How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Academic support for Primary 2

How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby Old Arbat » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:46 pm

Would like to ask experienced parents how much time is deemed reasonable for an eight years old to spend on homework, assessment book, tuition, etc , each day (after his normal school hours) ?

Some parents told me that I am not letting my child have enough time to play and explore. As such, he is unable to think on his own and this is shown up on his inability to write composition, etc.

Another group of parents said that since he is weak, he needs to spend more time on tuition to build his foundation, etc. Otherwise, he cannot catch up with the rest of the class and will fall back further.

I know there is no clear cut answer that fits all. However, there must be some range where everyone agree is reasonable. Or alternatively, what is a clear sign that enough is enough ?

Would really like to hear from all the experienced parents.
Thanks ahead.

Old Arbat
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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby slmkhoo » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:12 am

I read that some western school systems advocate 10mins per grade, ie. a P2 should have 20mins of homework per day. That's is obviously not going to work for Singapore!

When in P2, which was a 7 yrs ago, my daughter probably spent less than an hour a day on schoolwork, sometimes just 20 mins. She had a 1.5 hr Chinese class a week, but no other tuition. If she needed help, she asked me. I don't remember giving her any additional assessments to work on except the few weeks before exams, and that was less than 30 mins a day - we would do 1 subject a day. She is academically strong, so this is probably on the low side, but I think a P2 kid's after-school work should not be more than 2 hrs a day.

I believe that rest and recreation are important for anyone, child or adult, and especially the younger ones. If they have no time to read widely, think, mess around etc, they will not be able to be creative. Spending time on structured homework builds discipline and hones skills, but too much stifles the mind. In the long term, thinking is more important than mastering structured exercises. Just my opinion.

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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby Old Arbat » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:58 pm

Hi Slmkoo

My son is academically weak, so should I increase or reduce his homework/tuition time.

He has tuitions on alternate weekdays, then swimming and martial art on Saturday.
When he has tuitions, it will be about one hour homework. If he has no tuition, then it will be about two hours homework with one hour break in between.
The rest of the days are spent on travelling and eating his lunch and dinner (which may be one hour each).
Is this reasonable ?

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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby slmkhoo » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:28 am

Old Arbat wrote:Hi Slmkoo

My son is academically weak, so should I increase or reduce his homework/tuition time.

He has tuitions on alternate weekdays, then swimming and martial art on Saturday.
When he has tuitions, it will be about one hour homework. If he has no tuition, then it will be about two hours homework with one hour break in between.
The rest of the days are spent on travelling and eating his lunch and dinner (which may be one hour each).
Is this reasonable ?

Actually, I think it's better to see whether there is actual learning happening through the tuition and homework times. If yes, and the child still has time to play, relax, and doesn't seem over-tired, then it's probably OK. Be objective about what you can expect from your child - if he's reached his maximum performance, extra time spent on studies may be counter-productive. And if he seems over-stressed or over-tired, then it would be good to pull back.

One hour each for a meal seems too long - tell him to eat faster so he has more time to play!

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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby jetsetter » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:34 am

It is not the quantity or time spent but quality that matters. Is your ds getting quality academic support? Is he efficient?

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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby ammonite » Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:34 pm

What time does he get home? Among the kids I know, getting home can range from 1.15pm to 3pm or later. Big difference to meal times and energy level.

I personally don't think a child should do more than 2hours of work after school. This includes tuition.

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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby ammonite » Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:52 pm

Maybe you should consider what his life consist of beyond academics (school, homework, tuition, assessment) and see if there is any need for adjustment.

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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby Old Arbat » Thu May 01, 2014 12:36 pm

Hi

I try to answer some of your queries.

He is attending the popular enrichment schools. However, as I worked till late at night, I do not have time to teach him except weekends, which then become quite stressful for both of us as I tried to cover as much as possible. Hence, at weekends, he will study/homework 3 to 4 hours. He is not "efficient" as he is easily distracted.

He come back home around 2pm if there is no enrichment school. If there is, then it can be in late afternoon. He sleeps at 9pm / 9.30pm.

I cherish my childhood - catching spiders, catching fishes in the canals, marbles, lying down and doing nothing, etc. I would like him to go thru some of these. However, does it means that I ignore the grades and let him have more playtime ? By giving more playtime, will he be more focus in school and his grade will catch up?

If his grades are stable, I will be most pleased to give him more playtime.

Got mixed advices from my friends - some say tighten and some say let go. : (

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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby slmkhoo » Thu May 01, 2014 12:58 pm

You have to decide what your measurements of 'enough' are based on. If you base on grades, then you have to work on him until he meets what you feel is sufficiently good grades. For me, I base on effort and time rather than grades because I have a child who is not a strong student and another who is very strong, and if I base on grades, it will either be different for each child, or one will suffer or the other will be too relaxed. I also feel that it's fairer to a child to base our targets on how much effort they have put in. Of course, you also need to take into account time wasted in distractions or dreaming, bad attitude, carelessness etc. For such things, I will make them work longer and harder. I try to make sure they have some leisure time each day, even now when my kids are in their teens. Play time is even more important for younger kids.

I believe that the answer is both tighten and let go. Tighten in getting someone to supervise him closely every day to teach him how to make efficient use of his time and work hard and smart. That has to be done daily until it becomes a habit. And let go in letting him have his play time once he has done the work that was set so he realises that hard work brings rewards.

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Re: How much time should an eight years old spent each day ?

Postby Old Arbat » Wed May 14, 2014 12:40 pm

Hi Slmkhoo

I wish I could follow what you have advised. Whenever I cut down his play time for not focusing during work time, he would cry and refuse to work. He can be very stubborn at time, and does not mind sacrificing his play time.

However, I want to be fair to him, and that why I asked how much hours per day for enrichment school/homework is considered reasonable.

He just told me the other day that he wishes he was like a robot and is able to work as fast/efficient as I wanted him to be. He said he cannot help getting distracted. On one hand, I can see he is trying hard to please me. On the other hand, he simply cannot do it and not motivated enough to work harder. He does care much about the quality of his work in school nor the test results. However, in a recent test, he went home crying after he think he had missed out answering three questions. While, we are sad that he did not do well for the test, we were happy that he is at least "conscious" about his grades. He told us he has tried his best but there was not enough time. Since he tried his best, we did not scold him or anything. We always told him that we just need him to try his best and do a "check".

Welcome any suggestions on getting him to be efficient.

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