Category Archives: time

10,000 hours

I’ve written about this before surely, kids are in school for 5 to 5.5 hours each day over 180 days (MA has 900/990 learning time laws for public school) so that is 14 years * ~950 = 13,300 hours(!) for Pre-K through 12th grade.

Right now (still? I think this has been off-and-on for a long time) our 8 year old is OBSESSED with drawing animals, dragons, etc. and crafting “creations” out of popsicle sticks and a glue gun. Oh, and pottery. Luckily since he goes to Sudbury Valley School, so he has all the time he needs.

I really don’t see how he would have time to do all of this very serious thinking and doing if he was having to do and think about what OTHER people wanted him to — both in school and homework time. (In fact, maybe my 13,000 hour estimate is low?)

What a gift to be free for 10,000 hours.


Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

New Study Destroys Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule “Johansson argues that deliberate practice is only a predictor of success in fields that have super stable structures. For example, in tennis, chess, and classical music, the rules never change, so you can study up to become the best. But in less stable fields, like entrepreneurship and rock and roll, rules can go out the window…”

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Filed under 10 000 hours, freedom, kids -- freedom and responsibility, kids are complete people, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, time, woodworking / shop class

Choose *YOUR* type of success

“We’ve got one of the most ridiculous and paradoxical ideas at large in modern society – is this idea of work-life balance. In other words, you can be a success at work, and you can be a success at home with your family. … The bad news for listeners is that you can’t.” — ALAIN DE BOTTON
and click the audio link (not the video)

or transcript here:

“DE BOTTON: You know, there’s a problem because – well, you know, as anyone who’s ever tried to do anything well and wholeheartedly knows, there’s only so many hours in the day. So we have to make some choices. What do we want to be successful at, and as? Do we want to be a successful parent? Do we want to be successful financially or in terms of reputation, or in terms of changing the world or – you know, there are many, many criteria. And I think we’re not given enough of a guidance by our schools, families, the surrounding environment, at the idea that there’s going to have to be a choice around that word “successful.” So don’t get me wrong. I’m not against success. It’s very important to strive to be successful. But before you do that, I think it’s even more important to try and tighten up the definition of what success might be for you ’cause it’s unlikely to be something that will be, you know, a one-size-fits-all.”

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Filed under american dream, meaning of life, success, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, time, work-life balance

Programming hours

Interesting thread w/ comments about the hours programmers keep. Differs by person of course. Night-owls, 9-to-5ers, etc.

Personally, I get ideas and fix problems:
– many during 9-to-5 but also
– running
– sleeping/putting kids to bed
– carpooling

Another ObPoint about leaving and coming back and “fixing the problem in 5 minutes”: It also often just works to shift gears and work on another problem. It’s not always just food/sleep/time needed. There is usually plenty of other work to be doing, so choose another problem for a bit and come back to the stuck one later.

But it’s true, like any difficult/creative work: it is quite pointless to code when tired.

see also: Relax! You’ll Be More Productive
– taking time to get adequate food, sleep, exercise, and vacations “boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.”

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Filed under exercise, programming, sleep, thinking, time, work

Gotta put in the hours…

Just got to wondering about how many hours one spends in PreK-12th grade. Well, if you assume 5 hours (it’s supposed to be 5.5 in upper grades in MA law) and 180 days/year and 14 years, well then… that’s:

180*14*5 = 12,600 hours

FWIW, this compares to the “10,000 hours” from Malcolm Gladwell’s book: Outliers: The Story of Success

I believe his thesis is… some baseline of talent + 10,000 hours to pursue something = Success

One can read pretty much endless Sudbury Valley School alumni (and older students) who say that looking back… the time they had to pursue their passions at school was pretty darn important to them.

On the other hand, there are not really any easy generalizations to be made about how kids choose to use their time at Sudbury Valley School. Take two passionate musicians for instance. I think it’s equally likely that they spend all their time at SVS (or any sudbury school) “doing music”. Or none of their time. Or something in between. That’s the beauty of the school. There are 24 hours in a day, so that’s plenty of time to use the school as a resource and community in a way that works for you. At times it might be a place of study, play, conversation, etc. Intense. Or not.

A better example than music might be dance. Or hockey. If you are intensely involved in an activity like this, then obviously you are going to spend significant time outside of school pursuing these activities and SVS is going to be something else for you.

I guess what I am saying is that SVS can be equally valuable for what it is NOT (For instance, not infringing on your time outside of school as well — with homework you have not chosen to pursue yourself.)

– The discussion of three levels of learning… “curious probing” vs “entertainment style” vs “unstoppable mastery learning” from “Do People Learn from Courses?” in: The Sudbury Valley School Experience, pages 90-99

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Filed under kids -- freedom and responsibility, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, time