Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

debi21

How much play time?

Recommended Posts

This will be our first year actually homeschooling. The reason my rising 2nd grade son (age 7) is on board is the lack of homework and more time to play. My reasons include wanting him to have strong academics at his level, no busy work, and time to explore his interests, which in my mind includes play.

 

My question is, what is an appropriate number of hours of play per day for a 7/8 year old? What do you think is average?

 

I am trying to reconcile how much he wants to play versus giving him an appropriate amount of school work, assigned chores, and outside activities.

 

Coming from public school, my son feels entitled to his summer vacation and it seems like he plays all day sometimes. I am left feeling like if we have "not enough time" for what we want to do now, what is it going to be like during school? When can I cut him off from play and not feel like an ogre and not impact the desirable benefits that result from play? I'm not sure how to strike a balance.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a fly by the seat of your pants, follow your bliss type but I realize our school year goes better when we have time carved out for school. Our elementary-middle level school hours are 9-12 and 1-3:30. That way they aren't asking for video games and friends (we had some homeschooling kids in the neighborhood who showed up at all hours) etc during the school day. A solid hour for lunch and active play midday, time before school starts for chores and imaginative play and no homework means plenty of time to play after the day is done.

 

Younger kids were turned loose closer to 2 and older kids (late middle and high school) start closer to 8. But having that sancrosanct time during the day helps to instill work first habits that pay off over a lifetime. That said, if I notice some really rich play at that age I might quietly allow it to continue until it seems to come to a natural end. Not every day, but at age seven, there is so much to be gained by a healthy balance of play.

Edited by Barb_
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An hour or two of butt-in-seat schoolwork; whatever chores you deem appropriate; the rest can be whatever proportion y'all want of active learning--play at the park, play at home, etc. I would make sure at least 1 hour was active physical play/exercise. Other than that, I don't think there's such a thing as "too much play" for a seven or eight year old. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My kids did like 2hrs of school at 2nd grade eventhough we use an online public charter which has tests to be completed. They also do an hour of leisure reading and 15 mins of music. So more than 10 hours of playtime daily.

 

We do school from after breakfast and then its all playtime. It is hard to stop playing at that age so we prefer to get everything done first.

 

For summer at that age, my kids did 30mins of singapore maths daily and that is it. They get to play all day.

Edited by Arcadia
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a no TV/video games until after 3pm policy for weekdays. School for DS is a mix of play and work, so it's hard to nail down actual hours. 

 

A day looks something like: 

 

morning walk

Math

20-30 minutes outside play, game of yahtzee

English (grammar, writing, handwriting, etc)

tennis lesson/swimming lesson, errands, lunch and outside time

reading

science or history

free time

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My goal is to be done with academics by lunchtime each day. I have a Ker and 2nd grader. I don't want dawdling over a lesson; full attention and a short lesson is preferred over here. 

I want the afternoons to be open for free play, parks, museums, whatever. There's some time in the morning for play if they're up early enough. Play and free time, and time outdoors is important! Not just for our young ones, but I think all people benefit. Work hard, play hard.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our ped says about 2 hours of unstructured time is sufficient. At least 60 min of physical activity can be part of the unstructured time or it can be part of something more structured such as gym class or sports practice. My kids meet those without me making a point to do anything. I get the feeling that most homeschoolers on these boards also have way more free time for their elementary kids than the requisite 2 hours. I can see how it would be tough to meet those if you drop your kid off at school at 7, then have them attend childcare while you finish working, then pick them up and shuttle them to their nightly activity while they try to cram fast food down their throats before it's time to go inside. It's just a different lifestyle.

 

Compared to others on these boards, I probably have more structure than average for my preschool through 2nd grade kids. Even with the many things you see in my sig for ods, he probably has at least 4 hours of unstructured time per day on a typical weekday. The majority of his waking hours on the weekends are also unstructured free time.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So much.

 

As much as possible.

 

No such thing as too much for 8 or 9 year olds.

 

Do whatever needs doing and then play. It will take care if itself.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our ped says about 2 hours of unstructured time is sufficient. At least 60 min of physical activity can be part of the unstructured time or it can be part of something more structured such as gym class or sports practice. My kids meet those without me making a point to do anything. I get the feeling that most homeschoolers on these boards also have way more free time for their elementary kids than the requisite 2 hours. I can see how it would be tough to meet those if you drop your kid off at school at 7, then have them attend childcare while you finish working, then pick them up and shuttle them to their nightly activity while they try to cram fast food down their throats before it's time to go inside. It's just a different lifestyle.

 

Compared to others on these boards, I probably have more structure than average for my preschool through 2nd grade kids. Even with the many things you see in my sig for ods, he probably has at least 4 hours of unstructured time per day on a typical weekday. The majority of his waking hours on the weekends are also unstructured free time.

I'm the same. I'm pretty sure my oldest girls used to have a lot more free time when they were little. It all worked out. Once I had multiple age groups I found keeping them on roughly the same schedule worked better, even if a large part of their structured work looked like drawing, audiobooks, free reading, and online learning games. Left to their own devices, my last two have been destructive and incredibly noisy and distracting.

 

You have you make decisions based on the kids you have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My almost 8yo has less than two hours a day of seat work, which includes stuff I read to them, plus evening read alouds. He has an hour-ish of chores and personal hygiene stuff to do every day (maybe slightly more), and we don't do screens on school days, so the rest of the time is free play and up to him how he uses it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I plan the school work and chores and then everything else is play.

 

My 8 yo 2nd grade Ds (last year) did about 3 hours in the morning, including piano and independent reading. We do RA at lunch and content subjects for him 3 days in the afternoons, about 30 minutes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a general rule, we assign 1 hour of school work per grade level until the work is capped at between 4-6 hours (sometimes it takes longer, other times it takes less time). It is hard to pin down an exact time, but my son (going into 3rd) definitely spends the vast majority of his day playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am an ardent proponent of unstructured play time bc I believe imagination develops higher order thinking skills. My Young kids have hours of unstructured play every day. A second grader in our home would have about 2 1/2 hours of academics and the rest of the day is spent playing. (Not watching TV or playing on devices.) Imaginative play.

 

I love it and have been doing it this way since our 27 yos was little. It is still a core parenting and educational belief after all these yrs. Our youngest is 6. :)

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would not label active play as "unstructured free time." Unstructured free time may be spent on active play, but it shouldn't be counted as "play" if it's spent passively staring at a screen, which is something my kids, especially my DD, does often with her unstructured free time.

 

DS will often turn on a show, but then proceed to do other things (play) with it in the background. I would still count that as play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would not label active play as "unstructured free time." Unstructured free time may be spent on active play, but it shouldn't be counted as "play" if it's spent passively staring at a screen, which is something my kids, especially my DD, does often with her unstructured free time.

.

I agree. Maybe I should have specified. We keep to a minimum of screen time so it didn't occur to me that someone might think a kid vegging in front of a tv would be play time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that you can quantify it realistically.  I would say 9-10 hours of sleep, 2-3 hours of school work, 1-2 hours of chores, meals, transportation and the rest is play ad libitum.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This will be our first year actually homeschooling. The reason my rising 2nd grade son (age 7) is on board is the lack of homework and more time to play. My reasons include wanting him to have strong academics at his level, no busy work, and time to explore his interests, which in my mind includes play.

 

My question is, what is an appropriate number of hours of play per day for a 7/8 year old? What do you think is average?

 

I am trying to reconcile how much he wants to play versus giving him an appropriate amount of school work, assigned chores, and outside activities.

 

Coming from public school, my son feels entitled to his summer vacation and it seems like he plays all day sometimes. I am left feeling like if we have "not enough time" for what we want to do now, what is it going to be like during school? When can I cut him off from play and not feel like an ogre and not impact the desirable benefits that result from play? I'm not sure how to strike a balance.

 

I'm not sure there's such a thing as an "appropriate" number of hours of play. :blink:

 

When he's not doing chores or outside activities, he can play. It is natural for him to want to play.

 

So I'd put it the other way: how much formal, sit-down-and-study time is appropriate for a little person who is 7ish? IMHO, not much more than a couple of hours a day.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My oldest is also 7, a rising second grade boy.  In his mind, there is no such thing as too much play.  :-)  My kids wake up with a strong drive to play--stronger, even, than their drive to eat, so I often have to force them to sit and have breakfast.  Because of this urge to play first thing, we don't start our work until morning snack.  So between about 8 (when I get everyone from their rooms) and 10:30 (approximate snack time--might be moved earlier or later depending how well everyone is playing and what we have later in the day) they eat breakfast and play.  At snack time everyone sits and munches while I read aloud, which for us is a good transition.  Then we do any "together" work (social studies, science, anything we're learning as a group) before the kids move to their "alone" work (mostly math).  Counting snack/read-aloud, our "work" usually takes 2-2.5 hours, and by 1 we're eating lunch and the kids are free to go.  In that time, we accomplish enough to keep us ahead of grade level.  That's working mostly 3 days/week year-round with breaks whenever Daddy is off or if we have a special event scheduled; we also do less work in the summer to accommodate swimming lessons and day camps.

 

Overall, that would be 2-2.5 hours of "work" and...the rest of the day of play.  His only other responsibilities are helping to do some cleaning after dinner (usually we spend about 15-20 minutes a night on this) and guitar practice every evening.  (Bedtime routine includes a half-hour of guitar practice followed by about an hour of free-reading--his choice of books--which is both good reading practice and necessary to help him unwind.)

 

As for structured activities, we participate in a Community Bible Study one day a week that has a large homeschool program, so he spends two hours a week there.  Then I let each child choose two extracurriculars at a time, so that generally translates to two extra hours per week of structured time.  And of course there's Sunday School during the school year, if you count that.

 

My kid plays a LOT.  I'd estimate he spends 8 hours a day playing.  But he still doesn't want to take a break for work or stop to go to bed--it's never enough.  I gently point out that my requirements are a lot less than the public school's, and that keeps him from too much grumbling.  You'll have to find your balance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 2nd grader got herself ready and did about 5 minutes worth of chores in the morning and again in the evening. We did school in 3 separate ~1 hour sessions sprinkled throughout the day. She got 1/2 hour of video game time if she wanted it. Every few days she watched a movie. And the rest of the time she played or ate or slept. If she said she was bored, she got a job to do, so that didn't happen too often. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate cutting kids off from play time, so like many others we have slowly but surely gotten into the habit of starting school work RIGHT after (or even before) breakfast-- I have everything set up in the morning for the kids so that they can easily see their plans for the day and any written work that needs completing. I also try, but don't always succeed, to make elements of lessons playful and imaginative, because my ideal is that the division between learning and play shouldn't be so stark. I see my kids incorporating the things they've learned in their play-- their (imaginary) horse might become Bucephalus or they might confront me with "We are SPARTANS!" during a study of Ancient Greece-- so I know that there is not a strict division there, and they will want to postpone "play time" and continue lessons all day if lessons involve, say, finding props, dressing up, and reenacting Greek myths together. (This kind of teaching takes work on my part because, as a grown-up, I am more into seatwork and less into play!)

 

With that said, it's taken us awhile to get into both the habit of Work First, Rest of the Day to Play and that of playful learning, so I think after your son has as much summer as you want to give him, you can just let him know the new routine and start slow and maybe use the reasons you decided to homeschool as inspiration for your lesson planning-- by watching our kids' play and seeing what they love and how creatively they think, we can often figure out the best way to approach new and challenging subject matter with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At that age, 2-3 hours of school is plenty.

Kids learn through free play. I am not a fan of organized activities for young children. So, whenever he is not doing school work, a few chores, eat, sleep, he should play.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd do it the other way round.

 

Say, two hours or even a little less of school.

 

Time to do a reasonable amount of chores/household stuff.

 

Family stuff together.

 

The rest is play.

 

If things seem out of balance or stressful, evaluate why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do the 2 hours of unstructured time thing, as an accountability thing to me. My kids go to public school and I afterschool them, but it's not even schoolwork that tries to encroach on the unstructured time... it's structured activities. Scheduling in 2 hrs of unstructured time helps to prevent us from signing up for too many activities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, we do it the other way around, like Bluegoat.  There's the amount of time we target for "school" and then there's everything else.  And hopefully that everything else is doing some worthwhile things!  

 

That percentage is going to shift with time, so don't worry about it.  What you're seeing at 7/8 are interests that become passions later sometimes.  The things that my dd did at 7/8 are the things she's going to major in for college!  Seriously.  This is probably the MOST VALUABLE thing you're doing.  His interest-driven, masterful play is MORE VALUABLE than most of his school work.

 

I try to make sure there are audiobooks going.  My ds uses a kindle fire hdx and listens to audiobooks while he plays.

 

Now you want a concern.  My ds has autism, so then it's like if I just let him play, is that letting him withdraw socially and aggravating the autism?  It actually is, and I try to be really careful about that.  Some is good with him, too much alone is not.  But just for the average kid to have time to sit and work on his legos and listen to audiobooks, do it!!  

 

The main thing is to remember kids respond to structure.  As long as you have structure (clear expectations, a plan, they know the plan), you're going to be fine.  They're learning their work ethic, and they're learning we work and we get choice time.  It will be fine!

 

Fwiw, if the dc is alone and not playing with other kids, then I would add in more things so it's not overmuch free/alone time.  Some is good, but for an only (like my dd was for years) I would add in some intentional play, art, trips, etc.  With my ds, who functions also as an only, he has sports, etc.  I take him places (zoo, park, etc.).  If he's not getting the interaction with kids, then he'll need it from you.  But it doesn't have to be "school" kwim?  It can be more like here's our choice time, let's make a choice and do something together!  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...