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.
By the time our oldest was entering middle school, I thought I had it all figured out. (Hah! Cue laughter here. As a parent can we ever have it all figured out?)
We decided that the best option was just to not take a full load of preAP/AP classes. We would just resist getting on the ever-speeding treadmill in the first place.
My son was the first class that had preAP classes offered at our middle school. Lucky us! (Not.) We found ourselves faced with the preAP/AP question much earlier than we thought.
This worked to a certain extent. First off, our oldest had never made perfect grades. (Let me admit right now that most parents would have been thrilled with his grades.) He loved to read, but he hated writing and hated the books that most English teachers assign. He loved math the most. (To put this in perspective, you should know that he’s been known to refer to his math homework as “fun and relaxing.”)
So he was perfectly happy taking GT/preAP math and science and “regular” English and history. And when I heard the titles of the books they were assigning in preAP English, all of us were pretty happy with our choices. (You can read my thoughts on the depressing books kids are required to read.)
On top of that, our school district started trying out ridiculously time consuming summer projects for preAP classes with unfair grading. (Another rant for another time.) English and history were the worst offenders when it came to summer projects.
For the first couple of years, we followed the policy of a partial preAP load, and our son had a moderate to heavy homework requirements. He felt able to participate in some extra-curricular activities such as the school musical. (Which was a real stretch – and a great experience – for him.)
But, especially when our oldest daughter started middle school, we started noting some drawbacks to not taking a full preAP/AP load. I’ll talk about those in post, How any AP classes should you take?
What about you? Have your students taken a full or partial preAP/AP load in middle school or high school? What are your impressions?