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What do you do when subjects are taking much longer mid school year?

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    What do you do when subjects are taking much longer mid school year?

    We have a son in second grade(august bday so he’s young but doing well overall).
    Daughter in K
    2 year old full of energy

    I’m wondering what others do when some subjects are taking a lot longer to complete compared to the beginning of the school year/ even a couple months ago? Do you stick to general timeframes or just done when that work is completed? So it’s about the middle of the school year and we are struggling with some subjects taking too long… an example is my second grader son is sometimes taking longer then 45 minutes to complete the math lesson for the given day… do not you pause to do more review the difficult concept? Take a break and come back to it later in the day- usually try not to do this as it’s really hard to get back to it. Or maybe there are other ideas out there?! I realize that at this point of the school year some concepts will take longer and there’s also more to review for each subject. Just struggling to keep a balanced pace as we are all definitely struggling with being focused and persevering. Most days it taking a good five hours or so to complete all his second grade work… we do take a long lunch break to clean up, eat and usually get outside.

    It could be a lot of things - learning fatigue being one of them. Sometimes it's hard to get back into a rhythm after a break (Christmas). Sometimes it's hard to grasp a topic. 45 minutes for a math assignment is excessive in 2nd. Maybe set a timer? When it goes off, move on. When everything else is done, come back to the math, assuming he's actually grasping the concepts. IMO, total work time for 2nd grade should be somewhere between 2-3 hours.
    Homeschooling 12 years, 10th year with MP
    DS 15 - 9th - MA HS Diploma Program
    DS 13 - 7A


      Thanks for your reply, Jen! I’m taking your ideas to heart and mulling over some tweaks that can be made. I think I can be more careful about not letting one subject go TOO long as that usually slows our momentum. I’d love to know how you would keep a second graders book work shorter? I’m not sure his school day has ever been 2-3 hours but I’m sure part of that is all the back and fourth with my other kiddos. Anyways, it’s always helpful to read that we aren’t alone and to hear others thoughts. I really appreciate it!


        For second grade math, I would find out if he has memorized his fact families before completing the lesson for the day. If he is using chips, counters, fingers, or referencing charts still, he will be quite bogged down with the sums and differences. If he has his facts memorized and can orally rattle them off with speed and accuracy, then he could still be building his writing stamina (or have an issue with writing that needs to be watched closely). I often run through the flashcards my student most struggles with prior to a written lesson. Don't forget to review old material. Also, are you teaching the entire lesson from the textbook? Some kids don't need that on days that practice a skill already introduced. Only teaching new material (carrying, borrowing, fractions, measurement/rule equivalents) could cut down on total time in class.

        For literature, you can streamline procedures with phonics if he is already a strong reader. Skip pulling flashcards and just have the student read the phonics teams and syllabicated words from YOUR teacher manual. Pull from Classical Phonics word lists as needed. Often I will pick 3 easy and 2 challenge words from the CP list and write them on a Post-It note in my TM and have him read directly from that list. A struggling reader will benefit from those words being written in a larger font with more space between each letter. At the beginning on the year, I type up lists of syllabicated (Pronounce & Say and "New Words") from the lit TM into MS Word. I go into font settings to "expand" the font so there is more space between each letter (1.5x works). You can also choose a font without serifs (we call them hats and shoes on letters).

        Second graders, especially boys young for grade, should be copying a sentence from a paper or whiteboard that you come up with together. It should have perfect punctuation, spelling and grammar (like the EGP activities), but in no way is the expectation to have him come up with a perfect sentence on his own from his head. As a bonus, you can leave a few blank if you discuss it orally or scribe for him to lighten the load.

        Your age span is so hard. You have littles and littles. Both would benefit from working early with Mom, and as much as you feel the day drag on, so do they! Up through 4th grade, my kids had varying degrees being able to work independently once I got them started. It's a double-edged sword of having your kids sit together; they love being near Mom, but they get distracted so easily. They work better in a quiet space, but they struggle to stay on task or know how to access help when Mom is in a work cycle with a sibling. Seven years in, it feels easier (because it's familiar & God has given me peace) and harder (because they are older and the content & discussion benefit from an informed/engaged teacher). We are still working on letting some things go and focusing on the basics: start the day in God's Word, do Latin, math and literature, and read something excellent aloud to them at the end of the day. Crafts, art, science, even history all get relegated to the sometimes pot until children are motivated (usually 5th or 6th grade). If you have a husband not too tired at the end of the day, he might be willing to do the read-aloud to the family or show an art card while listening to music. You might fit it in at lunch or over snack/tea.

        Lastly, figure out what is appropriate to drop if you're really doing every single thing from the core. Don't do every Enrichment activity or ask every question. Consider making the R&S science a summer activity. Only copy the memory verse once (or...gasp...not at all...just memorize it). Find ways to combine cursive writing. We're already at the point in TSII where he's writing words in cursive, so we've stopped NAC2 and will finish it as maintenance over the summer.
        Mama of 2, teacher of 3
        SY 22/23
        6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim w/ Elementary Greek Year One

        Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
        SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math)


          Thank you! This is really helpful. He isn’t using coins or counting helpers with math and I definitely don’t teach the whole lesson from the book, just the new things/ needed things as he’s usually an a student in math. That being said he know some of the triplets well and some not so well so your insight is helpful here. Need to really memorize those firmly as we progress forward… or maybe just spend a little more flash card time with mom.

          Appreciate all the other ideas about streamlining things. I already do some of your tips but am gather more from your suggestions and will see what we can do so streamline a little more… we have been morphing into skipped the copy work and doing the memory part only like you suggested as there’s already a lot of other copy work/ cursive opportunities… anyways, sincerely appreciate your thoughts 💭 & insights! Thanks you!