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omishev

aim for time or content?

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We are preparing to homeschool next year (2nd, K plus 3yo and baby). I am trying to create some sort of daily schedule and assign a chunk of time to various subjects but it all depends on DD's ability to focus. It just took her an hour (over two days) to write out her spelling words 2x for her homework and that is about the most brainless assignment possible. And that was with TV as her reward when she finished! Reading homework was like this last year. Something that should be quick is so long and painful. I am banking on homeschooling being better because she will be fresh. We won't be doing homework at 6pm. All that to say, do you plan for a certain amount of time for each subject or to get through a certain amount of material? If the child clearly isn't in the right frame of mind do you just bag it? I don't want to end up with kids slacking just to get out of their work but I think one plus of homeschooling is being able to take a break and switch gears when needed.

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We always did time over specific content at that age.

I also never had a very rigid schedule though. Like, yeah, we'd aim for half an hour of math or what have you, but if it was going well and we were engaged in a project or playing a math game, maybe we'd spend a whole hour. Or maybe if a kid was stuck, we'd move on in fifteen minutes. I think you really want to keep it flexible. Just making a schedule that's more like...

Wake up
Read books
Spend 30ish minutes on math
Spend 30ish minutes on reading
Take a break
Eat lunch
Spend time on arts Monday, science Tuesday, history Wednesday, math games Thursday, etc.

I mean, it could look totally different. That's just a vague suggestion. And down to the minute schedules are right for some people and families. But for most... just having a routine is better. Because then you can move on if you need to. Oh, reading aloud took just ten minutes and now the baby is crying and no one is enjoying the book. Everyone move along to your math blocks instead.

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I did time over content as well with young kids, but within reason.  I generally tell my younger kids I want 15 (or 5 or 20) good focused minutes so if they aren't focused I'll definitely tack on. 

I think bagging a lesson when a kid isn't is the right frame is definitely a benefit to homeschooling.  I don't think it should be done often.  So if I find my kid is rarely in the right frame of mind I start thinking...do I have a parenting issue (laziness, bad attitude, disobedience) or do I have a curriculum issue (bad fit).

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My son works well for 30 - 60 minutes at a time, with nice long breaks in between lessons. If he finishes assigned work quickly, he plays his fiddle until the break time we've agreed upon.

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Sort of a combo. At that age: I planned for about 90 min-2 hours for 2nd grade to cover the core subject content I had planned, but was flexible about "looping" content if needed. (At that age, we also had a shorter, informal second session after lunch -- about 30-45 minutes for rotating through History, Geography, Science throughout the week). But I also didn't just go for time because DS#2 had mild LDs and was highly distractible, so I had to do the following to make sure we were moving forward during our time, even if we didn't get to all content. That required:

1. breaking everything into short bursts of learning (10-15 min.) followed by a micro burst of movement (4-5 minutes of dancing, jump roping, running, etc) to mentally change gears
2. planning on 2 or even 3 short bursts scattered throughout the day to get through the math content (so 20 min. of instruction and getting part of the worksheet done, then later a second short burst (up to 15 min. at most) to either finish or get as far as worked for that day, and then a final 5 minute burst later on to do math facts)
3. me sitting right there are redirecting back on task the entire time (which often meant that my planned time of 90 min-2 hours actually took 2.5 hours or more to complete, even with me right there, due to high distractibility of DS#2)

LA and Math required focused one-on-one time with each child to maximize time and get through content -- I used a 30-min educational video or a 30-min educational computer game or an independent learning supplement for the other child to get that focused time, and then switched. Some things, like phonics and copywork, can be done with 2 young students sitting at the table together, which allowed for relaxed interactions together, but also for me to redirect students as needed.

re: spelling
Just my experience: I wouldn't have a 2nd grader writing spelling words -- so many students do NOT retain spelling via writing, and it is waaayyyy toooo eeeasyyyy for student to distract/daydream and take forever. Instead, take 10 minutes of focused 1-on-1 time with your student for spelling: spend 5 minutes doing back-and-forth oral spelling practice of  the words, and another 5 minutes to work with the words in some way on the whiteboard, or to have her spell with her finger in sand or cornmeal or other tactile method. For the out loud spelling, combine with Carol Barnier's Toss It idea (say the word clearly, spell it, toss a beanie toy to child; child says the word clearly, spells it, tosses the beanie back -- anticipating the toss helps keep the child focused and thinking on the task).

re: reading
Up through 3rd-4th grade, most of the reading was done aloud together, so I could see how each child was progressing -- about 5-10 minutes in first grade, 10-15 minutes in 2nd grade, 15-20 minutes in 3rd grade. In grades 1-2, assigned independent reading was always from book basket options that were *below* reading level, with lots of illustrations and just a small amount of text per page, so that an entire book could be knocked out in 10 minutes of solo reading. The point of that assigned independent reading was to practice and build confidence, reading speed, and enjoyment of reading.

Edited by Lori D.
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We switch between methods. There are pros and cons to both

pros to setting a time limit

you don’t end up forcing your students to do two hours of math just to finish the Singapore chapter which is really long for some reason some days 

you can plan and schedule the rest of your day knowing how much time you need for school

if you hit some easier work you can catch up or add in some extra practice in areas that need it

It’s easier to slow down and take more time over sections where the student is struggling 

theres no incentive to rush work and miss stuff out because they are going to sit their for the length of time regardless

pros to content based

older kids can be motivated to work in a more focused way because they know once they finish they have free time

you can plan how much of the books you need to do so you get through stuff within the year

if you have a busy week with a lot of appointments it’s easier to squish in school around the edges if you know what needs to be done each day.

overall, we kind of do a mix of both.  There’s an approximate expectation of how much work is being done but there’s also an approximate time structure to our day.  If things are taking an unrealistic amount of time we shuffle some stuff to the next day.  If we are consistently taking longer I know to cut back somewhere and if we are consistently finishing quickly I know it’s time to add some enrichment somewhere or pick up the pace.

this of course works well when the rest of life is in order.  It’s hard to stick to a schedule that says start at 9 when everything’s out of balance, the house is messy and no one went to bed on time the night before so morning jobs aren’t done and kids are grumpy.

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Mostly content, but I also worked within reasonable time limits and knew what my kids could handle.  (I honestly didn't think too hard about the latter...  it just felt obvious I guess.)

 

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A combination.

Language arts - usually content with these tools. The daily lessons are short, require me to be present and interacting, and have a good rhythm to them.  We recently dropped a curriculum that we did by time because the lessons were open-ended.  We started out with timed lessons, though, and handwriting is still timed because it is a difficult skill to concentrate on for long periods.
Math - content.  Again, this will change when he finishes this curriculum to one that is more open-ended.  We'd do time then.
Foreign language, art, music - time.  I'd rather maximize 20 minutes than drag out 40.
History, science - content.

The key, I think, is to find aids and tools that work for you.  My kid is still young enough (8) that I'm not going to give him fully independent work that is not easy for him to complete.  I want him to talk through lessons and interact.  If something feels like it's taking too much of his day, then I'm free to see what needs to be tweaked.  He absolutely would balk at writing a list of spelling words twice because it has no meaning for him and he doesn't see the purpose.  But he would have no trouble spending 5 minutes using a method of his choice to set down words he got wrong in his spelling that day.

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For 1st and 2nd grade, we did one lesson or x-minutes.  I expected math to take 30 minutes most days.  If the child completed his work correctly in 10 minutes, great, he got extra playtime.  If he made reasonable effort but hadn't finished in 30 minutes, we picked up at that point the next day.  If the reason he hadn't finished was that he spent 15 minutes in the bathroom, we resumed the lesson later in the day.   I would have the child stand up and do jumping jacks or an action rhyme any time I noticed his attention lagging during a lesson.  Often that was enough to improve his focus for the remainder of the lesson.  

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8 hours ago, Lori D. said:

re: spelling

Just my experience: I wouldn't have a 2nd grader writing spelling words -- so many students do NOT retain spelling via writing, and it is waaayyyy toooo eeeasyyyy for student to distract/daydream and take forever. Instead, take 10 minutes of focused 1-on-1 time with your student for spelling: spend 5 minutes doing back-and-forth oral spelling practice of  the words, and another 5 minutes to work with the words in some way on the whiteboard, or to have her spell with her finger in sand or cornmeal or other tactile method. For the out loud spelling, combine with Carol Barnier's Toss It idea (say the word clearly, spell it, toss a beanie toy to child; child says the word clearly, spells it, tosses the beanie back -- anticipating the toss helps keep the child focused and thinking on the task).

Dd was highly writing-resistant in 2nd grade. For spelling, we did everything on a whiteboard and there were virtually no complaints. Whiteboards are awesome!

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12 hours ago, omishev said:

And that was with TV as her reward when she finished!

That tells you tv is not a motivator for her. It's a motivator if the desired behavior increases, and it didn't. It also possibly tells you that the challenge or roadblocks to doing the task were enough that she could not do it even when highly motivated.

12 hours ago, omishev said:

I am banking on homeschooling being better because she will be fresh.

That's an interesting theory. If she actually has ADHD, it might be better to have some strategies, since banking on being fresh solving everything isn't likely to work out. It will get you one subject, one thing maybe, assuming the task is very in-reach, but it won't solve the whole day and won't help her work with the distraction of 3 other kids. 

12 hours ago, omishev said:

it all depends on DD's ability to focus.

This is the dc in 2nd grade? Are you pursuing evals first? Just having btdt with my dd, I'll tell you that good, thorough evals radically changed how we worked together. Also, we waited a fuzz too long for meds. I'm not in the hyper, go medicate right now camp. (We waited till my dd was 16 and made it work.) But I will tell you that working with a dc without evals doesn't give you the information to do better and that having that information (about processing speed, word retrieval, EF=executive function deficits, etc. etc.) made a RADICAL difference to our homeschooling.

12 hours ago, omishev said:

I am trying to create some sort of daily schedule and assign a chunk of time to various subjects

Usually with ADHD what we're going to say is STRUCTURE. Structure can be done lots of ways, but it's clear expectations, a framework, so they know the plan. It also depends on you, Mom, and what is comfortable for you. You have your own entropy to deal with (your own tendencies toward structure or needing help to have structure) and you have the other kids you're trying to structure as well. The thing that won't work well is to assume that if you create a structure she can do it for herself. If she does have ADHD (or APD, or other things) going on, she's going to need support to follow structure and work within structure and learn how to use structure. 

If I could suggest, come over to LC, hang, ask your question about scheduling, get the conversation going. We can talk about what kinds of structures you were thinking about using and how you can kick them up. It can be a whole thread, because you'll have the structure of the whole day and what other goals you have (chores, breaks, etc.) and strategies you can use. Linking with time is really good, and that's what they do in schools, absolutely. It builds in breaks, because she finishes and then has time for her break. It's really dependent on you though.

Have you read any books by Holloway? He has a book Superparenting that is really good. All his stuff is good, but definitely pursue that if you haven't yet.

12 hours ago, omishev said:

All that to say, do you plan for a certain amount of time for each subject or to get through a certain amount of material? If the child clearly isn't in the right frame of mind do you just bag it?

I'm trying to remember 2nd grade. My dd would have days where she just didn't want to work, but that was younger usually. I think you'll have a learning curve, and I think it's going to be complex with 4 kids, all potentially with ADHD. I mean, that's some serious herding of cats! LOL It doesn't matter what you want to do if you can't follow up because every time you turn around someone else is in chaos or losing structure.

Do you have an office or school room or place where you'll be working that accommodates everyone? You're going to want to have flexibility, plan B. I think if you're rigid, with no plan B, that will make it harder. Around 2nd grade my dd was ready to follow a list and she was also ready to collaborate. So you'll have a plan, but give her a way to say she wants to something different for a while first or to have input on the plan. 

My dd woke up very slowly. It can be an ADHD thing, and I remember Lori (I think?) talking about it. Like she really needed about 1 1/2 hours to herself to read, etc. before she was ready to work together. Then, when my ds was born, it got more complicated, because she'd need this quiet time to come to herself and he would be UP and LOUD. That really took some work to go ok, find a place and meet your needs.

So she had a list for the day, always a list (structure), but I didn't pin it on times. Now ironically in high school I did, because we had set meeting times, check-points. As you make your list, think through what is independent and what is together work. I had checkpoints with my dd where I was like you need to be done with this top part of the list by x time (10:30, whatever) so we can meet and do this next thing that is a together thing. When she was younger, we tended to let her read for a solid hour then come out and begin our morning routine. It always helped us to begin with things that are motivating, so she's actually WANTING to come out and work together. We usually had a bin of read alouds and possibly a game or puzzle. In the middle grades we added brain teasers to that. Some years we did an origami calendar page of the day kind of thing. Just things so she was excited to begin our together time.

If that morning meeting time goes well, then you've got good momentum. Then you just work through the list. With my dd we had a sport (ice skating), so we were always working to finish so she could go do that. I can tell you that the dc may need more structure/support than you're anticipating. I think it's important to using strategies that keep it upbeat and positive, and that took a lot of energy with my dd. Meds made a huge difference in her ability to do that. 

We used timers because I have no sense of time and because she needed to see the structure. Oxo makes a really nice push button (number input) timer, but now you have apps on your cell phone. There's an app for Time Timer. That way she can see the structure and how long you're planning on doing xyz. I tried to know the amount of time my dd could do that thing at that age and keep within that frustration margin. I didn't necessarily keep it *below* what she could do but maybe 1-2 minutes beyond what she thought was comfortable. That way she was making some effort. But again, if the dc is significantly impulsive or having issues with attention or dealing with environmental distractions, we're going to have to support the body.

My kids are 10 years apart, so I'm doing all this the 2nd time around. Things that I did with my dd that maybe I did sort of and got by, we now know SO much better how to do well. For instance, I had my dd take breaks where she'd run laps, etc. But now what they do is make cards and put them on a ring and do the card of the day that will list like 5 tasks. There are things like Yoga Pretzels and Yogarilla. I may have posted the Spell Your Workout https://www.730sagestreet.com/spell-your-name-workout/  So you can plan in things like this. The amount the dc needs is really dependent on them. If you have a treadmill, feel free to put that into the schedule too! Like 2 minutes on treadmill, now math. Or have them do the math drill app while on the treadmill! That's how we make structure, where we're planning these supports in rather than leaving them to happen only when there are meltdowns.

How structured are you and what will be comfortable for you? A lot of it will depend on you, because you're bringing it. You're going to bring the amount of structure you feel comfortable maintaining. She's probably going to need some help to have a limited distraction environment. You may need to have room dividers, noise canceling headphones, that kind of thing. 

Time or content varies with the thing. For her morning reading, you could put a time, absolutely. So the list might say read 45 minutes, boom. But for math, that's going to need more flexibility. You *could* say we're going to work three chunks of 5-7 minutes but I need your TOTAL FOCUS during that 5 minutes (which means you also tossed all the other kids so she actually can be in power mode) and turn on the timer for the 5 and let it count down. If she needs a break or loses focus, say no problem, take your break, I'll pause the clock, and we'll resume when you're ready. The other way is to go by content. Right now that's how I work with my ds. We have 3 areas to our math instruction, and when we've done all three we're done with math. BUT again, if my ds is not "ready to work" (green zone per Zones Of Regulation, which you might want to read), then fine, take your break, I'll come back when you're ready. 

The trick with that stuff is to make the consequence of their behavior affect *them* not you and somehow do it so that it's just matter of fact, natural consequences, not punitive. There are some books on that, like 1-2-3 Magic I think. Natural consequences are really helpful with this and staying just matter of fact. But think about what power she has if you have this schedule and ALL the kids have to be on it and she decides not to comply or to be pokey or whatever. You have to have a plan B that doesn't ruin your day. Sometimes plan B is fine, you didn't get it done and that means you do it with Dad when he gets home. Sometimes the train moves on and that's how it rolls.

My dd had a LOT of Mary Poppins days before she started ADHD meds. Homeschooling that without flexibility just wouldn't work. Remember, if the dc were in school, they could have bad days, off days, and still get credit for being there. They wouldn't be ON all the time, being required to comply. Homeschooling is much harder because they have to be ON constantly, ready to reply, with no where to fade back and just have a quiet day where they float. So if you're not going to medicate (which I get, we didn't for a long time), then you have to have in your mind a plan B or what you do on Mary Poppins days. For us that was like the wind blew, we don't know, and she just is GONE mentally. And you can just say hey it looks like you're having a Mary Poppins day, let's do our plan B and go to the park and do nature walks looking for xyz. You can have a worthwhile plan and save it. And sometimes if you do that, then 3-4 hours later she's like oh yeah I can pull it together and go back to the plan and hit math and whatever. 

You'll figure it out. Just be flexible and problem solve together and don't take things personally. If something doesn't work, it's not a failure, just an indication to learn some more. Having been through it, I can tell you I would have been even MORE flexible than I was and even more positive than I was. 

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20 minutes ago, knitgrl said:

Dd was highly writing-resistant in 2nd grade. For spelling, we did everything on a whiteboard and there were virtually no complaints. Whiteboards are awesome!

Ooo yes! Target, Walmart, etc. have a 17X20 size whiteboard that is fabulous, stock up. They're big enough to hold a whole math problem, small enough to fit in front of you on a table. 

Like Lori, we did a lot orally. We did all of our Shurley grammar with a whiteboard and sometimes math. (varied with the year and curriculum) I will say my dd, even with her penchant for not writing, was fine writing spelling words. Dictation was much harder, but just spelling words were fine. My ds, on the other hand, is a single letters sorta dude and he's in 4th. He's doing Spelfabet and filling in single letters. His IEP says scribe for anything longer than a sentence, because a sentence for him is an ORDEAL. So just roll with the kid. If they *can* write, it engages their kinesthetic memory. There can be some gender differences there. My dd had poor visual memory (for which we finally did vision therapy, another story) and that held her spelling back.

Fwiw, the absolute best thing you could do (other than hiring a maid, taking a cruise, etc.) is read about retained reflexes. MANY kids with ADHD and other issues will have retained reflexes, and working on them can give breakthroughs you don't expect. I've just been working on a couple in the hands with my ds, and he has stopped mouthing things and now finds writing more comfortable. There are some books that claim grandiose things (that retained STNR/ATNR causes ADHD, blah blah), and I'm not saying that. However if there are some retained, you might find she feels better, finds it easier to sit, finds writing more comfortable, etc. if you work on them.

Edited by PeterPan

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I always did a combination of both.  For math, handwriting, and spelling we did 1 exercise per day.  But, if timing made that a bad fit, I'd adapt.  Some lessons got stretched to 2 days (which is why I avoided anything that was scheduled for 5 days/week, 36 weeks) and other times I'd say 'We just flew through that and tomorrow is short too - let's double up and then have a free day at the end'.  But, I'd only do that if we were having a great day - other days we'd just be done with the subject quickly.  For subjects like literature, history, or science, I would have general goals (the Revolutionary war in January, the human body in February) and would set a general amount of time to work. I would adjust how much depth we went into by what the student did in that amount of time. For a slow reader, for instance, I'd have them read fewer books, or shorter books, rather than read twice as long.  And, I adjust the amount of writing based on ability.  We sometimes did spelling orally while the jumped on a trampoline.  We switched to MCT language arts, which is largely oral except for actual practice at writing sentences or paragraphs.  

Edited by ClemsonDana
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The other thing I learned with dd was to keep a consistent load. We would have things out of the house, so we might do a bunch one day, leaving her tired the next. I had to develop a lot of personal discipline and patience. With ds, I put something in small chunks, and we do it consistently. If he's having a great day, we still stop with the chunks and we don't double up or do more. 

I think the issue was that dd was very bright but had very low processing speed. So things that she COULD do, legit could do because of her brightness, were also just plain fatiguing. Even with the meds they're fatiguing, now in college, sigh. So I had to learn to be very patient, steady like a turtle, and restrain my own enthusiasm. When you start homeschooling, you have all this idealism. Nope, just slow and steady. 

I don't think that dynamic explained the Mary Poppins days, because those really seemed to be the stupid wind, weather, just inexplicable. But we did have patterns during our week that were because she would do too much one day and then be worn out. I've become a really boring homeschooler, you could say, lol.

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I can not do time with my newly turned seven year old. If I casually mention to write something for ten minutes he will set a timer then sit there staring at his paper. Instead I tell him to write a paragraph (or whatever he's working on). If he needs help starting I give him ideas or write down some words for him. Once he has actually focused his mind on the topic then I only expect about ten minutes of focused work but I don't tell him this. When he seems to be slowing down I ask him if he thinks he's done the best he could today, would he like to work more on this tomorrow, etc so the assessment is on content and process not time spent.

We only do this for writing because he's reluctant in that subject. On days where he's just doesn't want to write no matter what then I have him do a lesson in an easy open and go writing workbook. 

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We usually did content over time. However, I picked programs and scheduled things in a way that would fit with my kid's attention spans. 

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For us, it depended on the kid. Some of my kids were motivated by rewards. Some were,motivated by a sense of accomplishment ("Look I did the whole page all by myself!"). Some were motivated by the clock ("How long do I have to do this?" or they liked racing the clock while some of my other kids were paralyzed at the thought of a timer) and one of my children was not motivated by anything and just wasn't into academics at all so I had to just tell him my expectations and just know he would not go beyond that willingly.

Some times I would set a time limit on things but I found that most of the time, they would wait out the clock and do as little as they thought they could get away with. So I would end figuring out what was a reasonable amount of work for that particular child (which may be more or less than their siblings did at that age or in that subject) and they had to complete that amount of work no matter if it took them 5 minutes or over an hour and make sure that time came out of their free time, not my instructional time with them.

Yes I have been known to "bag it" and call it day when they are obviously not able to concentrate for whatever reason. However, I try to figure out what is going on to keep it from becoming a habit. Is the work too easy? Too hard? Too repetitive? Do we have too many distractions? Is there a special or unusual reason they aren't able to concentrate and that is not likely to keep happening? (Like a special event later in the day or overexcited about something) Is the material I'm trying too teach over this child's head? Can I present it in a different way to engage them better? Using the spelling word example, does she normally struggle with handwriting? Can she spell the words orally? Does she have to do it all at once or can she do them one or two at a time throughout the day? You can have her do just 2 words after breakfast, then two more after your read aloud time and then two more after lunch... for some kids, giving them less work more often works better than making them sit to do a whole page of boring repetitive work. Also you could change it up and have her write them on the sidewalk in sidewalk chalk or use letter tiles or a white board or a sand tray... definitely less boring for most kids when you can do it with fun mediums. I understand this is probably school assigned homework so your options are more limited but once you are homeschooling, the options you have to meet the child where they are are almost endless.

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The way we got around the "bag it" days while still having some sense of accountability was for her to know the work would float over to Saturday. She had regular, standing outings with her grandma on Saturdays, so she was motivated not to have that happen and knew that she'd have to get up and finish that work to be ready to go. So it is possible to be *flexible* and still have accountability, consequences, structure. Some people, for younger ages especially, will plan 4 days of work. Some years we planned 4 and the 5th day was flex stuff, lighter load. That way if we had spillover, we were still fine. So you'll find ways like that.

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41 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

The way we got around the "bag it" days while still having some sense of accountability was for her to know the work would float over to Saturday. She had regular, standing outings with her grandma on Saturdays, so she was motivated not to have that happen and knew that she'd have to get up and finish that work to be ready to go. So it is possible to be *flexible* and still have accountability, consequences, structure. Some people, for younger ages especially, will plan 4 days of work. Some years we planned 4 and the 5th day was flex stuff, lighter load. That way if we had spillover, we were still fine. So you'll find ways like that.

This is us.  I printed out 36 blank weekly schedules.  Each week, I pencil in 3-4 lessons for each subject.  Our 5th day has a spelling review, a writing assignment, and music practice.  It's about 30-45 minutes work total.  BUT, because all the week's lessons are penciled in, there is flexibility that doesn't increase the workload for a child who might do two reading assignments or tackle 2 days of history at once.  And if he needs less one day, there is still the optional 5th to get in a little more school without doing a full day.

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I went with content and previewed the content to make sure the time for it would be reasonable. That's still pretty much what I do.

I'm not going to say, "Do X for twenty minutes" to my kid--he'd sit there in proximity to X for twenty minutes and maybe accomplish four minutes' work in the last four minutes when he knows I'm coming back to see what he did. If I'm working with him, I'm going to work to a good stopping point.

If going by time, I don't think we'd have finished a year's math in one year since second grade.

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16 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

This is us.  I printed out 36 blank weekly schedules.  Each week, I pencil in 3-4 lessons for each subject.  Our 5th day has a spelling review, a writing assignment, and music practice.  It's about 30-45 minutes work total.  BUT, because all the week's lessons are penciled in, there is flexibility that doesn't increase the workload for a child who might do two reading assignments or tackle 2 days of history at once.  And if he needs less one day, there is still the optional 5th to get in a little more school without doing a full day.


Yes! In the elementary grades, planning a 4-day/week schedule for content is ideal, as it leaves that 5th day for any potential looping/catch-up of content not completed in days 1-4, but also it allows time for longer hands-on projects or experiments, educational games/supplements, field trips/educational outings or homeschool support group, and...

And writing in pencil -- yes! I designed my own 1-week schedule chart form on the computer, printed those out, and then filled in with pencil on the Sunday evening the week before, and all week, erase and re-write what we actually accomplished and bump material to the next day (or take it off the next day if, for a wonder, we worked ahead).

I created a lot of our materials, AND had one DS with LDs which required a *ton* of adapting of material in the elementary grades, so the 4-day schedule in pencil helped tremendously here. Also, when there was a melt-down or brain shut-down -- or the high interest to follow a bunny trail off of the scheduled content -- it was easy to adapt.

OP: flexibility is going to be your friend as you transition into starting homeschool -- esp. since you have a lot of *young* ones who will have needs pop up all.the.time while you're trying to school older 1-2 DC. AND, because you are hoping to work 1 day a week. (Not that you asked, which, unless you absolutely *have* to work to keep up a certification or do work that earns you 

Edited by Lori D.

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On 12/5/2018 at 12:28 AM, Lori D. said:

re: spelling
Just my experience: I wouldn't have a 2nd grader writing spelling words --

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, it was all great, I just wanted to reply to this piece. This is her weekly homework assignment, not my idea. It is torture for all of us. If she doesn't get it done she has to stay in from recess and do it. I will bend over backwards to make sure she doesn't miss recess. I feel like kids who are struggling to focus need MORE recess not less!

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16 minutes ago, omishev said:

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, it was all great, I just wanted to reply to this piece. This is her weekly homework assignment, not my idea. It is torture for all of us. If she doesn't get it done she has to stay in from recess and do it. I will bend over backwards to make sure she doesn't miss recess. I feel like kids who are struggling to focus need MORE recess not less!

I didn't read all the responses, so I don't know what exactly your plan is: re: transitioning to homeschooling. From the posts I did read, I got the sense that you either suspect or know your child has ADHD.

In my experience, PeterPan and others on the LC board always give a lot of good advice when it comes to learning differences.

I wanted to chime in here to say, try to break up the assignment rather than having her do it all in one sitting. It's a lot to write, and it's boring. Can she do 2-4 words a day to get it done through the week? Have you tried talking to her teacher to tell her you do not want loss of recess to be a punishment for incomplete work?

I do agree with others that this sort of assignment is more busywork-ish than it is necessary. 😞

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I don't really aim for time or aim for content. But, once we've spent a certain amount of time on X, we're done. I try to select a reasonable amount of content for the amount of time I want him to spend on it. With time, you sort of figure out the sweet spot.

As an example, for math, I aim for a minimum of one lesson a day. But on a good day, or when he's already familiar with the content, or when we are able to skip through things that he already knows, we might do 2-3 lessons. Some days are not so smooth. We might put math away after 10-15 min of struggle, knowing we can pick it up tomorrow when he will likely be in a better mood. Or maybe he tried really hard to focus but I could tell it just wasn't happening, so we put it away after 30 min even though he's only gotten 2 questions done - or less. OR, he's having a low-focus day and keeps giving in to the distractions so I have him work for 45-60 min. He might get the whole lesson done, he might get 1.5 lessons done, he might only finish 4 questions. I always just play it by ear.

For reference, my DS does have ADHD and possibly other issues.

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21 hours ago, Petrichor said:

I didn't read all the responses, so I don't know what exactly your plan is: re: transitioning to homeschooling. From the posts I did read, I got the sense that you either suspect or know your child has ADHD.

In my experience, PeterPan and others on the LC board always give a lot of good advice when it comes to learning differences.

I don't know if she has ADD/ADHD and I really don't know what I should be looking for. I guess I figured her teachers would let me know if they had concerns. They have confirmed she has trouble focusing but don't seem overly concerned about it. She has always had a very short attention span, difficulty playing independently (even though that was a structured part of her day for years), she gets into mischief far more than the other kids, has trouble focusing, gets distracted easily, needs a lot of attention, she gets overwhelmed and just shuts down. 

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We emphasize routine over schedule (rhythm of our day but without really checking the click, first this then that afterwards this other thing, etc)

As to content vs time it was a mix. If I’ve git lessons in reasonable sized chunks we do the lesson.  If it starts dragging or we are losing focus we stop and shelve for the next day.

As an aside and completely in a light and casual vein, just by your description of your child and homework, be observant about the possibility of inattentive ADHD.  I am not saying that I think your child definitely has it, but that you might want to read up on other signs of it and just watch. It’s better to catch it younger and be able to help your child develop skills needed to work in a non ADHD world as well as set realistic expectations. And it means a world of difference to their self image if they understand why they can’t meet a neurotypucal expectation, and what they need to succeed.  Coming from a mom of 3 of 4 kidswith ADHD. 

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40 minutes ago, Targhee said:

We emphasize routine over schedule (rhythm of our day but without really checking the click, first this then that afterwards this other thing, etc)

As to content vs time it was a mix. If I’ve git lessons in reasonable sized chunks we do the lesson.  If it starts dragging or we are losing focus we stop and shelve for the next day.

As an aside and completely in a light and casual vein, just by your description of your child and homework, be observant about the possibility of inattentive ADHD.  I am not saying that I think your child definitely has it, but that you might want to read up on other signs of it and just watch. It’s better to catch it younger and be able to help your child develop skills needed to work in a non ADHD world as well as set realistic expectations. And it means a world of difference to their self image if they understand why they can’t meet a neurotypucal expectation, and what they need to succeed.  Coming from a mom of 3 of 4 kidswith ADHD. 

 

And even if she doesn't have ADD/ADHD, it's quite likely that the techniques that are used to help a kid with ADHD complete the task at hand will help your daughter.

Ooh, and figuring what kinds of things work for your daughter, now, before you begin homeschooling, will make the transition that much smoother. Homeschooling is the best thing for my DS who has ADHD, but the distraction that is having a younger sibling at home while he's trying to work is quite the challenge.

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We did content for some things, but I chose content that they kid could reasonably finish in 10-15 minutes, and only took longer if they were goofing off.
But we always did time for stuff like reading or instruments, because I'd rather they do those slowly but well than rush through.

We don't bother trying to make things up if we miss a day. They're little. We aim for 4 days/week of "school", but usually end up with about two "normal" school days and two more "half days" (where we end up only having the afternoon to do school and we're already tired, so we do a very light version of school -- mostly instruments and some reading). It's worked out for us so far, but I realize we'll probably have to be more rigorous eventually. My oldest is only 9.5 right now. 🙂

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We used time.  Amount of time was partly determined by need to move and experience nature and partly by how long it took to do content.  As soon as old enough ds participated in determining the time.  

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