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how long does your 8th grader spend on school each day?


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I’m trying to figure out if my 13 yo’s school day is too long.  How long does school take your 8th grader?  Does instrument practice count as part of their school day?  I’d especially like to hear from anyone who leans more toward CM or non-rigorous schooling.

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Well, I wouldn't say we lean non-rigorous, but neither do we do long lists of subjects.

My 8th grader wants all afternoon to do whatever she wants, so she gets up and starts school by 530. She finishes between 11 and 130, depending on the day, but usually by 12. She works non-stop, no breaks.

She doesn't play an instrument, but her sister does. I don't count practice as part of school bc it is 100% optional to learn an instrument in our home. If they decide they want to, they have to practice. But since school is never optional, not quite the same level. My dd practices her instrument about 30 mins per day. 🙂

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8th grade = 5 to 5-1/4 hours a day (approx)
students = 2 DSs close in age, one a bit above average, one remedial in Math, Writing, Spelling
subjects = Bible, Math, LA (Lit., Writing, Grammar, Spelling), Science, Social Studies, Logic
extracurriculars = in 8th grade, neither DS played an instrument; both played recreational-level sports, and were involved in several low-intensity extracurriculars

schedule:
   9:00am - 12:00pm = Bible, Math, Writing, Literature, Spelling -- plus, alternate days: Grammar / Logic
   lunch
   12:45 or 1:00pm - 3:00pm = alternate days: Social Studies or Science -- plus occasional Art/Music Appreciation

We homeschooled 5 - 5-1/2 hours a day 4 days a week, with the 5th day usually being homeschool support group actives AND 1-2 hours at home for "catch-up" or projects/experiments, longer hands-on, etc. Homeschool support group was usually 3 of 4 weeks of the month. On the 4th week, when there was no homeschool support group, we had a regular 5th day of homeschool.

In 8th grade, we did NOT do a Foreign Language. In 8th grade our Fine Arts and Elective subjects were relaxed and occasional. Throughout all the years of homeschooling, both DSs needed a lot of "down time" and time to explore and fiddle with hobbies/interests, and do physical activities -- which means, 5 to 5-1/4 hours of concentrated, steady schooling was all they could manage without being burned out.

While neither DS had instrument practice, they did have some sports practices. I did not count that in the above hours. I also would not have counted daily instrument practice (if that had been part of our mix).

Because one DS had some remedial needs, AND because I only had 2, close in age, I was able to stay right there virtually the whole time and help keep them both on track, so we didn't have much wasted time in there.

Since everyone's students / interests / goals / opportunities are all so very different, YMMV. 😉

Edited by Lori D.
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We definitely fall under rigorous schooling, sorry OP, but here's what my 8th grader's day looks like for those like me.

Math 8-9
Literature 9-10
Break
History 1020-11:40 (long block as we do a lot of activities/Further Study, etc.)
Lunch break
12:45 Elective (currently Art History w/older sisters)
2:00 Science
3:00 French (her choice)
4:00 Bible Quiz w/older sisters

She's not stuck at a desk/table all day as she and her sisters find all sorts of places to do their work (including up in the apple tree). But it's a long day. She/they prefer that so I gave up trying to condense things. Early morning work just doesn't happen here - we're late night kind of people. So sometimes she will do a subject at 9pm instead.

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I would say that we do 6ish hours each day, but it's hard to assess.  We have co-op one day, so we fit everything else into 4 days. Co-op is mostly fun classes (chess, etc) but my 8th grader takes a language class and a writing class there.  At home, we do science, math, history, and MCT language arts.  We have done Bible at home, but this year my 8th grader is taking a class called Storied Scripture at co-op - it's a high school class that discusses Biblical themes and we're counting the reading for that as his Bible.  He's also doing an online Scratch programming class.  Some days seem to go from 9-4 or later, but some mornings start late if we're out at a ball game.  We also have some daytime activities like Science Olympiad practice.  My 8th grader has also arranged his schedule so that some days are shorter than others, and sometimes he's done by 2.  He also likes to avoid stress by working ahead - there are times when he's been working forever, or will get up and work on a weekend, and it will turn out that he's working on an assignment due in 2 weeks.  On the other hand, he's learning to judge how long things take and often underestimates how long it will take to write...not a problem if it's for me, but something he needs to work on for co-op classes.  

This kid has also learned to take advantage of short bursts of time - he does online Latin assignment or scratch work sometimes while having a pre-beditime protein shake, and always takes certain subjects to do in the car because he can read while I drive.  We rarely have the 'work at home all day' routine that I imagined.  

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My younger son does 4.5 hours 4 days per week - 5th day is for sports, drama, and socializing. He works for 3 blocks of 1.5 hours each with a break between each 830am-330pm. These 1.5 hour blocks are for HARD work, not mucking around. 40 weeks per year. He does not do a foreign language and has no plans to given his dysgraphia. 

Block 1: 30 min english, 1 hour math

Block 2: 30 min violin, 1 hour chemistry

Block 3: 1.5hours geography/english writing

He does history with his dad at night for about 4 hours a week year round (read aloud and discuss). 

He reads his literature on his own time.

The hours above do not include Violin lessons, trio rehearsals, or concerts. 

He has kept this same schedule from 8th through 10th grade. 

 

Edited by lewelma
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My 8th grader does around 5 hours a day. We are... sort of rigorous? I do count music practice as school time because it is not optional in our home and also because she wants it to be a priority. 

She pretty much does her list in the order she chooses, but basically it washes out to (roughly) an hour each for math, LA and violin. Then about 40 mins on 3 other things like science, history or another elective subject.

She is very independent minded though so wants a lot of control over her subjects. I say sort of rigorous because I have high standards but have to deal with the moody teen in front of me 😄

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We're not especially rigorous. My 8th grader does math and reading for about an hour each (independent of me). 30 min for geography and Spanish. (So that's 3 hrs before lunch...). After lunch, 30 min science and an hour(ish) writing. 

So altogether, 4.5 hours. That doesn't include music or extracurricular activities (1x/wk), nor does it include art (sporadic). 

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I doubt mine takes more than 3 hours, but he never does it all at once so that I can tell how long he takes. He likes to do his math in the evenings, and often he gets up really early and does a bunch of his work before I'm up. So sometimes he's done by 10 a.m. He does what's listed in my signature, if that helps.

ETA: He does all his reading on his own time, and I wouldn't count instrument practice in that 3 hours, if he played one.

Edited by hollyhock2
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My son is turning 13 next month and has about a 5 hour school day most of the time. His work is extremely rigorous IMHO and includes at least 90 minutes of AOPS intermediate-level Math, Lukeion Greek, plus another foreign language. We believe in work hard/play hard and also are very interest-led (he loves math and linguistics) so some subjects like history and science just are not a priority. We do these subjects more informally through travel, podcasts, documentaries and free reading. Instrument practice is mandatory after dinner so not really a part of our school day. Most kids I know do music practice outside of school so I don’t feel fair counting it. If he was an aspiring musician doing hours of work or doing intense music theory or something I’d definitely call it school though. 

ETA: scheduling wise we do school together from 8:30-11:30 take a break for activities, lunch, and appointment and then he does Greek on his own afternoons and weekends (about 10 hours total per week)

Edited by RoundAbout
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We're semi-rigorous, or at least aspiring to a multum non multa sort of rigor; which is to say, we (try to) work hard and well at a few important things, but we definitely aren't doing all the things or taking all the time.  At any rate, my 8th grader spends about 6 hours per day, 4 days a week, an hour of which is independent reading.  The fifth day is music lesson day, and she spends about an hour on schoolwork that day.  Piano practice (30 min) is part of the school day. 

Our school day runs from 9am-4pm, with an hour-long lunch from 12-1pm.  My 8th grader's schedule looks broadly like this:
9:00-10:15ish: Independent work
10:15ish-12:00: Mom teaching time (math, Latin, and either writing or grammar)
12:00-1:00: Lunch
1:00-1:30: Piano practice
1:30-3:00: Independent work
3:00-4:00: Independent reading

So she has 1.5-2hr of teaching time with me, 2.5-3hr of independent working time, 0.5hr of piano practice, and 1hr of independent reading, 4 days a week.  She could definitely use more time to work, as she never gets everything done - there's always at least one subject undone that gets rolled over to the next day.  (It's a combo of too much to do plus lolly-gagging.) 

When I first saw the problem, I'd figured that we'd reached the point where we needed to have regular "homework" - not because of wasting school time, but because at this level there's just too much to do to get it all done during the school day.  But after talking with my sis, I've decided that just because ps students her age regularly have hours of hw doesn't mean I need to do the same. I mean, I'm hs'ing because I don't want to do things the ps way - and upon reflection, I *don't* think it's good for school to spill over into non-school hours like that.  Last year, I'd already made the choice to not let school work spill over into independent reading time - at 3:00, school work is put away, finished or unfinished, and quiet reading time begins.  It prevents written school work from taking over reading time, which imo is important in general, but is extra important for us, since we hit so many content subjects through independent reading.  And I found that it makes for a much better end to the school day; it gives everyone a chance to relax and decompress before afternoon activities or chores, and my kids really needed that.  I'm thinking that something similar applies here: that the things that happen outside of school are important, too, and so non-school time needs to be protected as much as school time needs to be protected.  And overall, I do think we are making good progress on school - I think we are doing fine.

Edited by forty-two
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My current 8th grader has ADD and is very distractible. He spends most of the day doing schoolish things but he probably only spends about 3-4 hours in actual work. He knows himself very well and chooses to homeschool because he likes to have the freedom to do what he wants during the day. He will know that he’s totally unfocused so will walk away from Math and do something physical, for example. He’ll get the Math done but just needs to do it his own way. He does a lot of independent things that are learning but we don’t “count" as school: knitting, teaching himself how to draw on the computer, drawing and painting, unicycling, etc. He has a leadership position with Scouts this year which is very good for him as it requires a lot of responsibility. I don’t count that as school but he ends up doing a lot of research and writing and planning for it. (Just to add...I don’t count it all as school because I don’t have to keep those kind of records. If I did, I’d figure out a way to count it all. I also don’t count it or call it school because his personality is such that when anything gets assigned as school, it loses it’s appeal.) 

My current 11th grader is a more traditional learner and he probably spent an average of a solid 5 hours a day doing more traditional school subjects. 

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Last year DS went to daily classes from 8-9:45 at the middle school (band and science), then did work at home from 10-2:30.  That times included his online classes, classes with me, and interest driven work.  I’m not sure how much really happened at the middle school 🤷‍♀️ so I’d guess 5.5 hours.  He also did soccer, Scouts, and private music lessons/practicing outside of that time.

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My twins DD/DS13, 8th grade, do about 5ish hours per day, plus an extra 30ish minutes of lessons/practicing an instrument.  DS also has about an extra hour+ per day because he takes a Computer Programming class (he LOVES!!) and a low key LoTR weekly Lit class with his buddies. 
 
Together they do:  Math, Language Arts, History, Science, and Speech.  I will be adding a quick Geography to their line-up and a grammar unit.
 
They get the basics like math, LA, and history done in the mornings.  Science, speech, LoTR Lit, and computer programming are outside classes that are done in the early afternoons with "homework" any other time they like, just as long as it's done.  Most of the time it ends up being after dinner or a weekend--their choice.
 
We school year round if we have nothing else going on and only the core subjects in the summertime for about 1.5hrs/day.  Some weeks the twins take a day to volunteer for a 6 hr block of time and don't do much school those day. 
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We've been experimenting with independent work and time management. This summer I started giving them their list of what's due for the week which make it hard to tell how much time they are spending. I'm not sure we're rigorous, though we do cover a lot. Middle has mild dyslexia  and is a slow worker on some subjects. There have been weeks where middle decides he wants to try to get everything done as early in the week as possible and will get up at 5 am and work until the evening. Most weeks he finishes one subject at a time, working on and off throughout the day. My youngest likes to do a little of each subject per day and take frequent breaks. She's in full tween mode and needs lots of rest, so she sleeps in fairly late, but works on the weekend to make sure she finishes everything. 

Music is part of family life here, so I don't count music as school time. However, middle wants to learn piano for high school and I will make a course out of it, so time spent on the course would go toward school time, but practicing between lessons doesn't. Once upon a time I was in band and we had loads of practice after school. That's just a part of getting better. 

I'd say when we were doing all subjects together we were going from 9-4 M-Th. That had a lot of breaks, some extra time built in for waiting on the one kid or the other. Now we have a 10-4 day doing science and history once a week where we read together, write, do labs, and watch videos on the topic. So far this has been working for us. My middle was Mr. Weights and Measures and everything had to be equal, which just wasn't going to happen with one having a mild LD. 

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I'm not sure how much time my 8th grader works every day. She theoretically is scheduled from 9 am to 2 or later (Tuesday is the day she works with me until 4). But she schedules much of her day herself. She currently has two online classes - both of which require a lot of time from her. She is not continuing them into next semester. So she might be working on that stuff at 7 am or 7 pm.

If I had to guess, I'd say she works 5-6 hrs/day, five days per week plus at least a couple of hours on the weekends (Lukeion Latin). Her schedule will open up a lot next semester.

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I would say my 14yo 8th grader works about 6+ hours a day on school.  He has two online classes (MPOA 4th form Latin and CLRC Intro to Lit and Comp) which take more time than they probably should as he is a day dreamer and a slow writer.  He did pick the twice per week class option for each to keep himself from procrastinating so much.  He does algebra with me as of a couple weeks ago because it was not getting done effectively (or efficiently)...we are down to under an hour to work through a section in Foerster with understanding.  He has a few other shorter subjects mixed in as well.  Friday morning he has a homeschool field biology class at a local university environmental center, so that day is a bit longer.  He currently isn’t playing an instrument, but I don’t count it for the others who do.

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