How Much Homework Does Your 4Th Grader Get?

Updated on January 11, 2014
C.T. asks from Red River, NM
15 answers

I'm taking a poll. How much homework does your 4th grader get each day/week? I feel like our son gets an awful lot of homework. Because of his personality it takes him the entire evening every day. He also gets homework every weekend. What is typical for him? He gets 3 packets (one math, one writing, one reading) of about 3-5 pages each that is due Friday. He gets 2 packets that are due Monday. Since the new year started it has been slightly different. He has 4 pages of math to do each night. He also has to read and take specific notes from his book report book each night. He dislikes doing homework so much that it is a major struggle every day. Last night was took 3 hours to get the math done and about an hour to get the book report stuff done. How does homework go each night for your 4th grader?

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So What Happened?

I agree that this is too much. He has no downtime. He wanted to do basketball but we could not sign him up bc he takes the entire evening to do homework. He also has to work Friday night, Sat and Sunday just to get the homework done on no break over the weekends. A big part of this is his personality bc he hates doing it so much...he would rather do anything in the world than homework. Well, it does not sound like anyone else's 4th grader gets this much. I will talk to his teacher. I wish I had done it sooner. My son tests ahead of the curve and does well in the GATE program. He loves reading on his own and reads every night for about 30 minutes before going to sleep. He reads at a young adult level. He absolutely hates doing math at home (although he does well in it in school and tests high in it) and he just dislikes doing homework so that it takes much longer than it should. But even if he was really diligent about would probably take him two or more hours a night. It seems to me like much of his math homework is new concepts and we have to go online to learn how to do it. I don't really know what is going on in the classroom...if he's not paying attention or if the teacher is not teaching the subject? Or both? He has a real mental block against doing math and the work that goes into it. This teacher used to teach middle school and she says she is getting them ready for middle school with pushing them hard. She is proud of how hard she pushes her kids. She gives a lot of work on purpose...she wants these kids to work. She even gave work daily for over the Christmas holiday. sigh. This year really sucks.

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answers from Washington DC on

I talk with my kids teachers at the open house and ask them what they will send home. I also tell them then that we stick to the ten minutes per grade, not including reading. If they take longer than that to do their work, there is a problem. Either it's too much or the kids don't understand it. Then we work with the teachers from there to find out how to fix it.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

My 4th grade son gets one math sheet each night (front and back), and a reading packet (about 5 pages) due on Friday. He also has to practice spelling and read each night.

His personality is much like mine, and he can't relax until chores are done. This isn't a rule, it's a personality quirk. He gets his homework done quickly after school and does a good job of it. He usually finishes the reading packet on Monday, or sometimes Tuesday. The math is given out each day, and he finishes it within 20 minutes of getting home each day. He is a strong speller, so he doesn't have to study much. As for reading, he keeps a book in the car and reads anytime we go anywhere. He also reads at night sometimes.

The amount of homework your son is getting sounds excessive. Downtime/family time is so important, not to mention any extra-curricular activities that children may be interested in. I teach AP English to 11th/12th grade students, and they don't even have 4 hours of homework every night. That is just insane! More work does not equate to challenging students. It simply burns them out.

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answers from Columbia on

I think that's way too much homework. Wow. My boys MIGHT have had a page, front and back, total to do each night in 4th grade, plus studying their spelling. It never took more than 30 minutes, and they usually did their homework immediately after school let out because they have ADHD and it's best for them to do their work while their medications are still active in their systems.

Does your son have ADHD?

ETA: Both of my boys get straight A's. ADHD does not mean your child lacks in intelligence, it means they struggle to focus in the same way that a neurotypical kid would. I have it too and was reading at a college level in 5th grade....but really struggled with math. Consider that your bright kid might be having a hard time with focusing on the work.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

There is a great site Homework Lady,, and on this site it states " The NEA and the PTA have both endorsed the "10-minute rule", that the maximum amount of homework children should have each night is 10 minutes per grade level per night. That is, a 2nd grader should have no more than 20 minutes, a 6th grader no more than 60 minutes, and a 12th grader no more than 2 hours."

Ask the teacher about the purpose of homework, it's to practice new concepts. If the child doesn't understand the concept, then it needs to be retaught AT SCHOOL. So, if your child is really struggling, then set a time limit after having this discussion with the teacher. You don't want your child to hate school, and a child does not need to go to school all day, then "go to school" all evening. He needs balance in his life and some time to be a kid with some down time.

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answers from Austin on

The question should be, do his classmates take that long to do their homework?

At our daughters elementary, we also had parents that felt there was too much homework. Packets at the beginning of the week, sometimes 2 week projects as well as some homework assigned each night.

After a campus wide discussion a plan was formed to collect information. So we had all of the parents take 2 weeks to sign all of the homework. They were to include the amount of time it took their children to complete each assignment.

For the families that participated,(over 80%) the overwhelming majority of the kids, got through it just fine. The few that it took so long, the teachers and parents met to come up with some options for these students.

Some of the students were allowed time in class to start work on the homework.

Some of them were given permission to have a limited time and then the parents sign the homework saying, this is 20 minutes of work on this homework..

Some children began typing their essays instead of having to write them out (this is when computers in classrooms were still considered new)..

And some of the students were moved to the classes that were given less homework and moved at a slower pace and actually worked on their homework during class.

They also took into account the test overviews of these subjects. If the student mastered the subjects and passed the tests on these concepts, they moved on.

I think it was an eye opener for everyone. There could be some huge differences in time to complete. But they also discovered, some students just needed more time. They needed a long break in the afternoon.

The deal is that in middle school, you should not even have to ask your child do you have homework? Did you do your homework? They really should be able to automatically have a study and homework routine that works for them.

It is good to figure out a solution to this and to question. Maybe see if they can have a tutor work with him each week to see if they can observe his homework and study habits.

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answers from Cleveland on

Have you asked any of his friends' parents? 4 hours of homework is insane but it does sound like he's taking longer than it should. I'd want to get an idea of what other kids are doing so you can talk to the teacher with the knowledge that the entire class is overworked, or it's partly overworked but partly your son, or entirely your son. She might not think it is taking as long as it is for most of the class and say it's your son's issue. And it could be mostly his issue so I'd want to know if he needed a tutor... But another datapoint for your reference- my 4th grader on average does say 50 min of homework a night. Once in a while there are projects that we have to work on some over the weekend. But there's no actual weekend homework assigned. Her teacher has the rep of being fairly easy btw. But they all take the same tests and she's doing very well so evidence tons of homework might not be worthwhile. Hers is a mixture of math, spelling, English/reading, science and social studies. On top of the ~50 min she is supposed to read a minimum of 20 min a night. I never consider that homework though as it's not tracked and I'd have her read at least the much before bed anyway... My 50 min too is an average bc of the occassional projects that push some nights over an hour. Some nights she has only 20-30 min. Some none at all! And I don't blame your son for dreading homework at this point! I'd have torn my hair out by now too as his mom bc I'm sure it's a struggle every day. Even if academically he doesn't need a tutor, a tutor may help him with the process of getting things done.

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answers from Des Moines on

Well, I don't have a 4th grader, but a 3rd grader with no required homework (just optional homework) although reading X minutes per month is required.

I have to say what your son has seems quite excessive!

Also, if it is truly a struggle, and doing math problems is quite an issue because there are so many of them. Talk with the teacher and see if you can par it down....maybe one or two math problems for each type of problem. Just so you can know your son can do the math, he just doesn't have to do multiple problems for the same concept. I have that for my son, but he has an IEP (and is now in 6th grade)

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answers from Detroit on

My fourth grader only has homework if she wasn't able to complete all of her work at school. Meaning that the homework is to finish the incomplete work. That's it.

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answers from Minneapolis on

He gets at least 1 math worksheet per day. He has to read for 20 minutes each night. Also practice spelling words and definitions.

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answers from Huntington on

Well, I have one child in 5th grade and one in 3rd. My 5th grader usually has:
-1 math worksheet
-spelling practice (to be worked on a few times a week)
-typing practice (to be worked on a few times a week)
-1 monthly project like a book report, which we break up into daily increments
-20 minutes reading time per day

All in all, it takes him about 45 minutes to an hour.

My 3rd grader usually has the same, minus the book report (she has not had big projects due this year) so she is usually done in 35 minutes or so.

My suggestion would be to talk to the teacher. A few years ago my son had a teacher that gave a lot of homework and he was spending hours on it daily. The teacher said that he should only do as much as he could get through in 30 minutes and to send anything he did not get through back with a note. This was not a very good teacher, in my opinion, but it did help once we had the discussion and I was no longer pushing my kid to do hours of stressful homework.

My opinion is there should not be more than an hour's worth of homework for a grade schooler. When you factor in all the things that need to get done between 4 pm and 8:30 pm, it is just ridiculous to factor in more than an hour of homework. Kids should have time to do their chores, help with dinner, relax, play outside, do some extra curricular activities, have quality time with family, not just come home from school, do more work, scarf down dinner, have a bath, go to bed and repeat.

My suggestion

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Our 4th grader's teacher says she has found kids that don't do homework do better over all in class and on tests so she rarely sends anything home with them. If she does it's something they didn't get finished during the day. She schedules her day very well and is able to teach the kids the whole curriculum every day. She doesn't feel the need to do useless stuff just to make them do homework.

Our kids have a life. The school has them for a lot of hours per day. The kids deserve to be kids and be out of school when it's not school hours. I approve 100% of this teachers philosophy. My girl has improved her math scores on the standardized test in a significant way. I think it is because this teacher is very good and her ideals are correct.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't have a 4th grader but I am a regular substitute teacher as well..

Our 4thand 5th graders take a spelling quiz on Monday. If they get a 100 on the test, they only do the grammar pages of the packet (about 4 pages, front and back with sentence structure, new vocabulary words, etc) and do not re-test on Friday.

Daily math is usually 1 front/back page. We call ours review boxes. There are 8 problems on each page. They usually have 2 days to complete this and turn in.

Note taking from textbooks is done in the classroom. We're trying to teach them how to take good notes because as they move on up the ladder, there will be lot more writing and notes.

Weekly reading minutes are turned in on Friday. The expectation is to read a minimum of 30 minutes a day. This can be done during time we give them in class to be doing work as well. When we have early finishers in class, they usually work on their reading log for the week.

It sounds like your 4th grader does have a lot of work and that is coupled with his non desire to get it done. It should not be taking 3-4 hours a night. You might talk to the teacher, go over his/her expectations.

Most everyday, we give extra time to work on any work that is incomplete and needs to be turned in. IF that folder is empty, the students can work on the weekly homework.

Good luck... I know it can be frustrating.

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answers from Los Angeles on

my third grader is a pretty good student and she works really hard. I would say at least 2 nights a week she is basically doing homework from when she gets home to when she goes to bed. And she is pretty much working the whole time. I am at work so I have been asking my husband to monitor to make sure she is working and not playing. If it continues much longer I will be speaking with her teacher. Kids get hardly any play time at school and so much homework they can't play or be active and we wonder why there is an obesity epidemic with kids. (my kids are not and I am not saying your son is but physical activity is important)

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I am likely to be an outlier here, but the first question I would ask is, what is going on in the classroom that so much homework is considered necessary? Kids already spend the bulk of their day at school. Most of the work should be getting done there.

Educational research supports assigning 10 minutes of homework per day per grade level. For a 4th grader, that's 40 minutes. Not 40 minutes per subject. 40 minutes total. Research does not show that any more than that is any more effective in helping students retain what they have been taught during the school day. the exception to this would be independent project work - this does take longer sometimes.

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answers from Wausau on

My 6th grade son has very little homework. Sometimes work is given that he finishes in class. He studies spelling words and has an occasional math sheet to do - never more than 1 at a time. Back in 4th grade he also had to keep a reading log. The big time-suckers are the big special projects a couple times a year.

I think it sounds like your child has way too much homework and it is to the point of being detrimental. Unfortunately, there isn't usually an easy way to solve the problem.

I just saw your SWH - could the problem be GATE? Piling on a ton of additional work is not how to properly run the program. It is not beneficial and just makes bright kids dislike learning.

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