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Another "How long is your school day" question

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My daughter is in 5th grade, and pretty much following the complete WTM menu of subjects. I struggle to keep our school day under six hours. Right now we are beginning at 8am and ending around 3pm with a 1 hour lunch break. This does not include time for independant reading or piano practice. However, she does not have homework. I do worry how long our days will be once she is in High school. I also wonder how this compares to other kids her age. I suppose other children spend six hours in school plus the bus ride plus homework when they come home, so we are still better off, right?

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We are still better off! We can take a break and go outside and run around the house. When she's older she'll be able to accomplish more in the same amount of time. It'll work out.

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I know we are better off academically. I have looked at the schools in my area (both public and private) and there simply aren't any that are teaching what I teach here at home. However, before this year, I could put the schools to shame and be done by lunch time. :D I guess I am missing that just a bit.

 

This is the path I chose, though, and I believe it will be worth it. :grouphug:

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I always feel like I'm missing something but my ds who is in 3rd grade but working up to 7th in some areas finishes in about 3.5 hours. Add an hour of kindy for my little one (less usually) and that brings our total to right around 4.5 hours a day. We start at 8 and finish around 1 including a break for lunch. I break everything up into smaller incriments that we do daily vs. WTM recommendations where it's an hour of history 2x a week, etc. That why Huck doesn't get too burned out. He gets overwhelmed easily.

BTW, because it isn't in my sig. Our work includes 7th grade math, Spanish, Latin, history, writing, lit, biology, art (on Fridays) handwriting and reading.

Don't worry. You're still ahead of the game!

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My 5th grader starts around nine and ends around noon, with another 1.5-2 hours of reading (me aloud and him alone) later in the day.

 

We do all the usual subjects, plus Greek and piano. I think the key to our shorter day is that I ruthlessly limit the number of problems that he has to do. For example, we do R & S grammar and if he can orally do all (or almost all) of the class practice correct, I won't give him any written work. (Why bother if he already knows it?) If he needs practice, I'll only assign odds. Same with math, where we use Horizons and do maybe 30-40% of the problems in each section. I also find that having him do just a few problems with me before sending him off to do the entire assignment prevents him from wasting 40 minutes doing every single problem wrong because he didn't "get" it.

 

This may or may not be a good practice in your situation, I don't know, I just mention it because that's how we keep our time down.

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We start at 10am and are done by 2:30 to 3pm. that includes 1 hour of reading and a total of one hour of breaks. So that's about 3.5 to 4 hours of schooling. Granted we have a little time every day for rabbit holes. :D

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We start at 8 and finish at 12:20 with no breaks, so 4.5 hours. Then they have music practice and reading later in the day. Also On Wednesdays we do things like art, health, music, geography etc in the afternoon from 12:30-4ish. THis is because I have my bible study in the am. That said if they are arguing or dawdling we sit there until it is done, so some days can be as long as 6-8 hourse but they really shouldn't be. We do 1.5 hours of history twice a week, and 1.5 hours of science twice a week so they share a timeslot. Everything else is pretty much broken down into 30 minute blocks. I do not eliminate numbers on the student pages they do the full page, but I limit how many pages I am assigning each day to ensure they can finish them in the time alloted. Also their reading time in the evening is to cover assigned supp reading for science and history, it is also a 30 minute block, they can do all the fun reading they want after school. We seem to be getting it all in by the end of the week but we do school through the summer to compensate for shorter lessons/shorter days. I think if I wanted to be done in June we would have to do 6 hour days or all subjects 5 days a week, instead of the 4 days for core stuff and 1 day for the options

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My 5th grader starts around nine and ends around noon, with another 1.5-2 hours of reading (me aloud and him alone) later in the day.

 

We do all the usual subjects, plus Greek and piano. I think the key to our shorter day is that I ruthlessly limit the number of problems that he has to do. For example, we do R & S grammar and if he can orally do all (or almost all) of the class practice correct, I won't give him any written work. (Why bother if he already knows it?) If he needs practice, I'll only assign odds. Same with math, where we use Horizons and do maybe 30-40% of the problems in each section. I also find that having him do just a few problems with me before sending him off to do the entire assignment prevents him from wasting 40 minutes doing every single problem wrong because he didn't "get" it.

 

This may or may not be a good practice in your situation, I don't know, I just mention it because that's how we keep our time down.

 

I almost never make DD do the written exercises for R&S grammer. I do give her the worksheets. We are using Singapore for math which doesn't seem to overdo the repetition.

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Guest janainaz

We start at 9 and usually are not done until the late afternoon. I give my ds8 breaks and I have a ds4 that needs my time, too. I gave up a rigid and strict "schedule". It was not working for my younger one and I kept hearing myself say, "hold on, in a minute and not right now". I felt terrible at the end of the day.

 

We get ALL our work done and some days are smoother and better than others, but I take it in stride. There are days we stop what we are doing and go to the park. I do follow an order of things, but I leave plenty of room for change. If we did all my ds's work starting at 9am and worked straight through, it would be about 4 to 4.5 hours total.

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My daughter is in 5th grade, and pretty much following the complete WTM menu of subjects. I struggle to keep our school day under six hours. Right now we are beginning at 8am and ending around 3pm with a 1 hour lunch break. This does not include time for independant reading or piano practice. However, she does not have homework. I do worry how long our days will be once she is in High school. I also wonder how this compares to other kids her age. I suppose other children spend six hours in school plus the bus ride plus homework when they come home, so we are still better off, right?

 

This seems a little long to me. I spend 3 - 4 hours with my 6th grader, then he does some work, including reading, independently while I'm at work in the afternoon.

 

Is your daughter a day dreamer? It takes my oldest son much longer to complete his work than my youngest does.

 

If you're both able to handle the long day, then you're good. But if either of you are tired or frustrated or you feel like you're on the fast track to burnout, it might be time to consider some strategies to shorten the day. I'm not sure what they would be, though, so I'm not much help. But you have my sympathy! It took my a long time to get into a good groove.

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I think we're close to this. Like you this time includes music practice (lessons on some days), free reading, read-alouds. I know if I just taught her it would go a lot more quickly but my time is divided. It works out.

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My 2nd grader and I go for 4-5 hours. That includes lunch break, maybe another short snack break and we almost always do a bible craft and history craft. I don't know how others get done in 2 hours! I usually make her read directions and some other readings instead of me, because she doesn't like to read and this helps, so I guess it takes longer. I know it's long, but at least it keeps her busy, out of trouble, and off the tv.

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We usually go from 8 until around 1 or 2 with a lunch break. The girls are fast readers though, and are pretty independent workers.

 

Each day we do:

 

Bible Study

Science (my oldest dd listens in on the youngers lesson, Zoology I, in addition to doing her own, General Science)

History (SOTW, with supplements)

Saxon math, and drills.

Writing Strands

Spelling

Handwriting

We are in between grammar programs at the moment, but I'm having older dd read through Painless Grammar.

And we do Homeschool PE..

 

Then over the course of the week we have Health and Art History independent reading.

 

All of the girls also have independent reading assignments to do.

 

We are about to add Spanish in once a week.

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I don't think that is too long at all. We start at 8:30 and finish around 3:00 for my first grader. She has breaks while I help the others and we have an hour lunch/recess. After "school" she still has piano practice and quiet reading before bed. When we have a project it can go on until 4:00 or 5:00.

I think whatever is working for you - works for you.

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My 14yo dd works anywhere between 4-6 hours a day depending on what's on the schedule, that includes 30 minutes of piano. We start between 8-8:30 stop for lunch at 12-12:30, she then does literature/writing and piano after lunch.

 

My 8yo dd does about 2.5-3 hours. She listens in on the SL history readings which boosts her time up.

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My 3rd grader puts in anywhere from 2-4 hours a day. Dd (K) goes from 30min to an hour. That's not counting stuff like PE and Art.

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Oh my. That would have been a looooong day for us.

__________________

 

:iagree:

 

On M, W and F, we school (ages 5 - 14) from 9:15 until 12:00 with a couple of short breaks. The kids go to PE and arts/crafts at the YMCA on those days.

 

Tuesdays, I do not have other students; our work load varies. Honestly? We often just enjoy being in our own home without other kids. ;)

 

Thursdays, we school from 9:40 until 12:00 and then 12:30 until 1:00.

 

The 2 oldest students (8th grade) have an outside math class Tuesday and Thursday 8:00 am - 9:30 am. They do their homework for this class outside of the above class time.

 

In the mentioned hours, we do:

 

SOTW 1X a week

My Father's World, Exploring Cultures and Countries (adapted) 1X a week

Spelling Power

Learning Language Arts through Literature

History of Science (a literature based history by Beautiful Feet)

Real Science 4 kids (Chemistry right now)

Lively Latin

Saxon math with some A/O Lifepac for the youngest boys

Classical Writing (about 2 lessons a month)

IEW - slowly

A Horizon's set of Grammar books

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Our length of time varies a little, but my 6th dd usually goes 10-2 with a lunch break. Some days she's done in 2 hours. That time doesn't include reading that she does independently. She is ALWAYS reading. She is very independent on her work and doesn't need much instruction in many skills, though. For example, showing her once how to do a new math concept is usually enough for her to do the whole lesson on her own.

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My ds9 (4th grade) does around 3.5 hours a day. Today, he started at 9 and ended at 11:30, so it was a short day (co-op day...but co-op was cancelled today). My ds5 (k/1st) does between 1 and 2 hours a day depending on how in depth we go based on his interest. Today was a long day for him - he finished 30 mins before his brother, so a 2 hour day today. :)

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I don't want to read all of the replies, because I don't want to start comparing what I do to others... but TWTM recommends way less time on history than what you are spending. I bet you spend too much on science too. Why don't you read over the chapter for your grade and make sure you are following WTM recommendations. I see many, many, people on these boards doing way more than the book recs.

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We are pretty much done in 3 hours. My kids are self motivated to get their work done. There are days when it takes longer if we need to review something that someone just did not get but for the most part we are finished in under 3 hours except for their reading most days.

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I don't want to read all of the replies, because I don't want to start comparing what I do to others... but TWTM recommends way less time on history than what you are spending. I bet you spend too much on science too. Why don't you read over the chapter for your grade and make sure you are following WTM recommendations. I see many, many, people on these boards doing way more than the book recs.

 

We spend more time because we want to. There is so much to History, that I can't imagine how it is all covered in 3 hours a week over 4 years. Science is dd's favorite subject, and she often asks for extra time to study one or the other of these subjects. I do wish I could fit in more independant reading time.

 

ETA: DD is easily distracted, and I think very often assignments take longer than they need.

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We have a long day, but I have two very active boys--6 & 8--and a 20 mo. old to boot. When I follow the time it actually takes to do their work it is around 5 hours, but they day dream and fidget a lot, so we start at 8 or 9 and go until 4-5 pm. We take an hour for lunch. It's basically an all day thing. Sometimes we don't get independent reading time until bedtime when daddy can help! I don't worry about it any more.

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Oh my. That would have been a looooong day for us.

 

 

I just increased our school day for DS, 12.5 years old. We now start at 9:30, and are finished by 3:00, which includes an hour off for lunch, and an hour or so of reading time. Our day is usually around four hours of academics.

Michelle T

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We spend more time because we want to. The book is a great place to begin, but I don't think SWB meant to write a "recipe". We took her suggestions and made it fit our lives ;)

 

ETA: DD is easily distracted, and I think very often assignments take longer than they need.

I agree

 

We don't follow any one curriculum guide to the T. And learning is supposed to be fun. Isn't that the point of homeschooling--you decide what to learn, how much and when:)

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My daughter is in 5th grade, and pretty much following the complete WTM menu of subjects. I struggle to keep our school day under six hours. Right now we are beginning at 8am and ending around 3pm with a 1 hour lunch break. This does not include time for independant reading or piano practice. However, she does not have homework. I do worry how long our days will be once she is in High school. I also wonder how this compares to other kids her age. I suppose other children spend six hours in school plus the bus ride plus homework when they come home, so we are still better off, right?

 

Well... I guess your real question might want to be: How do you and your dd feel about how long your day is? It is less than ps, and you said she doesn't have hw (which I'm told can take from 1-4 hours in grade 5/6). In that regard, of course she's better off. But... it's really all in the attitude isn't it? Do you both feel the 6 hours, plus reading and piano are too much, just right, something else?

 

My ds is grade 4 and spends only about 3 to 4 hours total on "sit-down-book-work." That includes science labs and working on any reports/projects for school lessons. Ds is doing spelling, grammar, math, history, science, latin -- writing is incorporated into those subjects. That 3-4 hrs. doesn't include art, music or reading. It also doesn't include anything he takes upon himself to explore. I don't require him to spend "x number of minutes per subject" as the WTM guide dictates.

 

YMMV of course... perhaps have a talk with dd if you haven't already and see how she's feeling about the work load. Are there subjects you could combine more fluidly to ease the time spent? Are you doubling up curriculum in subject areas? If you are, could you ease back on the secondary curriculum or eliminate it entirely? What about breaking up your day more to ease the feeling of the day being so long?

 

Just thoughts...

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When my son was in 5th we would work from 8-12 straight through. We sometimes had to do another hour or so after lunch but not often. At that time I didn't have other children to school (or even in the house) so it was my focus keeping us on track.

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We spend more time because we want to. There is so much to History, that I can't imagine how it is all covered in 3 hours a week over 4 years. Science is dd's favorite subject, and she often asks for extra time to study one or the other of these subjects. I do wish I could fit in more independant reading time.

 

ETA: DD is easily distracted, and I think very often assignments take longer than they need.

 

I think there's a pressure to have a "shorter than public school" day in the home school world. To show how efficient it is. I really sweated this last year. I don't this year. It takes us as long as it takes us. I'm dealing with attention issues and various grade levels and temperaments. Today will take us FOREVER because I'm also on a "natural consequences" kick and my kids have made bad choices. I think we will be doing school up until dinner b/c we will have to leave for dance and swim this afternoon.

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Our days appear to look exactly like yours. Somedays, if the dc are engaged, we'll go to 4 or 5 and it doesn't even seem like school. Other days, like today, we break at noon because it's just too pretty outside to stay in.

 

But, yes, a normal day is 8-3 for our 6th grader.

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I think there's a pressure to have a "shorter than public school" day in the home school world. To show how efficient it is. I really sweated this last year. I don't this year. It takes us as long as it takes us. I'm dealing with attention issues and various grade levels and temperaments. Today will take us FOREVER because I'm also on a "natural consequences" kick and my kids have made bad choices. I think we will be doing school up until dinner b/c we will have to leave for dance and swim this afternoon.

 

I show my efficiency by covering subjects the schools do not have time for, and progressing through material more quickly. I will show my efficiency by graduating my kids at 16 who are far better prepared for... whatever path they choose... then their 18 year olds.

 

To answer Audrey, I think the long days bother me more than dd. I get TIRED! However, I learned today that my TSH is high (low thyroid issues) and I am hoping an increase in my medication will help. Generally, my dd LOVES school, and often asks for more time to study the subjects she likes further. I think we are doing well, and I think as she matures she will spend less time daydreaming, and become more efficient with her work.

 

So I guess I am satisfied with things as they are. I am beginning earlier so as to finish before the afternoon slump. I am also alternating days with Grammer and writing as well as the foreign languages. This has helped us this week.

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Calvin does more or less nine to five, with an hour for lunch, half an hour break in the morning, and at least half an hour (more usually an hour) of exercise in the afternoon. If he went to school, he would do something like 9 to 3, but would then have at least an hour of homework, plus a commute. I hope that this timing will stay roughly constant until he goes to school when he's sixteen.

 

ETA: I just looked at the timetable for a local private school, and they run from 8:40 to 4:00, plus homework.

 

Laura

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We start around 10 am and are done around 4pm. However, we do leave for an hour and a half for gym time. Then we do an hour of read-alouds after dh goes to bed. So I'd say we're running about 5 hours, taking away lunch as well.

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I don't see anything wrong with a long day. I ,however, will not be able to handle it until the kids have more chores. Plus it looks like DD will be like me in that independant school work is next to impossible and a long ways off. So that effects how I do things. I will switch to a more traditional or all workbook school if I have to.

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I show my efficiency by covering subjects the schools do not have time for, and progressing through material more quickly. I will show my efficiency by graduating my kids at 16 who are far better prepared for... whatever path they choose... then their 18 year olds.

 

To answer Audrey, I think the long days bother me more than dd. I get TIRED! However, I learned today that my TSH is high (low thyroid issues) and I am hoping an increase in my medication will help. Generally, my dd LOVES school, and often asks for more time to study the subjects she likes further. I think we are doing well, and I think as she matures she will spend less time daydreaming, and become more efficient with her work.

 

So I guess I am satisfied with things as they are. I am beginning earlier so as to finish before the afternoon slump. I am also alternating days with Grammer and writing as well as the foreign languages. This has helped us this week.

 

 

Then you've kind of answered yourself there! :001_smile: If it's working for your dd, don't change anything.

 

But... get yourself checked out and work on taking care of YOU!! Also, I have to ask... are you tutoring her the whole time? That can get tiring. Grade 5 is plenty old enough to start learning to do some work on her own.

 

My ds gets distracted, too. Believe me, I know how that feels and how you have to be on top of them to keep them focused. However, I am still trying to get him to do some things independently. E.g. here are the math practise problems. Do it. Then I can go do something I need to to do.

 

If she's already doing some things on her own, maybe try to work on more?? I know how it feels to be sitting there thinking "will this ever end?" and that doesn't help me keep a chipper attitude. My goal for going into grade 5 (ds is grade 4 now) is to be able to write out his assignments for grammar, spelling and reading and he should be able to do those subjects on his own, with me available for questions, but not side-by-side tutoring.

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Then you've kind of answered yourself there! :001_smile: If it's working for your dd, don't change anything.

 

But... get yourself checked out and work on taking care of YOU!! Also, I have to ask... are you tutoring her the whole time? That can get tiring. Grade 5 is plenty old enough to start learning to do some work on her own.

 

My ds gets distracted, too. Believe me, I know how that feels and how you have to be on top of them to keep them focused. However, I am still trying to get him to do some things independently. E.g. here are the math practise problems. Do it. Then I can go do something I need to to do.

 

If she's already doing some things on her own, maybe try to work on more?? I know how it feels to be sitting there thinking "will this ever end?" and that doesn't help me keep a chipper attitude. My goal for going into grade 5 (ds is grade 4 now) is to be able to write out his assignments for grammar, spelling and reading and he should be able to do those subjects on his own, with me available for questions, but not side-by-side tutoring.

 

I do not teach for six solid hours. I usually give her a lesson, then give her an assignment. When she finishes the assignment we go on to the next subject. While she works, I take a few minutes with my k'er, remind dd to get back to work, change a diaper, remind dd to get back to work, make another pot of coffee, remind dd...

 

The truth is it isn't entirely her fault, we have two little boys at large while school is in session, and it is a miracle she can concentrate as well as she does. She is a hard worker, and will do anything I ask. I couldn't ask for a better student. She just has this problem with distractions.

 

For a few days I did try doing all her lessons at once, than leaving her with a list of assignments, but she would get lonely and board and it took her forever to finish her work. She is an extrovert who processes information by talking it out. She is also very relational and just plain likes to have me by her side. I guess that isn't a bad thing. ;)

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