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TWTM Recommended Time to Spend on a Subject - Reasonable?


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I'm always surprised by something when I re-read TWTM. I think my version is the most recent version. 

I think we've been too light for 5th grade so I'm re-evaluating a few things. TWTM recommends 45-60 minutes of Grammar 4 times a week for 5th grade. Really? 

Does anyone do that? Is that necessary? That seems like way too much to me. 

It recommends 3 hours a week of history. How can it actually take that long? 

How realistic are the recommended times in the TWTM? If you follow SWB's recommendations does it actually take this long? 

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We spend about the amount of time recommended on math/science/history, but no where close on the rest, also with a 5th grader. I believe it's 3hrs/week on history/science, and 5hrs/week for math. We also do 5hrs/week for ELA, but that includes all assigned reading. That's 16 hrs a week on core subjects, and we add around 4 hrs of other subjects- nature walks/journaling, TKD (new lessons not practice), typing, handicrafts (though this overlaps with ELA time often, they craft while I read), etc. So 20hrs/week for 5th grade is 4 hrs a day, ideally. Realistically most days it takes us 5 hrs. For our family, anything over 20 hrs is rough, and over 25 would seem impossible.

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Susan Wise-Bauer has said more than once that putting in time recommendations was required by the publisher, and that families should adapt *any* of the recommendations in her book (times, materials, and choice of subjects to cover) to best fit their own students and circumstances.
 

Not that my students were anything like your student, so comparison is useless, lol... BUT, for 5th grade, we roughly spent about 20-22hours/week on at-home academics, and a few hours 1x/week out of the home with our homeschool support group doing a wide variety of activities. This is roughly the time we spent on the different subjects each week -- NOTE: I *never* looked at SWB's times (or anyone else's times) for "how long" to do subjects -- this was based on doing grades 1-4 with DSs and building up to these amounts, but also includes the time spent re-directing DSs back onto task (lol), and discussions

5x/week
- Together time (Bible/devotions + critical thinking + misc. topics) = 40-45 min/day ...  ~3.5 hours week
Math = 45 min/day (4-5x/week) ...  ~ 3 - 3.5 hours week

4x/week
- LA:
   * Reading: School Lit., aloud/together/alternating pages) = 20-30 min/day ...  ~1.5 hours/week
   * Read-Aloud (family time/good books) = 45-60 min/day (5x/week) ...  ~4 - 5 hours/week
   * Writing = 30 min/day ...  ~2 hours week
   * Spelling = 20 min/day (struggling speller DS); 10 min/day (average speller DS) ...  ~0.75 - 1.5 hour/week
   * Handwriting or Typing = 10 min/day ...  ~0.5 - 0.75 hour/week
- Science (done together) = 30-40 min/day ...  ~2.5 - 3 hours/week
- History (done together) = 30-40 min/day ...  ~2.5 - 3 hours/week

3x/week
- LA:
   *Grammar = 20-25 min/day ...  ~1 - 1.25 hours/week
   * Reading: student solo reading = 20 min/day ... ~ 1 hour/week

2x/week
- Geography = 15-20 min/day ... ~ 0.5  hour/week

1x/week
- Art or Music Appreciation = 15 min/week ... ~0.25 hours/week
- homeschool group/outside the home activities = 3 hours/week ... ~3 hours/week

Edited by Lori D.
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I like the way Btervet broke it down in more general terms. Our overall hours were similar -- roughly 20-22 hours/week of academics. The division of hours is a little different for us, due to different interests and activities, but very roughly rounded, our hours broke out as:

14-15 hours/week = core subjects (LA + Math -- includes family read-alouds)
5-6 hours/week = content subjects (Science + History + Geography)
4 hours/week = extras (Bible + critical thinking + Fine Arts + misc.)
3 hours/week = outside the home activities

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No, I cannot fathom 4 hrs per week on just grammar.  But, 4 hrs per week on writing and grammar, yes.  In terms of history, we spend more than 3 hrs per week.  How can it take that long?  I guess it depends on what you are doing.  We read history for about 45 mins per day. So that is close to 4 hrs without any other activities.

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Roughly an hour per grade per day is a pretty fair estimate. So 5 hours daily for a 5th grader. 

Fwiw my 4th grader spends at least three hours on history a week. If we were doing straight SOTW per the book, between reading aloud SOTW, questions/discussion, picking an activity and extra reading, etc from the activity guide, we'd be over that. His grammar is more like 10 minutes a day, but if you add in his writing and spelling it's easily an hour a day. His math is usually a full hour or more because it's multiple parts not done altogether (Beast Academy largely solo, Hands on Equations with me, etc.) (and he really likes math). Four hours a day, in high energy kid friendly bites, is reasonable.

Edited by SilverMoon
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When we do dedicated grammar, my third grader spends about three hours a week on it, including in foreign language. But we don't do dedicated grammar all year long. Three hours a week on history seems a little on the light side to me for a fifth grader, but I guess it depends on what you might classify within that subject, just like anything. Input could easily be a few hours with videos, books, audio but output might only be an hour. We do not do anywhere close to three hours a week and this is the subject I feel I slack the most in. 

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Like Silver Moon said, I use the guideline of about an hour per grade. I don't want to be a slave to that idea, but it gives me a useful estimate of what's reasonable to expect.

Right now I'm working on extending my fourth grader's school days. I'm having him spend longer on core subjects like writing, history, and science (he already spends lots of time on math and reading). But I'm ramping up the time slowly, because I know the work I'm giving him is also harder this year. I'm also adding some more fun stuff for us all to do together.

Edited by Little Green Leaves
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I think I've been operating under a pretty narrow definition of academics and haven't considered some of our activities as part of our school time. We've definitely been deficient with writing but I think we've spent adequate time on other subjects when I include other activities like watching Youtube videos or reading outside of the history textbook. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I think I've been operating under a pretty narrow definition of academics and haven't considered some of our activities as part of our school time. We've definitely been deficient with writing but I think we've spent adequate time on other subjects when I include other activities like watching Youtube videos or reading outside of the history textbook. 

Yes, learning does not *only* happen through reading and writing. 😉 

Along with reading or writing for our content subjects were a lot of educational videos, documentaries, and feature films; educational games; field trips and educational activities and opportunities outside the home; hands-on projects and activities; lots of discussions; exploring bunny trails; etc.

Even at 5th grade, for more formal core subjects like Math and Grammar we included some interesting supplements, educational game board/card games, computer games, and the occasional "living book" to our spine programs to enhance our studies.

And at 5th grade, there are loads of interesting writing activities you can do for Writing besides just narrations. Things like:
- creative writing (stories, poetry)
- make your own family newspaper
- start a blog and do blog entries
- make a movie poster to capture the essence of a book you've read and enjoyed
- make your own atlas for Geography with 1-paragraph entries about each US state, or each nation studied
- or make a series of small "booklets" about different aspects of a state or nation
- journal or free writing from a prompt
- short answer (1-3 complete sentences or a short paragraph) in answer to a *thinking* question out of History, Science, or Literature
- over the course of several weeks, work on a multi-page writing project, such as 

Or, your DD might enjoy doing Wordsmith Apprentice (gr. 4-6) -- she's right at the sweet-spot age for it, and you can do as large or small a "bite" of it each day as you want. Super gentle, not a full-year program. Fun cub reporter theme, with the student writing in each department of the newspaper (which cleverly has you writing in the 4 areas of writing -- descriptive, narrative, expository, persuasive), with a silly cartoon to introduce each new dept. 
 

 

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