4th grade homework is hell


Wow, another school-related post.  It must just be that time of year.  And it is also because …  I have a 4th grader.

And 4th grade homework is hell. 

It makes me wonder … When did having tons of homework each night in 4th grade become the norm?

Last night, Allison had this —

  • Reviewing math flashcards
  • Xtramath
  • Study for geography test
  • Continued work on book talk project due Monday
  • Continued work on communication journal due Friday
  • Reading for 20 minutes

— to do. It took 2 hours. And she didn’t finish it all. Is it just me or does that seem like a lot?   When bedtime gets extended to accommodate homework, it’s extreme in my book.   And not just for her … for me, too. Because I am sitting with her the whole time.   Sigh.

Granted, Allison needs help staying focused.   It takes everything she has to hold it together and do her best at school.   She is simply tapped-out at the end of the school day.   Adding 2 hours on top of that seems unbearable to both of us.

“My brain is tired. It’s out of gear,” said Allison one afternoon after school.

We will get in a groove.  Surely, things will improve with practice.   It will get less painful.  Meltdowns will decrease.  Right?  RIGHT?

Do you feel my pain? Does it all seem like too much? Do you have any good advice? Want to vent? Please chime in! I’d love to hear from you!

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14 thoughts on “4th grade homework is hell

  1. Interesting. Our classroom teachers have been encouraged to reduce homework this year. I couldn’t say for sure what the norm is, but I know that time is often given at the end of the day to get it started. (Well, except for that rotten band teacher. She still expects you to do about 20 minutes five nights a week. 😛 )

    • Darn those rotten band teachers ;-). Allison is doing chorus this year and will have the opportunity to do band next year. Interesting about reducing homework, though. Why is that? Did it get to be too much?

  2. Hmm… Seems like a lot to me, but I only teach middle school. Does your school have an average/maximum time that homework should take for each grade? If they do, and if Allison is conistanly going over this time, you need to meet with her teacher to see if something might be able to be done to help her out. Looks to me like she could have worked on the book talk over the weekend and maybe even done the 20 minutes of reading over the weekend. (She may not be the only one struggling to get the work done in the alotted time, if there is one.Maybe the teacher is simply giving too much work and doesn’t realize it.) I have had students, in honors classes, for whom I have had to modify the amount of work (for various reasons). These students were still able to show me that they understood the concepts that had been taught, but did not do as many math problems as the other students.

    • Hi Gail! To my knowledge, not really about the maximum time for homework. I do get your point about prioritizing, though. We didn’t read that night or study for next week’s test. We did do math because that is Ally’s weaker subject. We also decided to work on the communication journal and finish it one day early. Then we could work on the book talk project (due Monday) more the next day. We read most days (she loves to read; me too) so, if we miss one day here and there, no biggie. Our school is pushing organization and planning ahead for larger projects this year which I get. :Luckily, this is a strong point of mine and hopefully it will (eventually) be Allison’s too. I think we’ll get better as time goes on. I a, comforted to know that our experience is not unusual. I will definitely post a follow-up later on in the year to comment upon whether or not things have changed. Thanks for the words of wisdom :-). Much appreciated.

      • My daughter is also in fourth and at back to school night her teacher said they should be doing 40 minutes of homework daily. She said if anyone was going over that consistently to speak to her and she would adjust their work.

  3. Susan,

    We have a very similar situation here. Hannah has a very difficult time focusing after 3:00 or so…we have her on a very short acting medication that wears off. I tell her that every night it seems like my homework….just trying to get her to look at the papers! Ugh….i planned to contact the teacher via email tonight and saw your post…had to chime in.

    • And I am so glad that you did! I love comments, I really do. And I am also glad to know that we are not alone. Yup, just getting the focus is hard. I find that working in short bursts with a few minutes of breaks in-between helps. And also, reminding myself to be patient. 😉 I know just what you are saying that it feels like your homework. I say the same thing. I like the conversation and really appreciate your comments.

  4. Susan, I can’t really say for sure, but I think a lot of it has to do with how much support is happening at home, and what a huge difference we have in that from school to school. We have six elementary schools; two you can count on very high parent involvement, two are middle of the road, one is on the lower side, and one is quite low. If teachers tried to make classroom learning incumbent on what was being reinforced at home in close to half of our schools, it would be a disaster. So a lot of homework is practicing spelling words, finishing work that wasn’t completed in class, and so on. I don’t hear a lot about long-term projects for that reason, too-the kids who have support at home do well on them. The kids who don’t, tank.

    • Home/parental support is so key. It really is. It’s great when it is there and … so sad when it isn’t. 😦 On a side note, I had no idea Corning had 6 elementary schools! Wow!

  5. Hi Toni! Thanks for commenting! 🙂 That is a good rule of thumb. I am going to give it a few weeks to see if things even out. If it continues on, speaking to her teacher is a great next step.

  6. When I started working there were eight, and before that, thirteen, and before that…I don’t even know how many one-roomers! They were spread out all over hill and dale; the Corning-Painted Post Area School District covers a lot of territory, much of it very rural. Currently there’s two middle schools and two high schools, though within the next three years (I think, I’m never sure of the timeline) the high and middle schools will consolidate into one of each. The elementary schools range from about 250 to 495 students per school.

  7. Pingback: “I have had not so good of a week.” | Bridging the Distance

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