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4th grader done with school in an hour and a half??


meganrussell
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My daughter just started her fourth grade curriculum. It takes her NO TIME to finish each day. I'm wondering if I've planned enough for her. Here is what she's using:

 

Mystery of History (M,T,W)

CKE Creation Science (TH,F)

Teaching Textbooks 4 (M,T,W,TH,F)

Language Lessons for Today 4 (M,W,F)

Grammar Minutes (T,TH)

Spelling Workout (M,T,W,TH,F)

Ocean Adventures in Creative Writing (M,W,F)

Reading 20 minutes (but she usually reads much more than that)

God and the History of Art (T,W,TH,F)

Lessons in Responsibility (home-ec, M)

 

So she begins at 8:30 and is done by 10 every day. Is that enough school?

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I would probably add in written narrations daily for history or science, just to have some non-creative writing work.  

 

If you are looking to fill more time, you could add in a foreign language.  

 

I'm not familiar with any of the materials you are using, so can't speak to that.  

 

To me, that does not seem like long enough for 4th grade.  My 4th grader spends between 45m-1.5 hours on math a day- I have always accelerated math until we caught up with his challenge level, so he is in 6th grade level math.  He spends about 30 minutes writing per day- either a dedicated writing assignment or a written narration from history or science.  He spends 40min-1hr on German a day- duolingo, then tutoring with dh or our German tutor.  Spelling is 15 minutes.  Language arts is around 40-60 minutes, mom-directed.  Reading is an hour at least.  Memory work is 20 minutes.  We listen to an audio book during lunch- another 30 minutes of "school".  Book discussions are usually 1 hour, once a week, based on the "Teaching the Classics" methods.  That's just to give you an idea.  Approx 5-6 hours of work a day.  

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On paper it looks like enough.  I started plotting it out.  But then as I did so I began wondering...

 

Why is history so short?  Do you not expect recitations, notetaking, projects, or research?

If the day is so short, why not spread history and science more and take advantage of the time you have to dig deeper in these subjects?

Is your daughter actually doing art, or is she only reading about it? 

Is she at the right level for math?  Did she test into 4 or did you place her there?

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On paper it looks like enough. I started plotting it out. But then as I did so I began wondering...

 

Why is history so short? Do you not expect recitations, notetaking, projects, or research?

 

-Yes, we have been doing the suggested activity, making the memory cards, mapping and timeline. She hasn't had any science experiments yet, but she has one next week.

 

If the day is so short, why not spread history and science more and take advantage of the time you have to dig deeper in these subjects?

 

-I do have her read some books to go along with the topics, but I'm not counting that in the time I listed as school time.

 

Is your daughter actually doing art, or is she only reading about it?

 

-She is doing the assigned projects, plus she does art all throughout the day.

 

Is she at the right level for math? Did she test into 4 or did you place her there?

-I just placed her in 4 because she's not solid on her multiplication and division facts. I plan to add in some 15 minute flashcard drills and games.

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It is hard to answer if it is "enough" school without knowing her.   On paper, I do think the schedule seems really light.    But I guess my answer would depend on what she is doing with the rest of the hours in her day.   Maybe she rushes through those assigned topics, and then spends her entire afternoon exploring her own good interests.  Perhaps she is sort of "unschooling" herself in the afternons.  :)    (Example:  reading the whole afternoon on things that interest her...whatever they may be, working independently through a science project book, romping through fields, free writing, drawing, knitting, trying to "engineer" some new contraption, learning to program,  etc. etc.)  If that is the case, there might be a lot of learning that isn't shown on paper or your lists.  (Not everything has to come from a curriculum!)   On the other hand, if she is rushing through work and then spending her whole afternoon moping, or on screens, or being bored, or getting into trouble, or wandering around listlessly---then that is a sign that you might need to change your schedule.  (Those are the signs I would be watching for.)

 

If the later is the case, I would suggest to you is assign times instead of just tasks to check off.   So, instead of saying, "Complete this lesson in your creation science book."  I would instead have a schedule where subjects are scheduled at certain times each day for a certain length of time. I would make the schedule less about checking things off the list, and instead time set aside to learn things and be interested in things.  

 

Example:

Math:  9-10:  Complete this teaching textbooks lesson (100%), drill math facts/mental math, then work through <insert fun math or logic drill book of your choice> until time is up.  (example:  Edward Zaccaro books, beast academy, life of fred, mysteries you can solve with math, fun math board/card games, logic and critical thinking games, tesselations/art based math, etc. etc.)   (This way, you know that she is spending at least an hour on math per day...and it will hopefully not be all work and drudgery...a lot of it will be fun.)  

 

Science 10-10:30AM:   Complete this lesson, then spend the rest of the time reading from ANY science book about something that interests you.   Give oral (or written narration to mom) about the interesting things you learned.   (provide book basket stocked with a ton of interesting science books).  

 

You might also consider providing access to a science project book and the necessary supplies.  Teach her to read the instructions and give her access to any supplies she might need.  (Maybe teach her to read ahead and make a list of anything she needs to complete a project.  Teach her also to clean up her mess when she is finished ;)  )   You could also take her to buy some ready made project type things.   (Potato powered clock kit, etc. etc.)  

 

Snack 10:30 -11:00AM

 

Language Arts 11:00AM-12:00PM:   Language Lessons for Today 4 (M,W,F), Grammar Minutes (T,TH), Spelling Workout (M,T,W,TH,F).....then if she has time left, that can be spent on doing some creative writing (if that is her thing), brave writer activities, writing letters to friends and family, journal, narrations in content subjects (goal 1 per day in one subject per day), design a comic book, etc. etc.

 

Lunch 12:00PM-12:30PM, then Break for cleaning, outside time, or exercise  12:30PM-1:00PM

 

1:00PM-2:00PM- Quiet Reading:   (at least an hour in the afternoon)

 

etc. etc.   (Times are all just examples obviously.) 

Edited by TheAttachedMama
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We do have Rosetta Stone Spanish for homeschool, so I told her I'd like her to start using that. I really would like to use some sort of reading program, but I don't like literature guides. We have used progeny press and memoria press literature guides in the past and I wasn't impressed.

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It is hard to answer if it is "enough" school without knowing her. On paper, I do think the schedule seems really light. But I guess my answer would depend on what she is doing with the rest of the hours in her day. Maybe she rushes through those assigned topics, and then spends her entire afternoon exploring her own good interests. Perhaps she is sort of "unschooling" herself in the afternons. :) (Example: reading the whole afternoon on things that interest her...whatever they may be, working independently through a science project book, romping through fields, free writing, drawing, knitting, trying to "engineer" some new contraption, learning to program, etc. etc.) If that is the case, there might be a lot of learning that isn't shown on paper or your lists. (Not everything has to come from a curriculum!) On the other hand, if she is rushing through work and then spending her whole afternoon moping, or on screens, or being bored, or getting into trouble, or wandering around listlessly---then that is a sign that you might need to change your schedule. (Those are the signs I would be watching for.)

 

If the later is the case, I would suggest to you is assign times instead of just tasks to check off. So, instead of saying, "Complete this lesson in your creation science book." I would instead have a schedule where subjects are scheduled at certain times each day for a certain length of time. I would make the schedule less about checking things off the list, and instead time set aside to learn things and be interested in things.

 

Example:

Math: 9-10: Complete this teaching textbooks lesson (100%), drill math facts/mental math, then work through <insert fun math or logic drill book of your choice> until time is up. (example: Edward Zaccaro books, beast academy, life of fred, mysteries you can solve with math, fun math board/card games, logic and critical thinking games, tesselations/art based math, etc. etc.) (This way, you know that she is spending at least an hour on math per day...and it will hopefully not be all work and drudgery...a lot of it will be fun.)

 

Science 10-10:30AM: Complete this lesson, then spend the rest of the time reading from ANY science book about something that interests you. Give oral (or written narration to mom) about the interesting things you learned. (provide book basket stocked with a ton of interesting science books).

 

You might also consider providing access to a science project book and the necessary supplies. Teach her to read the instructions and give her access to any supplies she might need. (Maybe teach her to read ahead and make a list of anything she needs to complete a project. Teach her also to clean up her mess when she is finished ;) ) You could also take her to buy some ready made project type things. (Potato powered clock kit, etc. etc.)

 

Snack 10:30 -11:00AM

 

Language Arts 11:00AM-12:00PM: Language Lessons for Today 4 (M,W,F), Grammar Minutes (T,TH), Spelling Workout (M,T,W,TH,F).....then if she has time left, that can be spent on doing some creative writing (if that is her thing), brave writer activities, writing letters to friends and family, journal, narrations in content subjects (goal 1 per day in one subject per day), design a comic book, etc. etc.

 

Lunch 12:00PM-12:30PM, then Break for cleaning, outside time, or exercise 12:30PM-1:00PM

 

1:00PM-2:00PM- Quiet Reading: (at least an hour in the afternoon)

 

etc. etc. (Times are all just examples obviously.)

We do not do any TV until after 6pm, my kids do not have video games or cell phones or iPads, so there's no screen time (other than schoolwork). In the afternoons, she plays outside, rides her bike, fishes, reads, draws, plays with her dolls, plays with her brothers, makes jewelry, and does arts and crafts. She doesn't get bored or moped around.

 

I do most of her work with her. We read the history and science together (taking turns reading sentences as it helps her focus and retain information better). I ask questions, she narrates, she asks questions... We usually do history or science twenty to thirty minutes each day.

 

Her language arts takes her less than ten minutes. LLFT takes us ten minutes, but Grammar Minutes takes about three or four. She is quick with her spelling, too; I'd say five to ten minutes. She doesn't make mistakes.

 

Her math takes her about twenty to thirty. She usually gets 100%.

 

The writing program takes about ten minutes a day, as well.

 

The art lessons don't take long. We read the lesson and then I let her do the assignment. That's her last subject, and sometimes she works on it throughout the day.

 

I don't know what else to add, other than worry that her language arts is not enough. This is our first year using LLFT.

 

Also, we do morning time from 8-8:39, with the family, where I read two chapters in the NT and then read from our read aloud book (currently the Lost Clue). We also do Bible at night where I read three chapters from the OT.

Edited by meganrussell
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Every child is different and there is no set amount of time that one should or should not be schooling formally.  If she is engaged and challenged and focused, twenty minutes of math might be all she needs.  I think adding written or oral narrations for content work might be a good idea, but also look at the rest of her day. How does she spend her time?  If her off school hours are spent in interesting and productive ways, I wouldn't worry about it.

 

ETA:  Also, if her off time is not interesting and productive, more school isn't necessarily the answer.  It might be just as beneficial to add in hobbies, handiwork, a musical instrument, a physical activity, etc.  Not all learning needs to be out of a book while sitting at the table. :)

Edited by beka87
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I'm wouldn't necessarily worry about the time spent. My two oldest worked for about 2 hours in 4th grade. My 3rd child will end up spending twice that amount of time - he has different needs. Working toward time goals has never worked well here.

 

What you are doing does seem light, though. If math takes 20 minutes and she always gets 100%, it is not challenging her. I'd add something for challenge and problem solving skills. Maybe Zaccaro, Beast Academy, or Challenging Word Problems.

 

Less than 10 minutes on language arts also seems really light. I'm a fan of Treasured Conversations for teaching report writing at that age. I think it would be a great addition to what you have, but there are a lot of other options if that doesn't interest you.

 

 

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I just saw the above schedule, OP, and I think her day sounds full and rich.  Language Arts COULD be longer, but I don't know as it needs to be....maybe don't worry too much for now. :)

 

Thank you! I just bought some reading graphic organizers and worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers, so I'm going to try to add in some focused reading/comprehension time each day. That is one thing I think she needs to work on.

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We do have Rosetta Stone Spanish for homeschool, so I told her I'd like her to start using that. I really would like to use some sort of reading program, but I don't like literature guides. We have used progeny press and memoria press literature guides in the past and I wasn't impressed.

Have you personally read "strategies that work"? https://www.amazon.com/Strategies-That-Work-Comprehension-Understanding/dp/1571103104/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489244893&sr=1-2&keywords=strategies+that+work

 

You might enjoy adding these strategies to her reading lessons instead of doing the "drill and kill" of answering a series of questions.  My students loved (especially girls) using the sticky notes to write questions, connections, and inferences.  You can also find a lot of reading strategy sheets on TpT. Another favorite strategy was to have them pick their favorite word, phrase, and sentence from the chapter.  Then we discussed why they chose what they chose.  It lead to a lot of rich discussions.  Of course written narrations and oral were also used, but sometimes texts lend themselves to different kinds of thinking.  

 

I love the idea of young students learning to mark up the text.  We used sticky notes, but she could write her thoughts in the margins too. 

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Instead of spreading some things out over just two or three days/week, why don't you assign her everything every day?  Is she doing quality work, or just rushing through it?  If she is rushing, you can work with her on quality vs. quantity.  You can add some interesting history projects that go along with your history curriculum.  (The book maybe has ideas -- I'm thinking kind of creative projects: keeping a fictional journal from someone who lives during that time, or a fictional newspaper from that time; designing a "travel" poster that advertises a place/time in history; creating maps and timelines; building a model of the type of home people lived in during the time you are studying; cooking food they may have eaten, etc.).

 

You can add an art curriculum.

 

If math is too easy, maybe bump her up a grade, or do every other question but cover two chapters at a time so you are moving more quickly through the book and hopefully into more challenging stuff.  You can also add to her writing, if you think she's ready for more.  If it asks for one paragraph, have her do two.  

 

Maybe she is ready for more challenging literature, beyond grade-level.

 

Honestly, if everything she is doing is too easy but still worth covering, I'd probably double the work (for example, do two chapters/day instead of one) or even skip unnecessary chapters in some subjects to get her through it quickly, and start picking out different curriculum that is more challenging.

 

It could be that 1.5 hours is still good quality work for her, but I'd worry about my kids becoming bored for the remainder of the day and their time becoming less productive.  

 

ETA:  corrected a typo

Edited by J-rap
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About reading, you might try a guide from Moving Beyond The Page.  They're different than Memoria or Progeny.  My ds did the Hobbit one: he created monsters, plotted the course on a map, created riddles, worked on skills in literary terms and grammar, along with a ton of other things.  While I think it would be overkill to do more than a few of the guides a year (we won't ever buy a full set), we have loved the ones we have bought individually.  There is also a company called Litwits that designs guides as well and has the bonus of free resources on their site to learn more about the story or author.

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About reading, you might try a guide from Moving Beyond The Page. They're different than Memoria or Progeny. My ds did the Hobbit one: he created monsters, plotted the course on a map, created riddles, worked on skills in literary terms and grammar, along with a ton of other things. While I think it would be overkill to do more than a few of the guides a year (we won't ever buy a full set), we have loved the ones we have bought individually. There is also a company called Litwits that designs guides as well and has the bonus of free resources on their site to learn more about the story or author.

That sounds FANTASTIC. Im off to explore this!

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Instead of spreading some things out over just two or three days/week, why don't you assign her everything every day? Is she doing quality work, or just rushing through it? If she is rushing, you can work with her on quality vs. quantity. You can add some interesting history projects that go along with your history curriculum. (The book maybe has ideas -- I'm thinking kind of creative projects: keeping a fictional journal from someone who lives during that time, or a fictional newspaper from that time; designing a "travel" poster that advertises a place/time in history; creating maps and timelines; building a model of the type of home people lived in during the time you are studying; cooking food they may have eaten, etc.).

 

You can add an art curriculum.

 

If math is too easy, maybe bump her up a grade, or do every other question but cover two chapters at a time so you are moving more quickly through the book and hopefully into more challenging stuff. You can also add to her writing, if you think she's ready for me. If it asks for one paragraph, have her do two.

 

Maybe she is ready for more challenging literature, beyond grade-level.

 

Honestly, if everything she is doing is too easy but still worth covering, I'd probably double the work (for example, do two chapters/day instead of one) or even skip unnecessary chapters in some subjects to get her through it quickly, and start picking out different curriculum that is more challenging.

 

It could be that 1.5 hours is still good quality work for her, but I'd worry about my kids becoming bored for the remainder of the day and their time becoming less productive.

She does her work well, and doesn't rush through it. Her history and science have activities scheduled. Next week, we will be making and baking fossils, dissecting fruit to examine the seeds, and writing a report on an Ice Age animal. The main thing I'm worried about is the language arts being enough.

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My 3rd grader probably spends 1.5-2 hours on school.  If she's on grade level, enjoys learning and you guys are enjoying a learning lifestyle, I think it's fine!  We have to enjoy it while we can, because school work becomes much more time-consuming as they get older.

 

And when we first started homeschooling, I was in shock regarding how much we could actually cover one-on-one in a couple of hours.

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 Her history and science have activities scheduled. Next week, we will be making and baking fossils, dissecting fruit to examine the seeds, and writing a report on an Ice Age animal. The main thing I'm worried about is the language arts being enough.

 

Your homeschool sounds like ours.  We have projects everywhere!  Half of my kitchen counters are covered in projects, canvases, painting supplies, experiments, containers of mealworms (Ack!), weird seed experiments, read-alouds, markers...   :tongue_smilie:

 

I guess creativity is messy.   :glare:

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It seems okay to me.  We don't work on a time table so it varies from day to day, but my 4th grader spends about 60-90 minutes on her "binder" work, which is all her math and language arts, and sometimes includes history or science.  Then she spends another hour reading something assigned from literature, history or science.  We do history, art and science hands-on stuff together so that's separate from her binder work.  I assign her work as number of pages so some days go longer and some days go shorter.

 

Each day she does:

 

2 pages of Math Mammoth

1 page Beast Academy

1 page Skill Sharpeners Math

1 assignment for Mosdos Press - may include reading a passage, may be 1 or 2 pages in her workbook

1 exercise in Vocabulary from Classical Roots

2 pages Skill Sharpeners Spell & Write

1 writing assignment in her journal, we are using Write On! at the moment.

 

Sometimes:

1 page of cursive practice

1 page of Logic

1 unit of Studies Weekly Health

Using a history encyclopedia to fill in definitions or dictation sentences.

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I'd agree that an hour and a half doesn't seem like "enough".

 

But I also believe in light days for elementary students. As long as the time is spent well (and it looks like in your case it is) I wouldn't worry too much as long as you are on track to complete your goals this year.

 

For comparison, My 3rd graders do about an hour of family Morning Time. Then 20-30 minutes of math, 20-30 minutes of writing, and 5-10 minutes of spelling instruction a day. Then they have 30 minutes of assigned reading with either an oral or written narration and 3-4 more short assignments do do in their own (math facts, spelling worksheet, copywork, read to a sibling, ect). So only about 3 hours (1 spent in morning time, 1 in instruction, and 1 in independent work).

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It seems like for everything to be that short the work is to easy we try and keep our days short but my 4th grader usually takes 2-3hrs.  

 

I make her do 30 minutes of math and at least 2 pages.  Spelling and cursive are quick but she does another 30 minutes of IEW every day. 30 minutes of silent reading.  Myths is our literature and takes 20 minutes to read and discuss.  Science depends on what we are doing but anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.  

Art is also depends on the day and project.  

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OP - I should have mentioned that in my house, my third grader (who will be 9 in April and in fourth grade this coming year), works anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours, plus half an hour of MT all together.  I really think it is plenty, especially since she fills her days with other things that are good for her brain and body.  Time spent per grade is REALLY arbitrary.  Grades are arbitrary, come to think of it.  Take a good look at Language Arts, since that seems to be the thing you are actually worried about, and see if you want to add or change things there.  Otherwise, I really think it would be a shame to disrupt that little girl's days.  She sounds like a bright, curious child and I think you can mostly be glad that her childhood gets to be full of things like fishing and making jewelry.  You're doing fine.

 

FWIW - Language Arts here is something like this:

     Apples and Pears for spelling - no more than 10 minutes, 4 times a week

     Copy work - daily

     Studied Dictation - once weekly

     Grammar - Simply Grammar, no more than 5 minutes or so twice weekly

     Oral narration - after most readings; once a week she writes a narration; for science, she doesn't narrate out loud, instead she makes a page in a blank    notebook that can have words and pictures (her choice)

  

And we have a language rich home - we sing, memorize poetry, read poetry out loud to each other, I read to all my kids, my daughter reads to both me and her little sisters, she loves to read on her own time, etc.  It's good and full and she's doing fine.

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I have a fourth grader and I think it's easy. There will be longer work days in her future. My current 6th grader did his work in about an 1.5 when he was in fourth grade. Now there are some days he spends that much time on just one subject. Often he does a bit of schoolwork on the weekends. I don't regret that he had the time to play and read when he was younger.

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I have the opposite problem - I'm trying to cut.  

 

Our at-home days are roughly as follows:

- Warmup - 10 to 15 minutes (Mind Bender, Math Minute, Reading Detective)

- Math - 1 1/2 to 2 hours 

- Language Arts - 2 to 2 1/2 hours (which does include some outlining and note taking related to history & science)

- History, Geography, OR Science - 45 min to an hour

- Typing, Technology - 30 min

- Latin, Art, OR Drama - 30 min 

- Piano - 20 to 30 min

 

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How much is she spending per subject? An hour and a half seems a bit light for a 4th grader unless they do a lot of self-directed learning and unschooly stuff on their own. I take a time base approach so at a minimum I require 45 minutes of math and about 75 minutes of language arts (includes some combination of writing, grammar, penmanship, spelling, poetry, and literature discussion). Other subjects - history, science, art, etc. get worked in a little more casually but add up to another 2 hours a day or so. 
 

I think requiring a certain amount of time for core subjects helps to make sure work is at the appropriate level of difficulty and also helps develop an attitude that school work isn't something to blaze through. It also keeps me from freaking out with worry that we're doing enough :)

Edited by RoundAbout
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We do not do any TV until after 6pm, my kids do not have video games or cell phones or iPads, so there's no screen time (other than schoolwork). In the afternoons, she plays outside, rides her bike, fishes, reads, draws, plays with her dolls, plays with her brothers, makes jewelry, and does arts and crafts. She doesn't get bored or moped around.

 

I do most of her work with her. We read the history and science together (taking turns reading sentences as it helps her focus and retain information better). I ask questions, she narrates, she asks questions... We usually do history or science twenty to thirty minutes each day.

 

Her language arts takes her less than ten minutes. LLFT takes us ten minutes, but Grammar Minutes takes about three or four. She is quick with her spelling, too; I'd say five to ten minutes. She doesn't make mistakes.

 

Her math takes her about twenty to thirty. She usually gets 100%.

 

The writing program takes about ten minutes a day, as well.

 

The art lessons don't take long. We read the lesson and then I let her do the assignment. That's her last subject, and sometimes she works on it throughout the day.

 

I don't know what else to add, other than worry that her language arts is not enough. This is our first year using LLFT.

 

Also, we do morning time from 8-8:39, with the family, where I read two chapters in the NT and then read from our read aloud book (currently the Lost Clue). We also do Bible at night where I read three chapters from the OT.

You could check out some literature guides from memoria press or veritas press (those are the two companies I'm most familiar with) and add those in--they are great for reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing. It's probably too much for most kids to do every day all year but my oldest can't get enough of this kind of work!

 

And do all kids really need an hour of math a day?

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