I know there's many different questions that involve having a life with a healthy work-life balance but my question is different: I'm looking for a balance between my school life(high school) and studying.

But I don't mean studying for school-related stuff. We usually have enough time to study in class and sometimes during lunch hours. I'm talking about my independent studies involving math and programming.

What's stopping me from doing so? Well, when I get home from school, I only have about 3 to 4 hours until I go to sleep so that leaves me with 3 hours at most to study when you count things like eating, bathing, etc(nothing unnecessary) which is way less than what I want. This is making me loathe school and not want me to pursue a college degree because I feel like if I had more time to do math and programming, I could accomplish much more than I am now and so school is preventing me from reaching my best self.

I have tried many things. First, I asked my math teacher to put a grade higher for math which she did(I'm in grade 9 but I do grade 10 math) but I find the classes way too easy(I dare say even easier than grade 9 math that my friends are doing) so I bring my own stuff to work on but for some reason, the teacher told me I can't be doing that even if I have done everything she's asked for and am not disturbing anyone else(I asked my teacher to put me up yet another grade but he said no because then when I reach grade 11, I won't have anything to do).

I try to do math in my other classes as well but if the teacher finds out(which, on many occasions, my teachers have), they would just get understandably mad so I need to be really careful to not get caught but that requires me to pay attention to my surroundings which decreases my focus to do math problems.

I also get tutored by a grad at my local university but we have at most two 2-hour classes per week so although it's definitely helping me, it's not that huge.

My question is, have you ever been in such a situation? If so, what did you do about it and how was the outcome?

Sorry this is so long, I tried to make it as short as possible:)

Thank you so much for your time!

P.S: I have the tag "work-life-balance" because it's the closest thing I could find to my question but if you think there's a better tag, please feel free to change it

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    Just one remark: Do you have enough time to develop your social skills (i.e. time with friends)? – Thomas Oct 24 '19 at 18:59
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    I don't think you should work on math in your other classes (although your enthusiasm is a good thing). Why do you take a math class above your current level, but require tutoring? – Jonas Schwarz Oct 24 '19 at 19:07
  • @JonasSchwarz Well, the tutoring is actually CS and the math involved is grade 12 math(I live in NB, Canada so depending on where you live, it might be different). So the math that I do at school is much, much easier than my tutorings. – Borna Ahmadzade Oct 24 '19 at 19:16
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    @tesrytety: That's really great! Far too often you see "genius kids" without any human skills. – Thomas Oct 24 '19 at 19:45
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    Maybe try asking students on the forums at artofproblemsolving.com how they handle this. They must have the same problem. I think it makes sense for you to work on whatever you want during class, as long as you're making good grades, and if I were a teacher I'd let you do that. The last thing I would want to do as a teacher is waste your time. Maybe you can go to college early -- I know of at least one example where this has worked out well, because the student was genuinely beyond anything his high school could offer him and he was ready to succeed in college. – littleO Oct 25 '19 at 6:39

It seems like there are three things going on here.

This is making me loathe school and not want me to pursue a college degree because ... school is preventing me from reaching my best self.

First, it sounds like you are asking whether to give up on school. In 9th grade, I wouldn't! University is completely different than high school - you have a lot of freedom to choose your courses, you can select into advanced electives, and no one is micromanaging your attendance or behavior in lecture halls. It sounds like you would do much better in this environment.

While some people can and do successfully study independently, I think this would be very hard at your age. Even if you are exceptionally talented, you might more out of your abilities if someone is able to point you to new ideas and topics to work on.

I asked my math teacher to put a grade higher for math which she did ... I asked my teacher to put me up yet another grade but he said no because then when I reach grade 11, I won't have anything to do.

There are two possibilities. First, even if you can manage academically, the school might not want to put you two grades up for social reasons (has anyone else ever done this?). For example, the teacher might be refusing to advance you because you're not mature enough or might get bullied.

Assuming that is not the case, then it sounds like the teacher might not know what to do with you :) Then, I see two options. Either, you need to find and propose a constructive alternative - such as investigating whether you can enroll for credits in your local community college once you're in 11th grade. Or, you need to try and transfer to a new school that will give you such alternatives.

I bring my own stuff to work on but for some reason, the teacher told me I can't be doing that even if I have done everything she's asked for and am not disturbing anyone else

Yes, this is not a good idea. Even if you think you're being unobtrusive, it can distract your neighbors and create the impression that you are getting special treatment, or worse - that no one else needs to pay attention either. Fundamentally, try to empathize with the fact that your teacher is trying to command your and your peers' respect and maintain an engaged classroom. This also goes for your other subjects - you'll need to work hard in all your classes to show your teachers that you take them seriously.

At the end of the day, I recommend that you propose an alternative which demonstrates that you have a well-thought out plan. You will need to have adult allies who can speak to your potential (such as your parents, or a supportive mentor), and you should try to make the conversation happen at a higher level (rather than negotiating with each teacher). For example, I'd recommend setting up a meeting between your parents and your school principal to discuss your options. Rather than framing the situation as trying to "get out of" your classes, try to frame it as an effort to move forward -- to meet the requirements of your high school, and then go on to challenge yourself even further. Ask your school to help you do this and realize your potential.

I know someone who was in your situation and I realize how frustrating it can be. I hope you can find a good solution that lets you do what you're passionate about! In the worst case, try to remember that you have summers, and holidays, and weekends -- and that things will eventually get better once you graduate and get to go on to the next (more challenging) level.

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(re-writing my answer after some further reflection)

It seems that right now, you have a burning passion to be studying Math and Computer Science, which is very commendable. However, my advice would be to spend some time now working on a longer-term plan for your future, and how your passion for these areas fits into it. At a basic level, I would suggest a key goal of this plan should be: 'how do I get to a position where I am doing what I am passionate about and getting paid a live-able wage to do it?'

So, your plan might be to go to a top tier college and major in CS, then go on to do a PhD, then become an academic in that area. Or, alternatively, it might be to major in that area and then go and work for a particular company in Industry that is doing work in an area that excites you, which is closely-related to those fields of study.

Then, once you have that longer-term plan, you can look more closely at the details of how can you get to that destination as quickly as possible and what the next step should be. You can also look more closely at what the requirements are for that next step. For example, you can (and should) reach out to some of the top 5 colleges you are planning to apply to, to see what their entrance requirements are.

You might find that they are looking for candidates that are fairly well-rounded and have shown excellence over a range of courses, not just one or two. You might also find that you would need to get a good score on an SAT-style standardized test, which might require knowledge beyond just Math and CS. If this is the case, then you know you can't afford to neglect your other courses. However, knowing that they are required for you to take the next step towards your longer-term goal should give you more motivation to study them, because now they are no longer pointless and irrelevant to your life.

On the other hand, you might find a college that would be willing to take you on sooner, if you are showing exceptional potential in one or two subjects, regardless of your performance in other areas. If that is the case, it might provide you with a quicker path to your destination and then you may be able to afford to slack off a bit more in those other subjects. But, I think it's very important that you verify this first. I.e. you need to do your research to see what options are available for your continued education and what they require.

You might also find that some colleges prefer candidates that can show evidence of extra-curricular activities, such as sports or music. If that is the case, then it might be well worth investing some of your extra time into some of those activities, as a means of helping you to reach your end goal, of being paid to do what you have a passion for. This is probably a healthy thing to do anyway, as it's good to have some balance in your life and make time for social activities and to keep yourself healthy.

So, in summary, give some serious thought to your longer-term plan of where you are going and how you are going to get there. Simply succumbing to the immediate burning desire to study Math and CS might not be the most effective way to realize your long term goals. Unfortunately, the education system has to cater for a very wide range of students and it's not always possible for it to be tailored perfectly for every individual. So, keep an eye on the longer term plan, so that even if you end up spending a year or two doing things that you would ideally not be doing, at least you know they are helping you work towards those goals. As you progress further in the education system, you will find you get more control and say over what subjects you study.

Good luck!

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  • Depending what school and what program, maybe they want "well rounded" and maybe they want Sheldon Cooper. – puppetsock Oct 24 '19 at 21:45
  • @puppetsock it's possible, but I would recommend the OP verifies what their target college is looking for, before they choose to neglect other courses. – Time4Tea Oct 24 '19 at 22:18

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