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One Subject a Day for Young Child?


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Has anyone been successful doing one subject (two lessons) of math a couple days a week and the on the other days doing Language/Phonics? Just wondering if this would work since I think dd would benefit from focusing on one subject instead of multiple things.

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I think math and reading in younger kids is critical to cover every day. They need lots of practice to stay current on skills. When my kids were little we did reading practice (and phonics) every day of the week. 

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I would do at least a little math practice (and reading practice for an emerging/new reader) each day.

 

My kid would've been horrified at even only two a day, but YMMV. Even for pre-K, having something to share with him was my best defense against answering whatever questions he came up with all morning (so I could limit it to ~8 hours a day). :)

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Seems like a really bad idea. Basic skills like math and reading are best practiced daily.

 

I also don't believe it woudl be beneficial for your kid to only focus on one thing. Over the course of all 8-10 productive hours? What else are your kids doing all day? School on one subject can not take more than 30-60 minutes.

Edited by regentrude
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I would not do it.  

 

I would do a bit of reading, a bit of math, and a tiny bit of handwriting practice every day.  The reason is that these things need less time per day but more frequent input.

 

If you think that doing history/science/literature/art/etc. would work better in a one subject per day format, then I'd totally give it a try.

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ETA: I didn't know what age/grade you meant by a young child, so my times below assume a child who is somewhere in the age 5-7 range, or kinder/1st grade.

 

Agreeing with previous posters. Things like handwriting require building up muscles, and that only comes through daily work. Doesn't have to be for more than 5-10 minutes, but it does need to be regular "exercise" to build stamina and ability. Same with *remembering* and learning math and phonics and reading -- those need daily mental use/practice to actually learn those subjects. Otherwise, if you're only seeing the math topic once a week, you're always spending all the time re-teaching/re-learning that topic, and not having practice time to really learn it to move on to the next lesson. Again, it doesn't have to take a very long time -- maybe 10-20 minutes for a session.

 

Or, if the student really likes a subject and hyper-focuses on it, you can still follow the child's lead, yet work in the other subjects, too, without burning out on academics. Sounds like she might benefit from a schedule with nice big gaps built in for shifting gears, and for being flexible if she really gets focused on a single topic.

 

Example:

Do math for 15-30 minutes (or whatever DD's length of focus/concentration and interest is), then go play for 2 hours.

Come back and work on phonics/reading for 10-30 minutes (again, depends on the age and interest of the child), then take 1 - 1.5 hour break and go have lunch and do a read-aloud.

Then spend 15-30 minutes to do any other language arts or core schooling/formal schooling, and finish off with fun exploratory/informal art or science or other hands-on for discovery-based learning.

 

So over the course of 5 hours, you accomplish as much as 1.5 hours of formal schooling, with another 1-1.5 hours of informal learning activities and read-alouds.

Edited by Lori D.
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I did do something like this, but only semi-intentionally and only with one kid. It was more child-led/unschooly and not so much a schedule that I was following. Plus, the kid in question is gifted and a somewhat unusual learner all around. In her case, we never doubled up on lessons, though I did sometimes combine lessons to cover a greater amount of material in the same/less time than one typical lesson. We have only ever "done school" 3-4 days/week.

 

With a neurotypical learner, I wouldn't. And with areas that my kid needs to practice/focus on, I never did. For example, foreign language practice has been 4+ days/week and instrument practice has been 7 days/week ever since she decided she wanted to learn each.

 

I post only because you didn't give any details about the particular child. I generally agree with above posters.

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Agreeing with everyone else.  

 

If your child can't do 10 minutes of math and 10 minutes of reading, then they may not be ready for academics.  I would instead make sure they are doing fine motor skills every day- coloring/drawing, listening to a book being read, lots of motor skills work, etc.  

 

If you feel they are ready for academics but can only do one subject, I would prioritize reading skills and do them every day at child's pace.  

 

But again, over the course of 8 hours, I can't imagine not being able to do 10 minutes of math manipulatives plus 10 minutes of reading practice.  Make sure the math materials are very hands-on.  Spend the rest of the day in a "learning rich environment" that does not include direct instruction.  Cook together, TALK together, read books aloud, walk outside and look at stuff...   

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Define "young child."

 

Either one of my kids, this would have been no problem up through about 7 years old.

 

If they aren't remembering or aren't getting enough practice, you'll know, and can change it up immediately. I assume you'll still be reading every day.

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Mine absolutely needed to do both about 6 days a week when she was small, but we had to swap between maintenance and pushing into new territory. She couldn't work hard on both at the same time.

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Define "young child."

 

Either one of my kids, this would have been no problem up through about 7 years old.

 

If they aren't remembering or aren't getting enough practice, you'll know, and can change it up immediately. I assume you'll still be reading every day.

I agree. I would be willing to do this with my 8yr old, even. I'm considering it this year.

As for what happens the rest of the day, read alouds, drawing, child lead writing, Signing Time video, Legos and other open ended toys, outside time, cooking, and science classes. But only one formal lesson per day.

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For my almost 6 year old I require some reading each day and some sort of math (game, LOF, ect) as well as a copywork sentence or two but beyond that, she does much better with longer and in depth yet less frequent lessons. Usually Sse needs to be introduced to material once and she will 'get' it. If she doesn't, reviewing it the next day does NOT help. It needs to bounce around her head for at least a week or so before she is shown again. She has always learned in fits and spurts and it is a frustration to us both to try to have her learn at a steady pace. At this point, it works for us and she is learning and retaining well so we will roll with it until it doesnt work anymore.

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I would find it hard to do and make adequate progress with skill subjects.

 

DS takes violin.  If his ONLY work was during his one-day-a-week music lesson, he would be much further behind in note reading and fluency with the bow.  Instead, he spends that one day a week on finessing practice, and the rest of the time with new material/review work.

 

It is the same with phonics and math.  A child doing phonics is too young to only do it once a week and make adequate progress.

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A child younger than 5 or 6 doesn't need formal lessons in any subjects.   Lots of reading, play, gross and fine motor skill development are enough.

 

For ages 5-6+ for a neurotypical child, I think math, phonics/reading, and handwriting should be done at least 4-5 days per week.   Same goes with musical instrument practice, when that child is old enough to begin (usually no earlier than age 6+ and once they are reading fluently).   All of these require regular, incremental practice to build skills.   The lessons can be as short as 5-15 minutes and still be effective.   I agree with others who say that a child who isn't ready to sit for 10 minutes of reading or handwriting probably isn't ready for academics.

 

Other subjects like science, history, art, and foreign language can easily be done once per week.

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Has anyone been successful doing one subject (two lessons) of math a couple days a week and the on the other days doing Language/Phonics? Just wondering if this would work since I think dd would benefit from focusing on one subject instead of multiple things.

 

While I agree with the general consensus above, since you're the only one here who actually knows your child and has been pondering this, I think it's important to ask: what makes you think this? Tell us about it! Don't be scared away by the vehement opposition!

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