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dereksurfs

Too many hours doing school work vs. just being a kid! Anyone else have this issue?

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Our ds14 has always been the most academically motivated of our three.  For his freshman year we planned what seemed like a reasonable schedule based upon his skill level and interests.  We decided to take a 'Physics first' approach to science since he had the math background and interest.  Basically, he's doing two online classes consisting of Physics (Clover Creek Science) and Algebra 2 (WHA) in addition to other subjects at home along with piano lessons and a physical education class at the local CC.  

 

This all seemed very doable... and it has been for the most part.  He really enjoys his classes and is 'excelling' in them.  This especially true for physics which he really finds fascinating.   There is only one glaring problem.  He is spending way too much time doing school work. Basically, he works all day and does homework every night until ~9:30 PM.  Then he has homework on Saturdays as well. He's doing it right now, in fact.  It leaves him with basically no time to just be a kid, enjoy outside hobbies, interests, etc...  First off all, I don't blame any of his online classes for this.  I've spoken with parents who have kids in those classes and they seem to be spending a reasonable number of hours doing their work.  So, I really don't know what the problem is.  I have a few possible guesses as to the reasons why:

 

1.  He is a slower, more methodical thinker.  He likes to contemplate things more than other students on average.  

2.  He goes for 'deep learning' and really wants to understand the concepts more than simply getting the job done.  He said it is not about the grade.  He would rather get a 'B' and understand the material than get an 'A' and not really grasp the concepts.  I blame AoPS for this, at least in part.   ;)

3.  He enjoys rabbit trails when something sparks his interest.  For example, he had an algebra 2 problem that required a basic proof.  Well, he decided it was 'too wimpy' and wanted to make it more elaborate which of course took much longer than needed.

4.  He likes school too much.  Is that even possible with a 14 y/o boy?  I mean, seriously?  This one may be a stretch.  I know he likes learning and math and physics for sure, whereas Lost Tools of Writing, not so much.  

5.  If given a certain amount of work to do, he will stretch it out as long as possible.  Although this wasn't the case before high school.  Time management skills are really at a novice level.  Then again, he's only 14.

 

Given all of this, my wife and I are obviously concerned since he basically has no life outside of school.  Well, that's not entirely true.  He does take Sundays off, has a homeschool group park day on Friday afternoons, goes to church and youth group on Sundays and we do take family outings on occasion.  Still, his 'normal' freshman schedule consists of school work until 9:30-10:00 PM every night.  We don't expect much to change 'this' school year since we're past the half point.  However, it is really giving us pause for thought as we plan his schedule for next year.  We want to give him a life outside of school next year.  

 

Does anyone else deal with these issues in high school?  I can't recall seeing this mentioned here, ever.  So, I feel like he is the oddball.  I know I certainly didn't do that much homework my freshman year.  In fact, I don't know if I ever did that much work on a consistent basis through 'any' high school year.  Of course, I wasn't getting top grades in every class either.  I just did enough homework to make it through while having more of a social life and pursuing outside interests.

 

Thanks for sharing any experiences of your own with this, if at all.

Edited by dereksurfs
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Perfectionism?
Does he have a daily time log just to see how he spend his time?
Does those hours include exercise time or is it all sitting down time?

My oldest is sad because he has been crawling kind of sick for two weeks from pollen allergies while youngest is sneezing like crazy but still an energizer bunny. He is learning how to try to get work done while sick. (Better now than college when I can still pamper him with chicken soup.) However my youngest actually gets less done unless I make him log in time and work done so he can visualize how his time was spent.

 

ETA:

He is doing clover creek physics, hands-on physics in outside class, aops math and python, cty writing, Chinese, German, cello.  Now he is less perfectionistic or his aops homework and writing homework would never be done.

Edited by Arcadia
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My 16 year old is in Year 11 here in AU, and she's working a lot as well - 7 days a week if there's an extra assessment task. She takes an hour or so to work out each day, and has youth theatre one night a week and that's it as far as a life goes! 

 

I think it's awful and a recipe for burnout, but not sure we can do anything about it.

 

Her friends are working similar hours. There's just too much work.

 

OTOH, dd18 works a lot and it's a huge part of her life - but she seems to enjoy it and it doesn't cause her much stress, if any at all. She can work 7 days a week and not feel that anything is missing. 

 

So i suppose it depends on how the child feels as much as anything else. 

 

I do worry about so much sitting. We're not supposed to be sat on our bottoms for 12 hours a day.

 

 

Edited by StellaM
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Hi Derek,

 

yes, I have the same problem with my 10th grader.  I think part of the problem are our online classes.  Each class in itself is great but they only see their own class and all strive for mastery.  True mastery takes time.  So do "thoughtful" discussion posts, writing papers, readings...   My son spend about 60-70 hours a week on school.  Yes, he is a slow methodical worker but he reads fast and is a good writer so that should cut down on time.  We already do some things to make it easier like math on a whiteboard and I don't require him to show all work for the simple problems anymore.

For next year we are going to slow down a bit.  He will stick with Wilson Hill for Math and Biology, Medieval Lit with WTMA but US History and Fine Arts will be at the local high school and Medieval History we will do ourselves with TC Courses + a Kolbe syllabus, lots of discussion but little writing.  He is done with his Foreign Language requirement but he will spend 4 months in Germany and I will write up a syllabus for German Language and Culture.

My son has zero outside life right now and even though he doesn't mind, I do.

I was trying to figure out why he spends so much more time at home than he would have at PS.  Part is that there is more work.  The weekly homework packet is 7 to 8 pages.  Sounds easy, a page a day.  But he has the readings, then there is a suggestion to do the practice problems in the book.  Then there are lab experiments with write-ups and articles to comment on plus 3 hours of lecture.  My PS kids have 3 to 4 1/2 hours of lecture and 1 worksheet. They do have a textbook but are not assigned any readings, everything is explained in class.  In math they have 10 homework problems per lecture day so 20 to 30 per week.  WH class assigns about 70 this week if I counted right.  Latin 3 he does about 10 to 15 lines a day, in PS there is only occasional homework for Foreign Language.  In English they write 2 papers per semester, 2-4 pages in length (no re-writes), the occasional quiz on a book, some vocabulary work.  My son's online class has a paper every other week, a book per month to read, then there are forum discussions that are rather lengthy, quizzes are much longer than at school, vocabulary and grammar work, SAT practice and extra questions concerning class discussions and books.

I am beginning to wonder how much of this actually going to stick in the long-run, it seems he spends a lot of time meeting deadlines rather than really spending time working things over in his mind.

Anyways, I will slow life down for 11th grade and spend more time on discussion rather than written output.

 

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It's an issue I'm hugely worried about for my to-be 9th grader. So I really appreciate you bringing it up and will be listening in.  My dd currently spends 6+ hours a week doing theater and 6+ hours a week at the horse stable. She also loves to write, and is at work on a fantasy novel, and spends many hours a week writing. She's also teaching herself to play the guitar and has written a couple of lovely songs.  This is all really important stuff, it's part of who she is and what makes her a happy person.  She could not do all that and spend 60 hours a week on school.  Heck, I have trouble imagining her spending 36 hours a week on school - she also likes to sleep 10 hours a night! and really needs a lot of sleep to function. So I have a lot of trepidation about high school expectations.  

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Like Rose, this is an issue I am concerned about next year, not only because of the lack of creative free time, but because I think the stress of doing it all is not conducive to quality work in our core subjects.  I am struggling to find balance with my DD, as well, but on our end, it is complicated by a DD who wants her hand in every social and extracurricular pie she can find.  One thing that stuck out at me is what your DS thinks?  Is he happy with the academic arrangement or does he feel stress?  If he is OK with the current way things are running, then academics probably *are* his hobby and I wouldn't worry about it.  If he is not, then you  should brainstorm with him ways to reduce the workload.

Our ds14 has always been the most academically motivated of our three.  For his freshman year we planned what seemed like a reasonable schedule based upon his skill level and interests.  We decided to take a 'Physics first' approach to science since he had the math background and interest.  Basically, he's doing two online classes consisting of Physics (Clover Creek Science) and Algebra 2 (WHA) in addition to other subjects at home along with piano lessons and a physical education class at the local CC.  

 

This all seemed very doable... and it has been for the most part.  He really enjoys his classes and is 'excelling' in them.  This especially true for physics which he really finds fascinating.   There is only one glaring problem.  He is spending way too much time doing school work. Basically, he works all day and does homework every night until ~9:30 PM.  Then he has homework on Saturdays as well. He's doing it right now, in fact.  It leaves him with basically no time to just be a kid, enjoy outside hobbies, interests, etc...  First off all, I don't blame any of his online classes for this.  I've spoken with parents who have kids in those classes and they seem to be spending a reasonable number of hours doing their work.  So, I really don't know what the problem is.  I have a few possible guesses as to the reasons why:

 

1.  He is a slower, more methodical thinker.  He likes to contemplate things more than other students on average.  

2.  He goes for 'deep learning' and really wants to understand the concepts more than simply getting the job done.  He said it is not about the grade.  He would rather get a 'B' and understand the material than get an 'A' and not really grasp the concepts.  I blame AoPS for this, at least in part.   ;)

3.  He enjoys rabbit trails when something sparks his interest.  For example, he had an algebra 2 problem that required a basic proof.  Well, he decided it was 'too wimpy' and wanted to make it more elaborate which of course took much longer than needed.

4.  He likes school too much.  Is that even possible with a 14 y/o boy?  I mean, seriously?  This one may be a stretch.  I know he likes learning and math and physics for sure, whereas Lost Tools of Writing, not so much.  

5.  If given a certain amount of work to do, he will stretch it out as long as possible.  Although this wasn't the case before high school.  Time management skills are really at a novice level.  Then again, he's only 14.

 

Given all of this, my wife and I are obviously concerned since he basically has no life outside of school.  Well, that's not entirely true.  He does take Sundays off, has a homeschool group park day on Friday afternoons, goes to church and youth group on Sundays and we do take family outings on occasion.  Still, his 'normal' freshman schedule consists of school work until 9:30-10:00 PM every night.  We don't expect much to change 'this' school year since we're past the half point.  However, it is really giving us pause for thought as we plan his schedule for next year.  We want to give him a life outside of school next year.  

 

Does anyone else deal with these issues in high school?  I can't recall seeing this mentioned here, ever.  So, I feel like he is the oddball.  I know I certainly didn't do that much homework my freshman year.  In fact, I don't know if I ever did that much work on a consistent basis through 'any' high school year.  Of course, I wasn't getting top grades in every class either.  I just did enough homework to make it through while having more of a social life and pursuing outside interests.

 

Thanks for sharing any experiences of your own with this, if at all.

 

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It's an issue I'm hugely worried about for my to-be 9th grader. So I really appreciate you bringing it up and will be listening in.  My dd currently spends 6+ hours a week doing theater and 6+ hours a week at the horse stable. She also loves to write, and is at work on a fantasy novel, and spends many hours a week writing. She's also teaching herself to play the guitar and has written a couple of lovely songs.  This is all really important stuff, it's part of who she is and what makes her a happy person.  She could not do all that and spend 60 hours a week on school.  Heck, I have trouble imagining her spending 36 hours a week on school - she also likes to sleep 10 hours a night! and really needs a lot of sleep to function. So I have a lot of trepidation about high school expectations.  

 

I think our son's freshman academic story could be summed up in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  In other words, each individual class seems fine, even great.  However, when viewed as a whole it becomes too much.  Part of the problem is, that 'too much' is different for each individual child.  And as such, its very hard to gauge when planning out a child's schedule for the year.  What may put one student over the top may be perfectly fine for another or maybe even be somewhat easy for yet another student.  That makes the planning phase the hardest to project correctly, at least for us.  

 

On this forum you see such a wide spectrum of abilities and levels of work, classes taken all at once, etc... Then, you try to consider the courses normally expected of a high school student to graduate.  In addition, what do colleges like to see?  Do you want the courses to adequately challenge the child to learn, grow and prepare them for college (college prep, honors, AP, etc...)?  Before you know it, its so easy to gobble up all those hours they would normally spend doing other things they enjoy in their supposed 'free time.'  It can become non-existent or minimal at best.

 

So we ask these questions.  Are we building an education resume, and if so, at what cost?  That is the deeper question for us to ponder.  Is it really worth it?  How much is too much?  The answer to these important questions I honestly feel are different for each child.  Does it really matter if they can attain all As, take many AP, honors classes, etc.., yet have no real childhood or youth to look back on but school work?   Where's the work, life, play balance in all of it?   It almost seems like the workaholism in so much of corporate American society has crept into our educational system.  And at far too young an age.  High school kids are feeling the pressure.  Just look at the increasing suicide rate in places like Palo Alto.

 

There was a paper published through Harvard about this subject which is a real concern for many of the top universities.  I think they feel at least partially responsible for this current societal problem.  Here's a quote:

"Educators on both the high school and college side of the college admissions process have been looking with dismay at what adolescence has become for many students due to the pressure to succeed in high school in order to gain college acceptance. They are concerned that those pressures have been harmful to the students’ well being and have influenced them to be overly self-absorbed."  -- http://reallearningct.com/2016/02/09/the-tide-is-turning-high-school-is-coming-back/

Edited by dereksurfs
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Well, you know how some of us are, we choose online vendors based on their reputation for rigor; otherwise we wouldn't be paying the fees to them. So Lukeion, WH, and Clover Creek physics have that sort of reputation for the subjects that they teach. They do an excellent job of teaching the subject, providing feedback, and assigning enough homework so that the student knows the material. I didn't enroll DD in WH, but she does have Greek and Latin with Lukeion and physics with Clover Creek, and everything I have read about WH reflects similar aspects. DD has other classes as well which mean it can be a full schedule. I've had to sacrifice some subjects so that she has outside activities. I've had to put a limit of 3 hours on Latin and 2-3 hours on Greek per week. I won't even mention what I've done with Chinese which she takes at the local school; I don't think there is a need to write out a character 100 times. She has to work within a certain number of hours, and I will reward her for it. DD can be easily distracted, daydreaming, listening to audiobooks while doing Greek (that just prolongs everything), taking a lot of "bathroom breaks" so capping how much time she can spend on any one subject helps her focus better.

 

I learned a lesson this year; she can't do everything she is interested in, something has to drop. And going with too many online vendors can be a problem, too, though she enjoys every single one of her classes, looks forward to live meetings with Jetta and the Barrs. I mean, that says a lot about her teachers, so it's a difficult balance - finding people who inspire DD yet not taking on too many rigorous courses every year.

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:grouphug:

I have to fine tune my oldest's schedule every semester for many years already. It is easier for me because only his physics classes are year long commitment. The rest are semester long.

 

Have you look at Young Scholars Program for summer to accrue credits in his area of interest?

Link is to SCU's program but I think there should be something similar near to you.

https://www.scu.edu/summer/young-scholars-program/

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  If he is OK with the current way things are running, then academics probably *are* his hobby and I wouldn't worry about it.  If he is not, then you  should brainstorm with him ways to reduce the workload.

 

I was like this in high school.  I did some volunteer work 4 or 5 hours/week that I really enjoyed, but academics kind of were my "hobby."  I enjoyed my classes and put most of my time into them and it didn't feel stressful. (Well, except for physics. That wasn't fun. Sorry, regentrude! :leaving: )

 

That said, I, too, feel like my boys are working too much. They've gotten into debate this year, and they love it. However, going to three day tournaments really takes a toll on things, esp with another two days of driving to southern CA & back. They have to work hard to get some things done before they leave, and then they have to work hard when they get back to listen to/catch up on any online classes they missed during the Wed-Sunday that they were gone. I am so glad they will wrap up  Latin this year,. That should give them some breathing room next year. But, there's no way they can get 6 or 7(?!?!) credits in and still do something they enjoy (debate.) 

 

Maybe doing some time-intensive "hobby," just means that there will be less downtime. They say they're fine, but they know there are certain expectations for college admissions, so they may be trying to do it all.  I just don't know what a good balance is.

Edited by yvonne
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Like Rose, this is an issue I am concerned about next year, not only because of the lack of creative free time, but because I think the stress of doing it all is not conducive to quality work in our core subjects.  I am struggling to find balance with my DD, as well, but on our end, it is complicated by a DD who wants her hand in every social and extracurricular pie she can find.  One thing that stuck out at me is what your DS thinks?  Is he happy with the academic arrangement or does he feel stress?  If he is OK with the current way things are running, then academics probably *are* his hobby and I wouldn't worry about it.  If he is not, then you  should brainstorm with him ways to reduce the workload.

 

Well, I think the answer to that question is a bit more complicated from his perspective.  He really does enjoy learning and his online classes are his favorite subjects.  So there are no complaints at all with the classes themselves.  

 

However, he does feel like he is doing too much school work overall.  He just misses enjoying his hobbies and interests like origami, legos, robotics, free time reading, outdoor activities, etc...  And when I do want to take him somewhere on the weekend, he feels guilt in that if he goes somewhere he may not get all his homework done.  I could have taken him hiking today, for example.  It was a beautiful day out!  But no, he just had too much school work to go.  And this is more of the norm than not.  So, I don't think it is healthy.  When I was a teen, if I wanted to go surfing, skiing, skateboarding, camping, etc... with my friends or family, I just went!  I got the school work done when I could.  But it certainly did not dominate my life.  There was a distinct difference.  I remember my dad's motto which stuck in my head as a teenager: work hard, play hard!  If you are only doing one, life is out of balance.  He was very into academics.  Yet he also was a strong proponent of work/life balance.   I think it has been one of the guiding principles that I have carried throughout my educational and professional life. It has helped me remain grounded with family life, work related responsibilities, personal exercise/health and outside interests.  So, I take it very seriously with our kids as well.

Edited by dereksurfs
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I wish I had answers. One of the things we do is to follow a semester system but I know that might not work when you are outsourcing to year-long programs. With the semester system we choose a lighter fall semester and a heavier spring semester. Then something in summer that's about a credit's worth just to make up for that lighter fall semester. I wish I had been wise enough to plan it this way but no, that's not how it happened. It was a touchy-feely organic process, fine tuning along the way to find the right balance. Just today I was complaining how we don't make full use of the beautiful weather and outdoor pursuits available to us but that's also due to my son's personality to choose indoor over outdoor things.

 

I wish there was a device like a thermometer to gauge how much is too much. But since I don't have that (or while I wait for one of the cool boardie kids here to come up with one) I watch my son carefully and make decisions based on his daily exhaustion/ energy levels. I do force him out some times. He does the same things your son does re taking more time, being methodical and thoughtful and also not wanting to go out because he feels he should be working on something but sometimes I tell him to shove it and just come out with me. But that's also because we have fine tuned the schedule enough that he can still come back, work on what he needs to work on and sleep by 9pm (he has to be up by 6am these days for a daily early morning class that requires an hour+ commute due to traffic).

 

I draw the line at too little sleep (less than 9 hours). Once that threatens to happen I know it is way too much work for it to be healthy for a teen. And he starts wilting if he can't have enough time to read for pleasure. Reading is so important to him. We try to work around these 2 non-negotiable needs.

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I wish I had answers. One of the things we do is to follow a semester system but I know that might not work when you are outsourcing to year-long programs. With the semester system we choose a lighter fall semester and a heavier spring semester. Then something in summer that's about a credit's worth just to make up for that lighter fall semester. I wish I had been wise enough to plan it this way but no, that's not how it happened. It was a touchy-feely organic process, fine tuning along the way to find the right balance. Just today I was complaining how we don't make full use of the beautiful weather and outdoor pursuits available to us but that's also due to my son's personality to choose indoor over outdoor things.

 

I wish there was a device like a thermometer to gauge how much is too much. But since I don't have that (or while I wait for one of the cool boardie kids here to come up with one) I watch my son carefully and make decisions based on his daily exhaustion/ energy levels. I do force him out some times. He does the same things your son does re taking more time, being methodical and thoughtful and also not wanting to go out because he feels he should be working on something but sometimes I tell him to shove it and just come out with me. But that's also because we have fine tuned the schedule enough that he can still come back, work on what he needs to work on and sleep by 9pm (he has to be up by 6am these days for a daily early morning class that requires an hour+ commute due to traffic).

 

I draw the line at too little sleep (less than 9 hours). Once that threatens to happen I know it is way too much work for it to be healthy for a teen. And he starts wilting if he can't have enough time to read for pleasure. Reading is so important to him. We try to work around these 2 non-negotiable needs.

 

Thanks, Quark.  Its nice to hear about other families' struggles as well as what they are doing to work toward balancing some of these things out.  Unfortunately, like you mentioned, there is no device to gauge how much is too much.  So, there is a lot of trial and error involved in the process.  

 

One of the challenges with year long classes as you mention is that you are locked in for the entire academic year.  So it makes it very hard to adjust and fine tune things, especially with regards to intensity and associated time demands.  It's kind of funny that you mentioned that approach, harder one semester and lighter another.  That is actually one of the biggest changes we've decided to make for our son's schedule next year.  DS14 will be taking science (chemistry) at the local CC.  That will be in the Fall and a pretty intense 4 unit college course.  It will also count for a full year of high school chem.  So, its like double time in terms of the hours required for school work.  As such we've decided 'not' to take Pre-Calculus at the same time as it would be 'over the top' for him in terms of hours required when including all of his other classes.  Consequently, we'll instead take an asynchronous Pre-Calc with Derek Owens in the Spring with no science during that time.  We're hoping that will give him a bit of a lighter Spring with math at his own pace and his other subjects at home.  My only concern is the intensity of the 4 unit college chem course.  But even if the hours are a bit more for it, the duration is more doable as opposed to that same intensity for the entire school year.  

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That sounds like a plan Derek! I hope he enjoys the Chem! Lab reports were terribly tedious for DS the first few weeks of a lab heavy physics semester class at the CC. I mention it also because although it was similarly 4 units, class hours exceeded that time due to labs and then some labs taking longer than others. Some of the difficulty was perfectionism too but he got the hang of it about 5-6 weeks in. Those first few weeks though were tough. Just before the full refund no W deadline, he dropped a 1 unit but time consuming music class that same semester at the same CC. And that was also the semester that we came up with the google calendar routine to set up reminders for assignments due.

 

Sometimes the stressful times are also gateways to finding tools that help you cope. And we saw a lot of growth that semester. What was a very hard first half became a much smoother second half because he had somehow made a mental-stamina leap coping with the schedule.

 

I don't want to see him that busy again if I can help it but I think they also stretch when given the opportunity. How to weigh and choose pros and cons? Tough call each time.

Edited by quark
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Also wanted to add that if you ever need to, you can notify Derek Owens if DS needs to take a short, recuperative break. DO is so wonderfully understanding.

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Also wanted to add that if you ever need to, you can notify Derek Owens if DS needs to take a short, recuperative break. DO is so wonderfully understanding.

 

Thanks, I've heard he's a great math instructor and also fairly flexible.  Did your son take Pre-Calc with him?  DS14 will most likely continue on through Summer, but at his own pace.  Then, we'll see about Calculus for the Fall of the following year depending on how Pre-Calc goes.  It's nice to know he could take a break if he needs to.  I didn't know DO allowed that.

Edited by dereksurfs
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My bright but-loves-being-a-kid 9th grader truly enjoys school, but he would spontaneously combust if he had to spend 60 hours per week on schoolwork. But I always hesitate to post that because I tend to think that those of you with kids who even attempt such a schedule are in a different academic bracket and won't find my comments useful.

 

Given that the oft-mentioned, rigorous classes are quoted at 10+ hours per week, it would certainly not be hard to create a load that required more than 40 hours per week. For us, the best way to manage to keep the hours in check is to not overdo the outsourcing. For 10th grade, my son will have two outsourced courses that will likely demand a lot of hours. By keeping the other classes homegrown and keeping a 40 week school year, I am hopeful that we will meet our goals (which are highly academic) without overload. I would actually love to outsource more to lighten MY load, but I fear putting my kid into a schedule that would defeat him.

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It sounds like the school work expands to fill the space, and that school is his hobby.  That is, that he's discovered a passion for certain subjects, and will use up any available time on that subject.  That is, it isn't that he requires 60 hours a week to get his work done, it's that he enjoys studying and has 60 hours a week available for him?

 

Could you require him to either choose an extracurricular that provides what ever you think he's missing, and to put it in his schedule as protected time?  Maybe something tangentially related to his interest, like a robotics team or a math team.  Then see if the rest of his work contracts when his time is limited.  

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Currently struggling with this here too for next year.

 

Trying to decide if DEing or an online AP class (comp sci, high interest to kiddo, but may be too much on top of everything else) will be too much on top of two other outsourced online classes (physics & math).

Still need time for history, english, foreign language, robotics team, playing with coding & electronics, & hang out time.

 

I change my mind every 10 minutes, & he'll be a jr & could really use the validation of mommy grades, but right now I'm leaning towards putting AP or DE on hold till second semester jr year or sr year & letting him explore his Comp sci interests in another Coursera type class on his own, instead of a for credit class. He has a few other electives he wants to spend time on too ( a bunch of great courses electronics, engineering, etc series & an Env science class), they just won't happen if he DEs too.

At least, not without a lot of stress.

And, at my house, a stressed out teen is not much fun to be around.

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My bright but-loves-being-a-kid 9th grader truly enjoys school, but he would spontaneously combust if he had to spend 60 hours per week on schoolwork. But I always hesitate to post that because I tend to think that those of you with kids who even attempt such a schedule are in a different academic bracket and won't find my comments useful.

 

Given that the oft-mentioned, rigorous classes are quoted at 10+ hours per week, it would certainly not be hard to create a load that required more than 40 hours per week. For us, the best way to manage to keep the hours in check is to not overdo the outsourcing. For 10th grade, my son will have two outsourced courses that will likely demand a lot of hours. By keeping the other classes homegrown and keeping a 40 week school year, I am hopeful that we will meet our goals (which are highly academic) without overload. I would actually love to outsource more to lighten MY load, but I fear putting my kid into a schedule that would defeat him.

 

I really agree with both of your points, Penguin.  I'm working hard on myself not to push dd into a more academic bracket than she wants to be in, and to respect the person that she is an the interests that she has, which are not non-academic, but are definitely in the more creative and language side - creative writing, reading, and acting. At the same time, I feel the oft-repeated pressure not to "close any doors" because things could change, and I feel responsible for preparing her for whatever future she comes to desire.  Academics are important to me, college readiness is a main goal, but at the same time the whole high school rat race that Derek alluded to just seems so insane, I reject that utterly for the child that I have. (I'm not saying that kids who are taking a heavy load are doing something insane! I'm talking about the general culture of high-school-as-college and multiple APs and 60-70 hour work loads as the norm, and that people who choose a more "balanced" life feel like they are slackers).

 

I think your point is so important to keep in mind, Penguin. The rigorous outsourced classes, the ones with the hefty price tag and the quality that makes them worth it, do seem to require 10+ hours of work a week.  So, ok, if we do one of those - ONE of those - we will have to lighten the load somewhere else.  There's no way we could do 6 of those. Or even 4 of those.

 

That's where you have to let go of keeping every door open, I think.  You can't prepare a 14 year old to specialize in any topic under the sun.  You do have to do some subjects in a lighter mode if you are trying to preserve time for - whatever.  Creative writing and theater, in our case, which could legitimately be credit subjects. But I have to realize that if she is going to spend two credits worth of time on her passions, I can't plan 6 other full credits.  Certainly not 10 hour a week credits.

 

I don't know if this post is coherent, I haven't made coffee yet.  Off to do that and return.

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You have a nerd (I mean that in the very good sense)!

 

Just make sure he has enough physical exercise (3-4 days a week for at least one hour) build this into his schedule to break up the day.

I played sports in high school so my M-F routine was:

 

1) attend school

2) go to sports practice

3) do homework/study  (science and math while listening to music)

4) sleep

 

A busy life keeps you out of trouble!

 

=================

Read 'Deep Works'  by Cal Newport

 

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I have nothing useful to add; it's clear that, together, you and he have to choose carefully for next year.  I just wanted to say that IMO it's possible to find the right balance for him.  A great - and competitive - high school education does not need to be a pressure-cooker or eat up all free time.  Good luck finding solutions :)

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I really agree with both of your points, Penguin.  I'm working hard on myself not to push dd into a more academic bracket than she wants to be in, and to respect the person that she is an the interests that she has, which are not non-academic, but are definitely in the more creative and language side - creative writing, reading, and acting. At the same time, I feel the oft-repeated pressure not to "close any doors" because things could change, and I feel responsible for preparing her for whatever future she comes to desire.  Academics are important to me, college readiness is a main goal, but at the same time the whole high school rat race that Derek alluded to just seems so insane, I reject that utterly for the child that I have. (I'm not saying that kids who are taking a heavy load are doing something insane! I'm talking about the general culture of high-school-as-college and multiple APs and 60-70 hour work loads as the norm, and that people who choose a more "balanced" life feel like they are slackers).

 

I think your point is so important to keep in mind, Penguin. The rigorous outsourced classes, the ones with the hefty price tag and the quality that makes them worth it, do seem to require 10+ hours of work a week.  So, ok, if we do one of those - ONE of those - we will have to lighten the load somewhere else.  There's no way we could do 6 of those. Or even 4 of those.

 

That's where you have to let go of keeping every door open, I think.  You can't prepare a 14 year old to specialize in any topic under the sun.  You do have to do some subjects in a lighter mode if you are trying to preserve time for - whatever.  Creative writing and theater, in our case, which could legitimately be credit subjects. But I have to realize that if she is going to spend two credits worth of time on her passions, I can't plan 6 other full credits.  Certainly not 10 hour a week credits.

 

I don't know if this post is coherent, I haven't made coffee yet.  Off to do that and return.

It was coherent to me. I also have a laid-back child and have had to learn to accept it while still charting a relatively academic course. Doors will close, but I refuse to crush the child I have.

 

OP, we needed to outsource a lot this year to give space for a more positive relationship btwn ds and me. I had to accept that not everything could be "rigorous" if I wanted him to have life balance. What has worked for us is:

 

Two rigorous outsourced classes (of the 5-10 hour a week variety).

One less rigorous outsourced class (Homeschool Spanish Academy) in a subject that isn't of great interest to my son or interest for me to teach. This class can be cancelled and rescheduled if pressure/work gets too much.

One MOOC with soft deadlines (Comp Scie) where the ultimate deadline is the AP Test, but work can be made up when there is time.

One class I teach where we meet with others as a group (so I can control the amount of weekly work)

One class totally on our own (math) which we can let slide into the summer if we want.

 

This has given us room to find a good balance in life, but still have classes outsourced.

 

Weekly I look at his schedule and think over the past month to make sure he has had good balance. Some weeks where he works until 9 daily and all day Sat. are okay, but not every week. I also make sure he has an hour break for lunch and two hours for dinner/screen time. He also has to run daily. I try to have him stop work by 9, as well. So 9-12, 1-5, 7-9 is the limit I ever let him work--and I try not to let that happen more than a couple of times a week.

 

(Also--and it doesn't seem like this is your problem, but. . . when my ds was in 9th grade and I thought he was completely swamped and working all the time, it turned out he was surfing online or playing with the art program or texting friends etc. He had no understanding of how much of his day these actions were taking him. You might want to make sure you observe him or check his computer history or ask him, just to make sure. )

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dereksurfs, if your child is happily doing academics for all those hours then there is, of course, no issue. But I would pay attention to that feeling of guilt on the weekends and the novice time management skills. My 9th grader just turned 15, and he can end up spending oodles of time drawing little sketches in his history notes without realizing how much time has gone by. That's fine, but it doesn't make the geometry assignment go away. And then it becomes: Oops! Oh no! I have so much left to do!!!

 

 

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My dd can and does have time-management issues for the classes which aren't her favorites. She has been trying various ways to focus from working in multiple-hour time blocks, to X minutes on/Y minutes off, and so on. However, it seems like what works one day or week doesn't work so well the next. Sigh. She gets frustrated, I get frustrated, and we go through a lot of chocolate.

 

She takes one online AP course that runs 8-10 hours per week, depends on the amount of writing.

 

She takes one 4-credit in-person Arabic class at the university. That takes up 80 minutes of our day four times a week plus at least 5 hours outside of class (Arabic comes easy to her. Her classmates spend much longer on Arabic. Most are triple-language majors.)

 

Between English and Arabic that's 16-18 hours of her week. I cannot see how she'd be able to take another outsourced class, either online or in-person.

 

She has extracurriculars M T W Th evenings, beginning any time from 5 to 7:30 and ending at 9, so she has a firm stop time those days for academics. She spends several hours each weekend finishing up her English work, reading for classes, studying for tests, and (now) looking into college programs.

 

Splitting science into semester blocks has worked well this year. I insisted on bio, she wanted AP Environmental, so we compromised on squishing one into each semester. This worked because she had a strong background in both due to Science Olympiad.

 

Next year we will be doing more on a semester basis. English (outsourced again because I value my sanity) will be the only year-long class, giving us more flexibility. We'll do full one-credit classes in math, science, government, and economics but in semester blocks. She'll have five classes each semester: two languages at the U, two with me, and the English. In fact, she's thinking about doing one of the classes with me in an intensive "winter session" (basically all of January) when she won't have the 2 language classes during the U's winter session.

 

I hope dd can figure out what studying/time-management works best for her. I know having the evening extracurriculars forces her to plan her days more efficiently. Friday is so loosey-goosey with nothing in the evening!

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Currently struggling with this here too for next year.

 

Trying to decide if DEing or an online AP class (comp sci, high interest to kiddo, but may be too much on top of everything else) will be too much on top of two other outsourced online classes (physics & math).

Still need time for history, english, foreign language, robotics team, playing with coding & electronics, & hang out time.

 

I change my mind every 10 minutes, & he'll be a jr & could really use the validation of mommy grades, but right now I'm leaning towards putting AP or DE on hold till second semester jr year or sr year & letting him explore his Comp sci interests in another Coursera type class on his own, instead of a for credit class. He has a few other electives he wants to spend time on too ( a bunch of great courses electronics, engineering, etc series & an Env science class), they just won't happen if he DEs too.

At least, not without a lot of stress.

And, at my house, a stressed out teen is not much fun to be around.

 

I think its good that you are wrestling with these important decisions as it will absolutely effect the way his overall year goes.  It sounds like we have very similar sons who actually have natural curiosities with deep passions and interests for certain STEM subject areas.  So, how do we balance giving them the freedom to explore those passions while also covering the required subject areas?  How much outsourcing is good vs. too much?  Then, they need some outside downtime, something physical, personal reading time, etc...  It really is a challenge for each unique child, isn't it?  I can imagine this mix looking totally different for my younger daughters.  I guess it is one of the great challenges and opportunities in homeschooling high school.  Things can get *very* busy as they grow with new responsibilities, interests and aspirations.

Edited by dereksurfs
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I really agree with both of your points, Penguin.  I'm working hard on myself not to push dd into a more academic bracket than she wants to be in, and to respect the person that she is an the interests that she has, which are not non-academic, but are definitely in the more creative and language side - creative writing, reading, and acting. At the same time, I feel the oft-repeated pressure not to "close any doors" because things could change, and I feel responsible for preparing her for whatever future she comes to desire.  Academics are important to me, college readiness is a main goal, but at the same time the whole high school rat race that Derek alluded to just seems so insane, I reject that utterly for the child that I have. (I'm not saying that kids who are taking a heavy load are doing something insane! I'm talking about the general culture of high-school-as-college and multiple APs and 60-70 hour work loads as the norm, and that people who choose a more "balanced" life feel like they are slackers).

 

I think your point is so important to keep in mind, Penguin. The rigorous outsourced classes, the ones with the hefty price tag and the quality that makes them worth it, do seem to require 10+ hours of work a week.  So, ok, if we do one of those - ONE of those - we will have to lighten the load somewhere else.  There's no way we could do 6 of those. Or even 4 of those.

 

That's where you have to let go of keeping every door open, I think.  You can't prepare a 14 year old to specialize in any topic under the sun.  You do have to do some subjects in a lighter mode if you are trying to preserve time for - whatever.  Creative writing and theater, in our case, which could legitimately be credit subjects. But I have to realize that if she is going to spend two credits worth of time on her passions, I can't plan 6 other full credits.  Certainly not 10 hour a week credits.

 

I don't know if this post is coherent, I haven't made coffee yet.  Off to do that and return.

 

Rose, I really appreciate your input regarding rejecting the 60-70 hour work week as the norm.  When work takes that long it becomes glaringly obvious that corrective measures need to be taken.  And that is one of the beauties of homeschooling.   We can adjust and fine tune things.  However, yes, if too much is outsourced then tuning becomes very difficult indeed.  While I may not have the answers nor do I expect other here to have them either, change can still occur.  The funny thing is, I never thought two outsourced courses would be too much to make adjustments.  

 

Regarding letting certain things go, I think it is both healthy and difficult.  I constantly have to keep my 'parent' aspirations in check.  Everyone wants their kids to be prepared for their future which for most involves college readiness.   However, maybe some things can be put off until college and that is still ok.  Or maybe we have to accept some kids will never take calculus in HS or do something else 'we' would really like them to do.  I'm having to rethink many of my foregone conclusions and goals I've had for them.

Edited by dereksurfs
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Regarding letting certain things go, I think it is both healthy and difficult.  I constantly have to keep my 'parent' aspirations in check.  Everyone wants their kids to be prepared for their future which for most involves college readiness.   However, maybe some things can be put off until college and that is still ok.  Or maybe we have to accept some kids will never take calculus in HS or do something else 'we' would really like them to do.  I'm having to rethink many of my foregone conclusions and goals I've had for them.

This has been my biggest struggle as a parent of a high schooler, particularly a very bright highschooler. No doubt.

 

When he was young I really thought I knew the path he was on and how we would get there. It is much, much more murky now. I have to wrestle with what I SAY I value in education/life, vs. how I ACT and what I expect from my child. I have decided that I value his learning to balance life (interests, hobbies, school, physical, spiritual) more than "getting into an elite school". When will he learn balance if we don't teach it now? If he works non-stop in high school and college will he make time for his family later? Once I figured it out, I had to put my own ambitions for him in check and live it out.

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My philosophies are undoubtedly influenced by the fact that I live in Denmark. Work-life balance is sacred.

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Did your son take Pre-Calc with him? 

 

He took Physics. He already had a math tutor at the time so we haven't taken any math with DO. Probably our loss. :001_smile: DO is very kind.

 

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Yeah, physical exercise (never one of his favorite things, other than biking or kayaking trips) has gone by the wayside this year- I'm trying to find something he likes that he can do regularly.

 

As has the hours of reading for pleasure each night that he used to do:(

Replaced by evening downtime of online role playing games, or evening in person robotics meetings or DnD game nights with friends.

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I am really loving this thread. I found this amazing! Worth quoting in case anyone missed the article...

 

There was a paper published through Harvard about this subject which is a real concern for many of the top universities.  I think they feel at least partially responsible for this current societal problem.  Here's a quote: "Educators on both the high school and college side of the college admissions process have been looking with dismay at what adolescence has become for many students due to the pressure to succeed in high school in order to gain college acceptance. They are concerned that those pressures have been harmful to the students’ well being and have influenced them to be overly self-absorbed."  -- http://reallearningct.com/2016/02/09/the-tide-is-turning-high-school-is-coming-back/

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I think its good that you are wrestling with these important decisions as it will absolutely effect the way his overall year goes.  It sounds like we have very similar sons who actually have natural curiosities with deep passions and interests for certain STEM subject areas.  So, how do we balance giving them the freedom to explore those passions while also covering the required subject areas?  How much outsourcing is good vs. too much?  Then, they need some outside downtime, something physical, personal reading time, etc...  It really is a challenge for each unique child, isn't it?  I can imagine this mix looking totally different for my younger daughters.  I guess it is one of the great challenges and opportunities in homeschooling high school.  Things can get *very* busy as they grow with new responsibilities, interests and aspirations.

 

I have a few friends living the "Palo Alto" lifestyle as I call it. Their kids work 60-70 hours a week just like the parents do. Weekends are used for homework, physical activities, music lessons and any personal reading time is squeezed into 10-15 minutes here and there or not at all. There is a general feeling of "what else can we do?".

 

Isn't it liberating to know that even when we outsource, we still have some control and ability to protect our kids' personal time?

 

I know people have to make choices based on their previous life choices but I feel so grateful that we are paying so much less for the high quality academics, and are still able to see our kid bright eyed and perky and good natured vs exhausted and grumpy and hurried almost every single day.

 

Edited by quark
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I struggle with the same issues. I knew I needed to push my oldest this year to a higher standard and some outside accountability, but it was a stressful fall. He has fallen more into a routine this winter/spring. I didn't know it would cause so much stress, but I think we are past that now. I am trying to figure out how to pare down his schedule next year to the things he really wants/needs to study and get rid of the other stuff. I want to allow him to pursue his passions in academics, but not at the expensive of having a life outside of school. I think we'll be better off next year for him.

 

I'm worried that I might be pushing my second son too much next year. I know what I want to sign him up for and I think he can do it in a reasonable amount of time. He's a different kid and is more efficient in getting work done. Hope I'm not overestimating his abilities and pushing too far.

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Honestly, that's one reason why we don't do many online classes and tend to pick "lighter" ones and then add more content as needed as opposed to the other way around. Because sometimes, the only way to keep it from getting too heavy is to be able to put stuff on the back burner and focus on the top priority, and DD just isn't always good at doing so, so I have to, and that's easier when I can say "OK, I'm just not going assign anything new in history until we get past the Rattlesnake festival and you're done with those talks" than when DD has to make an active choice to do only the minimum  for an online class vs following every single awesome rabbit trail the instructor has linked, together with the assignments can easily add up to 15+ hours for one week for a single class.

 

 

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My bright but-loves-being-a-kid 9th grader truly enjoys school, but he would spontaneously combust if he had to spend 60 hours per week on schoolwork. But I always hesitate to post that because I tend to think that those of you with kids who even attempt such a schedule are in a different academic bracket and won't find my comments useful.

 

I haven't finished reading the thread, but thought I should at least respond to this, Penguin.  My ds can't do more than 6 hours per day.  If I can get 7, that's a win.  And he needs weekends off; all he does for school on the weekends is 3 hours of trio/string group.  When I have tried to increase the time he spends on school work, he becomes less efficient and accomplishes the same amount of work just over a longer period of time.  So our solution has been to have a 40-45 week school year.

 

My kid would spontaneously combust too if he had to do 60 hours of academics, which is actually one of the reasons that we have convinced him not to go to university a year early.

 

Ruth in NZ

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How is his time management skills?

My dad told me to work smart and play hard :) Put in best effort but see if there is an easier way before jumping in.

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I think its good that you are wrestling with these important decisions as it will absolutely effect the way his overall year goes.  It sounds like we have very similar sons who actually have natural curiosities with deep passions and interests for certain STEM subject areas.  So, how do we balance giving them the freedom to explore those passions while also covering the required subject areas?  How much outsourcing is good vs. too much?  Then, they need some outside downtime, something physical, personal reading time, etc...  It really is a challenge for each unique child, isn't it?  I can imagine this mix looking totally different for my younger daughters.  I guess it is one of the great challenges and opportunities in homeschooling high school.  Things can get *very* busy as they grow with new responsibilities, interests and aspirations.

 

I require that ds does all his required subject areas first before his academic passions - so Calculus, Violin, Mandarin (1/2 class), English, Chemistry.  The required classes he works on from 9:30-1:30 and then his competition math happens *after* so from 1:30-3:30.  If he puts his competition math first, then nothing else will happen because he will do it all day.  He has never had more than 2 outsourced classes at a time which allows us to adjust his schedule where required. 

 

In addition, he knows himself well enough to know that exercise must be booked in to happen.  So he takes classes - 2 hours 5 days a week (including walking there)  He really has fallen in love with Badminton and has made a lot of friends there.  Martial arts he does with his dad and has for 6 years. So these are definitely things he chooses to do rather than something I need to require.

 

Finally, I require that ds has no-screen downtime starting at 9pm (he goes to sleep at 11:30).  We have a piano in the family room and he is surrounded by cool books I find at the library for him to browse.  He reads the economist, scientific american, and his novels (currently War and Peace). I have suggested he work on his water colour at night too, but he doesn't feel it is enough time. All these things are relaxing but still intellectual pursuits.  But I frame them as down time.  His other hobby is coding, but that has to happen between 4 and 9, when he has unlimited screen time, NOT after 9.  These quiet evenings I think are the making of him. Time to just be and to ponder life. 

 

And one more thing, his chores are very tightly bound in time, so there is no feeling of never ending.  He cooks 3 nights a week and does 20 minutes of house cleaning on Fridays.

 

The main thing that I see missing is some sort of volunteer work or a job.  Clearly, this would easily take up too much time, so we have been brainstorming things where he could help out and enjoy himself.  He may start doing the Latex markup for the NZ math olympiad.  He is super fast and enjoys it.

 

Just a few ideas for how we have managed ds's love for intellectual pursuits as a hobby, and his school work.  The take away I think is that we call each by their names.  So that school work has to get done, but intellectual pursuits are up to you in your free time.  And we separate them out in time, so that he never feels like he is working all day, because his free time is just that. If he wants to code or read Scientific American or play the piano that's up to him, but no one is making him.   :001_smile:

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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Regarding letting certain things go, I think it is both healthy and difficult.  I constantly have to keep my 'parent' aspirations in check.  Everyone wants their kids to be prepared for their future which for most involves college readiness.   However, maybe some things can be put off until college and that is still ok.  Or maybe we have to accept some kids will never take calculus in HS or do something else 'we' would really like them to do.  I'm having to rethink many of my foregone conclusions and goals I've had for them.

 

I find this incredibly difficult.  I think I am finally over *my* needing ds to go to an elite school. How embarrassing.  :blush:  He may *need* to go to one to find intellectual peers, but it will need to be on him to push to get there.  The main problem is that he seems to be easily led, so if I say Auckland is good enough, he says OK.  But if I say lets go for an elite university, he says OK.  I seem to have way too much sway which gives me the heebee jeebees!  He is just too young to make these decisions.

 

However, by finally making the decision over Christmas to not go to Uni early, he has the opportunity to be a carefree youth for a while longer.  Once again, he was easily swayed either way, but in this decision, I'm confident that it's OK for me to direct it.

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This has been my biggest struggle as a parent of a high schooler, particularly a very bright highschooler. No doubt.

 

When he was young I really thought I knew the path he was on and how we would get there. It is much, much more murky now. I have to wrestle with what I SAY I value in education/life, vs. how I ACT and what I expect from my child. I have decided that I value his learning to balance life (interests, hobbies, school, physical, spiritual) more than "getting into an elite school". When will he learn balance if we don't teach it now? If he works non-stop in high school and college will he make time for his family later? Once I figured it out, I had to put my own ambitions for him in check and live it out.

 

This is exactly how I feel.  If he can't live a balanced life in high school where I have the chance to provide guidance and direction, then when?  He is starting now to build work habits for life whether good or bad.  Do I want to set him off in the right direction, training him in the values of work/life balance.  Or do I allow him to continue spending all of his time on school work which then carries into college and adult life?  Sure, he may get higher grades or achieve some award some day for his professional achievements.  But is that really worth it in the end?  I know far too many peers with whom I work that live like that - work all day, bring it home at night, do it on the weekends and have very poor health and no real hobbies to speak of.  That quality of life is not something to aspire to, IMO.

Edited by dereksurfs
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My philosophies are undoubtedly influenced by the fact that I live in Denmark. Work-life balance is sacred.

 

Well, I think we in the US need to learn more from Denmark regarding the importance of work-life balance starting with our educational system.

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I just want to thank you all for your thoughtful comments.  I wasn't so much looking for a solution from the hive as I was an understanding of the dilemma and the associated struggles in fighting to maintain a balanced life.  Lets face it.  It takes work!  This must be a very intentional goal and high priority or it will not get done.  The time will simply become enveloped in the seemingly good academic pursuits at the expense of too many other important things in life.  Bottom line for me is: we are more than the sum total of our professional lives.  And if this is true, then our children must be allowed to perform more than scholastic activities as well.  In fact, we must insist they do so while it is still within our power to do so.  Because before we know it, it will be out of our hands and completely up to them.  Our training time with them will be completed as they enter into to young adulthood making tough life decisions like these on their own.  They will remember our words, our actions and our training as they navigate their own waters.

Edited by dereksurfs
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This is exactly how I feel. If he can't live a balanced life in high school where I have the chance to provide guidance and direction, then when? He is starting now to build work habits for life whether good or bad. Do I want to set him off in the right direction, training him in the values of work/life balance. Or do I allow him to continue spending all of his time on school work which then carries into college and adult life? Sure, he my get higher grades or achieve some award some day for his professional achievements. But is that really worth it in the end? I know far too many peers with whom I work that live like that - work all day, bring it home at night, do it on the weekends and have very poor health and no real hobbies to speak of. That quality of life is not something to aspire to, IMO.

My brother's family lives like this and they are not a happy family even though they love each other very much.

 

You are very courageous to make this stand as a parent of a child who enjoys working this much. your son will no doubt live s healthier life.

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I have a few friends living the "Palo Alto" lifestyle as I call it. Their kids work 60-70 hours a week just like the parents do. Weekends are used for homework, physical activities, music lessons and any personal reading time is squeezed into 10-15 minutes here and there or not at all. There is a general feeling of "what else can we do?".

 

Isn't it liberating to know that even when we outsource, we still have some control and ability to protect our kids' personal time?

 

I know people have to make choices based on their previous life choices but I feel so grateful that we are paying so much less for the high quality academics, and are still able to see our kid bright eyed and perky and good natured vs exhausted and grumpy and hurried almost every single day.

 

Yes, quark.  This is battle worth fighting for and taking back ground.  Even though my son is STEM directed, he doesn't have to live that Palo Alto lifestyle.  Having a life consists of so much more than simply going to school or work.  It is liberating to know we can make these decisions for our children rather than leaving it up to others to determine.

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Finally, I require that ds has no-screen downtime starting at 9pm (he goes to sleep at 11:30).  We have a piano in the family room and he is surrounded by cool books I find at the library for him to browse.  He reads the economist, scientific american, and his novels (currently War and Peace). I have suggested he work on his water colour at night too, but he doesn't feel it is enough time. All these things are relaxing but still intellectual pursuits.  But I frame them as down time.  His other hobby is coding, but that has to happen between 4 and 9, when he has unlimited screen time, NOT after 9.  These quiet evenings I think are the making of him. Time to just be and to ponder life. 

 

No screen time after 9pm is such a great idea!  With all today's electronic diversions, I find that there's no "quiet time" in my life anymore. I love listening to audiobooks or Great Courses lectures, and watching the British shows a friend sends me, and talking to friends via text/email, and reading these boards, and.....  There just isn't any silence any more.  I started to realize recently that my children's lives are filling up with all sorts of outside "noise," too. It's odd how it creeps in and crowds everything else out before you even see it happening. There's nothing so satisfying as reading and thinking deeply about a book or thinking about some "big question" and discussing it with a friend, but it's almost like you have to _consciously_ make time to be quiet and think, and then protect that time.

 

I think I'm going to make a conscious effort to help my children carve out that quiet time. No screens after 9 pm would go a long way towards that goal, I think. Thanks for mentioning it!

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This is a great thread and hits on so many issues relevant to us too.  I could have quoted 10 comments and commented on them, but I only quoted the last one since I thought I might overload the "Multiquote" function :ohmy: .

 

We have some similar issues with my 9th grade DS too.  He's very academically oriented, or really more "interested" in his case, and probably always has been, at least since it was obvious by his 3rd birthday.  Looking back, we probably started to have some issues in 7th or 8th grade.  He had been homeschooled most of the time until 8th grade and is back to homeschooling.  In outsourced classes prior to 8th he would often complain about homework he thought was "busy work," and he had a pretty low threshold.  In 8th when he went to a program with kids and coursework supposedly two years advanced, he loved the environment with the serious students, and he had very good to outstanding teachers in each subject.  As in OP, DS was much more interested in learning the material than the grades, which he didn't really seem to care about (it worked out fine, but his indifference was a bit of a concern to me).  Another thing really became noticeable to me: he still would do his own reading most days, often before doing his homework.  At the time, I thought it was simple procrastination, but I now think it was mostly that he really wanted to explore his own topics.   

 

DS decided to go back to homeschooling for 9th (mostly because that school program ended after 8th and he'd heard there was a lot of "busy work" at the high school, and we wanted to travel a lot).  Due to travel schedules, we couldn't really outsource anything, and that was fortunate for us.  I also wanted DS to explore some interests, since he seemed to be interested in almost everything academic and just vaguely thought he'd focus on (natural) sciences.  We started with an assignment-based system, but switched to a time-based system after awhile.  Immediately, with the time-based system (basically 7 1/2 hours per day Mon-Sat), DS's focus was super-sharp on my assigned work, and he seemed to be getting more done.  He also has seemed to spend much of his free time on academic topics (e.g., we're doing ancient world history for our social studies, but I think he's done as much work completely on his own on US history as I would have required for a high school US history course). 

 

At least I think I don't worry that I'm pushing him, and he's discovering some interests, in addition to learning some stuff.  As a post said above, I do need to get him moving a bit...and what a change that is from 8th to 9th grade! 

 

I find this incredibly difficult.  I think I am finally over *my* needing ds to go to an elite school. How embarrassing.  :blush:  He may *need* to go to one to find intellectual peers, but it will need to be on him to push to get there.  The main problem is that he seems to be easily led, so if I say Auckland is good enough, he says OK.  But if I say lets go for an elite university, he says OK.  I seem to have way too much sway which gives me the heebee jeebees!  He is just too young to make these decisions.

 

I'm also concerned about DS finding intellectual peers in college, which makes the incentive to go toward a more elite school, but I've also decided to leave it on him to push himself, if he really wants to.  There are other ways to find intellectual peers, I've decided, outside the confines of the first few years of college.  I'm also really concerned about having too much sway with these decisions.  Maybe that will change in the next year.  In the meantime, I try to keep our eye on the main goals and close as few options possible without going crazy.
 

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... an understanding of the dilemma and the associated struggles in fighting to maintain a balanced life.  Lets face it.  It takes work!  This must be a very intentional goal and high priority or it will not get done.  The time will simply become enveloped in the seemingly good academic pursuits at the expense of too many other important things in life.  Bottom line for me is: we are more than the sum total of our professional lives.  And if this is true, then our children must be allowed to perform more than scholastic activities as well.  In fact, we must insist they do so while it is still within our power to do so.  Because before we know it, it will be out of our hands and completely up to them.  Our training time with them we be completed as they enter into to young adulthood making tough life decisions like these on their own.  They will remember our words, our actions and our training as they navigate their own waters.

 

(my bolding of text)

 

I'm actually more concerned about making sure the "educated adult" part is well accomplished than the professional preparation part, though that is also a factor.  And, so true, "before we know it, it will be out of our hands."  That causes me a bit of anxiety, even though things appear to be going so well.

 

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Reality check!

 

Geezle goes to a public school applied skills class. His bus comes at 6:30 am and he gets home at 3:45. His class includes fun activities and some free choice time, but he's on the go the entire time he's there. He gets about 2 hours of homework a week. Total time for an ASD, ID kid = 48 hours/week

 

He also has a tutor that comes for an hour a day to work on Apples & Pears Spelling and Keys to Fractions, Decimals, Percents. That's another 5 hours/week.

 

This isn't a high achieving kid problem, it's a problem for all teenagers.

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I have a few friends living the "Palo Alto" lifestyle as I call it. Their kids work 60-70 hours a week just like the parents do. Weekends are used for homework, physical activities, music lessons and any personal reading time is squeezed into 10-15 minutes here and there or not at all. There is a general feeling of "what else can we do?".

 

Isn't it liberating to know that even when we outsource, we still have some control and ability to protect our kids' personal time?

 

I know people have to make choices based on their previous life choices but I feel so grateful that we are paying so much less for the high quality academics, and are still able to see our kid bright eyed and perky and good natured vs exhausted and grumpy and hurried almost every single day.

 

We have friends living a crazy lifestyle, IMO, and often means the kids spending over 70 hours per week working, including school time, homework, and extracurricular activities "that look good."  We know of many kids who frequently or usually sleep 4-5 hours per night during the school year throughout high school.  Personal reading time, well rested, and good natured, in addition to well educated are really important.  The first three are non-negotiable in our goals, and we try to exceed the B&M school education as well if possible.

 

Edited by Brad S
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