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theWeedyRoad
11-11-2011, 10:12 PM
I have 180 days to fill for state reqs.

To this point, I have made those very academic days. In exchange for our dedication, we will complete our official workload (except for each child's individual challenges) long before 180 days are up. My children will not necessarily be ready for the next grade level though. We average 2hrs per day, even for my 4th grader (he's very efficient), so it isn't like I'm expecting them to buckle down and do a ton of work. I consider a school day as anything that contains math AND reading (we almost always do our full load, though). I also try to cover our subjects as indepth as my kids can mentally handle (I don't pull punches or make things 'light' because we'll come back later)

My kids aren't geniuses- just normally bright. I can't be the only one looking at this sort of thing.

So for those of you who have to meet a certain number of days, how do you balance it so you stretch the academics for the length of time you are 'supposed' to without purposely holding your kids back or giving busywork/unneeded repetition? Or do you have days where you cover other stuff (home ec?) and mark it as a school day? Beyond field trips (a given) or church (which we don't do), what other things count here?

I ran into the same situation last year but it was our first year and I chalked it up to my kids finally getting their instruction in their own language.

Is this a normal homeschool-is-just-very-efficient issue, or something I need to really look at?

dbmamaz
11-11-2011, 10:28 PM
I guess I'm curious what curriculum you are using? I rarely finish a curriculum in a year. I have, tho, spent time where our main focus was doing science experiments every day. If your kids WANT to do more school, why not just keep moving ahead to the next level of curriculum? or do some project-based learning or some fun unit studies?

i havent had to deal with that as I just do a standardized test at the end of the year and thats it. We cover whatever I feel like covering on whatever timeline works for us.

coloradoalice
11-12-2011, 12:32 AM
If you feel they will not necessarily be ready for the next grade level then maybe you need to slow down and supplement. Not necessarily with busy work but with further study or review. Or maybe unit studies on things that they really enjoyed. Anything they are ready to go forward in you can just start the next level. My son is going to be done with his Math U See wayyyy early so we are just going to start the next level. Everything else is going to finish on time though. We also do about 2 hours a day and cover 4-5 subjects a day.

farrarwilliams
11-12-2011, 12:51 AM
Yeah, I'm having trouble connecting the dots here. If a kid is really finished with a concept, then they usually are ready to move on to the next concept. If a kid has finished one concept in math and really gets it, then they're ready to learn the next one. They may deserve a break for whatever reason, but if they really understand it, then I think they're ready to at least try to do the next thing. And I can't imagine finishing everything I wanted to - especially in science and history - well before the end of the school year. There's just not enough sheer time to read all the books I wish we could read about all the topics we cover. And that's not busy work to me - that's learning more in depth. There's also never enough time here to do all the fun projects I wish we could do, especially for history. And if we did finish one time period, we'd move on to something else. I mean, my kids haven't be exposed to many, many topics out there, so I would simply do something else with them if we had reached their level.

I guess I'm just confused. I mean... I can understand having certain skill goals for a grade, after which they've been met, you don't want to push, but rather give time for them to sink in, but surely there's always more content you can cover. That's just... lifelong learning stuff.

luvmybaby333
11-12-2011, 02:14 AM
We have to meet a 180 day (4 hours per day) requirement. Part of how I meet this is that we only do traditional academics 4 days a week. The 5th day (or rather the first day: Monday) is our PE/ Field Trip day. I still count that as a school day, since we devote at least 4 hours to those activities... But it doesn't require that I use any of our curriculum. Other than that, I guess I don't worry about stretching things out over the span of a year. If we finish up one level of curriculum before the school year is up, then we'll just start on the next one. My goal is to hopefully "catch" my daughter up to at least her standard grade level, at some point, though... So that may be different for other families. Honestly, we are so relaxed about schedules (we'll slow down as needed, and speed through other things if that's how it seems to roll) that I think it will all even out in the end. The past few weeks have been rough for me, so I've skipped history and just focused on the "core" stuff. (She's 8, so that's pretty much reading, writing, and math.) I'll be picking it back up again soon, but that will draw out the program some. Of course, there are some weeks that we'll cover TWO chapters of history instead of just one. So again, it all evens out. That's the beauty of homeschooling. It's so adaptable!

Do you have to literally log everything into a book, or something? We use an umbrella school, so we don't have to... But I'm doing it this year just for my own peace of mind. If you aren't required to provide proof, then I *really* wouldn't worry about it. If you guys finish up with the year's goals early, then celebrate and take a well-earned break. :)

lakshmi
11-12-2011, 03:48 AM
I'm a little confused too. Indiana has a 180 day requirement but no daily hour minimum or anything else that I can see.

For me, I use a teachers planner book like the use in schools. It has 180 days or close to it. I use a curriclum but have never finished it in a year. lol. I have five subjects delineated as such: language arts, math, science, social studies/pe, art/music. I backtrack and don't use it for planning. If we play music or discuss Handel then.... duh, music. If we read books and do handwriting>>>> language arts.

Now if I get crazy and do a whole bunch of lessons then I stretch them out. I school all year but document 180 days.

This isn't making sense. If you need clarifcation ask me. This is so much easier to explain verbally.
If my daughters finish, say a handwriting book it is pretty obvious that they are done. I buy a new one. And we go on. BUT, my documenting still says, Handwriting. In the front of the planner I keep a list of what I am using and the dates started. So I know. It doesn't matter what they know.

Other people I know mark on the calendar if they did school and call it day.

Staysee34
11-12-2011, 09:51 AM
We have the 180 day requirement as well. I document what I have to for the state. Each day on an index card, I write what school day it is (currently day 50), the date, who attended, and a detailed list of what we did that day. Put it in the file box and forget about it. As far as curriculum goes, if my kids finish anything that we started at the beginning of the year, we'll move on to whatever is next. I like the idea of mastery. When they master a concept we move on to a new one. So, on any given day, my kids can be working on Kindergarten through 3rd grade material. As far as Science, I stretch it out by combining it with another subject. This year we are doing Science and History together (evolution/prehistory). Next year, we're doing Anatomy and Physiology (health/science). Much easier to teach and way easier to stretch out if need be.

ETA: We school for roughly 3-3 1/2 hours a day Monday thru Friday with Wednesday being a light day for Music, Art, Health, Social Studies, etc. Including the 1 hour of breaks they get through out the day we hit the 4 hour mark with no trouble.

Gabriela
11-12-2011, 10:56 AM
Since this is our first year (we're in 3rd grade right now), I didn't know how much time everything would take.
We flew through, but because we were doing really long days and intense classes.
I remember one day we sat down and read from the Science textbook for 2 hrs. straight because I was worried
that we needed to catch up if we were to finish by the end of the year.

Now we have a month of school left and we finished Science a couple of weeks ago.
Same goes for LA and Math. We could have gone slower. Now I know how to pace it a bit better.
Next year, knowing this, I'll give more time for special projects and science experiments... and definitely go into more depth in every subject.

Airen
11-12-2011, 01:51 PM
If you really don't want to go on, how about child-led tangents? Like, in history or science, let them go through and pick something... like Greece. Then have a few days of just Greece. Greek myth, art, Pericles stories (my kid loves generals :)). I don't have any sort of day/time limit, so I don't know if that could fluff enough time. But it'd be a good, fun way to review...

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
11-12-2011, 03:29 PM
We are required to have 180 days of instruction, though our town does not ask us to document it. I am counting days this year in my planner only because it appeals to my inner control freak. :)

If my kids finish a grade level's worth of math (Singapore) before the end of the school year, we just keep going in the next level. That happened last year, when they both did about 1.25 year's worth of math. I didn't "run out" of curriculum for any other subject last year.

This year, we're using Sequential Spelling, which conveniently has 180 lessons per level. BFSU has 41 lessons in the K-2 book, so I planned to do half this year and half next year, with a lesson every other week. I plan out history a unit at a time (Ancient Rome, currently), and we'll stop wherever we are in June and pick up again in September. I don't have a curriculum for language arts (besides spelling)--I just keep working through my list of potential read-alouds and continue with daily copywork.

To sum up, most of the curriculum we use is either on a schedule to last through the school year (science, spelling), or it is a continuous curriculum where we can just keep going without regard to the 180 days or grade level (math, history, literature).

If you finish up early, maybe your kids would like to pick a subject of their choice for an in-depth, independent project?

theWeedyRoad
11-12-2011, 09:01 PM
Thanks guys.

I think I'm mostly stressed about math, to be honest. SS and sci, I agree there will never be enough time to come close to learning it all. But math... last year when dd finished her 1st grade math months early, I attempted to move her into second. She was NOT ready at all, even though she had the 1st concepts down pat. I think mentally she just wasn't there yet. I worry, I guess, that this year will be similar: we'll finish early but she won't be ready (i.e. mentally mature enough).

And to clarify: we have to hit 180 days but I don't have to count hours. Sorry for the confusion there.


Thank you for the other ideas! I think I'll use a combination- some interest led stuff, and some attempts to sneak on to the next level. I'm also thinking of maybe adding singapore-type challenging word probs, or maybe logic, to fill time if needed?

farrarwilliams
11-12-2011, 09:37 PM
If she finishes the math early, I would just play a math game a day or something and count that as "reinforcing basic concepts." We really like Rat-a-Tat-Cat (greater than less than during the game and adding your points), Sleeping Queens (making simple equations and adding points), Corners (making numbers add to multiples of 5), Going to the Dump (making 10), Knock-Out (breaking numbers down in different ways), Frog Juice (trading cards for equal numbers), Roll and Add (adding up to 20)... There are others too - some people like Math Dice, and for slightly older kids I like Equate and 24.

raegan
11-12-2011, 11:16 PM
yk, The Critical Thinking Company has all kinds of options that might keep her on her toes, thinking-wise, but that wouldn't really be drilling separate skills. She may really enjoy a different approach to exercising her brain too.

(I'm taking notes on the math games Farrar mentioned, too!) :)

theWeedyRoad
11-12-2011, 11:52 PM
Love these ideas! Thanks!!!

dbmamaz
11-12-2011, 11:58 PM
and dont forget math readers - check out the LIving Math website!

farrarwilliams
11-13-2011, 12:37 AM
Ooh, yeah, living math books rock! And there's content in math too in a way. And you can do math projects. We don't do it so much anymore, but when my kids were little, we often did art and math together - symmetry, geometry stuff mostly, but also money stuff.

Rainefox
11-15-2011, 09:45 AM
We have to fill a certain number of days also (I'm in Pa) but I really don't worry much about what the state wants. We school year round, just because it is a comfortable rut we have gotten into. We do play a lot of learning games, especially in math, and I do count that as education. I don't worry about matching up grade levels or how long we spend doing a given curriculum. It takes as long as it takes, then we move on. Same with the hours we 'do school' in a given day, we do as many as it takes. Some days math is fifteen minutes for one kid, the next day it might be two hours for the same kid. I do have a basic idea of what I want to cover in a given day, and if it seems that a certain concept is taking too long to be understood I just readjust my idea of how long I want to spend on it.

Our state has mandatory testing in certain grades, but I just 'assign' my kids the grade they would be in based on their age, not the grade level of the work they are doing (which has always been higher). I really don't worry about it or care. I just want my kids to keep on learning and solidifying their skills at whatever level they happen to be at. State requirements are designed with the public school paradigm in mind, they don't really fit well with the kind of people who consider learning to be a lifestyle.

SusanC
11-16-2011, 06:55 PM
We just keep moving along, particularly in math. I haven't noticed the kind of problem that you are talking about, so when we get to the end of the book we move on to the next. However, because we are "ahead" and I don't feel any rush, I only do the math book 4 days a week and on the fifth day (Tuesday right now) we do "alternative" math. This is usually a logic problem, maybe a game, today I had them count by tens in Spanish and counted it for both subjects. :D It's a good day for reading a living math book or watching a video - I want to try "The Story of One" out on the free documentary site. Anyway, that slows us down a bit, but allows broadening and deepening - I hope.

Shoe
11-16-2011, 07:10 PM
I have 180 days to fill for state reqs.

To this point, I have made those very academic days. In exchange for our dedication, we will complete our official workload (except for each child's individual challenges) long before 180 days are up. My children will not necessarily be ready for the next grade level though. We average 2hrs per day, even for my 4th grader (he's very efficient), so it isn't like I'm expecting them to buckle down and do a ton of work. I consider a school day as anything that contains math AND reading (we almost always do our full load, though). I also try to cover our subjects as indepth as my kids can mentally handle (I don't pull punches or make things 'light' because we'll come back later)

My kids aren't geniuses- just normally bright. I can't be the only one looking at this sort of thing.

So for those of you who have to meet a certain number of days, how do you balance it so you stretch the academics for the length of time you are 'supposed' to without purposely holding your kids back or giving busywork/unneeded repetition? Or do you have days where you cover other stuff (home ec?) and mark it as a school day? Beyond field trips (a given) or church (which we don't do), what other things count here?

I ran into the same situation last year but it was our first year and I chalked it up to my kids finally getting their instruction in their own language.

Is this a normal homeschool-is-just-very-efficient issue, or something I need to really look at?
I haven't read the rest of this thread yet, but here's my experience-not saying that mine is typical or "right", just sharing.

Speaking only for myself, 180 days is not even close for my kids to finish all that I've set out for them. We're doing ~200 days this year (in planning, at least) and I'm still worried that they won't get it all finished. Of course, I'm pretty laid back on a day to day basis, so we're not very efficient at all, but I'm a compulsive completist, so the kids have to do it all, no matter how long it takes.

rumbledolly
11-17-2011, 11:39 AM
Great topic! I wondered this same thing last year since we only HS'ed for half the year. We finished the required 175 days way before PS did. With a lot of suggestions from this forum and others we played a lot of games to reinforce concepts and took a lot of field trips.

What made me say "hmmmm" was a friend of my niece is homeschooled and lives in a state that requires 180 days. Right around February vacation my SIL said to me that my nieces friend was already finished with the school year and how could that be since it was only February. I figured they schooled all year or started schooling for the "year" when it was convenient with them which of course could be any time. I found out the parent works with the kids until the curriculum they are using is finished which has been pretty early in the year (they start schooling late August/early September) then the rest of the year is reinforcing the concepts they've learned which includes field trips/travel. So in reality they were not finished in February, just finished the day to day work for their grade. I should note these are older children - grade 7 and grade 9 I believe.

jazz
11-17-2011, 03:38 PM
This could be a good time for a review type workbook or an online supplemental program. We had Destination Math through the Homeschool Buyers Coop last year and DD really liked it. We have some Kumon workbooks and other Math workbooks as well. We use Adapted Mind now because we got it through our local coop quite inexpensively. For the computer ones, I just let DD choose topics she's already mastered to do some extra practice on the topics if we finish early. She also loves to make her own activity sheets for me to do, which also helps her review a topic as she has to know the topic quite well to create questions about it, and check my work and see if I did it right.

On the 180 days thing, I have to do that too. I keep a journal of what we worked on for a given day. In addition to typical academic days, I count days where we work on a writing project or a large art project for a chunk of the day, field trips, rehearsal and performance days for chorus or ballet.