How Much Is Too Much?

@ivyoon (673)
United States
September 26, 2007 3:43pm CST
I often wonder if I push my kids too hard. Each day, I try to get as much done as I possibly can, but they often feel sluggish about it, and I tend to go off on tangents when I teach them because it's so exciting for me to see them learning. They're both doing 4th grade this year and 5th grade math. I picked up text books from my local school district... but our school district doesn't have Social Studies or Science text books for 4th graders (which I thought was outrageous, but that's another discussion!) So, I picked up a bunch of great Social Studies related books and a Science book that is wonderful. Now, I have the kids learning about Classification in Science (we're on Kingdoms now... and that goes fine... but when we get to Social Studies, they have difficulty finishing all the tasks I give them in one day... Does this seem like too much Social Studies to you? I give them a Geography page that I copy from a nice 4th grade workbook. They never have a problem finishing these. We're using Scholastic's "If You Were There When They Signed The Constitution", we do 2 pages per day in that. They read the two pages and answer questions that I pre-write for them. Then we use Scholastic's "Encyclopedia of the Civil War"... we just started with that, and we did the first two pages yesterday (same as with the Constitution book... except I read to them from this one because it's a little in-depth and I pause to explain some of the text in it) Then they answer a few questions that I wrote for this book. Next we use Scholastic's "Words That Built A Nation", we did "The Mayflower Compact" so far, but I wanted to do "Poor Richard's Almanac " today, and we didn't have time. It seems that after the Civil War, they start to slow down a lot. Then they don't finish, and today it caused us not to have enough time to do the Health and Safety activities I had planned to do with them. So, we're off schedule, as I'll have to push Gym back to Friday now so that I can make up the Health and Safety tomorrow. Do you think I'm giving them too much? Maybe I should do the Civil War first and save "Words That Built A Nation" for another marking period altogehter, you know, split them into two different sections? What are your thoughts? Any comments are welcome and appreciated.
1 person likes this
3 responses
@carolscash (9498)
• United States
28 Sep 07
Yes, I would say that your kids are silently wishing that you would stop putting so much on them. I home school my children and I have found that they learn more if I don't push things on them. some days we may only do a couple of hours of work and others we will do 6 hours as they are studying something that we can talk about longer and in more detail as they seem so interested.
@ivyoon (673)
• United States
5 Oct 07
You're right. I recently stopped with the Civil War book and Words That Built A Nation and am concentrating on The Constitution at this point. I gave them a quiz on it on Tuesday and they both scored 100%! At least I know the knowledge is being retained now. Next marking period we'll do the Civil War and save Words That Built A Nation for the end of the school year. They both seem to have more energy throughout the lessons now, and they seem to be more interested in everything. Thank you for your response.
• United States
16 Oct 07
Why not integrate the lessons with the field trips they've been asking for. I know my son (and my husband and myself when we were younger) tend to learn more when we can see history around us rather than just reading it from a book. If you are in the Pennsylvania area then you have access to stuff that some homeschooling parents would LOVE to have access to. I went there a couple of times to visit family and still remember Constitution Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc. That would be a great way to go over stuff they learn about in the books on the constitution. A trip to Gettysburg would be a great way to show more about some of the stuff that happened during the civil war and where some of it all happened. History is so much more interesting when it's up close and personal...and it is easier to see it as being part of something that is still alive around us. Hehe...but then I think that of most subjects :)
@ivyoon (673)
• United States
25 Oct 07
Really good advice. I am planning on taking a trip or two the first chance I get this year. It will be very exciting for me since I never had that kind of opportunity when I was a kid. They're going to be very excited about it too. Since the last time I posted, I've cut down on the Social Studies a bit, and they seem to really enjoy it and retain the info now. Thanks to you and everyone for all of your advice!
@shirgie (230)
• United States
9 Dec 07
Yikes! You sound a little more like a college professor to me than a mom homeschooling your kids but then again perhaps my methods would be way too relaxed for you. I homeschooled my ds for about 4 years before he decided he wanted to go to highschool. He had been a VERY struggling reader in the fourth grade reading at something in the area of second grade level. There were more problems mostly with tracking and getting his work at school and homework done. Anyhow my ds returned public school for the ninth grade and entered right into all the honors courses offered for his grade and has been doing very well ever since. So imho he make remarkable progress homeschooling. However, he never would have put up (yes I realize VERY different kid) with doing all the work you have lined up for each day. Part of his homeschooling career, he completed computer lessons on each subject required that took him a very short time each day and then for the rest of the day he read books of his choice or watched educational dvds I would buy for him. We did all the field trips we could and also participate in some homeschool group activities. I am now homeschooling my 8 year old dd. We just started 2 weeks ago. No way she would sit through the program you laid out either. She is only in the third grade though. I buy all the educational software, books, (just today bought a science kit on electricity for $7.99 at Ollie's) and dvds that I can afford. You would be amazed at what the child is learning while she is having fun. She does do traditional type schoolwork also but she seems to learn the most when she thinks it is fun not just more work. Just curious as to how often you do the health and safety lessons. I don't think this is one area you have to stress over if you have to postpone activities for. Health and safety is in my opinion easy to incorporate in daily conversation, field trips, hand outs and etc. I know that you have to feel comfortable with what you are doing. If how things are is how you like it, perhaps you could add just a bit of variation now and again and see how your children respond. Go with what works for you and your kids. Every families situation is different. If you can be a bit flexible, I think you may find that your kids will be refreshed and learn more than ever. There are many ways to get the same material into those brilliant minds. Guess how my formerly reluctant learner spent his Saturday today? He got up at 5 am and was on the school bus at 6 am to go to an academic meet that lasted from 8 am to 4 pm. These meets consists of multiple tests, esssay writing, speech giving, and an interview. Not my idea of fun and but apparently a great time for him now. There is a big difference between learning because you find it fun and interesting and learning because someone is making you. Best wishes. You sound VERY dedicated to your children and I am sure you can find a happy solution for your family. Your children are fortunate to have a caring and involved parent like yourself.
@ivyoon (673)
• United States
17 Dec 07
Thanks so much for sharing your homeschool experiences with me. It helps to know that others have gone through what I am going through. Since I posted this discussion, I have relaxed a lot with the kids, and they are both really enjoying learning now. I'm glad I posted this discussion and got so many responses. I've decided to break down all of the social studies activities into marking periods and use books that we've got that are fun to learn with, so now the kids love social studies. I also was lucky enough to find a Leap Frog Explorer Interactive Globe at a yard sale for $5! (They retail at the Discovery Store for about $135!) So, the kids are learning all the countries and their capitals, the oceans... they're learning about places I never knew about! It's great fun for all of us! I'm glad to hear that your experiences in homeschooling have been good... so far, mine have too. I'm glad I made the choice to do so for my children. Thank you again for your response, and I wish you luck with your homeschooling this year! :)
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
26 Sep 07
I agree with Oreo there....while it sounds wonderful what you're doing, and you're giving your kids a well rounded curriculum of studies...it does sound a bit much...I think you should slack off just a tad, that way they'll remember more at a slower pace
@ivyoon (673)
• United States
27 Sep 07
I suppose you're right. They've got a better chance of remembering things if I break it down into sections. If I try to cram too much into their heads, they'll likely forget it all by the time I want to test them on it. I'll try to spread it out so that we can learn each thing in one marking period and see how that goes. It may even free up some time to do some of the other things they've been asking to do such as field trips (Ghettysburg and the Philadelphia Zoo for starters.) Thanks for your advice.