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Time on math for advanced students


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There's a post about time on math for middle schoolers on the K-8 board. Reading it has made me feel like my son is an outlier, and I want to get a feel for if I should change things for him.

He's good at math, intuitively grasping it. Since 1st grade, he's done math by time rather than lesson, and I go at his pace. He's now in 7th and is doing AoPS Geometry.  He spends 50 minutes a day (by timer) working on it. When the timer goes off, he's done, even if it's the middle of a section. He's done about 2/3 of our school year in Geometry, and is in the middle of chapter 17 (out of 19). By the time he's done, he'll likely have taken less than one school year to finish the book. I also have him do 2-4 review problems on Khan Academy each day on his own; this takes 5-10 minutes. 

Time wise, I'm not sure he has the stamina to do much more time on math. But after reading the thread I mentioned, I wonder if I'm not challenging him enough. Beyond having him work at his pace in AoPS books (ie: continue what we're doing), what can I do for him?

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It sounds DS11 is working much the same way your son does; he's using AoPS pre-algebra, and works for 60 minutes/day, 5 days/week. When the time is up, he's done, no matter where he is. He's always worked for time. He flew though Singapore 1-3 this way, and then Beast Academy 3-5 the same way. He is taking much longer to move through pre-algebra, but it is definitely growth-spurt brain fog that is making everything harder and slower this year. We just keep plodding on, 60 minutes at a time!

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8 hours ago, silver said:

Yada yada yada, Time wise, I'm not sure he has the stamina to do much more time on math. ...blah, blah, blah

Then there is your answer. If his stamina is "depleted" at 50 minutes, it's depleted.

It wouldn't matter too much what you had planned for the 51st minute, would it?

If you want to develop his concentration, build his mental stamina or train his ability to focus, then devise a way to do that. But that doesn't mean that he needs to spend more time on math

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Some of my kids work well on a timer like that and get a lot done. Others would have just waited out the timer getting little to nothing done. And some of my kids would freaked out at the fact that they couldn't finish the lesson in the time allotted. So some of my kids did math by the timer method. Some needed to checkpoints through the lesson where they needed to check in with me to make sure they were on task and others were told when they finished the lesson, they were done with math no matter how long or short of a time it took them. That's what's great about homeschooling, everyone gets to do things the way that makes the most sense for them.

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My math advanced son usually set the amount of time -- some days he just wasn't in the math mindset and did very little, others he spent 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  He usually did about 1 to 1 1/2 hours a day when he was self teaching AOPS, and now in the classes it's just based on the problems of the week and how long they take.  He whizzed through Precalc and has had to spend substantially more time on Number theory. 

He is 14, and it's gotten a lot easier to spend longer amounts of time. When young he would spend more than an hour but was brain dead, not just depleted. So I think it retrospect stopping before that point is a good thing!

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Here's where I confess that I have no clue how long my kids spend on math each day. I assign what I think is a reasonable amount of work (largely based on the goal of finishing a level of math in a school year, but adjusted based on the particular child as seems appropriate), and they do it. Sometimes they finish super fast. Sometimes it takes a while. If frustration levels indicate that This Has Gone On Too Long, then I might have the child stop for the day or take a break. 

But amount of time? I really don't know. Maybe it's because I have three kids schooling and the extent of our scheduling is "so what subject do you want to do next?" 

Between this thread and the other one, I feel like I am really weird for NOT knowing how long math takes each kid. But we're accomplishing math, and for the most part we seem to hit the sweet spot of challenging but not overwhelming. So it works for us, even if it makes me weird. 😄

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