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A little each day vs. one thing at a time


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How much variety do you require when a kid gets on a big kick? If we were unschoolers, I know the answer would be "nothing." But I'm not really an unschooler. So if my kid gets on a kick about electronics, for instance, and checks out 23 non-fiction books from the library about electronics and reads them for pleasure and spends several hours a day building with snap circuits, I have a lot of conflicting emotions. things like , "Yeah! That's great! I love to see him learning so many cool things and I love to see him taking charge of his own learning," while also things like, "Hmmm... How long should I let him skip his piano practice, math, German reading, and typing?" (We're bilingual and he's got fine motor issues, so typing is in place of handwriting, currently.)

 

Currently, only my 7 yo has these tendencies. He's definitely accelerated in most areas, so part of me says to not worry about it and just let him do his thing. But another part of me wonders how long I'd be cool with this approach... a week? a month? a few months? At some point, something inside of me would feel like he needs to have a bit more variety in his life. He's very prone to becoming hyperfocused and slightly obsessive about certain topics (I'm not sure I'm ready for another season of BattleBots.... lol) and so I generally don't want to encourage *too* much hyperfocus to the exclusion of all else. But I don't know if my other kids will have the same issue sometimes, so I'd love to hear a variety of opinions and approaches.

Edited by 4kookiekids
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We always do school first. Otherwise, we would have had about 5 years of snakes, frogs, and some Neopets and Pokemon and not much else :). Realistically, even doing high school and college classes, she still has more undesignated, unstructured time than most kids her age. There is time for snakes, Neopets, and Pokemon.

 

 

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School comes before fun.   I'd be willing to change (and have changed) writing assignments so a child can write about their current "fun" obsession, and I'd be willing to swap science assignments, but math, piano practice, typing, and (in your case) German would be non-negotiable.   Since school for a 7 year old really shouldn't take more than a couple of hours, I would use the fun as a reward of sorts.   "As soon as we are finished with these ____ (3 or 4) things, you can play with Snap Circuits the rest of the afternoon."

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I don't let my kid skip subjects.  Our days always allow for extra time to do whatever he likes, up to 8 hours' worth if he prefers, but I figure part of my job is to make sure he has a well rounded education even when his main interest is something else. 

 

This is generally my approach as well.

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Ok. Thanks, folks! I lack a lot of confidence in making these decisions. And the real-life homeschoolers I know are either super uptight (e.g., my 3 yo must be focused during 20 min reading lessons! No holiday breaks! No play-dates for preschoolers!) or unschoolers, and we're not really either, but I easily "feel" like I'm leaning too heavily one way (even if we're not). So if I tell my kiddo he's still gotta do piano today, and he complains, I *feel* like I'm a horribly strict and too pushy. But if I don't have him do it, it just doesn't sit well with me. So it's always nice when you all validate my preferred course of action! lol.

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"Hmmm... How long should I let him skip his piano practice, math, German reading, and typing?" (We're bilingual and he's got fine motor issues, so typing is in place of handwriting, currently.

My kids aren't going to practice their musical instruments unless I nag so that gets done before "playtime"/personal interest time. The 3Rs plus German we managed to get the minimum done in less than 2hrs for 2nd grade. Math was at most 30 mins. So "school" comes before anything else or my kids will do nothing but play Lego.

Edited by Arcadia
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Four days a week we did 2-3 hours in the morning at home for daily math/ela/french/fiddle, and alternating days of science/social studies. In the late afternoon/evening and on the weekend we had 2-3 hours of outside art, dance, and music lessons, and robotics or whatever the current thing was. Friday was art museum day, plus 1 hour of different math. That left several hours each day for the bags of books from the library or whatever else struck their fancy.

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