In past posts about success factors, I talked about when my kids were still young I learned that taking a full load of advanced placement classes at a moderately competitive high school means ridiculous homework loads. I started wondering if there was a better way for success, and noted some information such as that can be found on the blog, Study Hacks. So we decided that maybe the answer was just to not take a full load of advanced placement courses.
So through our start of middle school, taking only a partial load of preAP classes seemed to be turning out pretty well. Our son’s homework load was manageable, he was still working on focus and consistency in grades, and he had time for some extracurricular activities. We kept asking about his classes, and he was happy with all of them. He kept saying that he didn’t see any difference between his GT classes, his preAP classes, and his “regular classes.” We thought that would be a good indication of what was to come in high school.
But then his little sister came along. She really wanted to take a full load of preAP classes, but we held the reins a little. I can’t remember if let her sign up for 3 or 2 (instead of 4) preAP classes in her first middle school year of 6th grade. At the same time, we increased our son’s load to 3 preAP classes, taking math, science, and history. (We left out English preAP.) That was the summer of unbelievably time demanding summer projects for preAP and we were glad they didn’t have a full loads.
But by the end of the year we had a little more information. Our daughter was more focused and more efficient with her homework. (We already knew that.) But, she reported being miserable in her “regular” classes, simply because the other students didn’t behave as well.
Apparently our son was oblivious to the behavior of the other kids until his sister pointed it out. 🙂
Our son loved his preAP history class.
It was starting to appear that in order for our kids to be surrounded by other kids who paid attention in class, and had the same levels of interest in their studies, we’d have to enroll them in more of the preAP/AP classes. In my next post, I’ll talk about our experiences taking heavier AP loads.