal writing.

AAS 4x/week- different levels for each child

KWOT- this they can each do on their own once I help them get online. Could do at the same time as the other child is working on math with me.

science- REAL science chemistry- 2x/week, I think, together

history- ?

art- Meet the Masters- twice a week would be ideal. presentation one day, project another.

music- I'd love to give each child a piano lesson once a week as well as composer studies occasionally

PE- we've got this covered with judo, swimming, health talks as they come up, and trampolining

Spanish- I'd love to do Elementary Spanish, but we hardly ever find the time.

 

Here are the reasons we can't seem to get it all done...

 

Monday- we are free to do school all day until judo at 3:30

Tuesday- DD art class 10-11:30 ten min drive away, trampoline home school time 12-2, then judo at 4:00

Wednesday- OT for ds at 9:30. DD and I have 45 min together and can do her math or spelling. we do half day and then meet friends at the park at 1pm.  judo at 4:00

Thursday- home school nature study class 12-4. We spend 2 hours in the car total getting to and from class.  We usually listen to audiobooks (literature).

Friday- every other Friday I have to work so we only do a little school work.

 

We also love field trips and have memberships to two local zoos, the science museum, and the fine art museum.  We enjoy a weekly trampoline time on Tuesday and our park day on Wednesday.  We listen to a lot of audio books in the car. 

 

Last year we managed to do spelling, reading, handwriting for ds, and math every day.  That's about it.  And that was tough.

 

I worry that my kids aren't getting as much as they would in school sometimes.  But then I see all of the amazing things they do get (like their nature class and field trips where they aren't rushed along), and I know we are better off home schooling.  But it's so hard to fit it all in! 

 

They also both do scouts.  :)

 

And DD will do soccer in the fall, once a week practice and games on the weekend. 

 

Any thoughts?  thanks!

 

Edited to add Jot it Down.

 

That does sound like a lot going on. However, if you and both your dc thrive on lots of activities/social interaction and enjoy it all, I don't see much of a need to take anything away just yet.  Maybe you could try to set aside the same 2-3 hours every day to get most of the academics in? Any possibility of moving DDs art class to a different time?  That would essentially free up most of every morning.  The other option may be to alternate weeks with some activities, like the trampoline or the park day.  

 

We just finished our first year (my kids are the same ages as yours), and while our schedule is not nearly as busy as yours is, I've found that in order to keep myself sane this upcoming year I need to be keep all "extras" after lunch and have two days of nothing scheduled before 3.  

 

However it works out, kudos to you for doing a great job providing such rewarding activities and educational opportunities for your kids!

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I would suggest figuring out a REALISTIC time budget.   When can you realistically start, and what time do you need to end?  

THEN, prioritize your subjects.   

NEXT, lay out your schedule by priority--and be sure to add in some flex time because nothing ever goes as plan, right?

 

It will mean that you have to make some sacrifices and compromises.   NONE of us get in everything that we want to do.  Of course we ideally want to do all of those things, but it may not be physically possible.  

 

Another thing I might strongly consider is re-evaluating your out of the house commitments.   It sounds like you have a LOT of fun things going on, but you have to be careful that those fun things aren't going to mean you can't get the more important things accomplished.    For example, are you going to want to study nature and art at the expensive of writing and math?   Only you can answer those questions. 

 

SO--You might see if you can re-prioritize your out of the house commitments.   I have a rule that I don't sign up for ANYTHING before 2PM.   No matter how fun it sounds.   That gives me enough time to get my most important subjects completed before we go and do the extra stuff. 

 

Looking at your schedule (with the exception of OT, that is REALLY important), there is a lot going on which breaks up your day.   You naturally won't be as productive when you have that many interruptions in your day.   Time will be lost getting ready to leave, coming back and getting back into the flow of work (finding your pencil, your book, etc.) 

 

FYI...My Estimates:

math every day - different levels of singapore for each child  (I would allow 60 minutes which includes all of the various singapore books, practice mental math, math facts, switching between kids, and general disruption.) 

CAP fables together or possibly Jot it Down since I own that and they've never done any formal writing.  (30 minutes, includes flex time.  Set a timer for 20 mintues and work until it goes off.) 

AAS 4x/week- different levels for each child  (30 minutes each kid)

KWOT- this they can each do on their own once I help them get online. Could do at the same time as the other child is working on math with me.  (included in math time estimate)

 

For everything you listed below, I would consider a loop schedule.   Figure out how much time is left in your day after you factor in the above schedules, meals, and the non-negotiable activities.   Then, work through your loop until your day is over.  The next day, pick it back up. 

 

You could also do a BLOCK of some sort too if you prefer to have fewer "plates to spin".   For example, maybe the first half of the year, you JUST focus on science, art, and spanish.    THEN, the second half of the year, you just focus on history, music, and spanish.   This way your "loops" will be shorter and more manageable.  

 

science- REAL science chemistry- 2x/week, I think, together 

history- ?

art- Meet the Masters- twice a week would be ideal. presentation one day, project another.

music- I'd love to give each child a piano lesson once a week as well as composer studies occasionally

PE- we've got this covered with judo, swimming, health talks as they come up, and trampolining

Spanish- I'd love to do Elementary Spanish, but we hardly ever find the time.

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I don't want to rain on your parade, because honestly, the activities your family is involved with sound truly wonderful, but if you are having trouble finding time to complete your everyday academics, it might be time to reconsider the number of extracurriculars you have going on. (My husband often has to remind me that they are called EXTRAcurriculars because they are meant to be just that: extra. That is, they are something you do once the main curriculum--academics--is taken care of.) 

 

As an objective observer, looking at your schedule, it appears that the only day per week you get in a full, uninterrupted school day is Monday, and then every other Friday. That doesn't seem like enough time to accomplish the academics you have listed, especially with a son who, in your words, "needs a lot of help." Maybe you could ask your kids to rank their extracurriculars in order of importance and cut the ones at the bottom of the list? (You might be surprised to find that the soccer team you assumed they LOVED is actually something they feel only lukewarm about.) Alternately, you could just reduce your participation in some of the things you have planned. For instance, do your kids have to take judo THREE times per week? (Is that required of them if they are going to participate, or are you just opting to take that many sessions?) Could you participate in the homeschool nature study twice a month instead of every week?

 

I know it's SO TOUGH to cut things because there are so many incredible opportunities open to homeschoolers! But it helps to keep in mind that you don't have to do them all at the same time. Maybe you do the trampoline thing next year. Maybe hold off on soccer for a season. (Again, those are arbitrary examples; your family will have to do the picking and choosing.) We had to do this in my family recently. We participate in a homeschool co-op once per week and were invited to join another co-op group a second day per week. The second group sounded so awesome, but once I looked at the impact it would have on our academics, I knew I had to say no. For us, two entire weekdays out of the house would cripple our academics. So, now we do just the one co-op and one or two extracurricular activities per week on weeknights. We do things like museum visits and plays and such on the weekends as a family, or on weekdays my husband is able to take a vacation day. 

 

I've also found, through trial and error, that when I over-schedule my family and we are rushing everywhere all the time, I become a really tense mother who has been known to bark at her kids to "Hurry up already!" I'm an introvert by nature, so I hate rushing; I found that for us, when we spend most of the school week at home, I am relaxed and pleasant and friendly and have lots of time to do impromptu family activities like baking and board games with my kids. I didn't like who I became when I over-scheduled, but that's just me! I fully understand that extroverts often thrive on the busy-ness that makes me, personally, feel overwhelmed. 

 

So, long story short, think about your family's temperament, be realistic about what you can reasonably get done in a day, and keep in mind that you don't have to do all these incredible extracurriculars THIS year. Art classes (or whatever) will always be around; maybe next year would be a better fit for some of these things? Best of luck!

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Thanks for all of the input.  Yes, we are definitely on the go a lot.  I'm hesitant to cut anything out.  OT obviously can't go.  Art- this is my dd's passion right now.  She also gets to do this class without her brother, which is really important.  Almost all of their activities (including girl scouts because I'm the leader) are done together, and she needs this time away from him.  Soccer- this is new.  She just asked to do it this fall, and that's ok because it will likely cut into judo time for the season.  Judo is required 3x/week because they are both on the special team of role models, which is training them to be assistant teachers.  It's great for both of them for so many reasons.  Physical activity is a high priority for me, and I want us to be active daily.  Then there is home school nature class. They aren't learning anything I can't teach them, but it's an important break for me and it's good for them to learn from someone else, I think.  Plus it's weekly time with kids, and that's important.  Trampoline time could certainly go, but it's a great social opportunity for the kids and for me.  And it's SO good for DS who has core weakness!  I know I'm justifying all of our activities!  I even want to add more!

 

I think at heart I'm an unschooler.  Or something like that.  We don't school year round, however we have done science in the summer.  Or at least started it.  that worked well.  They love science, and I consider it extra at this point beacuse we are exposed to so much science in our daily lives by our own choices, so it's ok if it doesn't get done.  So I might try to do some of our science this summer.  I like the idea of blocks of the year- science in the summer and fall and maybe something else in the winter and spring.  I also consider history extra because again, we do a lot of learning about history just for fun. 

 

There is just so much to learn, and it's all so exciting that it's hard to narrow it down!

 

Fables might be hard for DS.  I think I will look at some of the other programs mentioned, look at Jot it down again, and try some of fables (the free part) over the summer to see how he likes it.  He's very strong with language, so I think he could do it with the proper accomodations for writing/typing. 

 

Thanks again for all of the thoughts. 

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