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Curious how others would handle this


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We set very firm expectations that all work is finished as soon as it is assigned. Video games and other fun things are only allowed afterwards.

 

It is hard at the start of the school year, but after a few weeks, the value in the approach becomes evident to the kids, as they find themselves relaxing while other students are cramming.

 

This holds even for projects, though we might break expected outcomes into reasonable milestones.

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I think if the co-op class expectations are that the parents are still responsible for the student's learning (which is reasonable as they only have him for one hour per week), then you have to step up to the plate. Make him do his lessons on time.

 

I find this easier to do without the middle man; if my boys have to answer to me, then I want total control of what's going on. But if you utilize an outside class with the understanding that you're still the one holding the responsibility (even though they are teaching for an hour), then that's the deal.

 

 

 

 

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At that age, honestly I would let him try it his way (after providing your wisdom) and he can deal with the consequences.

 

My kids were in 4th grade last year, and they had a research paper / presentation which had to be done 100% at school (independently in the computer lab) in order to avoid too much parental "help."  I wasn't even allowed to see it until after it was graded.  It worked out fine; I was pretty impressed with the final product.  Your 11th grader has received guidance from both his teacher and you, and has all the resources he needs to get the job done.  I would let him learn his own limitations from his own experience.

Edited by SKL
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I would require the checkpoints in the recommended time table be met. I only allowed shifting if we were short on time, and the kid leaned that meant he plans ahead and works with the instructor to request assignments ahead of time so they can be turned in on the due date. No catch up, no cramming,no shoddy slapped together papers.

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I would require the checkpoints in the recommended time table be met.

 

:iagree:

 

I tried the "let them learn from the consequences of their actions" approach last year, but it backfired!  My boys discovered that they _could_ wait till the very last week to do a research paper.  :(  Despite my dire warnings, they did all right on what they submitted and have now concluded that a research paper can be written in 5-7 days.

 

On the one hand, I understand the argument that being able to write a paper under severe time constraints is a useful skill.  On the other hand, writing a research paper isn't really supposed to be about the skill of writing a paper quickly.  The big benefit in writing a research paper is the thinking and mulling and synthesizing of one's research into a coherent, well-supported argument. There's not much thinking about the argument going on when the primary goal is writing up x pages in one week!

 

This year my boys will be in 11th grade, too. As much as I feel like I should stay hands off and let them manage their own load at this point, I am really going to try to stay on top of any longer papers they have. I don't know how else to get them to see that starting early and working on it over a period of time will be less onerous and more beneficial in the long run.

 

One of Cal Newport's books talks about how successful students start working on even long term projects like research papers the day they get the assignment. The day they get the assignment, they plan their own checkpoints... "by x date, I need to have found y number of books or resources on the topic.... by z date, I need to have looked through the resources I've found and started formulating my argument... by n date, I need an outline..."    I'm going to have my boys read that section in the hopes that hearing all this from an outside "expert," and a young man at that (ie, not mom),  will make more of an impression than I have so far.

 

I'll be following this thread to see if anyone else has found the magic bullet for this one!

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:iagree:

 

I tried the "let them learn from the consequences of their actions" approach last year, but it backfired!  My boys discovered that they _could_ wait till the very last week to do a research paper.  :(  Despite my dire warnings, they did all right on what they submitted and have now concluded that a research paper can be written in 5-7 days.

 

 

 

Similar experience here.  11th grade force the timetable.  12th grade, leave it up to him again.

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Thanks, all. Parenting little ones was a piece of cake for me. I always felt like I knew the right thing to do. The teen years are far more of a challenge to navigate. It's so hard to decide when I should still be making the decisions and when it's time to let go and let them take the reins. But, I appreciate everything everyone said here. It makes me feel more comfortable about just laying down the law on this issue and requiring him to follow the timetables outlined by his teachers. Everything will actually be simpler for both of us this way.

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:iagree:

 

I tried the "let them learn from the consequences of their actions" approach last year, but it backfired!  My boys discovered that they _could_ wait till the very last week to do a research paper.  :(  Despite my dire warnings, they did all right on what they submitted and have now concluded that a research paper can be written in 5-7 days.

 

On the one hand, I understand the argument that being able to write a paper under severe time constraints is a useful skill.  On the other hand, writing a research paper isn't really supposed to be about the skill of writing a paper quickly.  The big benefit in writing a research paper is the thinking and mulling and synthesizing of one's research into a coherent, well-supported argument. There's not much thinking about the argument going on when the primary goal is writing up x pages in one week!

 

This year my boys will be in 11th grade, too. As much as I feel like I should stay hands off and let them manage their own load at this point, I am really going to try to stay on top of any longer papers they have. I don't know how else to get them to see that starting early and working on it over a period of time will be less onerous and more beneficial in the long run.

 

One of Cal Newport's books talks about how successful students start working on even long term projects like research papers the day they get the assignment. The day they get the assignment, they plan their own checkpoints... "by x date, I need to have found y number of books or resources on the topic.... by z date, I need to have looked through the resources I've found and started formulating my argument... by n date, I need an outline..."    I'm going to have my boys read that section in the hopes that hearing all this from an outside "expert," and a young man at that (ie, not mom),  will make more of an impression than I have so far.

 

I'll be following this thread to see if anyone else has found the magic bullet for this one!

 

Mmm, I guess I agree that a research paper can often be written in 5-7 days (or less).  :leaving:

 

I can see the point of showing them how much better it can be (compared to last year's) if they follow the guidelines.  But then in their case they have learned from their own experience (experiencing and evaluating the 5-7 day crunch vs the longer time frame).  If they have never tried the crunch then they have not actually learned its limitations.  :)

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I haven't had hs students, but I've taught hs and university kids how to do research papers in the army.

 

I think you can lead a horse to water, but that's about it.  Or in this case, you can show someone how to break down the tasks involved in a research paper into logical parts, and how long (and why how long) to leave for each task.

 

But in the end they have to actually do it.  If they don't, there will be two possible outcomes - they will suceed anyway and it isn't an issue (perhaps their method works well for that particular student), or eventually they will have a problem, and they will have to rethink rejecting your advice.  That could be sooner or later.  If it happens at a  job or university, that is really too bad, though probably not the end of the world.  Better to have it happen at co-op if possible I think.

 

To me, the main thing for the teacher (you) is to make sure that he does have a concrete method to break it down, not just a timeline.  A timeline isn't always useful without that breakdown, and some people become frozen when faced with figuring it out.  So, they wait to the last moment and try and attack it all at once.  (Which works if you are quick, and the assignment not too onerous, and nothing goes wrong.)  If he has the knowledge, he can choose to use it.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bluegoat
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 then in their case they have learned from their own experience (experiencing and evaluating the 5-7 day crunch vs the longer time frame).  If they have never tried the crunch then they have not actually learned its limitations.  :)

 

Yes, they've got the crunch part down really, really well.  LOL

 

It's the writing a paper over a longer time frame thing that they've never experienced. :)

 

Until this year.  If I don't do anything else with them this year, I _am_ going to "help" them discover the joy of writing a paper over a longer period of time. Even if it kills us all.  LOL

 

And, as a pp suggested, they can choose their own approach again in 12th.  At least I'll have done what I can this year.

Edited by yvonne
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Just throwing this thought in from the perspective of me being a co-op class teacher who requires weekly writing assignments for the first half of the semester and then for the second half of the semester, one longer writing assignment (often a research paper), broken into stages:

 

- I require stages because it's easier on ME for grading.

- I see it as my job to come alongside to lift some of the teaching/administrating burden from the homeschooling parents, so I constantly tell my students to talk to me or email me if they have questions or are not going to be able to make a deadline.

- And every week I tell my students: "Please don't wait and do it the night before. I work very hard to give you MY best, and I appreciate -- and expect -- that you will do the same for me. Papers that are started/written at midnight the night before are rushed, and are not your best thinking, and have had no opportunity to be revised. And it's always very obvious when it's a night-before paper."

 

Reasons I have for breaking big assignments into specific segments:

 

1. Help students with time management (small bite each week, rather than a glut right before the deadline).

 

2. In case some unexpected circumstance pops up (and every semester, at least one student falls ill or a family has a serious issue pop up), it gives the student and I more flexibility for working out an alternate schedule if the student has some of the work towards the big project already.

 

3. It is a huge help for ME, the teacher, spreading out the work of GRADING of all those longer assignments for an entire class. It takes me several HOURS per paper when I haven't seen and signed off on any segments of the big paper previously. Multiply that by 10-15 students, and I quickly have no life outside of that class. :(

 

4. Again, for ME: I can't tell you how frustrating it is to me as a teacher -- and as a human being!-- to every week be pouring out a LOT of time to give students my best and my all -- only to get "meh" back in return in the form of last-minute papers. :(

 

All that to say, you might mention to DS that if the teacher has an assignment broken into segments, the teacher has good reasons for it, and by following that you are respecting the teacher and the teacher's efforts and wisdom. 

 

Since the class guidelines state that parents are to oversee work at home, but since DS prefers to manage the project his own way (and kudos to DS for taking on the responsibility for his own education!), DS really does need to do the courteous and responsible thing and contact the teacher now at the beginning of the semester and explain why he wants to do the project on a different timeline than what the teacher has laid out. That gives the teacher the opportunity to respond with why or why not that will work for the *teacher*. :)

 

JMO! BEST of luck in finding the path that works for all concerned! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

Edited by Lori D.
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Thanks for posting the view from the other side, Lori!  That's an argument my boys would be responsive to.

 

I know that not every co-op teacher has the time (or sometimes the interest) to pour as much into the class as I do. But even if they don't, it's still a matter of respecting the fact that the teacher has taken on the responsibility for the class, and if a student needs or wants to change the teacher's set-up, the student owes the teacher the basic courtesy of discussing it with the teacher. :)

Edited by Lori D.
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I would rather do a big project at all at once than work on little bits over an extended period of time. That's just how I am. My dd is the same way. Some people are just like that.

 

By 11th grade, I'd turn the responsibility over to the kid. It's his class and his education. I don't think Mom should be standing over him. He should be working out his own way to handle his classes.

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4. Again, for ME: I can't tell you how frustrating it is to me as a teacher -- and as a human being!-- to every week be pouring out a LOT of time to give students my best and my all -- only to get "meh" back in return in the form of last-minute papers. :(

 

While I understand what you re saying here, I do have some differing thoughts.

 

First, let me say that I wrote a 10-15 page high school paper (forget exactly how long it was) the night before it was due, and I got an A. Was it the best work I could possibly have done? Maybe not. Maybe so. I can't really say, but it clearly met all the requirements of the paper, and met them well. Since I did not enjoy The Canterbury Tales and wasn't really invested in it, really, what more could be asked for than "met all requirements with a grade of A"? Some students really can turn out decent work in limited time.

 

Second, I also think that it is ok if a student doesn't pour their all into an assignment. Not everyone enjoys or is motivated by the same things, and that's ok. I am not big into the idea that "a thing worth doing is worth doing well." In my opinion, "a thing worth doing is worth doing well enough." I can't do everything I have to do super-fantastic-awesome well, and I shouldn't have to. I don't have to be 100% about everything. When we tell kids that they have to do all their assignments the absolutely best way possible, we are telling them they have to be 100%, all the time. I'm honestly fine with my kids doing some things just ok simply because they have to be done. I allow it with myself, too.

 

And lastly, like I said, I do understand how you feel in the snippet I quoted, but really, it's not the job of the students to make you feel validated. Not every kid is going to love your class regardless of how good a teacher you are. Some kids are just not interested in some things. A student shouldn't feel guilty for not liking your class or putting as much effort into it as you do. (Or a student may love your class and still not put in all they effort they possibly could.) Some classes I took simply because I had to, I learned the material reasonably well, and then I moved on. I would never have thought about whether my ho-hum attitude was upsetting my teacher because, really, it wasn't my responsibility to make to worry about it.

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For an 11th grader, I'd back off.

 

As soon as my kids began taking outsourced classes they were adamant that I was not to interfere. They wanted to handle it on their own.

he will learn. If he gets it done the way he works, that's just his way - some people do everything last minute and no amount of nagging will fix that.

if he does not get everything done, he will learn and change.

I would not attempt to micromanage a 17 y/o.

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For an 11th grader, I'd back off.

 

As soon as my kids began taking outsourced classes they were adamant that I was not to interfere. They wanted to handle it on their own.

he will learn. If he gets it done the way he works, that's just his way - some people do everything last minute and no amount of nagging will fix that.

if he does not get everything done, he will learn and change.

I would not attempt to micromanage a 17 y/o.

This. Every word of this.

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If it is the kind of assignment he can complete in 5 days, then there is no reason to push him to do it any earlier.

 

If it is not the kind of assignment that he can complete in 5 days, then he will learn (through this experience and probably no other way) that there are some types of assignments you can't complete in 5 days, and the next time he comes up against a large assignment he'll have access to that experience so he can better evaluate whether he needs to do the extended timeline or not.

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You can always show him this video someone posted here a while back and laugh together. :) I am surrounded by master procrastinators at this house. They always manage to pull it off at the end....I think it's just some peoples preferred MO. It's stressful to watch though!

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I have no experience with teen boys and won't for several more years (thank goodness). My oldest is still learning good time management skills and when I don't push and pull everyday for work she's doing for her home classes, she falls behind. She can manage fine for others (which is why you see so many outsourced classes for her this year), She just chooses not to for me.

 

So, with that coloring my answer, I would insist he keep the schedule the teacher set. I don't know if that means constant reminders or just spit checks the day before each of the intermediate deadlines.

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It sounds like his procrastination interferes with others in the family's ability to do fun things and adds stress to others, even if perhaps it does not bother him. Can you separate what happens for you and his sister so that you do not experience stress and lose time you planned for other things due to his procrastination habit? It sounds like you are teaching him that everyone else will drop their own plans for him. His choice for himself seems like it should not be able to affect the rest of you the way it seems to be doing.

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It sounds like his procrastination interferes with others in the family's ability to do fun things and adds stress to others, even if perhaps it does not bother him. Can you separate what happens for you and his sister so that you do not experience stress and lose time you planned for other things due to his procrastination habit? It sounds like you are teaching him that everyone else will drop their own plans for him. His choice for himself seems like it should not be able to affect the rest of you the way it seems to be doing.

No, sorry if that is the impression I gave. That was a one-time thing and it didn't really have a negative impact on his sister. As I said, he's an exceptionally good kid and I consider myself lucky that this minor issue is my "big" worry of the day. :)

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While I tend to be with the "let him manage it himself" crowd, I don't really buy the argument that most assignments can be done in only a few days and that works just as well.  I say this as a procrastinator myself who often did just that.

 

It only works just as well, until it doesn't.  Until you find that you've misjudged the amount of work or suddenly life or school piles on other things.  Until you realize your thesis won't work after all and you have to revise it and so all your research.  Until you can't get the books or articles you need on short notice.  And when and if the student makes the leap to a more serious project - an honours project, say - and finds that the scope of the research and thought behind it will not reflect her best if it's done in a rush. 

 

That really isn't the best time to be learning how to assign your time to a project.  Having done it before, with less significant work, is helpful, the student will have adapted the more generalized template for time management for his own particular needs, and will have a sense of how things are progressing.  (This is actually why I actually prefer if students learn how to manage stages of writing themselves rather than being just given deadlines assigned by the teacher.  Though I totally think the teacher needing to spread out marking is legitimate, and I would probably mark that stuff with a zero myself if it didn't come in on time "just because".)

 

 

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No, sorry if that is the impression I gave. That was a one-time thing and it didn't really have a negative impact on his sister. As I said, he's an exceptionally good kid and I consider myself lucky that this minor issue is my "big" worry of the day. :)

 

 

If not affecting others, I'd tell him that in the long run even if he can do his assignments at "last minute," earlier would avoid long term stress (assuming he feels stress when he has little time left or if other things crop up unexpectedly). Does he know how to work in chunks?

 

Or push him to do his assignment now before school starts as requested by the teacher.  And let him then compare how he feels about early versus late starting, and then in future let him decide for himself which way he wants to do things.

Edited by Pen
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I agree with the bolded.  Much of a research paper (most) is thought and reading based.  So I am one of those people who write a paper in 5-7 days, but the brain work has been going on (invisibly) for much longer than that.

Mmm, I guess I agree that a research paper can often be written in 5-7 days (or less).  :leaving:

 

I can see the point of showing them how much better it can be (compared to last year's) if they follow the guidelines.  But then in their case they have learned from their own experience (experiencing and evaluating the 5-7 day crunch vs the longer time frame).  If they have never tried the crunch then they have not actually learned its limitations.  :)

 

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There seems to be this assumption that working a little bit each week is the most efficient use of the time.

 

It seems to ignore the fact that picking it up and putting it down means you have to re-learn some of it over and over (unless you have a genius photographic memory) and take time to get your brain into and out of it many times (unless you require zero time for mental transitions).  And also seems to ignore that when you are far away from a deadline, it is likely that you aren't really that into the project in front of you anyway, compared to how you'd be if it were due this week.  At least that's how I am.

 

For those of us who take time to transition and don't have a perfect memory, choosing to do it in fewer blocks of time closer to the deadline is more efficient.  This means more time for other worthwhile things too.

 

There are some projects that are better spread out over time, yes.  Those would be the things where time must pass between the time you decide you want something and the time you are able to get it.  I'm not sure a high school research paper is best done over many months, especially nowadays when it is very easy to find a ton of information on the internet or at a library.  I could maybe understand 4 weeks as a guideline, but not several months.  I actually think that it's unhelpful to teach kids they need that long to write a decent research paper.

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There seems to be this assumption that working a little bit each week is the most efficient use of the time.

 

It seems to ignore the fact that picking it up and putting it down means you have to re-learn some of it over and over (unless you have a genius photographic memory) and take time to get your brain into and out of it many times (unless you require zero time for mental transitions).  

 

And particularly for students who are whole-to-parts learners or who have executive function issues, stretching the task into multiple little parts over a long period of time can be very overwhelming.

 

I used to have pretty rigid ideas about how to learn best and how best to tackle assignments (outlines, anyone?). My three kids, who are all very different, have shown me that there's rarely one right way.

Edited by Haiku
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There seems to be this assumption that working a little bit each week is the most efficient use of the time.

 

It seems to ignore the fact that picking it up and putting it down means you have to re-learn some of it over and over (unless you have a genius photographic memory) and take time to get your brain into and out of it many times (unless you require zero time for mental transitions).  And also seems to ignore that when you are far away from a deadline, it is likely that you aren't really that into the project in front of you anyway, compared to how you'd be if it were due this week.  At least that's how I am.

 

For those of us who take time to transition and don't have a perfect memory, choosing to do it in fewer blocks of time closer to the deadline is more efficient.  This means more time for other worthwhile things too.

 

There are some projects that are better spread out over time, yes.  Those would be the things where time must pass between the time you decide you want something and the time you are able to get it.  I'm not sure a high school research paper is best done over many months, especially nowadays when it is very easy to find a ton of information on the internet or at a library.  I could maybe understand 4 weeks as a guideline, but not several months.  I actually think that it's unhelpful to teach kids they need that long to write a decent research paper.

 

I don't think it is most efficient for time use -- understood short term.  And I am guilty of doing it the wrong way myself :) ... in fact, was taught to do so as working backward from due date and calculating last start date possible, rather than working forward from assignment date. It is something I've had to struggle with in my own life to change that. 

 

 

It is not so much that the chunking is time efficient for the research paper, but the same approach is efficient for life when it turns into, say, a grant proposal being written in chunks with an early start on the project so that going to the kids' games and performances or other desirable activities remain possible, rather than "sorry, Dad can't make it to your big game, Joey, you know he has to work solid for the next two weeks since that's how we pay our bills (and unsaid is that is because Dad procrastinated for the past 6 months)."  

 

I at first thought that was already happening in kid version in OP's life where her ds's work got in the way of fun things she had planned. Apparently that is not the case after all, but it is a danger of leaving things to the last "minute" and then working intensively on the thing, rather than starting early and getting it done in chunks. It also does not make allowance for unexpected events toward the due date.

 

If the whole plan is made effectively, with room for the special events and for unexpected crises, and the "saved" earlier time is used well, that is one thing, but often the late start isn't giving time to worthwhile things earlier, but just for diddling away that earlier time.

 

If the chunking is with regard to an exam rather than a research paper, or if the paper has some learning significance, not just busy work box checking significance, then the returning multiple times and having to get brain back on track probably helps long term retention compared to starting late i.e. cramming, which may be time efficient for that one exam, but is not so time efficient for long term learning if the subject is of any importance cumulatively.

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So, maybe another question is, if OP's son is not going to do his work as the teacher wanted before the term starts, what is he using that time for instead? Is it a good use of his time?

Just to clarify -- the teacher highly, highly recommended the students complete this assignment over the summer because the class is going to be intense with a lot of writing. Students are allowed to complete it over the first semester of the class, though. In our case, I really thought my ds should take the teacher's advice and get the project done over the summer. Before posting here, I had already told him that I wanted him to start on it and he was unhappy about that and thought he should be able to do it over the semester. So, I came here to see what others would do.

 

In the end, I've already decided to have him complete it now, and now that he knows that, he's doing it, so we're just going forward from here. I'm still not 100% comfortable with my decision, but the board seems pretty split and I'm not sure there really is a right answer. Yes, my ds is definitely making a better use of his time by completing the project now and he will reap the benefits if that over the fall semester. However, I do also see that at some point he is going to need to make these decisions and I will need to step back and let him do it and face the consequences.

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There seems to be this assumption that working a little bit each week is the most efficient use of the time.

 

It seems to ignore the fact that picking it up and putting it down means you have to re-learn some of it over and over (unless you have a genius photographic memory) and take time to get your brain into and out of it many times (unless you require zero time for mental transitions).  And also seems to ignore that when you are far away from a deadline, it is likely that you aren't really that into the project in front of you anyway, compared to how you'd be if it were due this week.  At least that's how I am.

 

For those of us who take time to transition and don't have a perfect memory, choosing to do it in fewer blocks of time closer to the deadline is more efficient.  This means more time for other worthwhile things too.

 

There are some projects that are better spread out over time, yes.  Those would be the things where time must pass between the time you decide you want something and the time you are able to get it.  I'm not sure a high school research paper is best done over many months, especially nowadays when it is very easy to find a ton of information on the internet or at a library.  I could maybe understand 4 weeks as a guideline, but not several months.  I actually think that it's unhelpful to teach kids they need that long to write a decent research paper.

 

Doesn't this really depend on the amount of time, and what is expected?  Usually if a longer amount of time is given it is because more is expected.  And what else you need to do also factors in.

 

I've generally taught that for a research paper, people should allocate about half the given time to research, and half to writing.  So if they have two weeks plan to do the bulk of the research in the first week, so there will be enough time to write, and also go back to doing some research if it turns out it is required.

 

I suppose some teachers may give too much time for what they want, but a paper that was supposed to be done over months I would think would be fairly major in what it was asking, possibly with several rounds of research to get to a thesis rather than an obvious one that will require no revision.

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To my mind, if an assignment is due 30+ weeks from when it is assigned, and it takes a few weeks of work to finish at a reasonable pace, waiting 12 weeks (or so) to start, isn't really procrastinating.

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Also - if someone prefers to work intensivly, it is usually possible to do it ahead of time.  Write it in three days well before it is due.  When people do that leaving it to the last possible time, I tend to think they are using the time crunch as a kind of extra motivator.

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In real life, we have crunches.  A couple of weeks ago, I unexpectedly had to review and compile about a hundred documents (roughly 1,000 pages) that I had never seen before, including several that didn't exist so I had to create them.  I was given 7 days to get it done (official government deadline), which included a weekend (that whole Sunday was my kids' annual horse show).  Meanwhile I still had to do my regular work and the single mom thing.  This is just one example that comes to mind.

 

I believe that being able to do a big job in a short time period is a life skill also.  We don't always have leisure to break it down, spread it out, sleep on it, review it numerous times ....

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"sorry, Dad can't make it to your big game, Joey, you know he has to work solid for the next two weeks since that's how we pay our bills (and unsaid is that is because Dad procrastinated for the past 6 months)."  

 

I don't presume to know how my dh can best do his job, so I would never even hint that somehow Dad's poor job management skills caused him to have to work and miss a child's game or other activity. I would certainly not want to be told by my husband that I was doing things all wrong just because I didn't do it his way. My dh and I think very differently and approach tasks very differently. It's part of who we are.

 

When people do that leaving it to the last possible time, I tend to think they are using the time crunch as a kind of extra motivator.

 

And why is this a problem? I think we're discussing a difference in personality and making judgments about which personality is "better." 

 

I've realized as my kids have gotten older that they are who they are and that trying to bend them to be someone they are not just causes conflicts. My ds doesn't approach schoolwork the same way I would, but I've also learned over the years that my way simply doesn't work for him. I could harp on him forever about it or I could let him live his own life and find the ways that work for him.

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I would absolutely HATE having to do little bits of a project over months. I don't even understand those who are indicating that is a best practice. It sounds like a nightmare of lost work, forgotten tasks, and confusion to me. Give me my work, let me get it done when it is due and move on to the next thing. 

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Perhaps the goal is to get the project done *now* (or during the summer) before all the rest of the work kicks in for this school year. My DD#1 has more time to do her assignments this week than she will in three or four weeks when her classes are all in full swing. Thus, I appreciate that she's getting right on her assignments right after they were assigned & not waiting until the day they are due to start them.

 

I would assume that one could still complete the research paper (or at least have it in draft form) within the next couple of weeks (still completing it within a 1-3 week timeframe). This would give him time to get feedback on it from the teacher and make any improvements he & the teacher believe are necessary. Knowing that it was complete - or nearly complete - would be a load off my mind.

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Perhaps the goal is to get the project done *now* (or during the summer) before all the rest of the work kicks in for this school year. My DD#1 has more time to do her assignments this week than she will in three or four weeks when her classes are all in full swing. Thus, I appreciate that she's getting right on her assignments right after they were assigned & not waiting until the day they are due to start them.

 

I would assume that one could still complete the research paper (or at least have it in draft form) within the next couple of weeks (still completing it within a 1-3 week timeframe). This would give him time to get feedback on it from the teacher and make any improvements he & the teacher believe are necessary. Knowing that it was complete - or nearly complete - would be a load off my mind.

 

I don't understand, though, why it would make sense to do the research paper prior to receiving the course instruction.  Maybe I'm not understanding, but would one not want to apply the course learning to writing the paper?  If the idea is to research & write it and then go back and significantly redo based on new learning, that doesn't strike me as a good plan or life lesson.

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I don't understand, though, why it would make sense to do the research paper prior to receiving the course instruction. Maybe I'm not understanding, but would one not want to apply the course learning to writing the paper? If the idea is to research & write it and then go back and significantly redo based on new learning, that doesn't strike me as a good plan or life lesson.

It's actually an assignment that is just busywork for my son, but it is time-consuming busywork. It involves a word root study that will take about 2 hours a week over 12 weeks. It's busywork for ds because he already has a strong vocabulary. During the school year, that 2 hours will be a real drain on him with everything else he has to do. Right now, he can easily get a week's worth of the work done each day and finish the whole assignment in a little over a week and still have plenty of down time.

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For me, it's not only more efficient, but I have a more intense focus, as well, because I know I am on a deadline.

There seems to be this assumption that working a little bit each week is the most efficient use of the time.

 

It seems to ignore the fact that picking it up and putting it down means you have to re-learn some of it over and over (unless you have a genius photographic memory) and take time to get your brain into and out of it many times (unless you require zero time for mental transitions).  And also seems to ignore that when you are far away from a deadline, it is likely that you aren't really that into the project in front of you anyway, compared to how you'd be if it were due this week.  At least that's how I am.

 

For those of us who take time to transition and don't have a perfect memory, choosing to do it in fewer blocks of time closer to the deadline is more efficient.  This means more time for other worthwhile things too.

 

There are some projects that are better spread out over time, yes.  Those would be the things where time must pass between the time you decide you want something and the time you are able to get it.  I'm not sure a high school research paper is best done over many months, especially nowadays when it is very easy to find a ton of information on the internet or at a library.  I could maybe understand 4 weeks as a guideline, but not several months.  I actually think that it's unhelpful to teach kids they need that long to write a decent research paper.

 

Edited by reefgazer
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