34 answers

Too Much Homework?

How much do you moms think is too much homework? My 5th grade daughter is doing an average of 1 hour/night of seatwork (some weekends, too), plus 20+minutes reading. She is very bright, and usually is independent in her work. I think it is too much at this age and the work is boring worksheet drills-this week she had 6 pages of math one night. She is active in one sport and Girl scouts, so she has committments after school 3 afternoons some weeks, which seems to me to be a lot less than other kids her age. The kids have almost no screen time during the week. I think that several afternoons should just be free time. I feel that we should say something to the teacher at conferences...she doesn't want me to.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for their input. We had Parent-teacher conferences last night, and it went very well. Since I learned from you all that the 50 minutes per night was to be expected, I didn't argue that point. We did discuss options that would lessen the drill/busywork and allow my daughter to spend homework time doing some long range projects and more interesting assignments. The teacher was very receptive and my daughter is excited about the challenge.

Featured Answers

Being a teacher I come from a little bit of a different back ground too. Usually the homework is used to help them remember things they learned in class, otherwise they might forget it and it will have to be retaught. A lot of the time it is things that could have been done in class. I would say if she doesn't even want you to talk to her teacher don't. If she's fine, don't worry about it. If it is overwhelming for her, then approach the teacher in a not accusatory way and find out what you all can do to make it work better. Just remember chances are great the teacher is doing the best they can with what they have. They most likely are more than willing to talk to you and work things out. But it is so hard if you approach them in a way that makes them feel you are unwilling to really talk and listen to them.

I think having any homework is too much after being in school all day. When do the kids get to relax? I understand that because there a lot of kids it is hard for the teacher to get everything accomplished in class. On the other hand I hear a lot of parents complain because they can't do as much with their kids because of homework.
Stephanie L

I think her homework time is reasonable, since she is ok with it. Anything over that, though, I would object to. Also, her other activities seem reasonable to me. Just be greatful that she does it without having to be nagged, threatened cajoled,bribed etc.!

More Answers

I don't know much about whats "average" for a 5th grader, but as a teacher, I do know that toe "boring drills" seatwork is important. Trust me, teachers won't give homework that they don't think is important becuase we have to grade it, which takes time, usually outside of our paid contract hours. Repetition is important when learning new concepts... it helps to solidify the synapse and dendrite paths in the brain and help students remember how to do the work. 1 hours doesn't sound terrible, and you should probably be encouraging her to read at least 20 minutes a day even if it wasn't homework. In 2 years she'll be in junior high, so getting used to juggling school and activities and homework/study time is probably good for her. Homework load only gets worse when she has 6 or 8 teachers giving assignments rather than just one. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Can't remember for sure, but a general guidline is about 20 minutes per grade, or maybe 10. I may be way off... it's been a long time since I took education courses.

My concern is more over the busy work. If the teacher is just assigning worksheet after worksheet (or lots of pages in the textbook) it may not be benificial. I would talk to the teacher. Don't be accusatory, but find out what her goals are with the homework (I hope its more than just to keep them busy) and ask how your daughter is doing in class (I suggest this only because my 4th grader just came home crying that she was about the only one in her class who hadn't passed speed test for addition, and I had no clue she was even stuggling! Sometimes kids won't tell you!)

Ask the teacher..
Every program is different.
I just talked to a gal whos has twins in different classes and they both have 2 hours of homework a night for 1st grade. I asked if it took them 2 hours or if it was 2 hours of work, she said it was 2 hours of work, 5-6 worksheets that the teacher gives. At the begning of school the teacher said to plan 2 hours a night for homework.

An hour of homework in 5th grade is alot, is your daughter ok with doing it? I personally think our society has gone over the top with the school thing and I think the schools feel pressure to supply work for the kids. Particularly in the more affluent suburbs. DOn't get me wrong, I am an educated person myself and highly believe in education, but it is NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT thing in a child's life. Like you said, she does girl scouts, that is important, just playing and learning to get along with others is important, family time, and much more. It sounds like you do have a valid concern, maybe your daughter is embarrased about you saying something to her teacher with you there, maybe call the teacher before school starts in the morning or while your daughter is at school. I think most teachers want to work with parents to have successful students! You don't have to wait until conference time to bring this up. You are her guide, and her mom it is ok for you to at least question this! Good luck!

I think having any homework is too much after being in school all day. When do the kids get to relax? I understand that because there a lot of kids it is hard for the teacher to get everything accomplished in class. On the other hand I hear a lot of parents complain because they can't do as much with their kids because of homework.
Stephanie L

Hi K., I was a teacher before becoming a SAHM. The general rule for homework is that you should have as many minutes x10 as your grade. So, generally a fifth grader should have 50 minutes of homework. Our school also did 20 minutes or reading as well.
I would recommend you talk to the teacher with or without your daughter. Good teachers always appreciate open lines of communication with parents. You could at least ask the teacher what her expectations are for homework and why.
Now as a parent I can understand there just aren't enough hours in the day.
Good luck

Hi K.,
Take your child out of your teachers class while you can lol because last yr. when our youngest was in 1st grade, his teacher gave way to much homework for a 1st grader and we are kicking ourselves for not taking him out of that class and sticking him in another 1st grade class. Your daughter is doing way to much homework...you might as well be teaching your daughter at home...you are basically doing the teachers job.

That is pretty typical it seems for a 5th grader. I babysit fourth graders and a sixth grader and they are all right there.

My daughter is in 2nd and has 20 minutes of reading every night, then a sheet of either math or writing that takes another 15 to 20 minutes. At first it seemed like a lot but she is done and it is time to chill. She is in Girl scouts and that in no way even causes issue with homework, it is twice a month. Her teacher doesn't believe in weekend homework unless a special project.

She is done by 3:40ish and ready to relax. I certainly couldn't imagine having to rush around after school and worry about dinners and all that to accomodate more activities! Just nuts what we all do now these days. Soccer, music, ballet lessons, piano, or whatever, always in a hurry and never just letting kids relax!

I think three activities a week on top of having to do homework is a lot personally.

I wouldn't say anything to the teacher, really. It is their job to teach your child in a manner they think will do them justice heading into 6th grade, where the homework is even harder and more detailed! Middle school is tough and she has to be prepared.

I would cut back her activities.
My daughters teacher has a great philosophy that homework should never be a chore. She sends home a packet on Monday evenings and it is to be returned by Thursday morning. No homework on Fri, Sat and Sun other then reading on an honor system. That to me is more then reasonable.
I don't think your daughter has it bad, I mean an hour after school is really minor and if her activities on top of that are causing her to be overloaded then something has to give. Don't count on a teacher to change her method of teaching because your daughter has a lot going on!!!

Not to sound mean but I think kids should have ONE activity a week maybe two tops. Kids are overloaded and though they seem like they like it I am willing to bet most kids want to come home and chill out, not have to be somewhere again in the car, getting ready to leave again and all that stress. Family meals get cut short if even just eliminated. Not fair to them at all.

Without activities all over the place, they come home say 3:00, do their homework, done by 4:15 and get to relax at home like they should, not having to head out the door again!

If you are truly concerned go to a PTA meeting and speak up and talk to other parents, don't run directly to the teacher. I would evaluate why you really think it is too much. I don't agree with weekend homework but an hour a night isn't bad.

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