How Much Homework in the 5Th Grade??

Updated on January 09, 2008
L.G. asks from Mesa, AZ
19 answers

Hi All,

I have a step son who is a 5th grader, who gets zero homework.. none!!

We have met with the teacher to voice our concerns and she said that she went easy on the class the first quarter to get used to them etc.. promised this quarter there would be more.. there hasnt been. We gave him our own homework to do each night to try and make up for it.

I am concerned that becausemy step son is already very lazy, this is not helping. My fear is next year he will get a tougher teacher and be expected to do a ton of homework and not be able to keep up.

He was held back in 2nd grade because his psycho bio-mom let him miss something like 100 days of school, so weve been playing catch up ever since, I fear this will put him further behind.

I am requesting a meeting with the principal to find out if we can switch his class, but wanted to have an idea of what other kids get nightly???

Thanks so much!


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answers from Denver on

Hi L.,

I feel your concern. I have a 17 year old junior who is seriously behind due to the amount of homework, and the fact that he just doesn't like school. I am considering having him not take elective classes and hoping that he can make up failed classes from the 9th grade. If that fails, there is always job corps.
I made the mistake when my son was 12 to tell him about my Christian belief in the rapture. He now just doesn't care about anything else but heaven. He is not suicidal, is a good kid, but is just not wrapped up with the concerns of the world. I have tried to tell him we must stay busy until Christ returns...but he seems unmoved.

I hope that your son will do well in his pursuit of education. In our family, eduction is important...His grandma was a teacher, his cousin is a teacher...all the cousins have graduated college, as have their aunt and uncle. Their dad is also a college graduate. SO, I don't know what God has in store for my boy.

Have a great New Year!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

you dont mention if he has good grades. that is the the key and monitor how he does on standardised tests or whatever methiond your school uses. that is the best monitor. i think it is ridiculous to have kids in kinder havehomework. if the teacher cant teach them at school then there is a problem. my son is graduating this year and we had a couple of years where he spent hours after school doing homework he got so depressed and anxious. i found him doing homework at 3 am on morning. becaus i had made him go to be at 11. there was no time for him to ba a kid and that was in 3rd grade. i think that in junior high or high school., some homework is ok, they should make the kids do work without anyone to be able to answer questions. i am a college graduate but i never had to take trig or calculus and i cnat help my son with that. our hogh school started something great this year. they ahve a whole period right before lunche every day taht is mandatory attendance and they have to do their homework. the teacher for that class has a list of homework for each class they have and they have to do it there. if they dont get it finished during that period they can stay after school. if they are playing sports they cant go to practice until that teacher signs off that they have their work done. i knw because my husband is a wrestling coach. in the after school session parents can volunteer. i volunteer with english and chemistry and anatomy and physiology because i am comfortable with that. i aslo work with specila needs kids because i am dyslexic and i can work with them and help them with their disabilities.i think that if the kid is doing well inschool then dont worry about it but if he is falling behind then ask the teacher to helpim after school or at lunch and maybe she will agree to send work home. but please let your kids be kids. let them play outside for an hour after school. maybe he is lazy because he is not motivated. get him into an after school program that is active such as soccer, pop warner or martial arts.



answers from Las Vegas on

Hello- Every teacher is different so as long as your step son can achieve pretty good grades and he can read and do math, he'll probably be fine. Having him work on subjects at home for practice is a great idea. I am a middle school science teacher and I have two sons of my own- ages 6 and 14. I have to stay on my 14 year old alot more these days. I also don't give out very much homework unless the class is seriously lacking or not doing their work in class. My philosohpy is that out of school they need to be involved in extracurricular activities and with busy family schedules, I don't want to impose on that time. I usually stress for my children and students to perfect their basic skills and to involve themselves in something that they really enjoy. Good luck with your step-son!



answers from Santa Fe on

My daughter is in 6th grade in a private school, they do not get much homework and there are no "grades". She is lazy too. But the tradeoff is healthy chores and projects. Last year they started getting homework but mostly things to work on with parents or math sheets. I think to let them be kids while they can but to instill participation on many levels. Giving your own homework is a great idea. We do that too.



answers from Denver on

I do before/after school daycare for kids. One of the boys I watch is in fifth grade. He at least every night he is here has an hour to hour and a half of homework. I am surprised really that there is none with your step son. You are so great in being concerned as yes, mid high the expectations will increase big time. Good for you being proactive!



answers from Phoenix on

L., I have twins in 5th grade and they have homework nightly Mon-Thurs. They always have one spelling activity (the teacher lets them choose a different one every night) and about every other day a math assignment too. The twins are boy/girl and my son hates it when he has homework....not that my daughter likes it, but she hits it and gets it done. Hope this helps some....doesn't seem that your son's teacher is preparing him for the next several school years that are to come, especially high school. I would request some work from the teacher or move him to a different class, sometimes you have to be a pain and call daily if you are not getting a response.

Alison T, SAHM w/ five kiddos (4, 7, 11, 11, 12 3/4) and happily married for 15 1/2 years.



answers from Reno on

OH MY GOD! SOunds like your teacher has vacationitis, or short-timers disease.

He absolutely SHOULD have homework, EVERY night. How else is he and the rest of his classmates going to develop good study habits for life?
You are right to give him assignments. He needs to be challenged every day. Find a Parent/Teacher store. They are a great resource for staying in touch with educational learning tools.

His teacher is taking the easy way out because she is lazy. SO sad.

What about the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND act? Aren't there requirements they are supposed to reach, including nightly homework?
Definitely go to the Prinicple and talk about this. If there is any indication that he is lax about schoolwork too, get your son out of there and into a better school, FAST.
School is a training ground for adulthood, it is preparing their minds for the real world through knowledge and discipline.
Part of the discipline is having responsibility thrust upon you with the expectation that they will actively take part in their education and get their work done. Not doing so comes with consequences but if the teacher offers no homework, they have no challenges and no consequences for loafing around.
In the face of adversity, people find what they're made of. These kids want to be challenged and the teacher is passing up a wonderful opportunity to broaden and enrich their minds. She is failing herself, she failing your son and his class.... miserably.

She has very low expectations of them, therefore they will only work as hard as they need to, to just meet those expectations.
She needs to find another job, away from kids. I'm sure Walmart needs a few more greeters, wait...that would require too much energy.

Quick story: I tried to slum through my Sophmore year of Biology. I purposely picked a teacher that was known to be drunk most the day and give easy 'A's". I was a bright kid but in the midst of teenage angst and full throttle hormones, I dumbed down for a few years...very pathetic!
Fate interevened. During summer break, that teacher died. The new Biology teacher was super strict. He made us keep journals, and study and gave us regular tests and he threw a ton of information at us. My experience was COMPLETELY opposite of what I envisioned for that year but you know what?
That single class changed my life. That teacher got me organized, he challenged us and he made us work hard and I learned a very valuable lesson that year. I learned that I liked school, and learning and knowledge and that if I work hard, I CAN accomplish many things.
I learned a lot about myself that year. I also learned that there was nothing cool about being a slough. That was a 'loser' mentality, trying to avoid responsibility was a road to nowhere.

Thank GOD that teacher came into my life.

Regarding your son's teacher, kick her butt in gear or get him out of there. It will be one of the best things you could do for him.
The public school system, ideally, would do everything to prepare your child for their future but you can't leave it entirely to them.
Stay involved at every turn. The kid will fight you but too bad. 20-30 years from now, they will be thanking you. Parenthood is definitely delayed gratification...but most certainly worth the investment.

Good Luck.

Jen G.


answers from Colorado Springs on

Our principal told us that we should expect 10 minutes of homework per grade level. For example, K = 10 min, 1st = 20 min, 2nd = 30 min, 3rd = 40 min, 4th = 50 min, and 5th = 60 minutes! I agree with this formula! We are a nation with more lazy (and fat?) kids than necessary. You know all those stories about childhood obesity. Not to mention other countries that are beating us in the intelligence race because their school systems are expecting more out of their kids. I say DO NOT over-coddle your children, DO NOT let them spend half of their life in front of the TV, DO make it routine for them to read every day, DO send them outside to play before they do their homework, DO set high expectations, and DO still love them when they don't meet your expectations.



answers from Phoenix on

Hi L.,
I have a 10 y/o daughter in the 5th grade and I experience the exact opposite....she is supposed to have about 30 to 45 minutes of homework a night plus about 20 minutes of reading any book of her choice, however because she has a reading impairment it takes her about an hour or more some days to do homework, I thought it was too much but the teacher assured me it leads to good habits. She is now enrolled in the after school homework program that her home room teacher coordinates. That was another concern for me as well, she changes classes for subjects and the math teacher was also giving her homework. On top of everything any work left from the class is to be done at home. As far as your step son I think giving him an assignment at night is a good idea,also have him choose a book to read, and I think you should give him more chores, you know what they say about idle hands!! I hope this helps.


answers from Phoenix on

In my personal opinion, I would start to resent my parents if they pushed me into doing homework. I don't know how your stepson's attitude is already, but I know that when I was that age, I totally rejoiced in the days that I didn't have any homework, even though it wasn't every day. If I was made to do more homeowrk, I totally would have started rebelling. Just maybe keep that in mind and know that at some point in his schooling, he will have more homework than he can handle and will look back on these days fondly.



answers from Albuquerque on

I don't know how much homework a 5th grader should get but it should be more than a 4th grader. My daughter gets spelling at least 3 days a week, math almost every night, social studies, english and science at least 2-3 days a week, plus they should be doing at least 15 minutes of reading each night. Having a meeting with the principal is the best thing to do, because that teacher is damaging not just your son but the whole class. All the teachers at my daughters school pile it on the first part of the school year that way they can go easy on them the last nine weeks. If the teacher won't change her ways get him a new teacher.



answers from Albuquerque on

Hi L.,
My son is in the 2nd grade and he has 4 pages of homework per night AND nightly reading!!!The work takes him about and hour or so to do and his teacher informed us that there is a district policy that he has to do at least 30 minutes of homework every night. I would check what you district policy is on required homework as well as see about switching teachers. good luck!!



answers from Albuquerque on

The formula has been mentioned in several other responses: 10 minutes per grade. So, since the teacher isn't giving the homework, and it is January, do not go and mess things up at the school for your son. You/HE are mid-year and he will be more shaken by a move now, academically and socially, than YOU taking charge of the situation. Homework is in your home, and you are in charge.

You can have expectations. Homework can be 30 minutes of reading a chapter book per night. Then, for 20 minutes he can do things that you are interested in... family talk time (adult conversation stimulates the brain), family game time, fun walks outdoors to find things, etc. Or, buy the simple fraction drill/skill flash cards and there are a ton of simple/fun workbooks.Go to any bookstore and ask for a 5th grade level support book, there are many.

Plus, the state of New Mexico on the Public Education website, has all the standards for every grade. You can download what the average 5th grader MUST know, and work up some easy 20-minute practice activities for him.

Trust me, do not go to the school and shake things up so much in the name of saving your "lazy" son. Kids are not lazy, they are beaten down. Please reflect on that. Motivation will not come from you causing havoc in his world. I say this because I am an 11th grade teacher who has seen so many students who have given up on school because they were pulled so many ways by so many authorities. The teacher is the authority in the school, you are the authority in the home. You do not need a teacher to dictate homework to you, there are many avenues.

Plus, count your blessings. Too much homework could really solidify the "lazy" label, which needs to be shed immediately.



answers from Tucson on

When my boys were in fifth grade they had a minimum of 45 min plus reading every night. I home school now, but they did attend public school through the fifth grade.



answers from Denver on

You are so lucky! I have been complaining about homework load for my kids for years now. I like my children to be well balanced - volunteer, have creative free time and be in sports, but they are so loaded with homework, it seems that is all they can do. My neighbor has loads of research that shows that more homework is actually making students perform worse on tests and be burned out on school before college - NOT GOOD! Kids need free time to become resourceful and creative! I am not talking about video games and T.V. - that is not allowed in our home. Just free time to sled and play and build forts and come up with wild adventures. Call me a Hippie!



answers from Denver on

Hi L.
I taught for 12 years with many years in your son's age group and have a master's degree in elementary ed. Kids in the fifth grade might bring home a half hour to an hour (depending on the student's working speed)three nights a week. (But if there's any way your son might be more accelerated, he might manage his time well enough at school to finish homework. Some kids do just that.) I'm sure there are things like math concepts or spelling list that require nightly interaction and review for ten or fifteen minutes. Then you might expect projects that require more time every so often. If you're really feeling like you need more for home then I would voice your concerns and ask for SPECIFIC things from the teacher. The teacher should have grade level content area work he/she can give you to enrich/accompany what is going on in the classroom. For example, if math is your concern then ask for work in the topic being covered in class. But I would also be VERY careful of pushing so hard at home he burns out at school or has negative feelings about school. Middle school is right around the corner and cultivating a postive feeling in your son's mind about teacher's and school is so essential. By reviewing your son's report card and talking about his progres with the teacher/s you should be very clear on where he stands and if he needs much homework. Good luck.



answers from Austin on

I don't understand why so many parents are concerned because their child doesn't have enough homework. My kids are in a charter school and this issue came up there with some parents.

My daughter does not have homework every night, other than to read. She is in the top of her class and way ahead of students in the public schools she would have gone to. I think kids need some down-time away from mental fatigue to just be kids. That is part of growing up and developing too. I like homework when kids are truly falling behind. Then they need the extra work to catch up. My other son is in 5th grade and is ADD, so he needs extra help. What my charter school does for these kids is to provide a half hour after school 3 days a week to do this extra work so they don't have alot of homework going home and can have a break.

I am a single mom too, who doesn't have much time to spend trying to get three kids through 1-2 hours of homework at night. As long as my kids are keeping up and doing well, I don't get concerned about the amount of homework they get.

J. L



answers from Phoenix on

I sent another comment the last response, but i also agree with the other response. Don't push it too far. Boys especially get overwhelmed. Like i said, they do get time in class to do their work. He could be managing his time well. This year has been better for us too. Last year in 4th grade my son had hours of hw. If i have 30min i am grateful. Believe me, it will come. enjoy it now while you can. We also had big research projects, this is also the transition into older more advanced grades. good luck



answers from Phoenix on


It sounds like you have his best interests at heart and you sincerely don't want him to fall behind. I think that's great!

I used to be a fifth-grade teacher, and at the school in Utah where I taught five years ago, the homework guideline for fifth graders was one hour per night. However, some students were more efficient workers and didn't take much home at all, if anything. I had no problem with that, nor did the other teachers on my team.

Giving homework to do specifically at home is a practice that has become all the rage for elementary students, in the name of preparing them for the upper grades. This seems absurd to me - I fear all it does is burn them out before they need that skill, and the kids that don't burn out would probably have done fine with homework later anyway. In junior high and high school, everything they need to know and practice can't be covered in the time allotted at school. This isn't the case in elementary school. So to me, homework for fifth graders was largely an issue of accountability for work assigned - As a teacher of 10-11 year olds, I gave the work, and if they didn't finish it they took it home, but I rarely gave homework without the opportunity to begin and often finish it in class.

So at this age I wouldn't worry about the short homework reprieve. One idea might be to use the extra time (while you have it) to let him pursue extracurricular interests that may help with the issue of laziness, because it sounds like that's the issue you're most concerned with, and extra homework probably won't solve that - he won't suddenly see the light and develop a work ethic because he has more homework to do. If anything, he could burn out and just resent it. But if he finds something he's passionate about or a skill he is driven to master, it's possible he'll begin to develop a valuable work ethic that will serve him well when his teachers are less easygoing on the homework load.

There's my two cents. Good luck! I'll bet those twins keep you hopping! :)


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