I'm replying to "Anxious Third Grader" that Sarah Hamaker wrote in response to my initial question.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response! I really appreciate it. I think you meant to say, "Satan CAN'T reside in the same body as someone who loves Jesus. That's not possible." Is this correct? I just want to be sure I understand what you said.
Anyway, you suggested that I stop the regimented schedule and give him 90 minutes of playtime. There is just over 90 minutes between when he arrives home from school (3:45) and when we eat dinner (5:30). After dinner, we have our family devotional time/Scripture memorization, and then the bedtime routine begins.
I love for him to play outside in our very small backyard but he's out there alone a lot. Does that matter? I try to play with him for twenty or thirty minutes a day. He has an incredible imagination and can occupy himself very well but I am sure he gets lonely. My daughter often doesn't want to play the same things that he plays. There aren't any kids who live nearby and his few friends from school are all booked solid with after-school activities.
We don't currently have a regimented schedule for the morning. The kids know what they need to do to get out the door on time. If I give him the whole after-school time (4:00 - 5:30) to play, I feel I'll need to either give him a checklist or some sort of schedule to help him manage his morning hour and evening hours. He would need to add his assigned chore to the morning routine. He would also have to do all his homework in one long chunk right before bed. Unfortunately, much of his assigned homework is on the computer. Doing that work right before bed makes him "wired" and then it's difficult for him to fall asleep.
He has a tendency to get distracted and get "lost" in a book when he is supposed to be doing his chore or homework. What's the best way to keep a kid like him on track without stressing him out more? He often says he likes the schedule because it's mindless. He knows that if he just follows the time allotments for everything and uses a timer for the different chunks of time, that he'll get it all done.
What do you think is a reasonable amount of homework for a third grader? The teachers says it shouldn't take more than 45 minutes but just the reading alone is 20 minutes. Additionally, he struggles with spelling and so I try and do mini-lessons with him to bring him up to grade level. He really excels in other subjects but does poorly in spelling and writing. I actually homeschooled him in 1st grade. They weren't teaching phonics in school and since I am a former reading teacher, I decided to homeschool him. His reading improved dramatically, to say the least. Nevertheless, the things we both didn't like about homeschooling far outweighed the things we did like.
We don't like all the homework that his 3rd grade teacher assigns, but the teacher and the school are now quite helpful/compliant with the allergy situation. Even though our school district is the most allergy-friendly district around, it has taken me four years to train the staff about food allergies and to make changes that allow my son safely participate in school activities. I hesitate to have him move schools and have to start from scratch. I will talk with the teacher and see what can be done about the excessive homework. Most people don't see the value in chores or a sit-down family dinner time and they expect us to eliminate those in order to allow more time for homework.
If he has a dedicated 90 minutes to play but dawdles in the morning or while doing his homework, should he miss out on some of that time? How do we get him to stay on task and not waste time that could be spent playing without a strict schedule?
Please let me know your thoughts. I am grateful for your help.