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Homeschooling High School: When Should I Stop for Summer?

Summer break is important.  Homeschoolers don't usually  follow a regular school schedule, however.  How do you know  when to stop?  When does  being hardworking and persistent  become harmful?  At what point are you just hitting your head  against on the wall?

stop



I know that public schools do not finish textbooks so I am trying to decide what to do. I see that my son is burnt out. I think he is in summer mode now plus a lot is going on in May. Should I have him just stop for a while? I know he must get through the Algebra 1 before he moves on to Geometry. Should I have him complete the whole text? I know he is not going to want to work on this during summer. Since this is his first year being homeschooled summer for him is the time off he is used to. Do you know what I mean? I have a headache.
~Karen in Florida

I would certainly take a summer break.  Although a couple of math problems for review might be helpful, it is vital to remember that a BREAK can be the most important part of summer.

About math,  how far along in the book are you?  I guess I would call the Teaching Textbooks support line, and ask them this question.  Perhaps they will tell you exactly which chapters are "optional." That would mean you don't have as far to go as you think.

Have you tried putting math first?  First in the day?  First in priority, so that nothing else happens until it's done?  Have you tried cutting down the number of problems required each day?   Have you tried doing a physically exhausting activity before AND after math?  Boys do better that way.  Bike rides - running - ANYTHING physical can help them buckle down and concentrate.

Most schools finish in June.  You might want to find out what day the public school ends, and put that on the calendar.  Until then, he might do a full lesson each day (first thing in the morning - no complaints allowed.) After school ends, then he might do just 5 problems per day "to keep your skills sharp over summer, honey, because we know how hard you worked to get those skills, and I don't want you to lose it."

You don't have to complete the whole text.  Set a goal of 80%.  Try to eliminate the parts of the book that are less valuable (using feedback from the company and author.)

Some homeschoolers will just STOP in June, and pick up the book in the same place in September.  That's hard though, to pick up math midstream like that, but it's an option to consider.

For right now, this moment, I suggest dropping the books and playing. You know, take a Tylenol, have a cup of coffee, go outside, do something physical, or take him for an ice cream.

Karen wrote back:
I like your advise in talking to the company and seeing what chapters are optional. I didn't know any chapters in a text were optional. I just want to make sure he is ready for geometry in the Fall.  I am going to go and get that coffee now or in my case a cup of tea.

We just looked on the teaching textbook website and he said "Hey let me just take the Algebra 2 placement test because that looks easy and then we will see what I know".  Calgon take me away. You got it kid.

Oh my goodness! He passed the algebra 2 placement with a 90%. Note to self: when your kids look frustrated it may be because they are just done and not because they don't understand the information.

By the way the younger one said, "If he is testing out I only have two more tests left can I test out too". Guess what? 95%. We are done with the books. Just reviewing in the summer.

~Karen

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Comments 7

Guest - Michelle Caskey (website) on Friday, 11 July 2014 06:50

Good points, Lee. I like how you said, "When does being hardworking and persistent become harmful? At what point are you just hitting your head against the wall?"

These are good questions to keep in the forefront of my mind. I am an achiever so I can have a tendency to push my boys too hard at times.

Also, I loved Jeff Thompson's comment about not necessarily having to take Algebra I before Geometry. That might be a good option for one of my boys. He is AWESOME at Geometry - but hates regular math... He might benefit by waiting to do Algebra I when he's a bit more mature. Thanks for suggesting that possibility!

Good points, Lee. I like how you said, "When does being hardworking and persistent become harmful? At what point are you just hitting your head against the wall?" These are good questions to keep in the forefront of my mind. I am an achiever so I can have a tendency to push my boys too hard at times. Also, I loved Jeff Thompson's comment about not necessarily having to take Algebra I before Geometry. That might be a good option for one of my boys. He is AWESOME at Geometry - but hates regular math... He might benefit by waiting to do Algebra I when he's a bit more mature. Thanks for suggesting that possibility!
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 14:14

Michelle,

I think many homeschool moms would rather err on the side of "over achieving". That's why we have to be so careful to not burn ourselves and our children out. Keep up the good work!

Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Michelle, I think many homeschool moms would rather err on the side of "over achieving". That's why we have to be so careful to not burn ourselves and our children out. Keep up the good work! Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Guest - Jeff Thompson on Thursday, 23 May 2013 09:47

It's also not necessarily true that a student must complete Algebra I before moving on to Geometry. We had one of our kids do Geometry first and then go back and do Algebra I. Then she did Algebra II and Trig as concurrent enrollment. Another one of our kids skipped Algebra II and then did it in three hours after graduation.

Algebra is one of those things that a student has to kind of keep coming back to. It's a set of rules and a set of tools. It takes some practice and a number of times through to really build up the skill with them.

Geometry is kind of an outlier in the mathematical sequence. It doesn't really build upon the previous material heavily, not does the subsequent material use it heavily. Typically, it uses only minimal algebra. While some of the pieces are essential for later math (learn that Pythagorean Theorem) other pieces only get used again if you end up studying advanced geometry somewhere in college.

However, if you are following a specific math curriculum, you may need to adhere to their schedule. And it is harder to figure out how to shuffle the sequence around if you're not familiar with the material.

It's also not necessarily true that a student must complete Algebra I before moving on to Geometry. We had one of our kids do Geometry first and then go back and do Algebra I. Then she did Algebra II and Trig as concurrent enrollment. Another one of our kids skipped Algebra II and then did it in three hours after graduation. Algebra is one of those things that a student has to kind of keep coming back to. It's a set of rules and a set of tools. It takes some practice and a number of times through to really build up the skill with them. Geometry is kind of an outlier in the mathematical sequence. It doesn't really build upon the previous material heavily, not does the subsequent material use it heavily. Typically, it uses only minimal algebra. While some of the pieces are essential for later math (learn that Pythagorean Theorem) other pieces only get used again if you end up studying advanced geometry somewhere in college. However, if you are following a specific math curriculum, you may need to adhere to their schedule. And it is harder to figure out how to shuffle the sequence around if you're not familiar with the material.
Guest - L Sisson on Thursday, 23 May 2013 08:12

Great advise! Especially the excersize before and after math, crucial for boys. If your child is struggling, the only lesson they will learn is perseverance, they are not really "learning" anything practical in Algebra I (I know some may disagree with me there). Math/Science is probably not their gift if they struggle with it. If you have a child who breezes through it no problem, then it probably is their gift and encourage them to go as hard and fast as they can. I have home educated all 4 of my children and have had two of each kind. They all took frequent breaks, but the two that love math (is that possible??) quickly returned to it. Relax! You are doing fine! Get some great books they love and shift gears. Education is lifelong and should be joyful, not stressful. God bless!

Great advise! Especially the excersize before and after math, crucial for boys. If your child is struggling, the only lesson they will learn is perseverance, they are not really "learning" anything practical in Algebra I (I know some may disagree with me there). Math/Science is probably not their gift if they struggle with it. If you have a child who breezes through it no problem, then it probably is their gift and encourage them to go as hard and fast as they can. I have home educated all 4 of my children and have had two of each kind. They all took frequent breaks, but the two that love math (is that possible??) quickly returned to it. Relax! You are doing fine! Get some great books they love and shift gears. Education is lifelong and should be joyful, not stressful. God bless!
Guest - Lee (website) on Tuesday, 07 June 2011 05:33

Often the math curriculum will provide placement tests. I believe I list a few placement tests in this article: For the Love of Math.
Blessings,
Lee

Often the math curriculum will provide placement tests. I believe I list a few placement tests in this article: For the Love of Math. Blessings, Lee
Guest - Robin Page on Tuesday, 07 June 2011 02:48

where did you find placement tests for your children to take?

where did you find placement tests for your children to take?
Guest - J W on Tuesday, 15 June 2010 03:34

It's worth mentioning here that at least in Texas, the college year starts the last week of August. High schools there typically end around the last week of May. So these colleges might want you to have more done sooner than if you were going to a northern college.

I know that was the case when Mom was doing everything she could to convince a Texas college administrative board to take it on trust that I was going to maintain my GPA. That was before email and long-distance fax was expensive and involved going to the office supply store, so I can't imagine what she went through to pull that off. On the surface, it looks petty, but if the school year is 5 weeks off, "senioritis" could do a lot of damage to a GPA.

It's worth mentioning here that at least in Texas, the college year starts the last week of August. High schools there typically end around the last week of May. So these colleges might want you to have more done sooner than if you were going to a northern college. I know that was the case when Mom was doing everything she could to convince a Texas college administrative board to take it on trust that I was going to maintain my GPA. That was before email and long-distance fax was expensive and involved going to the office supply store, so I can't imagine what she went through to pull that off. On the surface, it looks petty, but if the school year is 5 weeks off, "senioritis" could do a lot of damage to a GPA.
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