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Please help me tame the middle school schedule and get it all done!!!


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Per Jane's suggestion on the Getting it all done with middle schoolers thread... I'm seeking advice and suggestions for scheduling. My 12yo wakes up at 6:30 and we begin school between 7:30-8am. We take on average 40 minutes for lunch. Yet we struggle to finish by early afternoon. She is always plugging away until supper and usually has to finish reading and Spanish after that. She tends to daydream a bit and I do have to redirect her attention to her school work. Plus add a very busy toddler into the mix as well. It's just so frustrating for us both that our school day drags on so late in the evening.

Bible - Reads a chapter each morning from New Testament, works on a section each week in AWANA book, & we've been going through a short devotional each morning discussing "teenage girl" topics

MathUSee - Algebra

Bob Jones 8th gr Grammar

Spelling Power

Writing Strands

Wordly Wise 3000

Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural & Verbal

Apologia General Science

History/Lit - Sonlight Core 100 w/ Hakim's History of US along with the recommended historical fiction and literature selections. This is the area that takes the most time for her to complete between reading the History of US series and completing the questions, the historical fiction and literature reading. I don't make her do the timeline or mapping. We haven't touched the poetry selections beyond our first week either. Reading is not a favorite activity of hers. I thought perhaps Sonlight would instill a love for it. The books are wonderful! What's not to like about it????

Geography - Maps, Charts, Graphs (in lieu of the mapping activities in Sonlight history)

Rosetta Stone Spanish

This is what we do each day. Now, because she loves art and this is the ONLY way it won't get pushed aside, we're going to begin lessons soon.

Art - start class w/ an instructor twice/month beginning this month

 

Ok there it is, the good...the bad...the ugly. Can you offer advice/suggestions for how to "git r done" earlier??? I'm ALL :bigear:

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My 7th grade dd has something similar to yours. Can you alternate geography & spanish? Say Spanish on M,W, F, and Geography on T, Th. Or you could alternate Spanish and Thinking Skills?

 

Is she dawdling a lot? I would think 45 minutes/day for lit reading and 45 min/day for history reading would be enough for middle school. If she truly concentrates on reading for this long, I would "let" that be enough. If she's dawdling then you have to address that. Maybe set a a timer and require her to read steadily for that long only. Or, try curling up with her on the couch and reading together for the time (you could read part of hers out loud and then switch to seperate reading). My kids always perform better if I'm close by.

 

It also may help to divide the reading into 2 different times of day, maybe lit in the morning and history in the pm.

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:seeya: Hi Cherry Blossom,

 

I’m game for helping you figure out a working schedule.

 

Personally, I would begin by figuring out how much time you think your daughter’s schedule should take.

 

Let's assume you schedule all these subjects every day. Given that first assumption, I would schedule the following amounts of time for each subject. I like to round up to 1/2 hour and 1 hour blocks of time.

 

30 minutes - Bible

60 minutes - Algebra

30 minutes - Spelling Power

30 minutes - Writing Strands

30 minutes - Wordly Wise 3000

30 minutes - Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural & Verbal

60 minutes - Apologia General Science

60 minutes - History/Lit

30 minutes - Geography

30 minutes - Rosetta Stone Spanish

 

Based on the above time schedule you have a 6.5 hour day of school work. Here is a very rough draft and *optional* way of scheduling:

 

6:30am - Bible Study

7:00am - Morning Routine (Breakfast, etc.)

8:30am - Algebra

9:30am - Spelling Power

10:00am - Writing Strands

10:30am - Wordly Wise

11:00am - Thinking Skills

11:30am - LUNCH

12:00pm - Science

1:00pm - History

2:00pm - Geography

2:30pm - Spanish

3:00pm - DONE!

 

Your dd would be done by 3pm every day!

 

Now let’s consider some finer points. You’re probably thinking, Spelling will never take a full 30 minutes. Great! When your dd finishes early, let her feel the reward of that accomplishment by having a brief break to grab a snack or work with art supplies for a bit. Then, when you get to the more challenging subjects to complete in the allotted time she will remember the feeling of completing her work early and strive to do it again. If my children do not complete their work in the allotted time, they have homework. My children try to avoid homework. I think this system works best for such children.

 

There are lots of alternative schedules within this schedule. You could easily alternate two subjects every other day—such as Writing Strands and Wordly Wise. This would give you an extra 30 minutes in your day—time that could be dedicated to “assigned reading†for history. You can also alternate Science and History every other day as TWTM recommends. In this case, TWTM recommends you allot 90 minutes to those subjects, but you free up another 30 minutes in the daily schedule. That time could then go towards a longer lunch break or towards Algebra if your dd consistently needs more than 60 minutes each day for math.

 

Personally I try to schedule realistic times for completing each subject because I want them to feel successful. Another family may have children who don't mind subjects being carried over into homework.

 

As an aside, I realize not every family will take to this type of strict scheduling. I only mention it because I used to have my children complete one subject, then move on to the next subject. After switching to a Block Schedule (the name I’ve assigned to this type of scheduling), my children started completing their work quicker and felt happier about their day. I think the mini breaks rejuvenate them. Oddly, they also accomplish more. If this style doesn’t fit your family, move on and know that I meant my words as encouragement and not to frustrate you further. I’m sure you will find what works for your family because you are willing to ask questions and gather ideas. :)

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Per Jane's suggestion on the Getting it all done with middle schoolers thread... I'm seeking advice and suggestions for scheduling. My 12yo wakes up at 6:30 and we begin school between 7:30-8am. We take on average 40 minutes for lunch. Yet we struggle to finish by early afternoon. She is always plugging away until supper and usually has to finish reading and Spanish after that. She tends to daydream a bit and I do have to redirect her attention to her school work. Plus add a very busy toddler into the mix as well. It's just so frustrating for us both that our school day drags on so late in the evening.

Bible - Reads a chapter each morning from New Testament, works on a section each week in AWANA book, & we've been going through a short devotional each morning discussing "teenage girl" topics

MathUSee - Algebra

Bob Jones 8th gr Grammar

Spelling Power

Writing Strands

Wordly Wise 3000

Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural & Verbal

Apologia General Science

History/Lit - Sonlight Core 100 w/ Hakim's History of US along with the recommended historical fiction and literature selections. This is the area that takes the most time for her to complete between reading the History of US series and completing the questions, the historical fiction and literature reading. I don't make her do the timeline or mapping. We haven't touched the poetry selections beyond our first week either. Reading is not a favorite activity of hers. I thought perhaps Sonlight would instill a love for it. The books are wonderful! What's not to like about it????

Geography - Maps, Charts, Graphs (in lieu of the mapping activities in Sonlight history)

Rosetta Stone Spanish

This is what we do each day. Now, because she loves art and this is the ONLY way it won't get pushed aside, we're going to begin lessons soon.

Art - start class w/ an instructor twice/month beginning this month

 

Ok there it is, the good...the bad...the ugly. Can you offer advice/suggestions for how to "git r done" earlier??? I'm ALL :bigear:

 

Okay, a few things jump out at me. One is that you have a lot of language arts materials. I have heard that Wordly Wise is time consuming but I know nothing about it. I've just heard that I think on these boards. So, I might consider ditching it if it is time consuming. Does your daughter still need spelling instruction? If she's a strong speller, I would probably forego spelling at this point. How much time is the LA stuff taking you? What I love about Galore Park's English is that it is comprehensive and time-efficient. It covers everything except outside reading of whole books. It's been time-saving for us. Other writing in our house comes from written narration for the most part. The other thing that jumped out at me is that you said it takes a long time to answer the questions in regard to Hakim books. Can you do those orally? Can she instead do written narration in regard to this? Perhaps one narration a week on anything of her choice she read that week, doesn't have to be a whole section. Just a thought. The Q/A (though I haven't seen these) may be more busy work and an area you could lighten up????

 

These are just the couple things that popped out at me.

 

Best wishes,

Anita

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How much time is Spelling Power taking? I started my 12 ds on Apples Daily Spelling Practice 1 this year instead of a traditional spelling program. It is kind of like a Daily Grams of spelling. It generally takes him about 10 minutes or less a day to do. And it is really helping more than anything else we have done for spelling. And it is totally independent, I just grade it at the end of the week. Other than that, I don't really know how to help...maybe start half an hour earlier? My 12 ds has a similar schedule, and he is usually done around 2...however, he LOVES his free time and wants to get finished as quickly as possible. We also have a toddler running around (plus 8ds and 9dd), so we try to do things he needs help with before she gets up or during nap time. Oh, could you save the questions for History of US until the end of the week, and discuss them out loud? You could just do science 4 days a week, and use the alotted science time on the fifth day for history discussion. We use TOG and are still trying to figure out a good time for discussion. This week we are going to try for Thursday night after the toddler goes to bed (she goes to bed early and sleeps late, Thank you Jesus-she is a whirlwind when she is awake!!). Maybe if she did all her written work first thing in the morning, then she could work on Sonlight after lunch.

 

Could you offer a reward &/or punishment for getting done/not getting done by a certain time? I tell my kids that I am not doing school after we get home from activities in the afternoon (soccer practice everyday except Wed), so if they aren't done, they'll just have to do it themselves or do double the next day.

 

I hope this was helpful. I know it is very difficult now that they are getting older!

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Per Jane's suggestion on the Getting it all done with middle schoolers thread... I'm seeking advice and suggestions for scheduling. My 12yo wakes up at 6:30 and we begin school between 7:30-8am. We take on average 40 minutes for lunch. Yet we struggle to finish by early afternoon. She is always plugging away until supper and usually has to finish reading and Spanish after that. She tends to daydream a bit and I do have to redirect her attention to her school work. Plus add a very busy toddler into the mix as well. It's just so frustrating for us both that our school day drags on so late in the evening.

Bible - Reads a chapter each morning from New Testament, works on a section each week in AWANA book, & we've been going through a short devotional each morning discussing "teenage girl" topics

MathUSee - Algebra

Bob Jones 8th gr Grammar

Spelling Power

Writing Strands

Wordly Wise 3000

Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural & Verbal

Apologia General Science

History/Lit - Sonlight Core 100 w/ Hakim's History of US along with the recommended historical fiction and literature selections. This is the area that takes the most time for her to complete between reading the History of US series and completing the questions, the historical fiction and literature reading. I don't make her do the timeline or mapping. We haven't touched the poetry selections beyond our first week either. Reading is not a favorite activity of hers. I thought perhaps Sonlight would instill a love for it. The books are wonderful! What's not to like about it????

Geography - Maps, Charts, Graphs (in lieu of the mapping activities in Sonlight history)

Rosetta Stone Spanish

This is what we do each day. Now, because she loves art and this is the ONLY way it won't get pushed aside, we're going to begin lessons soon.

Art - start class w/ an instructor twice/month beginning this month

 

Ok there it is, the good...the bad...the ugly. Can you offer advice/suggestions for how to "git r done" earlier??? I'm ALL :bigear:

 

 

Could you rotate Geography, Building Thinking Skills, Wordly Wise, and Spelling Power? (and maybe even Writing Strands or BJU Grammar?) If you could give all of them one 30 minute slot each day that would save quite a bit of time. (or maybe 2 slots if you want one for Writing Strands and BJU Grammar to share.)

 

Are the questions for the Hakim books thinking questions or read and regurgitate questions? Comprehension questions often don't add a lot to a reading (IMHO) and take up a lot of time.

 

HTH,

Michele

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My perspective is that if there is too much work, the child will naturally dawdle, because life loses it's lustre and who can be enthusaistic about work work work, especially whe you are a kid?

Looking at your schedule, I would say simply to do some subjects 3 or so days a week instead of 5, which has been said already. Perhaps grammar, spelling, Wordly Wise and, Writing Strands and Building Thinking Skills could all be dropped back to 3 days a week, and it might cut her days back to the point where she can see that its doable, that if she gets in and does it she will have plenty of free time. But if she cant finish it by mide afternoon, I would in fact prioritise some time off- simply stop working after a particular time- no 12yo should be working all day till well after dinner, day after day.

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. . . of how long each subject is taking? Off the top of my head, I suspect that you may just be trying to do too much (or your daughter is somehow spinning her wheels) on certain subjects.

 

We're not using any of the same materials, and my son is younger (10). So I don't know how helpful a comparison would be, but here's a rough idea of how things work here.

 

He gets up at 7:30. If I'm not showered and dressed and available yet, he works on assigned reading until I'm ready (about 15 minutes). He showers and dresses while I make breakfast. He usually does more assigned history/literature reading (or occasionally I read aloud) over breakfast (another 30 or so minutes?).

 

After breakfast, we move directly into desk work. The specific order of subjects varies from day to day. Some subjects he does only two or three times a week, so I've tried to come up with what that works out to as an average per day.

 

Math - University of California College Prep online algebra (45 minutes)

Supplemental Math Reading / Activities - (40 minutes a week, average 10 per day)

Greek - Greek Alphabet Code Cracker/Hey Andrew (20 minutes)

Latin - Latin Prep (30 minutes)

Spanish - The Learnables (15 minutes)

Classical Writing (15-30 minutes)

English Prep 2 (20 minutes)

Word Roots (20 minutes twice a week, average of 10 per day)

Science - Story of Science, supplemental reading, projects (30 minutes)

Geography - FLVS (average 20 minutes per day)

Art - FLVS (average 20 minutes per day)

Logic - Mensa Critical Thinking Puzzles (average 10 minutes per day)

More History/Literature Reading and/or written assignments (another 45 minutes)

Educational DVD/Video - Usually history or science (20 minutes)

 

So, that's a total of a little over six hours per day. Since he starts by 8:00 or 8:30 (counting the reading-over-breakfast time), he's done by 2:30 most days.

 

He's probably not doing as much writing as your daughter is. For example, he's doing just one worksheet per week for history. And he's doing minimal written work for science, mostly just reading and discussion and doing experiments. Your daughter is also doing spelling (which we're covering only as a part of his writing assignments) and the Bible work. However, he's doing a lot of reading (an average of 200 pages per week) and doing three languages. So, it seems like the overall workload is pretty similar.

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I'm with Anita here that you've got too many language arts programs. Do you really feel they are all needed? I personally find many of those to be just busy work with very little educational value.

 

Perhaps if you look at all she is getting from her history and literature and other reading assignments you'll see that all the Language Arts programs are redundant:

Vocabulary -- should be naturally increasing with all that Sonlight reading.

Spelling -- if she spells well already, then drop this! Edit her writing assignments and get her to use a dictionary!

Grammar -- I don't know that particular program you are using, but it may not need to be done daily, especially if she writes well. So much grammar at this point could be coming from the editing of her writing -- if you feel confident enough of an editor that you can catch her mistakes.

Writing -- doesn't Sonlight include lots of writing assignments? Could you pick out Writing Strand assignments that cover styles of writing she won't get in Sonlight? Either way, this doesn't have to be done daily, either.

 

That's the way I do things here -- forget the individual LA programs and combine it all into reading and writing assignments. I know it might not work for everyone...

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The main things that jump out to me are that you are definately have a ton of language arts. I would nix all (except your SOnlight), and supplement with a drill type workbook. Editing workbooks are great. It will keep them fresh on the grammar they already know. (once you learn it you learn t... no new material) I have a 6th and 8th grader... hope that helps.

 

My main goal in schooling is to keep a love of learning blossoming in them.

 

I hope this is helpful.

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Bible - Reads a chapter each morning from New Testament, works on a section each week in AWANA book, & we've been going through a short devotional each morning; discussing "teenage girl" topics

 

About how long is this taking? If you notice that it's regularly taking longer than 30 minutes per day, then I'd cut the work into smaller amounts so that you only take up to 30 minutes, max.

 

MathUSee - Algebra

 

Again, how long do you find this is taking? If more than about 45 minutes, I'd tryi breaking it into smaller portions.

 

Bob Jones 8th gr Grammar - 30 minutes, daily

 

Spelling Power - max 30 minutes, daily

 

Writing Strands - I'd divide this into 30-45 minute time slots, too. So if she's taking longer than that, stop her and let her begin again the next day.

 

Wordly Wise 3000 - you're doing both spelling and word study? How about doing this three days per week, and the below-listed logic two days per week (or vice versa)? 30 minutes each day for these topics.....

 

Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural & Verbal

(see above)

 

Apologia General Science

How many days per week do you cover science? How about trying two days, at 90 minutes each day.

 

History/Lit - Sonlight Core 100 w/ Hakim's History of US along with the recommended historical fiction and literature selections. This is the area that takes the most time for her to complete between reading the History of US series and completing the questions, the historical fiction and literature reading. I don't make her do the timeline or mapping. We haven't touched the poetry selections beyond our first week either. Reading is not a favorite activity of hers. I thought perhaps Sonlight would instill a love for it. The books are wonderful! What's not to like about it????

 

Perhaps you need to cover some of these as read alouds and cut back on the sheer number of books covered? I'd do lit daily, and history three times per week. Lit one hour; and history 90 minutes.

 

Geography - Maps, Charts, Graphs (in lieu of the mapping activities in Sonlight history)

 

I'd do 30 minutes, daily.

 

Rosetta Stone Spanish

 

I'd do 30 minutes, daily.

 

So, let's tally that up:

 

8-8:30 Bible time; character development

 

8:30-9 Math

 

9-9:30 Grammar

 

9:30-10 Spelling

 

10-10:30 Writing (and let's add in the potential extra 15 mi. for both math and writing at this point, to move us to 11:00).

 

11:00-11:30

splitting up this time period between word study on some days, and logic on others

 

11:30-12

 

Spanish

 

Lunch 12-1

 

1-1:30

Geography (or, I'd split the before lunch time period with perhaps Spanish 3 days and geography on two days, which would cut back your finish time to 3:30 daily)

 

1:30-3 M,W,F History

1:30-3 T,R Science

 

3-4 daily, Literature time

 

 

This is what we do each day. Now, because she loves art and this is the ONLY way it won't get pushed aside, we're going to begin lessons soon.

Art - start class w/ an instructor twice/month beginning this month

 

It may be that you're just trying to cover chunks each day that are too large for her. Perhaps you need to divide your daily doses of these various courses into smaller bits that she can accomplish in a shorter time period. It may also be that your staying more vigilant with her for a while to help her get/stay on task might help her to work more effeciently....? My older son could not be left alone for any amount of time without getting off task and wasting a huge amount of time....

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My dd needs more sleep than that, I get her up at 8:30. She does chores and while my girls eat we do Bible and devotions together leaving us starting around 9:30. Not to mention that the early morning is my only time for "me" time. :) I do 5:30 to 7:30 most mornings all by myself.

 

We are not done with school til around 4 and sometimes she still has reading to do as well. I have shared with her that she can not expect to finish by noon like we used to, she is older and simply has more schoolwork. I also share with her that it is a learning lifestyle. It is as much part of our family life as dishes, laundry, uno games and beach days. We don't race through it so it is done to get on with the day, it is just a part of every day? Am I communicating that well at all?

 

Life with a toddler is difficult for sure, how much does your dd do independently? Mine is very much working on her own except for Latin, Logic, Literature discussion, and we watch the BJU dvds together too.

I do these after doing 2nd grade with my youngest.

 

Your schedule does look a little heavy on Language Arts? We are done with formal grammar and spelling having done Rod and Staff then CLE since 1st grade. We have Little English Handbook and weak areas are addressed as they come. It was a choice we made to help us into a heavier schedule. I expect to review in HS at some point.

 

Math is 5X a week, 30-45 minutes (Life of Fred & Lials BCM)

 

Runkles Geography text M,W,F 30 minutes mapwork T, Th, 15 min

 

Mystery of History including text, independent reading, and assigned viewing 60- 120 min most days. ( I do have alot of annenberg media stuff in her schedule this year to add art history to the program)

But not all at the same time, we often watch the videos together after supper. Fridays are lighter generally, mapwork and timeline days with reading and a family movie on the topic if I can find one.

 

BJU Life Science about 30 minutes with the dvds and another hour for reading and assignments

 

Alfred's Music Theory is about 15 minutes

 

CLE Bible about 20 minutes

 

Galore Park Latin about 20 minutes daily

 

Art of Argument 30 minutes 2X a week

 

We have not added Lightning Lit yet but I expect that to add another 30 minutes to an hour depending on the day.

 

I guess I can't help you make your shorter but I thought sharing our middle school day might help you feel better. :grouphug:

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Per Jane's suggestion on the Getting it all done with middle schoolers thread... I'm seeking advice and suggestions for scheduling. My 12yo wakes up at 6:30 and we begin school between 7:30-8am. We take on average 40 minutes for lunch. Yet we struggle to finish by early afternoon. She is always plugging away until supper and usually has to finish reading and Spanish after that. She tends to daydream a bit and I do have to redirect her attention to her school work. Plus add a very busy toddler into the mix as well. It's just so frustrating for us both that our school day drags on so late in the evening.

Bible - Reads a chapter each morning from New Testament, works on a section each week in AWANA book, & we've been going through a short devotional each morning discussing "teenage girl" topics

MathUSee - Algebra

Bob Jones 8th gr Grammar

Spelling Power

Writing Strands

Wordly Wise 3000

Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural & Verbal

Apologia General Science

History/Lit - Sonlight Core 100 w/ Hakim's History of US along with the recommended historical fiction and literature selections. This is the area that takes the most time for her to complete between reading the History of US series and completing the questions, the historical fiction and literature reading. I don't make her do the timeline or mapping. We haven't touched the poetry selections beyond our first week either. Reading is not a favorite activity of hers. I thought perhaps Sonlight would instill a love for it. The books are wonderful! What's not to like about it????

Geography - Maps, Charts, Graphs (in lieu of the mapping activities in Sonlight history)

Rosetta Stone Spanish

This is what we do each day. Now, because she loves art and this is the ONLY way it won't get pushed aside, we're going to begin lessons soon.

Art - start class w/ an instructor twice/month beginning this month

 

Ok there it is, the good...the bad...the ugly. Can you offer advice/suggestions for how to "git r done" earlier??? I'm ALL :bigear:

 

 

I agree with rotating or even streamlining the LA subjects. There is plenty of overlap there. WW would be an easy one with all the new voc. in the Sonlight books. And I'd drop the Geography workbook and do a small number of the Sonlight mapping activities pulling three separate subjects into one.

 

I agree with Peela. No one can do well day in and day out with an overwhelming schedule. Paring down a schedule where a student can excel is very often a blessing. Afwiw, I always have to cut my wish list and make our schedule a do-able one. Wish we could do it all, but you know.;) I'm sure you'll find the right fit with a little tweaking.

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