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I think I may be putting too much on my 9th grader's plate, but she also tends to dawdle on assignments and get distracted by everything else but what she's supposed to be doing. She's also a very methodical, slow worker and I can't make her rush no matter what I do! ūüėĄ¬†¬†I need an outside perspective to help me see if it's too much and what I can do to reduce her load.

Bible - devotional book, no more than 5 pages of easy reading per day, and some days there are only 2-3 questions to answer. I estimate this should take about 30 minutes at the most.

Math - CLE Algebra 1 textbook. I assign all of the problems that are new material, and odd numbers on all the review work. Generally there are about 25-30 problems all together. My time estimate is 1 hour, 5 days/week.

Writing - IEW SSS Year 1, Level B - we do this 3-4 times/week. Generally takes about 45 minutes to an hour. I think on non-video days, this should be more like 30 minutes' worth of work.

Vocab - Vocabulary from Classical Roots, one lesson assigned once per week. Maybe 45 minutes of work?

Literature - Windows to the World, about 4 times/week. I estimate that it takes about an hour, possibly longer once she starts reading full-length novels that are assigned. But some of the reading can also be done over the weekends.

Science - Apologia Biology, taken as an outside class 1x/week. The class period is 90 minutes long, and she will probably have 3-4 hours of homework each week outside of class.

Geography - Guest Hollow Geography, 5x/week. This is where we're really getting bogged down, I think. There is a LOT of reading, and I keep cutting more out. But she's probably spending 2+hours a day on it, not just because there's a lot to read but also because she's enjoying the material. I'd like to see this cut down to about 90 minutes at the most each day.

According to my estimates, she should be spending around 5.5 hours on school. But she's easily working longer than that. We've just started back to choir and will be resuming piano lessons in September, so that cuts out even more time out of our day.

Am I expecting too much? What could I (or should I) cut? Or, if the workload is appropriate, how can I motivate her to work more quickly and more focused?

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I would not double up on IEW writing and Windows to the World.  I know that Windows to the World can be easily covered in a semester, and it does have writing in it.  So I would do that one semester and do the IEW the other semester (I am not familiar with IEW).

I suspect that Math would take longer than an hour, but you might consider limiting it to an hour.  So just a "do the next thing, only spend an hour on it, continue with it tomorrow for an hour," etc.

If Bible is taking more than 30 minutes, then limit it to 30 minutes.  Again, with a do-the-next-thing approach.

Limit Geography if it's a time suck.  Call it at 90 minutes.

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That comes out to more like 6.0 hours per day. Which is reasonable, because you are doing 6.0 credits worth of work:

2.50 hr/week = 0.5 credit = Bible (Devotional) 
7.75 hr/week = 1.5 credit* = English
     4.00 hr/week = Literature/Writing (WttW)
     3.00 hr/week = Writing (IEW)
     0.75 hr/week = Vocabulary (Classical Roots)
5.00 hr/week = 1.0 credit = Math: Alg. 1 (CLE)
4.50 hr/week = 1.0 credit = Science: Biology (Apologia)
7.5-10.00 hr/week = 2.0 credits** = Social Studies: Geography (Guest Hollow) 
27.25 to 29.25 hr/week = total -- that's almost 30 hours a week (6 hours day x 5 days a week)

* = amount of time spent here is closer to 1.5 credit -- you have a lot of writing overlap here in perhaps drop the IEW to just 1-2x/week, or drop IEW entirely in the weeks where you are doing writing with WttW

** = amount of time here makes this worth 2.0 credits. Since this is what she is loving, and because you don't have any Electives for pursuing interests, I'd let her keep going at 2 hours/day and count this as 2 credits -- maybe first semester could be World Geography I = 1 credit, and second semester could be World Geography II = 1 credit

If DD is not burning out or stressed about the longer days (6 hours/day) -- go with it, as that's a very normal 9th grade workload and amount of time to be working. Is there a reason you're trying to keep to 5.5 hours/day??

Edited by Lori D.
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10 hours ago, lanabug said:

I think I may be putting too much on my 9th grader's plate, but she also tends to dawdle on assignments and get distracted by everything else but what she's supposed to be doing. She's also a very methodical, slow worker and I can't make her rush no matter what I do! ūüėĄ¬†¬†I need an outside perspective to help me see if it's too much and what I can do to reduce her load.

Bible - devotional book, no more than 5 pages of easy reading per day, and some days there are only 2-3 questions to answer. I estimate this should take about 30 minutes at the most.

Math - CLE Algebra 1 textbook. I assign all of the problems that are new material, and odd numbers on all the review work. Generally there are about 25-30 problems all together. My time estimate is 1 hour, 5 days/week.

Writing - IEW SSS Year 1, Level B - we do this 3-4 times/week. Generally takes about 45 minutes to an hour. I think on non-video days, this should be more like 30 minutes' worth of work.

Vocab - Vocabulary from Classical Roots, one lesson assigned once per week. Maybe 45 minutes of work?

Literature - Windows to the World, about 4 times/week. I estimate that it takes about an hour, possibly longer once she starts reading full-length novels that are assigned. But some of the reading can also be done over the weekends.

Science - Apologia Biology, taken as an outside class 1x/week. The class period is 90 minutes long, and she will probably have 3-4 hours of homework each week outside of class.

Geography - Guest Hollow Geography, 5x/week. This is where we're really getting bogged down, I think. There is a LOT of reading, and I keep cutting more out. But she's probably spending 2+hours a day on it, not just because there's a lot to read but also because she's enjoying the material. I'd like to see this cut down to about 90 minutes at the most each day.

According to my estimates, she should be spending around 5.5 hours on school. But she's easily working longer than that. We've just started back to choir and will be resuming piano lessons in September, so that cuts out even more time out of our day.

Am I expecting too much? What could I (or should I) cut? Or, if the workload is appropriate, how can I motivate her to work more quickly and more focused?

My kiddo who dawdles has actually thrived on more work plus skills to deal with the dawdling. What I found was that I had certain habits that permitted and encouraged her dawdling. Once I dealt with my own bad habits, I was able to help her deal with hers and in the last six months, her ability to get work done has increased amazingly. She is probably your daughter's age (nearly 14).

I wouldn't say my daughter rushes. She just has learned to focus, turn off distractions, time her work, etc. She actually does better with more work because it helps her focus.

Emily

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11 hours ago, perkybunch said:

I would not double up on IEW writing and Windows to the World.  I know that Windows to the World can be easily covered in a semester, and it does have writing in it.  So I would do that one semester and do the IEW the other semester (I am not familiar with IEW).

 She needs the explicit instruction of IEW. We've just started the WTTW, so haven't gotten into any writing assignments yet. But my plan is to stagger the assignments so that if she's writing for one class, she's not writing in the other. The IEW is fairly easy for her, she just needs the practice. 

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11 hours ago, Lori D. said:

That comes out to more like 6.0 hours per day. Which is reasonable, because you are doing 6.0 credits worth of work:

2.50 hr/week = 0.5 credit = Bible (Devotional) 
7.75 hr/week = 1.5 credit* = English
     4.00 hr/week = Literature/Writing (WttW)
     3.00 hr/week = Writing (IEW)
     0.75 hr/week = Vocabulary (Classical Roots)
5.00 hr/week = 1.0 credit = Math: Alg. 1 (CLE)
4.50 hr/week = 1.0 credit = Science: Biology (Apologia)
7.5-10.00 hr/week = 2.0 credits** = Social Studies: Geography (Guest Hollow) 
27.25 to 29.25 hr/week = total -- that's almost 30 hours a week (6 hours day x 5 days a week)

* = amount of time spent here is closer to 1.5 credit -- you have a lot of writing overlap here in perhaps drop the IEW to just 1-2x/week, or drop IEW entirely in the weeks where you are doing writing with WttW

** = amount of time here makes this worth 2.0 credits. Since this is what she is loving, and because you don't have any Electives for pursuing interests, I'd let her keep going at 2 hours/day and count this as 2 credits -- maybe first semester could be World Geography I = 1 credit, and second semester could be World Geography II = 1 credit

If DD is not burning out or stressed about the longer days (6 hours/day) -- go with it, as that's a very normal 9th grade workload and amount of time to be working. Is there a reason you're trying to keep to 5.5 hours/day??

That is so helpful to see it spelled out like that! I had not considered giving two credits for the geography. I also forgot to add that she has a half credit study skills class. It should be pretty low-key - we started with the Great Courses How to Be a Superstar Student videos and will move into reading some books like 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Next semester she will have a half credit computer technology class. 

I think y'all are right about doubling up on the writing. She needs the deliberate instruction of IEW but we'll need to set those assignments aside when she has a WttW essay to write. She is doing IEW with her younger sister and I was trying to keep them together. 

I was trying to keep it to 5-6ish hours because of our outside commitments. We're at choir for an hour and a half each week and piano lessons for an hour. It's hard to fit in even 4 hours of work on those days due to travel time. And she is feeling a little stressed by the load. Some of that may be the high school expectations, but I think some of her stress is brought on by her lack of time management skills. 

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9 hours ago, WendyAndMilo said:

My DS would love that workload ūüôā¬† Why are you trying to keep the hours down?¬† Why are you thinking about reducing geography when she actually likes it??

We started out trying to do too many of the choices in the geography. The videos and books are great but she could spend half a day just on that one subject. And she was neglecting her other subjects in favor of geography. So I am assigning less, but she can always pick up the unassigned books/ videos in her spare time and read them for fun. 

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1 hour ago, EmilyGF said:

My kiddo who dawdles has actually thrived on more work plus skills to deal with the dawdling. What I found was that I had certain habits that permitted and encouraged her dawdling. Once I dealt with my own bad habits, I was able to help her deal with hers and in the last six months, her ability to get work done has increased amazingly. She is probably your daughter's age (nearly 14).

I wouldn't say my daughter rushes. She just has learned to focus, turn off distractions, time her work, etc. She actually does better with more work because it helps her focus.

Emily

Yes, my dd is 14, almost 15. I have had to change my habit of sleeping in, because I could see how my actions were affecting how long our school day was. 

Would you mind sharing some of the habits you changed? What skills did you help your daughter work on? I think this is an area we (probably mostly me) need to work on. 

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It looks like a doable 9th grade load to me.  What novels will she be reading?  WttW doesn't include novels, so I am confused by the comment, "I estimate that it takes about an hour, possibly longer once she starts reading full-length novels that are assigned. But some of the reading can also be done over the weekends."

WttW incorporates short stories and poems.  The reading is minimal.  The focus is on literary elements and analysis of those shorter works.  I'm using it with my 9th grader, but we are still doing a complete literature study (completely unrelated to WttW.  We are reading LOTR.)   How are you assigning WttW?  It really only takes us about 20 mins per day. (I gave her 3 days to read and annotate The Most Dangerous Game on her own.  It is the longest work in the study IIRC.)  We sit and discuss the short story/poem and work together on the analytical skills.   Once she starts writing essays, the essays will replace all of her other English assignments during that time. (IOW, when she is writing her essay, she won't be doing grammar/Jensen's Punctuation and lit reading.  The essay will be her focus for that week.  Based on your list, I would stop SSS during the time she is writing an essay.) 

In order to classify everything you have listed as a full English credit using WttW, I would have to incorporate a lot more short stories and poetry.  (I would not give 1.5 English credits based on what you have listed bc it doesn't look comprehensive enough to me for a full yrs credit.  But I don't separate comp and lit for my kids.  I expect them to do both and count it as a single credit regardless of time.)

(I was curious as to where the novel information might be coming from.  I looked and IEW does offer a syllabus for combining WttW with Teaching the Classics and it says it helps to be familiar with TWSS. https://iew.com/shop/products/syllabus-introduction-literary-analysis Is that what you are doing?  I'm completely unfamiliar with Teaching the Classics.  But that is obviously a full English credit.)

If you are not combining the 2, an alternative might be to not give 2 credits for geography but see if there is a way to use some of the reading to create a literature study.  (I'm unfamiliar with GH, so I don't really know what she is reading, but a world lit course could easily be part of a geography study.) That might be a way to cover lit and not have to change what you are already doing.  

 

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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The only thing I had to add is that for my dawdlers, doing less for longer in a day is usually more fruitful. Particularly for things that only take a few minutes, doing those things every day is a killer, especially if there are several of them. Three 20 minute activities/assignments takes a couple of hours or more easily. But doing three times as much on one of the 20 minute subjects may actually only take an hour and a bit.

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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

It looks like a doable 9th grade load to me.  What novels will she be reading?  WttW doesn't include novels, so I am confused by the comment, "I estimate that it takes about an hour, possibly longer once she starts reading full-length novels that are assigned. But some of the reading can also be done over the weekends."

WttW incorporates short stories and poems.  The reading is minimal.  The focus is on literary elements and analysis of those shorter works.  I'm using it with my 9th grader, but we are still doing a complete literature study (completely unrelated to WttW.  We are reading LOTR.)   How are you assigning WttW?  It really only takes us about 20 mins per day. (I gave her 3 days to read and annotate The Most Dangerous Game on her own.  It is the longest work in the study IIRC.)  We sit and discuss the short story/poem and work together on the analytical skills.   Once she starts writing essays, the essays will replace all of her other English assignments during that time. (IOW, when she is writing her essay, she won't be doing grammar/Jensen's Punctuation and lit reading.  The essay will be her focus for that week.  Based on your list, I would stop SSS during the time she is writing an essay.) 

In order to classify everything you have listed as a full English credit using WttW, I would have to incorporate a lot more short stories and poetry.  (I would not give 1.5 English credits based on what you have listed bc it doesn't look comprehensive enough to me for a full yrs credit.  But I don't separate comp and lit for my kids.  I expect them to do both and count it as a single credit regardless of time.)

(I was curious as to where the novel information might be coming from.  I looked and IEW does offer a syllabus for combining WttW with Teaching the Classics and it says it helps to be familiar with TWSS. https://iew.com/shop/products/syllabus-introduction-literary-analysis Is that what you are doing?  I'm completely unfamiliar with Teaching the Classics.  But that is obviously a full English credit.)

If you are not combining the 2, an alternative might be to not give 2 credits for geography but see if there is a way to use some of the reading to create a literature study.  (I'm unfamiliar with GH, so I don't really know what she is reading, but a world lit course could easily be part of a geography study.) That might be a way to cover lit and not have to change what you are already doing.  

 

Yes, we're using the combined TTC/WTTW syllabus. It includes reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, and Hamlet. There are homework assignments, an allusions project, a couple of mini-essays, and 2-3 full length essays included in the syllabus, and it's definitely a full credit's worth of work. You're probably right, though, that most days will not require a full hour to complete. 

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On 8/19/2020 at 10:55 PM, lanabug said:

Yes, my dd is 14, almost 15. I have had to change my habit of sleeping in, because I could see how my actions were affecting how long our school day was. 

Would you mind sharing some of the habits you changed? What skills did you help your daughter work on? I think this is an area we (probably mostly me) need to work on. 

My daughter and I are both strong in the same areas (conceptual reasoning, making connections, big picture thinking) and weak in the same areas (organization, details, time management), so it was really hard for me at first. I'm sure a lot of this is easy or simple for people who naturally tend towards organization and details. Training myself was the hardest part.

Parts of our current system:

1. Weekly work grid that fits on a single piece of paper. I make a new one every weekend that is updated to fit any plans we have for the week so that there is no editing on the fly. I include all things I expect of her (oh, I don't include chores and they never get done - maybe I should change that!), from flute practice to math to current events related to her geography class. She also has a few weekend things included on the list. Key point: No surprises. No extra work if she finishes early.

2. We meet every morning to set up her work for the day. It takes about 10-15 minutes every morning and we try to do this by 8 am. I ask her what she remembers from the last time she covered the material, then we look at each of the day's lessons and talk about the expectations. During this time she makes sure she has all the books and materials on her desk. Key point: I know she can succeed in the morning and there are no surprises during the day.

3. This was a game changer. Make a daily time schedule. I did this at first, but now she does it. We found a static time schedule didn't work for us because our schedule changed too much, but she estimates how long a subject will take and then writes a schedule that takes that into account. I think she used to either dawdle because she felt like she had all sorts of time OR because she felt like she had so much work that it wouldn't help. This helped her learn to pace herself. Key point: She knows if she is getting behind and is motivated not to dawdle.

4. Afternoon meeting where I check the work. She needs accountability. I don't do this as consistently as I should and sometimes I do this the following day in the morning. But when we first started this, she needed this daily.

5. No having fun on weekends until the entire grid is finished for the week. Yes, I am a meanie. This was really really hard to enforce the first two weeks of the system because she had all sorts of work that she'd left undone. One Saturday she started working at 8 am and didn't finish until 10 pm. It was painful. But after two weeks, something clicked, and now she finishes all her work on a daily basis and within a reasonable time, or makes it up within a day. Key point: She needed to know that there were consequences for not finishing work.

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On 8/20/2020 at 7:34 AM, Farrar said:

The only thing I had to add is that for my dawdlers, doing less for longer in a day is usually more fruitful. Particularly for things that only take a few minutes, doing those things every day is a killer, especially if there are several of them. Three 20 minute activities/assignments takes a couple of hours or more easily. But doing three times as much on one of the 20 minute subjects may actually only take an hour and a bit.

I've found a lot of smaller assignments helps my daughter to better estimate timing so that she can keep herself accountable - sort of like lap times for runners. But we gather everything, and she stacks based on time, before starting any work. I think it is useful to try different approaches and find what works for each child.

Emily

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8 hours ago, EmilyGF said:

My daughter and I are both strong in the same areas (conceptual reasoning, making connections, big picture thinking) and weak in the same areas (organization, details, time management), so it was really hard for me at first. I'm sure a lot of this is easy or simple for people who naturally tend towards organization and details. Training myself was the hardest part.

Parts of our current system:

1. Weekly work grid that fits on a single piece of paper. I make a new one every weekend that is updated to fit any plans we have for the week so that there is no editing on the fly. I include all things I expect of her (oh, I don't include chores and they never get done - maybe I should change that!), from flute practice to math to current events related to her geography class. She also has a few weekend things included on the list. Key point: No surprises. No extra work if she finishes early.

2. We meet every morning to set up her work for the day. It takes about 10-15 minutes every morning and we try to do this by 8 am. I ask her what she remembers from the last time she covered the material, then we look at each of the day's lessons and talk about the expectations. During this time she makes sure she has all the books and materials on her desk. Key point: I know she can succeed in the morning and there are no surprises during the day.

3. This was a game changer. Make a daily time schedule. I did this at first, but now she does it. We found a static time schedule didn't work for us because our schedule changed too much, but she estimates how long a subject will take and then writes a schedule that takes that into account. I think she used to either dawdle because she felt like she had all sorts of time OR because she felt like she had so much work that it wouldn't help. This helped her learn to pace herself. Key point: She knows if she is getting behind and is motivated not to dawdle.

4. Afternoon meeting where I check the work. She needs accountability. I don't do this as consistently as I should and sometimes I do this the following day in the morning. But when we first started this, she needed this daily.

5. No having fun on weekends until the entire grid is finished for the week. Yes, I am a meanie. This was really really hard to enforce the first two weeks of the system because she had all sorts of work that she'd left undone. One Saturday she started working at 8 am and didn't finish until 10 pm. It was painful. But after two weeks, something clicked, and now she finishes all her work on a daily basis and within a reasonable time, or makes it up within a day. Key point: She needed to know that there were consequences for not finishing work.

These are great ideas! Thank you for sharing them. I write out a planner for her each week, but it's not big enough to write detailed assignments so I may need to rethink that. A couple of times she's done the wrong thing because she wasn't sure and didn't bother to ask.

We have been trying a "bell schedule" the last week or two but I have not been consistent with following it. Next week I'm not going to allow her to work in her room so that I can redirect her focus when necessary. I think we might also try setting a stopwatch to see exactly how long it *does* take her to finish. She would like the challenge of beating the timer.

A morning and afternoon meeting is something we both need. She needs the outline for the day, and I need to check up on her progress throughout the day. Implementing this one for sure!

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