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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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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.

 

 

OT--how did I miss that goals thread?! :thumbup: Great idea Brad!

 

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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.

The bolded is not normal or healthy.  Feeling guilt over doing appropriate activities is self-punitive.  In this case, too much of a good thing has become a bad thing.  He sounds perfectionistic and likely a bit anxious.  It sounds like he needs help getting out of the pit he has dug for himself.  I think you are a great dad, and you know what to do.  Help him out of the pit.  If you had a kid who spent too much time playing video games, you would limit those.  I think your son needs help limiting schoolwork to a reasonable level.  If he doesn't respond well and with relief and enjoyment to you helping him expand beyond academics, then his problem goes a bit deeper and is likely anxiety-related.  At that point, if this were my kid, I would seek outside help in the form of a CBT therapist, if only for a few sessions.  

 

What a great opportunity for you to pass on your dad's message to your son.  He is so young that his habits are pliable, and I fully expect him to respond positively to your gentle intervention in his workaholism.

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Well, I had a good talk with our son's physics teacher about the problem and she provided some very helpful suggestions.  She is also a homeschool mom with teenage boys.  Since Luke is already working toward the top of his class, she recommended not spending more than an 1 hour a day on physics work (not counting lab days).   Then seeing how it goes.  This gave me an idea for the remainder of the year.   What if I set certain limits within which he has to finish all school work?  

 

I then had a talk with him and expressed my concern as well as the importance of maintaining a good work-life balance.  My wife and I discussed this further and she expanded on the idea of setting limits.  Basically, we would work toward a 40 hour work week.  But we will begin with reducing the time allowed for school incrementally.  This will help him to adjust to the lessor time allotted to get everything completed within.  It will be an interesting experiment to say the least.  But it is at least something we can begin working on this year as opposed to waiting until next year to intervene.  

 

One of the things not discussed as much are his time management skills which are not very good.  He even admits this.  So, I think that is one area we can begin to help him improve upon.  I know it is not only this.  But I do believe it is a contributing factor to the overall problem. Of course, over-scheduling can contribute to this issue as well.  However, I am still not convinced he is over-scheduled with the two outsourced solids (physics and algebra 2) along with his other subjects. 

Edited by dereksurfs
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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 ...

 

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. 

 

 

Well, I had a good talk with our son's physics teacher about the problem and she provided some very helpful suggestions.  She is also a homeschool mom with teenage boys.  Since Luke is already working toward the top of his class, she recommended not spending more than an 1 hour a day on physics work (not counting lab days).   Then seeing how it goes.  This gave me an idea for the remainder of the year.   What if I set certain limits within which he has to finish all school work?  

 

I then had a talk with him and expressed my concern as well as the importance of maintaining a good work-life balance.  My wife and I discussed this further and she expanded on the idea of setting limits.  Basically, we would work toward a 40 hour work week.  But we will begin with reducing the time allowed for school incrementally.  This will help him to adjust to the lessor time allotted to get everything completed within.  It will be an interesting experiment to say the least.  But it is at least something we can begin working on this year as opposed to waiting until next year to intervene.  

 

One of the things not discussed as much are his time management skills which are not very good.  He even admits this.  So, I think that is one area we can begin to help him improve upon.  I know it is not only this.  But I do believe it is a contributing factor to the overall problem. Of course, over-scheduling can contribute to this issue as well.  However, I am still not convinced he is over-scheduled with the two outsourced solids (physics and algebra 2) along with his other subjects. 

 

FYI, we made an abrupt change to a time-based or time-limited schedule.  I'll never forget the change in our DS's attitude, apparent happiness, and improved focus that happened (starting Dec. 7).  I'm not saying you shouldn't go gradually, but I'm just sharing our experience.  Also, although it's hard to tell, I think that DS has learned as much in his 40-42 hour schedule as with the old schedule. YMMV.  Best wishes!!

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Thank you, OP, for starting this thread!!! I've had the same question battling around in my head, but couldn't find a great "fix" for the issue - DD1 absolutely has signs of high-school burn-out (this last semester of her senior year, ironically, we seem to have found her perfect balance! After 3.5+ years of overwork!). The school work still needed to get done, right? So, we trudge along (she WANTS to do the work... it just takes forever!), and I've been fearful for next year...

 

I am loving the idea of a time-based system. DD2 and DS are both very time-motivated students and so I have, in the past, tried to set a schedule (where each subject has a specific time), but it was too cumbersome for all of us to keep up with successfully. Love the idea of a 40-hour work week.... puts a light at the end of the tunnel, making it easier to focus on work-while-you-work and guilt-free play-while-you-play time afterwards.

 

We are going to start next week!

Edited by hopskipjump
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Thank you, OP, for starting this thread!!! I've had the same question battling around in my head, but couldn't find a great "fix" for the issue - DD1 absolutely has signs of high-school burn-out (this last semester of her senior year, ironically, we seem to have found her perfect balance! After 3.5+ years of overwork!). The school work still needed to get done, right? So, we trudge along (she WANTS to do the work... it just takes forever!), and I've been fearful for next year...

 

I am loving the idea of a time-based system. DD2 and DS are both very time-motivated students and so I have, in the past, tried to set a schedule (where each subject has a specific time), but it was too cumbersome for all of us to keep up with successfully. Love the idea of a 40-hour work week.... puts a light at the end of the tunnel, making it easier to focus on work-while-you-work and guilt-free play-while-you-play time afterwards.

 

We are going to start next week!

 

Wow, you're brave jumping right in there!   :D   But hey, what have we got to lose, right?  It really is that important for them to learn time management.  I'm glad the thread can help others dealing with similar issues.  I had a feeling we weren't the only ones dealing with this!   ;)  Let's see how our new time limits go.  

Edited by dereksurfs

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FYI, we made an abrupt change to a time-based or time-limited schedule.  I'll never forget the change in our DS's attitude, apparent happiness, and improved focus that happened (starting Dec. 7).  I'm not saying you shouldn't go gradually, but I'm just sharing our experience.  Also, although it's hard to tell, I think that DS has learned as much in his 40-42 hour schedule as with the old schedule. YMMV.  Best wishes!!

 

Thanks, Brad.  This is encouraging to hear.  We need to approach it a bit more incrementally with our son due to being behind in some subjects.  Once he's caught up, we're going to start curtailing his work window more.

Edited by dereksurfs
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It sounds to me like this is what he enjoys doing. He has no reason to complete his work in a set amount of time because he has all day and no schedule to compete with. He isn't meeting friends for lunch or to go out for the evening so he does not have incentive to finish by a certain time.

 

With my kids, they will spend all day on their work, dawdling really, because they can. If they were in a brick and mortar school, I am sure they would get it done quicker, because they would have limits on their time. Also...he is just being a kid when he follows a rabbit trail. That is not his school work. That is an extra thing, and it happens to interest him. And it is ok to be the kind of kid who spends his spare time on things like this. 

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It sounds to me like this is what he enjoys doing. He has no reason to complete his work in a set amount of time because he has all day and no schedule to compete with. He isn't meeting friends for lunch or to go out for the evening so he does not have incentive to finish by a certain time.

 

With my kids, they will spend all day on their work, dawdling really, because they can. If they were in a brick and mortar school, I am sure they would get it done quicker, because they would have limits on their time. Also...he is just being a kid when he follows a rabbit trail. That is not his school work. That is an extra thing, and it happens to interest him. And it is ok to be the kind of kid who spends his spare time on things like this. 

 

Yes, and that is why we pretty much let him go down that path including all those rabbit trails this year.  He really does like math and physics.  Well, we did until it got more and more time consuming and out of control.  He's actually behind right now, at least in part, because of it.  It has become all consuming in increasing measure over the course of the school year.  As has been said before, even a good thing taken too extreme can become bad.  I think teens like to test these extremes.  Its really part of growing up.  We're so proud of him at the same time.  Its kinda crazy.  I mean, he just scored over 100% on his more recent physics test.  So, we are definitely not upset with him.  We just want to help bring some balance back into his life.

 

I do wonder if its more common in homeschool settings where kids have more of those unfettered boundaries to simply work and go down rabbit trails all day and 'almost' all night.  But I do think there may be personality types that lend themselves more to it.  They just like to get buried in their work.  I don't think its perfectionism as much as identity development.  It becomes a significant part of their identity as in 'I'm a really good math student', 'physics student', <fill in the blank>.  We actually had a heart to heart talk about this.  Hey, I was testing all kinds of other boundaries at his age as a young man.  And many weren't half as noble as being a good student.  So, even if old now, I do understand at least in part what he's going through.   :tongue_smilie:  ;)

Edited by dereksurfs
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Wow, you're brave jumping right in there!   :D   But hey, what have we got to lose, right?  It really is that important for them o learn time management.  I'm glad the thread can help others dealing with similar issues.  I had a feeling we weren't the only ones dealing with this!   ;)  Let's see how our new time limits go.  

 

We've been doing this for soooooo long that I've learned --- when something "clicks," it's generally best to jump right on it! :thumbup:

 

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It sounds to me like this is what he enjoys doing. He has no reason to complete his work in a set amount of time because he has all day and no schedule to compete with. He isn't meeting friends for lunch or to go out for the evening so he does not have incentive to finish by a certain time.

 

With my kids, they will spend all day on their work, dawdling really, because they can. If they were in a brick and mortar school, I am sure they would get it done quicker, because they would have limits on their time. Also...he is just being a kid when he follows a rabbit trail. That is not his school work. That is an extra thing, and it happens to interest him. And it is ok to be the kind of kid who spends his spare time on things like this. 

 

Having spent the previous year in bricks and mortar school sandwiched by homeschooling, I can most certainly say that my DS did not get it done quicker in B&M school.  Your other suggestions may very well apply in our case...can't speak for Derek, of course.

 

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Having spent the previous year in bricks and mortar school sandwiched by homeschooling, I can most certainly say that my DS did not get it done quicker in B&M school.  Your other suggestions may very well apply in our case...can't speak for Derek, of course.

 

What I meant by they would get it done quicker is..they would get to the point on the school work and get it done quicker, but likely, not have as much chance to go down the rabbit hole. Their time would simply be more limited and they would have stricter deadlines.

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I do wonder if its more common in homeschool settings where kids have more of those unfettered boundaries to simply work and go down rabbit trails all day and 'almost' all night. But I do think there may be personality types that lend themselves more to it.

Personality :lol: my oldest when in B&M public school would get whatever class work done so that he can doodle and think up stuff. He is also a calculated risk taker. He was totally down for two weeks and then decided on Friday that he is unlikely to recover fully by today so he cleared his physics deadlines on Friday, then finish writing assignment and start on this week's precalc assignment today. He might at most be able to make a half grade improvement from Friday to Monday based on improvement in health. We are trying to avoid allergy medicine for as long as possible.

 

My youngest on the other hand, needs a lot more hand holding on executive function skills or he might spend most of the day coding and/or reading Popular Mechanics and Make magazine disregarding all deadlines.

 

I have seen many happy PAHS kids on weekday evenings at the library or during lunch time at Town & Country Village and some grouchy Harker and Basis parents at music and art classes. YMMV depending on where you hang out.

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He really does sound pretty content! It does sound like the open-ended, fairly unscheduled nature of his day lends itself to this.

 

I have not read every reply, but do I understand correctly that only two of his classes are outsourced? I do think that too many online classes can result in an overload of work, but it sounds like that is not the issue.

 

Have you thought about getting him involved in an activity that is related to his interests in math and science, but is separate from classes? For example, robotics team? This would offer some time constraints to his school day ("got to be done so we can get to the activity"), and could help with time management, perhaps, but still allow him to pursue the things he enjoys.

 

 

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So much truth and wisdom in this thread! 

 

Derek (OP), it sounds like your family has a good plan in place. I hope it make a difference and that you'll keep us updated! 

 

I wanted to share a bit about what we did because it is different than many ideas that have already been mentioned. We were experiencing a similar problem, but the limiting time solution wasn't the best answer for us. In fact, it backfired. It was a good reminder to look at the teen in front of me.  I really, really wanted the tracking time plan to work - it just didn't. It made things worse, and relationships started to suffer. 

 

In the end, what seems to be working for my dd is not giving her any time constraints at all. The exception being if she is up at 1:30am insisting she has to finish an assignment that's not due for a couple days. At that, we draw the line.

 

We also started doing the activities she would be doing if she weren't doing school work all the time. She would complain bitterly, but yet not buckle down so she could do what she wanted to do. Finally we had a conversation similar to this:

 

Me: You wish you had more time for XYZ? Fine. Let's go. 

DD: But I have homework!

MM: Irrelevant. Get in the vehicle. 

 

We had made a zillion time maps. We both knew there was time for the various aspects of her life IF SHE managed her time well. She didn't want me to manage it and she certainly wasn't, so everything was out of balance. When we just started going to the activities, suddenly she saw the light and started managing her time herself. When I had tried to show her, explain, lay down the law, entice, implore, bribe... nothing but cold stares and yelling lively conversation...

 

When we just went... things changed. Life.got.better. 

 

I noticed the balance was still not ideal, so I booted some of the at home classes to summer.  We'll go year round as always. Why change what worked? 

 

Four or five classes during the school year. 2 or 3 intensive summer classes. Meaningful work and play all.year.long.  Confining free time and recreation to summers was a recipe for burnout here. Teaching life balance starts right now. She has many, many years of school ahead of her. Healthy habits are critical. Avoiding burnout is a must.

 

She has meaningful work outside of academics that is non-negotiable. Meaningful play is non-negotiable as well.  It's part of what makes her whole.

 

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WMA,

 

Time constraints/limiting time doesn't work for my youngest either. His speed has gotten faster year on year though. I actually made him read about neuroplasticity of the brain in general and teen/youth brain specifically. It helped him emotionally.

 

ETA:

Efficiency might be a more accurate word choice instead of speed. Because it is speed of getting work done well rather than computational speed.

Edited by Arcadia
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In our case it had nothing to do with speed. It had a little to do with learning time management and a lot to do with a need for independence and control. In short, she wanted her life to be the result of her decisions. My job now is to stand by with the life preserver as she learns to navigate the rapids.

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In addition, I think she thought that was the way high school was supposed to be. Teens were supposed to always be doing school work, always miserable and complaining. That message is strong sometimes...  It's almost as though it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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WMA,

 

Reminds me of this lyrics :lol: hubby is into country music

 

"Life's a dance you learn as you go

Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow

Don't worry about what you don't know

Life's a dance you learn as you go" by John Michael Montgomery

 

I'm all too familiar with independence and control, runs down my maternal side and paternal side unfortunately :) makes life interesting.

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So glad you shared WMA. DS and I do something similar. I don't want to over share in the light of recent discussions that ended up hurting feelings. Please ignore if not relevant.

 

I used to craft very detailed schedules based on courses and ECs and put them up around the house. Probably spent too much money on printing ink as a result. We could not live our lives that way although they looked so good on paper.

 

One of the reasons, I realized, is the nature of learning. My son is learning and thinking around the clock (almost) and to limit him to an hour+ at a time just did not work for him. For someone who was trying to help him I ended up feeling like the bad guy every time. Time limits also limited creativity which is incredibly helpful for math problem solving.

 

The solution for us was to apply a college style learning habit at home to match the college style semester schedule. He does not do every subject every day. He uses google calendar to track deadlines and works on 2-3 most urgent courses at a time. Some assignments might take him 3 hrs. Some 1.5. But he was productive because he was already "in the zone/ in flow" when working. Of course there were daydreaming moments too but overall attitude was good so I tried to think of daydreaming as his internal self need to unwind. After 20 or so minutes of dreaming or fiddling around with youtube (music), he goes back to finishing up.

 

I am not saying this is right for everyone. I think it worked out this way because we did try the hourly schedule and while it helped set some habits up for him for a while it wasn't ideal for optimal creativity or long term learning style. And because he plans to graduate early I feel like this fewer subjects a day/longer hrs per subject schedule is preparing him much more effectively for college-level work.

Edited by quark
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I also wanted to share that when DS first started working at the high school level, he was young and 40hrs/week would have been way too much. I saw someone (probably here) mention a very interesting block schedule method. I tweaked it to fit DS.

 

Basically, if we had 6 subjects, he could choose any combo of 4 a day and work on them for 1.5hrs at a time. Not all at once of course. We did something like 3hrs in the AM and 3hrs in the PM. I gave him a checklist with 18 1.5hr long checkboxes. 4 boxes a day from Mon-Thurs (16 total) and 2 on Fridays so that we could use the rest of our Fridays for fun things or as back up in case he couldn't fit 6 hours of work a day M-Th. He had to choose subjects in such a way that all would get equal or almost equal coverage (3 checkboxes each). And then I backed off.

 

It worked so beautifully. He loved it. And then I realized that I missed having control (I can be such a control freak). And the following semester we changed it up. I realize that what we do now is SO similar to that checkbox system and maybe why it feels natural (still gets too busy at times but overall he is in control). Only now DS figuring it out, choosing and managing with google calendar providing the structure.

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Distance Learners here. By coincidence, as I was about to begin reading the OP,  my wife and DD came into the room. I just wrote and sent an email to DDs Academic Counselor that includes this:

 

"The first and most important thing is that (name of DD) is very bogged down with 7 ninth grade courses.  I knew that would be a very heavy load, but as I recall, a minimum of 26 credits are required and that worked out to 6 1/2 credits each school year, so I suggested she go for 7 credits each school year."

 

and this "What is required to get extensions for these 2 courses: Web Design and English?"

 

NOTE: Part of the reason DD is behind in English is that apparently the Instructor is behind on grading parts of 2 Lessons that have been submitted and she can't proceed until those are graded.. 

 

My DD has always been an excellent student (typical grades in mid 90s) but she is really bogged down here. 

 

So to the OP your DS is not alone.  Home Schooler, Distance Learner, it is a heavy workload....  Very tough on the students.  

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The solution for us was to apply a college style learning habit at home to match the college style semester schedule. He does not do every subject every day. He uses google calendar to track deadlines and works on 2-3 most urgent courses at a time. Some assignments might take him 3 hrs. Some 1.5. But he was productive because he was already "in the zone/ in flow" when working. Of course there were daydreaming moments too but overall attitude was good so I tried to think of daydreaming as his internal self need to unwind. After 20 or so minutes of dreaming or fiddling around with youtube (music), he goes back to finishing up.

 

I am not saying this is right for everyone. I think it worked out this way because we did try the hourly schedule and while it helped set some habits up for him for a while it wasn't ideal for optimal creativity or long term learning style. And because he plans to graduate early I feel like this fewer subjects a day/longer hrs per subject schedule is preparing him much more effectively for college-level work.

 

Yes! This sounds so much like my dd! Right down to the fiddling with YouTube for music then going back to work without prompting. 

 

Thanks for sharing!

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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.

 

I always read other people's posts and try to map them on to what we do, which probably isn't all that helpful since everyone's situation is so different. But I keep hoping that one time I'll read the tip that is the magic bullet that will make everything work well.

 

So, do you mind if I ask a little more about how this works? You say that he works from 9:30-3:30 and gets six hours of work done. No breaks, no lunch? You have five subjects listed for the first four hours. Does he find less than an hour per subject sufficient to make good progress?

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So glad you shared WMA. DS and I do something similar. I don't want to over share in the light of recent discussions that ended up hurting feelings. Please ignore if not relevant.

 

I used to craft very detailed schedules based on courses and ECs and put them up around the house. Probably spent too much money on printing ink as a result. We could not live our lives that way although they looked so good on paper.

 

One of the reasons, I realized, is the nature of learning. My son is learning and thinking around the clock (almost) and to limit him to an hour+ at a time just did not work for him. For someone who was trying to help him I ended up feeling like the bad guy every time. Time limits also limited creativity which is incredibly helpful for math problem solving.

 

The solution for us was to apply a college style learning habit at home to match the college style semester schedule. He does not do every subject every day. He uses google calendar to track deadlines and works on 2-3 most urgent courses at a time. Some assignments might take him 3 hrs. Some 1.5. But he was productive because he was already "in the zone/ in flow" when working. Of course there were daydreaming moments too but overall attitude was good so I tried to think of daydreaming as his internal self need to unwind. After 20 or so minutes of dreaming or fiddling around with youtube (music), he goes back to finishing up.

 

I am not saying this is right for everyone. I think it worked out this way because we did try the hourly schedule and while it helped set some habits up for him for a while it wasn't ideal for optimal creativity or long term learning style. And because he plans to graduate early I feel like this fewer subjects a day/longer hrs per subject schedule is preparing him much more effectively for college-level work.

 

Quark, I always enjoy your input and appreciate you sharing your experiences in this thread.  So thanks for contributing.  I actually think that last thread encouraged me to post this thread, at least in part.  In all honesty, I'm partially guilty for only sharing the great things and not enough about the struggles or other realities we face in homeschooling.  

 

For now we'll try the schedule and see how things go. It does seem to work for some kids as demonstrated in this thread.  As we know, kids respond differently to a variety of approaches.  But it is nice to know about other options in case it doesn't work out for our son.  And you guys did try it first.  I also like the rationale behind breaking this up differently, daily.  We actually have some of that built-in already because of the variety of things which happen throughout the week.  But we have not tried 3-4 subject limits per day with more focused time on each one.  That does make sense to me.  We could possibly do a hybrid approach with time limits and this varied schedule.  The main goal for now is to keep things down to ~ 40 hours per week verses all day, plus late nights and weekends.

 

I am curious to ask about your limits on school work in terms of hours per day/week?  How about at night?  You mentioned that 40 hrs/week was too much at one point.  How about now?  Does he have any free time for outside hobbies, time for physical activities or other interests?  Just curious.

Edited by dereksurfs
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I am curious to ask about your limits on school work in terms of hours per day/week? How about at night? You mentioned that 40 hrs/week was too much at one point. How about now? Does he have any free time for outside hobbies, time for physical activities or other interests? Just curious.

Editing out some TMI.

 

When I answered last night I didn't answer to the point of your question and didn't count hours accurately. Here are more objective details.

 

Fall is lighter than spring for us. Last fall as an example: He took 10 credit hours at CC. That was about 12+ hours of lectures and maybe 25-30 hours of coursework/assignments at home. It was not stem-heavy. A lot of time was spent reading and he could do that anywhere almost. So it gave us wiggle time for ECs, long park days with friends and exercise time. He slept at around 10.30-11pm every night and woke up at 8-ish. Weekends were not overly busy. Had time to read, watch movies and practice piano for hours. Had time to work on AoPS CrowdMath when it became available and some MIT OCW math at home.

 

This spring feels more brutal but it is actually not that much longer in hrs/week. He takes math at the university. One more math, government and music at CC for a total of 13 credit hours. He has taken 14 before but the 13 this sem feels busier because of our daily commute to the uni. Part of the 14 units were online while all his hrs now are in person classes. He has 16+ hours of in person lectures and spends about 24-30 hours on assignments depending on the week. Assignments are mostly seatwork now and not reading heavy. It is the 2 math classes taking up the bulk of his time. We skipped lab science this year. He sleeps at 9pm everyday except Monday, Friday and Saturday and wakes up at 6am some days or 7am on others. Wakes up at 9am ish Sat and Sun. ECs this sem are a little more limited. He had to give up a club participation at CC. Has time in the car to read and some time 3-4 times a week in the evenings before bed as well. Weekends are busy with work but lighter in pace. Friends are busy too this sem but we see them in a shared comedy improv class we make time for every week. He can only manage 2hrs of PE a week this sem.

 

This sem is by mutual agreement the closest to a freshman experience we can simulate to help him know what early graduation will lead to.

Edited by quark
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Derek: Bless you for starting this thread. If I could rate it, I would give it 5 or 10 stars.  Follow on to what I wrote yesterday: I contacted DDs Academic Counselor, by email yesterday in the afternoon and we are going to pay for 30 day extensions for 2 courses.  Web Design and English.  I need to get DD to contact any Instructor, if she submits something and there is no grade for 7 days (I think they are supposed to grade things that are submitted, within 3 or 4 days, but I can't remember as I write this.

 

The Academic Counselor wrote this in her reply to me yesterday in the afternoon:

"(Name of DD), please message your English instructor, and list the assignments in that need grading. If she doesn't respond or grade the lessons within 24 hours, please let me know."

 

I was *very* pleased with that.   DD messaged the English Instructor, who I believe replied almost immediately, that she would grade the things that needed grading last night.   I had told DD, before the English Instructor replied to her, "Send her a message, give her tonight and tomorrow night and if on Thursday morning you do not have the grades, I will call the Academic Counselor on our magicJack phone".  Hopefully, when DD checks, this morning, those grades will be in the system.  

 

I took quick glances at a few of the posts in this thread. ASAP, I will read all of the posts in this thread. I believe it is critical, that we try, somehow, to reduce the stress on our DC, which is bad for their Physical health and their Mental health and it is good to know that this is a common problem. 

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Derek, I went back to edit my previous answer to your question (the one about hours) with more specifics. HTH!

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This thread has been really helpful. Thanks everyone who commented.

 

I think I've finally decided that we're sticking with just two outsourced full year classes next year, plus a Bravewriter short class or two & not DEing online or in person till grade 12.

The commute time to the CC & back would really cut into our week & I have little kids to schedule around too.

 

After starting a Bravewriter class 2 weeks ago, I'm seeing what it's like to work around outside deadlines & trying to juggle 3 next year is not going to work.

 

The world won't end if he doesn't DE till 12th & it looks like he might start local 4 year & live at home the first year, which is not a difficult school to get into. I'd rather have a more pleasant year next year & be able to free up some time for him.

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I always read other people's posts and try to map them on to what we do, which probably isn't all that helpful since everyone's situation is so different. But I keep hoping that one time I'll read the tip that is the magic bullet that will make everything work well.

 

So, do you mind if I ask a little more about how this works? You say that he works from 9:30-3:30 and gets six hours of work done. No breaks, no lunch? You have five subjects listed for the first four hours. Does he find less than an hour per subject sufficient to make good progress?

 

DS is massively focused (it is actually his biggest asset), so some days he takes 15 minutes for lunch, but usually he just eats in 5 and keeps going.  He also finds that violin can act as a break between academic subjects.  

 

He does not do well with an hour per subject per day, so usually does 1.5 hours calc, 1.5 hours chemistry, 30 min music, 30 min mandarin (only a half class).  And on the days he is writing, he writes for 3 hours and dumps calculus and chemistry.   He works for 4 hours per weekend on music which gives him the hours to make it into a full class. 

 

He works fast enough in math, that in 1.5 hour per day he can get through 2 classes each year.  Last year it was preCalc and Calc 1, this year it is Calc 2, and multivariate at the university starting in July. 

 

Also, in contrast to the USA, DS can take 11th and 12th grade English over 3 years, because the requirements are to pass the nationally-moderated assessments, not to pass a class each year.  So we started 11th grade English early, and are doing the assessments slower than a calendar year.  This allows him to go beyond the requirements, and write about challenging authors (currently doing Borges).  The english assessments are very good but the books suggested are very low level.  So ds can spend an hour each night reading War and Peace (his current book), stretch out the NZ assessments to gain credit, but still count it as a full class because he has put in the hours working on harder works than required.  At least that is the way I see it.

Edited by lewelma
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I also wanted to add that I talked to ds about this thread a couple of nights ago because I was finding it very interesting, and his response was that he should do more hours. :huh:  He regularly questions his work ethic because he puts in fewer hours than any of his friends (although he does not count the extra 6 weeks he works each year because AoPS runs across all our holidays). His take-away from this thread was that if he worked longer hours, he could get more accomplished.  I was like, no, no, no.  You are missing the point.  Balance.  That is what you are after.  And I also had to remind him that we had tried longer hours and it did not work, because he became less efficient because he would get exhausted and burned out.  So then his thoughts were along the lines of what is wrong with me that I can't work as long as others do.  So then I had to explain how most kids don't focus like he does, and often they are not as efficient in their study skills. But then I started thinking well, yes you could get more done if you worked longer, and some efficient and focused kids do just that, but I did not say that because he already felt guilt about not working hard enough. I certainly did not want to augment that feeling.  The conversation really drove home the point that kids will be hard on themselves regardless.  That the grass is always greener on the other side.  Quite fascinating really. 

Edited by lewelma
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I also wanted to add that I talked to ds about this thread a couple of nights ago because I was finding it very interesting, and his response was that he should do more hours. :huh:  He regularly questions his work ethic because he puts in fewer hours than any of his friends (although he does not count the extra 6 weeks he works each year because AoPS runs across all our holidays). {...} The conversation really drove home the point that kids will be hard on themselves regardless.  That the grass is always greener on the other side.  Quite fascinating really. 

 

Nodding my head in agreement. There is a very real danger that mine is becoming a workaholic. And his dad and I are similar in that we find it hard to just sit or be without working on something or other ourselves. Balance is so important. But we aren't always good at realizing this. I think that's why the light fall, heavy spring system works so well for us. The very nature of the routine forces us to slow down or pick up speed.

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What I meant by they would get it done quicker is..they would get to the point on the school work and get it done quicker, but likely, not have as much chance to go down the rabbit hole. Their time would simply be more limited and they would have stricter deadlines.

I think it depends on the child. My kid has been at a very rigorous school past 4 years and I am going to lose my mind in regards to the lack of free time. I am really thinking of homeschooling for high school to help give him some free time.

Edited by NoPlaceLikeHome
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DS is massively focused (it is actually his biggest asset), so some days he takes 15 minutes for lunch, but usually he just eats in 5 and keeps going.  

 

 

Does this not give you pause? It might just be a matter of cultural or personal preference, but it did jump out at me. Interesting.

 

(ETA: I only mention it because the thread is about balance. Fast meals are often a sign of a life out of balance in my mind. It can also lead to health issues. It's one of the very things we strive to avoid. Guess it goes to show balance will look different to everyone. :) ) 

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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DS is massively focused (it is actually his biggest asset), so some days he takes 15 minutes for lunch, but usually he just eats in 5 and keeps going. 

 

Does this not give you pause? It might just be a matter of cultural or personal preference, but it did jump out at me. Interesting.

 

(ETA: I only mention it because the thread is about balance. Fast meals are often a sign of a life out of balance in my mind. It can also lead to health issues. It's one of the very things we strive to avoid. Guess it goes to show balance will look different to everyone. :) ) 

 

I certainly can't speak for lewelma, but I find that when my younger DS is particularly focused, he often spends less time in meals, like 5-10 min, and gets back to something he's been working on.  In his case, during those focused times he's usually got a better work/non-work balance of work hard/then do his own thing.  So true what WMA said, "balance will look different to everyone."

Edited by Brad S
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Does this not give you pause? It might just be a matter of cultural or personal preference, but it did jump out at me. Interesting.

 

(ETA: I only mention it because the thread is about balance. Fast meals are often a sign of a life out of balance in my mind. It can also lead to health issues. It's one of the very things we strive to avoid. Guess it goes to show balance will look different to everyone. :) ) 

 

Not Ruth. This is season dependent for us. Right now I am juggling some work outside the home and have to rush a lot 2-3 times a week. On those days, DS eats alone or has shorter meals. Not 5 but maybe 10 minutes? We used to enjoy 45min-1 hour long lunches, sometimes longer so it does feel rushed to me now that we don't have that anymore. We make it up when waiting for his math classes in the mornings. We often arrive 30-45 minutes ahead of time (due to the crazy way in which peak hour traffic works in the mornings) and I prepare a large flask of hot, milky coffee plus snacks for us to share and we talk about things he wants to talk about while we wait for class to start. That's our balance for this semester! :001_smile:

 

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Well, really depends.  Sometimes he is in the middle of a math problem, so he is eating over 30 minutes while reading his calculus book.  Or sometimes we eat together while discussing english.  Sometimes, he takes a break and eats while reading the AoPS board (the chat side).  But I will say, he rarely eats while doing nothing.  It is not in his nature. We eat together over dinner outside at the picnic table every sunny day, with our neighbor who is a librarian.  So he does know the social side of eating.  Hope that explains the complexity of the situation.  

 

So does he take a *break* while eating? No. But does he gulp his food down in a mad dash to push forward? No.

Edited by lewelma

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So, I'm wondering the estimated daily time for Clover Creek Physics if your kid doesn't follow a bunch of his own rabbit trails, but does all the work assigned, of course. Cause that's one of our two online classes next year:)

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Well, really depends.  Sometimes he is in the middle of a math problem, so he is eating over 30 minutes while reading his calculus book.  Or sometimes we eat together while discussing english.  Sometimes, he takes a break and eats while reading the AoPS board (the chat side).  But I will say, he rarely eats while doing nothing.  It is not in his nature. We eat together over dinner outside at the picnic table every sunny day, with our neighbor who is a librarian.  So he does know the social side of eating.  Hope that explains the complexity of the situation.  

 

So does he take a *break* while eating? No. But does he gulp his food down in a mad dash to push forward? No.

 

OK, this sounds very different than what I gathered from your other post. I was envisioning....well him eating in 5 min and going back to work (since that's what you wrote.) 

 

So a full meal in 5 min. That's what I gathered from reading:

snapback.png

DS is massively focused (it is actually his biggest asset), so some days he takes 15 minutes for lunch, but usually he just eats in 5 and keeps going.  

 

 

Clearly that's not actually what happens.  ;)  Sometimes it's so hard to tease out reality from posts!

 

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Well, when I wrote 5 minutes, I was thinking it takes him 5 minutes to microwave his food while he just stares at the microwave.  So since the question was about length of break, I was thinking 5 minutes.  But clearly, I wrote that he *eats* in 5 minutes, which he does not.  So sorry about the poor writing!  

 

He makes his own lunches on his cooking night by doubling the recipe and then we freeze them in little containers. He likes hot food for lunch.  

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Ah! I understand now!

 

We do the same thing. :)  We have meals portioned out in individual serving size containers to be reheated through the week. So *food prep* is five minutes for lunch.

 

Gotcha!  :cheers2:

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So, I'm wondering the estimated daily time for Clover Creek Physics if your kid doesn't follow a bunch of his own rabbit trails, but does all the work assigned, of course. Cause that's one of our two online classes next year:)

 

Well, that's kind of hard to answer in a hypothetical sort of way since he has enjoyed 'stretching it out' including taking all of those rabbit trails and pondering the subject matter.  Since its his favorite class this year, efficiency was never even been an afterthought.  And quite frankly, I was concerned when first posting this that some might jump to erroneous conclusions based upon our own unique experiences.  I'm fairly certain we could have substituted any interesting physics class and the outcome would have been basically the same.  Still, If I had to take a wild guess I would give it a range of 1-2 hours per day depending on lab work that day.  I think this is a good example of correlation not implying causation.

Edited by dereksurfs
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I also wanted to add that I talked to ds about this thread a couple of nights ago because I was finding it very interesting, and his response was that he should do more hours. :huh:  He regularly questions his work ethic because he puts in fewer hours than any of his friends (although he does not count the extra 6 weeks he works each year because AoPS runs across all our holidays). His take-away from this thread was that if he worked longer hours, he could get more accomplished.  I was like, no, no, no.  You are missing the point.  Balance.  That is what you are after.  And I also had to remind him that we had tried longer hours and it did not work, because he became less efficient because he would get exhausted and burned out.  So then his thoughts were along the lines of what is wrong with me that I can't work as long as others do.  So then I had to explain how most kids don't focus like he does, and often they are not as efficient in their study skills. But then I started thinking well, yes you could get more done if you worked longer, and some efficient and focused kids do just that, but I did not say that because he already felt guilt about not working hard enough. I certainly did not want to augment that feeling.  The conversation really drove home the point that kids will be hard on themselves regardless.  That the grass is always greener on the other side.  Quite fascinating really. 

 

Haha, wow, that is too funny!  Thanks for sharing, Lewelma.  It so interesting to hear all the reactions from not only the parents but their kids from this thread.  I'm loving the fact we all have such different children.  But that doesn't mean they don't have struggles of their own finding a balance in life.  I'm also glad to hear we've not the only one with a son or daughter who is so conscientious that they would feel guilty about not working hard enough!  I've emphasized the importance of school in the past and that it is his primary responsibility right now.  I guess he really takes that seriously.  Maybe sometimes a bit too much!  It seems almost counter-intuitive to tell your child to scale back and go out and play or do another hobby or something else besides more school work.  But its an important lesson none-the-less.   :)

Edited by dereksurfs
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So, I'm wondering the estimated daily time for Clover Creek Physics if your kid doesn't follow a bunch of his own rabbit trails, but does all the work assigned, of course. Cause that's one of our two online classes next year:)

You can safely set the timer for an hour per weekday :). For labs it takes oldest less than an hour doing and writing up but my youngest is a great lab assistant.

 

Jetta (MorningGlory), the teacher, is great. My youngest is my microscope, pyrotechnics and electronics kid so not sure if he wants to take the class this fall.

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I've been posting on the high school board a lot lately, and I feel a bit like an imposter because I don't actually have a high schooler yet, just a sixth grader who is starting to do some high school work.  Hopefully it's okay for me to join this discussion, because I am currently dealing with some of these issues. 

 

Dd is capable of getting a lot of work done... but only if she has outside deadlines imposed on her.  Without a hard deadline (and she doesn't consider "Mom said this has to be done today" a hard deadline), she will drag her work out.  For her, this doesn't mean higher quality work, it just means slower work. 

 

I figured out last year that she actually works best when she has less time to get her work completed.  This year, she is taking seven online classes and spends about 35-40 hours a week on schoolwork, including class time.  The 40 hours happens when she has longer writing assignments due or multiple tests are assigned.   Honestly, she doesn't have more time than this to spend on schoolwork, so she is forced to make it work, and she does.  She dances about 15 hours a week during the week.  Some of this is in the late morning, which is nice because it breaks up her day a bit and gives her two weekday evenings completely off.  These are family/fun nights and schoolwork is not allowed to take precedent.  Any schoolwork that doesn't get done during the week needs to be finished up before Saturday rehearsal.  After rehearsal, the rest of the weekend is set aside for fun stuff  - we plan at least one outing as a family, or get together with friends, etc. 

 

She still needs constant reminders in order to stay on top of things.  She doesn't seem to have a good grasp of how much time has elapsed.  I have to check in with her regularly and sometimes set a timer as an aid.  She is still young and easily distracted by pets, what other people in the house are doing, etc.  But I do see her making progress on this and am hopeful that in a few years she will be able to manage her time well on her own.

 

So, it's going well, but it's definitely challenging.    And I worry that as she gets older and more advanced in both academics and dance, it's going to be harder and harder to fit everything into a schedule with a reasonable amount of downtime.  The nice thing about all of the online classes is that we are forced to stick to a traditional school year, so this summer we will actually get a real break from schoolwork!  Usually I end up using summer to finish up subjects that we got off track on during the school year, and even though it is much lighter than the school year it can seem like we didn't really get a solid break.  I think it will be a nice change for all of us. 

 

Anyway, I am grateful for this discussion.  It has been a good reminder for me to keep fighting for that balance.  It's so easy for the schedule to creep from manageable, to full, to sprawling out of control.  When all of the things you are adding in are good things, it is easy to forget that downtime is good too and deserves it's own slot in the schedule.

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Well, its been a week since my initial post.  Since then, we've received great advice from you as well as genuine concern from both of his teachers who also participate here.  Based on suggestions, we've decided to try to limit his school work to ~ 40 hours per week just to see what he could do.  He had to catch up first before setting time limits.  We created a schedule with reasonable blocks of time to work in each subject along with some 'general' study time.  We then shared our goals for his time with him along with discussions we've had with other folks (teachers & forum members).  So far, he has responded favorably, which is great!  He is playing with his siblings right now and enjoying other activities.  No school work this weekend.  We'll see how things go longer term.  But we are happy to see him enjoying other things beyond school work this week.  Thanks everyone for the encouragement.  It is really appreciated. 

 

Longer term, we do want to allow for more flexibility.  But first, we want to help him learn what he can achieve within reasonable time limits.  Of course we have to allow for things which come up that can alter a more set schedule.  For example, if we take a day off school to go skiing, hiking, etc.., he may have to make up school work at night or on weekends.  But the general idea is still the same - balance!   :)  ;)

Edited by dereksurfs
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Its a month later now and the modified schedule has still been working.  This includes no homework on the weekends or late at night.  Basically, he has free time again.  Its almost like he doesn't know what to do with it at times.  And it hasn't been without its challenging moments.  He's starting research and work on one of the most interesting labs in Physics for the year.  It's a bridge project!  How cool is that? ;)  So restraining himself from working all hours on it is challenging.  But we went on one of the best hikes we've been on lately last weekend in addition to a mini family vacation to the snow and redwoods.  We snowboarded and cross-country skied together, all without a sense of guilt about not doing enough homework!  Consequently, it has been a big win for him and us even if the adjustment and restrictions were a bit challenging at times.  He needed us to come along him and give him some boundaries and guidance.  I think testing one's limits is simply a part of being a teen.

 

Thanks again for the great advice hive friends!!!  Here a few pictures to show the benefits of the change.  This is what he should be enjoying as a young man:

 

19Mar16_6048a2-XL.jpg

 

 

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IMG_20160314_103718-XL.jpg

 

 

IMG_20160314_114752-XL.jpg

 

 

IMG_20160314_160338-XL.jpg

 

Edited by dereksurfs
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