Accomodations, pt. 4: Fewer classes & free periodsDec 20, 2018
I was an English/History kid. But I'm also not the fasted reader, writer, or processor. That made it really hard to take honors/AP classes in those subjects. I had to make tough decisions about how to allocate my time. (I guess I still do.) It was pretty clear that I couldn't take the classes that I wanted to and still carry a full load. So, my parents and I had a discussion before my freshman year about how to handle that. The basically asked me if I wanted to do high school in 5 years or take something during the summer to lighten the load during the academic year. That was an easy choice for me. I wanted to graduate with my friends. So we decided that I would take my sciences during the summer. I took Bio after my freshman year and took Chem after my sophomore year. I think I just sleep for two month after surviving my junior year.
Of course that was one few class to have to worry about. Less homework, etc. But, it also gave me four extra blocks during the week to... do what? That's the question. Back in the day at Newton North, underclassmen weren't allowed to have free periods. So they wanted to stick me in study hall four more (total of six) periods a week. When I think about the idea of being in a classroom with 20 other kids who don't want to be there and may not be so quiet trying to do work and having to mostly sit still, I think I'd rather be in science class. What I needed was to go find a quiet place, put on the discman (yes, I'm old) and do whatever I needed to do to survive high school. Sometimes that was staring at the wall, sometimes it was homework, sometimes it was playing chess with a friend, sometimes "hanging out" with my girlfriend who I shared a free block with my senior year.
The bottom line is that I may not have used those periods strictly to do homework. I may have used them as down time. But that down time allowed me to conserve energy and attention throughout the school day to get work done at home. And, being able to move around and not be sitting and chair probably helped me pay attention better during my actual classes. If your kids aren't prone to getting in trouble or just being glued to their phones, they will probably use the time "better" without having to report to a study hall. At least that was the case for me.
Standard Disclaimer: In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.