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TOO MUCH Homework for a 4th grader


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bbblair September 8, 2010


How much is too much homework for a 4th grader, My niece is in 4th grade and is being given 4-hours of homework. Is this normal or too much. My daughter just graduated this year from high school and she had that much. What should we do?

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MagnetMom September 8, 2010


Hi bbblair,

First off, talk to the teacher. Find out if what is coming home is just homework, or if there is classwork that's not being completed. As how long the teacher expects the homework to take.

Then go to the principal. Ask to see the district's homework policy. I suspect it's no longer than 60-90 minutes at that age.

It'll help to get additional parents together and see what you can accomplish en masse. Often a single parent can be ignored, but if the entire class or grade level brings the issue to the principal, they will react. And I guarantee if you have 4 hours of homework a night, there are other parents grumbling.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

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jjgncmg September 9, 2010


Oh, my. My son is starting 4th. In the past the teachers have said that he should spend no more than 30 minutes on homework. Since my son has the accomadation in his IEP for 1 1/2 times the time alotted it took 40-60 minutes. Homework has not started yet for him this year but I still do not expect to spend more than 60 minutes, maybe a few minutes more. More would be way to stressful after a long day. 4 hours is nuts. A child that age needs time to rest, and play.

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momsully September 16, 2010


That is to much homework. The rule of thumb in our school district is 10 minutes per grade so in fourth grade it would be 40 minutes. I agree with MagnetMom, maybe there is work not being completed in school.

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astafford1 September 16, 2010


My daughter is in 4th grade and our school district (in Texas) has a policy of no more than 1 hour homework. Her teachers told us at orientation if they are spending more than an hour on homework to write a short note that they worked on it for an hour and did not have time to finish. They do not encourage spending more than an hour at their age and will accept this. Talk to the teacher and/or principal if need be, as 4 hours is outrageous. Good luck.

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Jenlcaine September 16, 2010


That is way too much homework. Please talk to your son's teacher to determine what the actual homework is and how long it should take to complete. Kids work at different speeds, but that seems excessive.

My son has a page or two of Math, 20 minutes of reading and word or social studies study, usually takes no more than 45 minutes if he's not playing around. Loading kids up with homework is not an effective way to learn. Children will begin to hate school and become overwhelmed when they can't keep up. Throw in after school activities and they will easily fall behind. That is setting these children up for failure.

I also feel there is something wrong if your child has that much leftover school work. There should be plenty of time to complete work in the classroom. If your child is having issues completing school work during the day that needs to be evaluated as well. I hope you are able to work this out.

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jwrakosy September 16, 2010


Hi bbblair,
Is your niece in a public or private school?
My son got 30 min. of homework when he was in 4th grade and it increased to 45min when he was in 5th. At the same time I was getting information on private schools and found that in one of them 5th graders were getting 3 hours of homework.
Now, my son is in 6th grade and the expected homework time is 30 min per subject, so aprox 2 hours total.
Another thing to look into is if your niece is strugging with any subject.
Hope everything works out.

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joyce2010 September 16, 2010


Absolutely it is too much for a 4th grader. I agree with MagnetMom, find out if it is classwork. But, ask your child if it is work that they covered
during the day in school. My ex-fourth grader (now in 5th!) was bringing home work to 'review'. Meaning, that the class hadn't even gone over the material yet. It was the next days class work. I strongly believe that (and anyone out there correct me if I'm mistaken!) 'homework' should be a review of what was taught THAT DAY. The kids should not be doing a preview for the teacher. It only causes confusion for the child (trying to tackle work that they've not been taught yet).

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jaceysmom September 16, 2010


Im one of those rare parent (I think) that doesnt beleive in homework at all so 4 hours is way to much for sure. I feel these kids are in school all day learning. After school time should be for other acttivivies liek sports or playing or just resitng. Enough is enough.

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lgordon777 September 16, 2010


I agree that four hours of actual homework is too much. However, I would review what is being given to determine whether it should take four hours. With my son, also a 4th grader, we struggle every day to complete approximately 40 minutes of homework, and it typically takes about four hours. None of it is hard for him. What is hard is sitting still and getting it done. He's up, he's down, he's "hungry," he's "thirsty," he'll "do it later." It has gotten better each year -- sometimes 15 minutes of Kindergarten homework used to take 5 hours! Best of luck to you!

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jsmom2001 September 16, 2010


My son started 4th grade this year too in Texas. During the Meet the Teacher night (the week before school started), I discovered that his elementary school was starting a new program this year where children have more than one teacher per subject and will be moving from room to room depending on the subject they are learning for that particular hour. I thought that was way too advanced for 4th grade, but what can you do... Although he has several teachers, I was told that he will only receive homework in math and language arts (including reading/spelling/writing). I was expecting about 30 minutes for math and 30 minutes for language arts. However, he had homework beginning with the first day of school and spend 3 hour doing homework on the 2nd day of school. I was very surprised. I immediately wrote his math and language arts teachers an email and was glad to know that he was just confused and had done class work as well as homework. Now we have that under control, he is spending about an hour to 1 1/2 hours on actual homework assignments. I'd suggest talking to the teacher and finding out if maybe some of the "homework" may be assignement not completed in class or a misunderstanding of what needs to be turned in the next day.



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