Frustrated with length of school! :)

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Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by blessedmom » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:44 pm

Hello sweet women! I'm in need of encouragement and wisdom. I have 4 dc: 11dd, 8dd, 6dd and 2ds. This is our second year with HOD. I absolutely love the programs. I totally understand that we will not be done by lunch at this point in our life. That is an impossibility with a 2 year old in the mix :). 11dd is using RTR, 8dd is continuing BHFHG which we started at the end of year and 6dd is continuing LHFHG. At this moment, 8dd probably gets most of my time, which is totally fair. She is firming up her reading skills and working on lots of great skills in Bigger. For the most part she is a hard worker and stays on task with some reminding. Although, she does try to slip some half hearted work, she really does pretty well. My 6dd does pretty well, gets off task at times and loves to play, but I am pretty satisfied with her work for her age. My biggest struggle is with 11dd, not really her, just school takes forever. This morning we got up together at 7 and worked about an hour before the others got up. She took 8-9 for breakfast, getting ready and room chores. From 9-5:30 she worked on school. I will admit, she gets a little dreamy headed during math, but even without math, school still would have taken way too long for me. The only thing I have added to her day is 15 min of spanish and a math drill. We are on unit 4. She did do Creation last year and some days would be long, but I feel like we haven't had one good one yet :(. I do have different times throughout the morning that we check in together and I give her instruction. I have used a timer giving her the max time suggested, but she can't seem to make it. Anyone else in these shoes? Anyone have any suggestions? I was wondering if anyone streamlines the instructions so it is not sooooo much. I hate to drop what we are doing; I really love the content of HOD. I just can't take these super long days everyday. I have other things I need to get to before dinner :).
Thanks for your ear!!
Nicole :)

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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by raceNzanesmom » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:58 pm

No advice, but praying you figure something out. That's a crazy long day for an 11 y/o.
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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by pjdobro » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:07 pm

I'm sorry that your having such a long day. That is super long especially for an 11 year old. I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to drop back to half-speed with her for a while? Maybe that would help her get into the groove better and eventually she would be able to have the work down enough to be able to go back to full-speed. Another thought I had since it is a 4 day program, would it be possible to cut back by a couple of boxes each day and then finish up all the work on the 5th day? That might cut the work load back enough to until she grows into it a bit more. :D
Patty in NC

b/g twins '02 Rev2Rev 2014/15
previously enjoyed LHFHG, BLHFHG, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, RTR
Nisi Dominus Frusta (Without God, frustration)
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by netpea » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:47 pm

I am having the same trouble. We only have 3 kiddos, an 11yo doing CTC, an 8yo doing BHFHG and an almost 2yo. We typically start at 8 and we are not done before 5. I think for us it is a matter of learning new skills in following the directions in the box on your own and starting the next box when you finish the one you are on instead of dawdling or taking a break. We are only on the 3rd week so I'm sure it will get better, hopefully soon!
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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by Kathleen » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:57 pm


I think I would get out the timer and have your dd keep track of how long each box is taking her. Then maybe you could see where exactly it is that she's needing or using way too much time right now? That is definitely more time than it should take to complete the work if you're moving right from one thing to the next. My oldest has struggled with being a dawdler...and still does occasionally. Now during his days he may come up with some wonderfully creative ideas - BUT learning to focus on school is important as he needs to know that when he's asked to do a job, he needs to work on it whole-heartedly and complete it well AND in a timely manner. We've made huge strides in this area in the last couple years. For us, it wouldn't have mattered what the curriculum we were using was, he needed to learn to focus. :wink: (I'm not saying that is your issue - but it is most definitely one that we have worked on here. :D ) Maybe if you can see which boxes are slowing her down you can decide if it's an issue of her needing to build skills or if it's an issue of focusing.

We actually found we had the opposite of your transition from CTC to RTR. Grant is completing RTR in less time per day than he did with CTC. I will say that the history readings especially have been quite a bit longer, and he sometimes goes over time on those, but his overall day is still shorter than last year. He gets up to do his quiet time at 7:00. And then we start the rest of our day at 8:30. He is done by 1:00 every day - and that includes a 30 min play time with his little brother.

:D Kathleen
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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by abrightmom » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:12 pm

Can you drop back to half speed for a bit to give your kiddo time to learn the boxes and grow in time management/focusing skills? I think there may come a point in the day where it's not worth pressing on. You could go half speed and help DD strive to master those boxes and skills. Then when she is ready for more (and her school time is reasonable) move up to a fuller schedule. If full speed is too much perhaps choose a number of boxes to complete between half and all of them (not sure how many there are in CTC). I vote for continuing to work on math daily but everything else can be slowed down.

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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by learning_is_fun » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:23 pm

I don't have any advice--we're in the same boat. I have a 12yo in RTR, and an 8yo in Preparing. We are pretty new to HOD, so trying to get it all down still, but already in week 5 and having some super long days, too (and still have a few things we haven't started, yet, like DITHOR, because we can't seem to get to it.) I know one of my problems is not having a written out schedule to follow. I made one to start with, but they love the freedom of doing things in the order of their choice. They are not going to be too happy about it, but I think we are going to try a set schedule again (at least until they get into a good routine, and then I can give them a little more flexibility.) I also like the idea of timing how long each subject is taking them. That will be helpful to see where we are way off. My 10yo is definitely a dawdler, and gets easily way off course, but most of his stuff is still with me, so when I'm keeping on top of it, he is often getting done by lunchtime. I've been so impressed with my 12yo working so independently (and seemingly very diligently), and, although he likes to put forth the least amount of effort possible, he's still doing a great job on his assignments. But, he just can't seem to get done. And he is waking up early to start, too. I'm probably not focusing enough attention on him, as my 10yo requires so much of my attention, and the 12yo prefers to do everything on his own.
I know for us we're just going to have to keep plugging away at it, while trying to find ways to train in getting things done quickly and efficiently. I know that I struggle with that myself. I was a straight A student in school, but would always have to spend so much more time on homework, etc., than other students. And, I remember taking a math test in 6th grade to see who would be in honors math classes in middle school. I'm sure I got all the problems correct that I finished, but it was a timed test, and I didn't even get close to the end. :oops: I loved math, and was in the top math group in my class with one other student, but not fast enough for honors. I still struggle constantly with time management, and always feel so behind on everything. Agghhh!! I'm still working on training myself! Unfortunately, I married a man who is not super efficient with time, either, so of course we have kids who struggle. It pains me to watch them, especially my oldest with math. All this to say, I can see why we may have a difficult time getting through daily lessons, and I am very open to any advice on how to train my boys to focus and use their time more efficiently. I am also loving HOD otherwise, and definitely wanting to stick with it.
Sorry if I got way off. May not be at all what you are dealing with, Nicole. I have just been thinking through why it is taking us so long and what needs to be done about it. Your post definitely caught my attention.
I will be praying for you Nicole and Lee Ann, hoping it gets better for you.
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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by LynnH » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:54 am

I agree with maybe taking RTR half pace. I also think using the timer and seeing which boxes are taking longer than they should would be helpful. It really shouldn't take that long. My ds takes longer in the history reading box especially since I sometimes have to partner in reading with him so he gets it and he still only does school from 8-2 max, and that is with a 45 minute lunch and a 15 minute morning break. The one area that he can go long on is the history project so sometimes we save that for last if I think he may take longer with it.
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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by deltagal » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:48 am

I've been there. Last year for us was what you are experiencing. This was my solution.

We took things back to half pace for my children who were taking the longest and I worked on developing independent skills. Then as the year progressed I began to add a little more to there day over a period of time.

I work hard to have my time with everyone before 12:30. After 12:30 they may still have independent work to do.
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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by Carrie » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:47 am


I'm so glad that you came to the board for help and encouragement as we would never expect your day to be going as long as you are mentioning! :wink:

The ladies have given you such wise advice and counsel so far. I would agree that it would be so helpful to time your older child and then write down the times for each box. Then, compare them to the times I'm listing at the bottom of this post. :D

Next, it is good to take a look back at last year when she did CTC and ponder whether she was truly doing all of the "I" boxes completely independently. That would mean she did all the scheduled readings on her own, read all written directions on her own, and completed all "I" tasks without much additional guidance, direction, and help from you. It is also good to ponder how long CTC was taking her last year, and whether she went long last year. The reason I mention this is because the "I" boxes in CTC train a child well for the "I" boxes in RTR, so if your little honey needed more help and time than expected to complete tasks in CTC, this will compound itself in RTR. :wink:

The way to fix the issues I mentioned above will be to slow RTR to half-speed and spend your time training your child in how to do what is asked in the guide on her own. It will also be hugely helpful if she has a schedule that is the same every day (so that it can become a routine both for you and for her) and includes checkpoint times with you throughout the day. In this way, you will soon know at a glance of the clock and what she is doing whether she is behind or not, and if she is running behind at her checkpoints, you can jump in and help her catch up or you can set aside any work she is not done with to do later in the evening. :wink: Either of these strategies will work in helping to train her to be mindful of time and mindful of how much time she is taking on each task.

When we set aside work at our house, dad is in charge of having the kiddos complete the work in the evening. Whenever we've had to do this with our boys the good news is that the child finishes the school day on time (because work not done on time is set aside), and then the child gets a dose of a different parent when doing the make-up work in the evening. Truly, the finishing on time and the desire not to have work set aside in the evening really motivates our kiddos here! :wink:

For me, I love to schedule things like science and the history projects after lunch, and the rest of our items I plan to move through before 1:00 so that the bulk of my teaching is done by lunch. That way if I have an artistic child, he can spend as long as he/she wants after lunch on his own doing the artsy things (like science lab/notebooking and history projects) without affecting my teaching time or me having to rush him. :D

If you get a chance to try the timer idea, I think your findings will be very enlightening as to where the time is going. We'd love to hear an update once you gather a bit more information, and then we can help you more specifically with ways of how to get your time down. It wouldn't be a bad idea to time your other kiddos too (just for a day) and see whether your day is much longer with your other programs as well. More information is always helpful.

Do not fear, we will work with you to figure this out! :D

These are the general time allotments that we used at our house when we did RTR with our oldest son. Since he is an older student as well as a strong reader and writer, he often completed his assignments in less than the allotted time below. However, it's important to note that both he and I are no-nonsense, check-it-off type people purely doing what is in the assignment box and moving on. So, if you add to the discussions or enjoy bunny trails, the times will vary! Also, last year I used RTR with my 6th grade son who is very creative and distractible. So, his time pretty much stayed to what is noted below but were somewhat longer with anything artistic. Anyway, this will give you a guideline as you get underway. :D

Also, if you are new to our programs, or to a Charlotte-Mason style education, you can expect a training period of about 4 weeks at the beginning of the year where your times will be longer and your child will need you more. However, after the training, the time will really fall off of your schedule, once the child gets used to the pacing and design of the guide. We found this to be very true with both CTC and RTR as we did them with our boys, even with our sweet distractible child! :D

RTR (Left Side of the Plans):
Reading About History: (30-35 min. including reading and assignment)
Storytime: (15-20 min.)
History Project: (20 min.)
Rotating Box: (20 min.) Longer on the Shakespeare Day
Independent History Study: (10-15 min.) (Longer on Draw and Write days)

RTR (Right Side of the Plans):
Bible Quiet Time: (20 min.)
Math: (30-35 min.)
Science: (25-30 min.)
Rotating Box: Art Appreciation (15-20 min.), Devotional Bible Study (20 min. - twice weekly), Poetry (10-15 min.)
Language Arts (not all areas are done daily):
Dictation (5 min.) 3 times weekly
Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons: (20 min.) 3 times weekly
Drawn into the Heart of Reading: (30-40 min.) 3 times weekly
Grammar: (20 min.) 2 times weekly (much done orally)


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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by blessedmom » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:10 pm

Thank you so much for your encouragement ladies!
I think I will have her time herself over the next week so we can get a better idea of what is holding her back.
Last year she was very independent. She can read and follow the directions well. Time was an issue sometimes last year, but she was doing much better at the end of the year.
One day when I was talking to her last year, she said sometimes school took so long because she really enjoyed it! I'm glad for that, I just don't like to see her do ONLY school everyday. She does get distracted by her own thoughts. I've tried so many things to help her, but I really feel it is really her choice at this moment. Last year she proved to me many times she can do it, she just gets "lost" in her little la-la land. It's a matter of choosing to stay on task and not take her own rabbit trails.
I like the idea of leaving science and history project for after lunch. My sweet dd can extend those projects. She so enjoys the process. My tentative plan right now is to have her time herself, leave history project and science activities for Friday. I am hoping that will make her feel like the day is more doable for her and help her reach the goal of finishing earlier. If this doesn't help much, we will do the 3Rs each day and half the rest for a time.
Thanks again for your encouragement and advice.
I too covet your prayers. I need more patience and control on my tongue.
Nicole :)

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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by Lynnw » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:18 am

Reading this thread has been a real blessing to me. My oldest is just starting Rev to Rev half pace because he is not used to the HOD guide yet and the indepedence he needs. He is capable, but he is used to passively resisting independent work, reading books for hours until I finally get to him. So, take comfort you are closer to your goal than I am, LOL, and I can only blame myself for allowing him to develop the poor time management habits he has! I have a lot of training to do and some scheduling changes to make. The ideas in this thread are very helpful and my heart is touched by your request for prayer. I stand with you in need of God's grace in this process! I am praying for you and your dd this morning.

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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by blessedmom » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:22 am

Actually Lynn, I think I am there with you.
I had a totally different idea and wonder what you guys think.
Last night and even this morning, I am also faced with a character issue in my sweet dd. She is actually a great kid, just with me, she many times listens to what I ask her to do and goes and does something different. Typically that "different" thing does not seem bad, it may even be helpful, but it is not what I asked her to do. This is consistent in and out of school with me. An example from school happened yesterday. In the morning, I had talked to her about what I expected her to get done, lessing her load so that she could finish by our goal of 3 o'clock. After her math instruction, I sent her to do her math. As I am working with my other children, she comes and asks for help with a problem. I take a minute from the others to help with this problem. I can't seem to figure it out and I was wondering in my head why the lesson had not gone over such a problem. I then tell her I will have to try to figure it out later. She then tells me it's okay because that was tomorrow's math. It doesn't seem bad that she is doing tomorrow's math, but we were trying to get done on time. I had asked her to do exactly what I told her, no less and no more. I imagine she felt good getting done with a lesson in less time than normal, so she thought she could seem like a good girl and do more. But in the end, it didn't help with the day. No matter what schedule I have made in the past, she always seems to do something else -- all school, but not what I told her to do at that time. I even had her come up with her own schedule, and she still did something ele. This same theme happens in many other situations. Honestly, she is a super sweet girl, I just don't seem to have her whole heart and she doesn't seem to really trust me. I feel super sad about this. Doing our Bible lessons, I know she understands that I can only teach her, but she is responsible for doing the right thing. I know she feels bad, we just can't seem to get past this.
Anyway, because of this character issue, I was wondering if maybe I should have her do Bigger with her 3rd grade sister. I could add the extensions and make her do more for her notebooking -- like the narrations required in RTR. This way I could oversee her more and give her more of an opportunity to do what is right. Honestly, with doing 2 other guides and having a 2 yo, it is really hard to stay on top of her. I really need to be able to trust her to do what I ask, but I honestly can't and I can't physically do it all.
What do you think?


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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by Mercy » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:49 am

Just wanted to quickly jump in to say - "me too!" I am praying fervently to have a specific solution to keep my oldest on task. He does the same...reading ahead, etc. I just feel I
have too much going on to be "on his heels" all day. I dont want to develop the same w my youngers, bc i am so focused on retraining my older. :?
Will b praying for the Lords wisdom for all of us in this situation.
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8yog- BHFHG
5yob- LHFHG


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Re: Frustrated with length of school! :)

Post by Carrie » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:00 pm


I completely understand your struggles, as I have one child so far that is the same way (sweet, sweet spirit and utterly distractible). :wink: I have spent my life redirecting this very bright, very animated, very wanting to please child, and the good news is that I have seen improvement through the years.

While I know it is incredibly tempting to downsize your older student to combine with your child in Bigger Hearts, in my heart I feel this would be a decision for the moment that doesn't truly address the core issues in the long run. While it would be easier to keep your child on task if you were overseeing her every moment, it still would not train her to oversee herself, manage her own time, or do what you ask when she is not in your sight. These are the core issues we all struggle with as our children mature, but it is the training in these areas that will pay dividends for your child in the long run. Another reason I'm thinking that the switch to Bigger would not be best is that it is likely not going to come anywhere near meeting your daughter's academic needs, as she was able to complete Creation to Christ last year. The step back to Bigger would be a huge backtracking for her in the academic arena. :D

I know you are likely weary, as I am many days too. :wink: I honestly think the character training and responsibilty of raising our kiddos for the Lord wears me out more than the academics! :D

With your sweet daughter's needs in mind, I'm thinking a pull back to half-speed RTR is your best bet. I would shift your youngers all to a -4 day week for anyone doing a full-speed guide for the year (schooling only 4 days a week and carrying their current guides over to the next year). Doing a 4 day week helps all of us stay more focused and forces me not to skip or downsize, because I know I'm already only schooling 4 days a week! I love having Fridays off to make for a 3 day weekend each week. The kiddos have loved it too when we've done it in years past. :D

Next, I would sit down with your daughter and tell her that for the next week you want her to do only what the guide says and only what you tell her to do in any subjects you are doing outside of the guide. I would explain to her that it is actually disobedient when she works ahead, or reads ahead, because she is not doing what you ask, but rather what she chooses. She is, in essence, showing by her actions that her will is more important than your command. I would pray with her about it, and set up another meeting at the end of the week to review her progress. We have had to do this with our own boys, so you are not alone in this!

During the week, keep her nearby you, so you can see what she is doing. Try not to continually interrupt her flow of thought to remind her to get working. (I only share this thought, because I can get into a habit of nagging, which really makes me feel down and is so hard on the spirit of my child too. Perhaps you do not have this problem, but I mention it just in case.) Instead, have her come and show you each subject/box as she completes it as a check-up. Explain to her that when she proves to you that she can be trusted to do as you direct, she will no longer have to show you each subject/box as she completes it. :D

If she has been working a long time without coming to show you anything, simply ask her to come and show you what she has done. If she hasn't accomplished much, ask her if she's had some problems with something in the assignment. If there were no problems, then ask her what is taking so long? In this process, we're working to get the child to recognize he/she is dawdling, rather than the parent continually have to remind the child to get busy. :D Explain that trust to be able to work on one's own is earned. :D

Keep up your subject/box checks, moving toward spacing out the tasks by checking every two boxes at a time, then three boxes at a time etc. as she shows fruit in her obedience and ability to stay on task. Keep up the weekly meeting on Fridays as long as you feel it is needed to talk over her progress. It takes 30 days to create a new habit, so keep your meetings at least 4 Fridays. As with anything, if both of your are diligent, you will see change. :D My struggle always comes with being diligent for 30 days!

As you focus on your oldest child, you may consider dropping your other kiddos to half-speed for awhile too... at least for the month of rigorous training in accountability for your older, I would likely drop your 6 year old to half-speed in LHFHG (doing left side one day and right side the next). You could do the same for your child in Bigger Hearts with left side one day and right side the next day for a month. After that I would think about bumping up only the child, or children, who seem most ready for full speed. You may even have to keep your younger child or even children at half-speed all year to take the needed time to train your older child. But, it will be so worth it in years to come. I have seen a tremendous change in my son, even though we still have a ways to go! :D

This is something we have had to do with each of our sons. Most children need to be trained to be accountable and need to understand that when they do something different than what you tell them to do, it is in fact disobedient (even if the thing they chose to do was good). Kiddos need to learn to bend their will toward ours first, and then do what they desire after they obey first. :D This is not a quick process. It is one that takes time and patience, but it does eventually turn the constant reminding and redirecting the parent has been doing for years into responsibility and accountability for the child instead. It is something many kiddos have never learned and is (I think) actually easier to train the child in doing when he/she is younger. :D

I once read an article by Dr. Dobson that said if you do not have your child's first time obedience (and also your child's heart which comes with obedience) by the time he/she is 13, you will likely never have it. If our children cannot be obedient to us than they will struggle with obedience to God. My husband and I were very convicted of this after hearing it and worked hard to make this a priority for our sons. While I do not succeed every day, I keep it ever in my mind knowing that if I do not have time to train them now I will never get the chance back. Be encouraged that you are not alone, and each of us must walk this path. It is always easier to keep our kiddos under our wings and at our side, but as they head into middle school and high school, it is truly best to gradually encourage independence through accountability. Otherwise, kiddos may find themselves dumped into the deep end of the pool expectation-wise when they hit either high school or college. :D

This is much more information than you asked for, but it is an area that is near and dear to my heart. Each year I try to prioritize which of my children need me most in any capacity for the upcoming year. As I listen to your post, I am feeling like your oldest child needs you most to train her in accountability and first time obedience this year. It is an important window with her from Dr. Dobson's perspective. It makes sense to me when I think of my children too! :D This may mean that the youngers have a less mom-intensive year to allow you to focus on character training. This is fine from my perspective for this year, as likely next year a different child will be the priority and focus. It happens this way at our house. :D Plus, as you train your older child this will make a huge difference in the time you have available the next year, and each year that follows, for your younger children coming up. :D Anyway, just some thoughts to ponder. You may actually go a different direction than what I am mentioning above, and you will know your children best. But, I did want to give a long-term picture to think on as you ponder your path.


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