How much is too much?

Discussion in 'Third Grade' started by wsop, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. wsop

    wsop Rookie

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    Mar 11, 2008

    Hi everyone, I'm looking for opinions on what you feel is a reasonable amount of time a 3rd grader should spend on homework per night.

    I have to admit that I am a parent who feels her child is getting too much homework. I have been having my daughter stop after approximately 45 minutes of homework as I feel anything more than this is excessive for a 3rd grader. However, now my daughter tells me she is getting yelled at for not having all of her homework done and she is losing recess. I have spoken to the teacher once and have written a note, but have not really gotten anywhere on this. Basically, she told me that if she has trouble completing it during the week that she should make it all up on the weekend!

    Before I confront the teacher on this one more time, I want to make sure I am not the one being unreasonable. The typical amount of homework my daughter receives is about one hour, sometimes more. (Occasionally, there is less, but that is not the norm.)

    Soooooo, what do you think? How much homework should a 3rd grader get on a typical night?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    Mar 11, 2008

    Many schools use the guideline of 10 minutes per grade level, so 30 minutes a night in 3rd grade. Is she using her time wisely while doing the homework? I know many students may be "doing homework" for that long, but they get up to get a drink, sharpen a pencil, use the restroom, get a snack, etc. Also, is this all assigned completely out of class? In my classroom homework is anything that was not finished in class, they typically get a few minutes to start and are expected to take the rest home. Some kids work quickly and finish all most all of it in class. Others dawdle, doing all of the above mentioned things, so they end up with more to complete in the evenings at home.
     
  4. Amers

    Amers Cohort

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    Mar 11, 2008

    I completely agree with Steph-ernie. 30 minutes is just about the max for third graders. However, like she also mentioned, if students do not use their time wisely in class, then they are responsible for finishing their work at home. Is it possible this is what's going on in your daughter's class? If her teacher really is assigning an hour of homework, that seems a bit excessive for students that young. :2cents:
     
  5. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Mar 11, 2008

    I think it sounds like too much. Also, sometimes a teacher assigns the homework thinking of how long it will take the fastest, most brilliant child in the class, not thinking that other kids will take a lot longer.

    I actually limit my homework to what I estimate will take 15 minutes, but hear from some kids that it takes 5, and others that it takes 45. I know there are kids who drag their heels, fight their parents, do it themselves and are easily distracted, or even kids who do it in the car on the drive to school. You have to take that all into account.

    For awhile, I gave the kids a LOG for the week. I did it for a month. On it, I used a clock stamp, and they had to record the time they started HW, the time they ended and the amount of time spent on it altogether. It was eye opening for me and helped them do some practice with telling time and elapsed time.

    Since she is getting in trouble at school and missing recess, I do think you should make sure she does it all. This way she still has her free time. She has earned it!

    Do 40 minutes at night, and 20 minutes in the morning.
     
  6. wsop

    wsop Rookie

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    Mar 12, 2008

    Here is an example of a night with 'light' homework.

    2 math worksheets- 1st sheet anywhere from 25 to 100 simple addition, subtraction and multiplications problems. 2nd sheet is usually about 10 word problems. I would say this takes her approximately 15 minutes for her to complete.

    1 spelling worksheet - varies, sometimes 15 sentences, or 15 words 3 times each, ABC order, etc. Usually the spelling takes another 15 minutes.

    20 minutes of reading

    The above to me is a reasonable amount.

    But this is not all:
    3 nights out of the week, she is supposed to write an 8 sentence paragraph on what she read. This is not a simple summary; she has questions they have to choose from and they require thought and planning before the actual writing. So this is at least another 20 minutes.

    But that is not all:
    She gets a spelling test every Friday, so Thursday nights require about 15 minutes of study. She also gets on average 1 test a week, so that is another 15-20 minutes on another night. When she has a tough test with a lot of definitions (like this week AND last week), she had to study for 20 minutes for 2 extra nights!

    But that is not all:
    They are almost always working on a project. Right now they have to do a report on a hero. So she has to read a book and fill in a report which will require about 4 pages of writing. This is due in about 2 weeks.

    None of this is unfinished work. It is all assigned for hw and they are not given any time in class to work on it.

    Edited to add: that besides all that work, they have a school wide reading program where they are supposed to read an additional 15 minutes a night and record it in order to receive a prize for the month. This has been going on now for 3 or 4 months!
     
  7. mrsmoore

    mrsmoore Rookie

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    Mar 15, 2008

    How much of this is work that is carried over from the school day? I would be interested to know if this is just homework or work from the day that was not finished.

    I require 20 minutes of reading homework, two math sheets (one is a one minute math fact paper), the story for the week, and sometimes social studies or science homework. We have a spelling test on Friday as well. For most of my students, the math takes about 5 minutes and then the reading homework takes 20.

    Can she read on the bus or in the car?
     
  8. jenglish97

    jenglish97 Devotee

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    Mar 15, 2008

    That seems like a lot since I teach 2nd grade. I have to say in the beginning of the year, I usually give about 15 minutes of homework plus some reading time. After winter recess, I up the homework so that they are prepared for 3rd grade. I have had some parents say, you give a lot of homework but it is meaningful. Sometimes when the children work really hard in school, I might not give so much homework. I tell them it really depends on how much we can accomplish during the teaching day. My parents seem happy.
     
  9. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Mar 15, 2008

    wsop

    I taught 3rd grade for 5 years in a city that requires homework. They require 45 minutes of homework per night, 4 nights per week, for a 3rd grader.

    I always told my parents that if at the end of 45 minutes the child is still not finished, STOP and call me! (Yeah, I'm one of those crazy teachers who still gives out her home number.)

    The parent needs to determine if the child is just dragging her heels, of if she had really been working and waS still not finished. If the latter was the case, then it was too much for that child. I would start assigning only half the number of spelling words, and odd only, or even only on math work.

    Homework is meant to review and practice skills the children have already learned and allow for independent reading. It should not be torture.

    I think you have every right to complain about the amount of homework.

    And even though our district REQUIRES 45 minutes of homework per night for 3rd graders, we aren't allowed to count it more than 5 percent of their grade!!! I always let parents know that. If a child waS a good student, that 5 percent didn't really hurt anyway.

    I think you have a legitimate complaint. Don't be surprised if the teacher is defensive, or says "Nobody else is complaining." It doesn't change your concern one little bit.

    Good luck.
     
  10. kbteach

    kbteach Rookie

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    Mar 15, 2008

    I love the idea about the clock on the HW. I didn't realize how long it was taking some of my students to do their homework until I talked to one of my parents. She wasn't complaining, it just came up in conversation, but I was concerned and asked her more about the situation. Her daughter was distracted at home by her brother, but still the focused time on her homework was too much. I began asking my students and some other parents how long it was taking their child to complete the homework and it was about 45 minutes + reading. I don't have children of my own so sometimes I don't think about their hectic schedules outside of school. Homework should be a review and completed independently. I tell my students to circle problems that they have attempted but can't figure out. This way I know what my students are struggling with. I think 5- 10 math problems should be enough to see if they learned the skill in class. If they don't understand 2 or 3 problems, you know they need a reteach, if they get it, they get it. Do they really need to show their understanding on 15-100 problems?
     
  11. wsop

    wsop Rookie

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    Mar 15, 2008

    I think that is wonderful!


    I mentioned the amount of homework to the teacher before, and she did get defensive. I tried not to sound like I was criticizing her or how she runs her class, but I guess that's kind of hard to do since I was complaining about the amount of hw. She did tell me she has some kids in her class that ALWAYS do ALL their homework.

    This actually upset me a bit because up to that point, so had my daughter! Because my daughter told me the teacher always asks what they do with all their time after school, I actually went into our entire schedule:

    Kids get home at 3, and they get a half hour to unwind, play with the dog and eat a snack and tell me about their day.
    3:30 - 4:30 is homework time. Even though I now only allow 45 minutes of hw, I allot an hour so this takes care of any dilly dallying.
    If they finish hw before 4:30, they have free time
    4:30 Dinner
    5:00 - 7:00 My daughter has swim practice 2-3 nights a week. On nights where there is no practice, I make my kids go outside and play for an hour, or if the weather is bad I let them have a friend over for an hour to play.
    7:00 - showers/bath
    7:30 - snack/tv
    8:00 bed

    Friday nights, they can do whatever they want!

    Anyway, I meet with her teacher on Monday. I am going to stress to her how my daughter's attitude towards hw has drastically improved since I put a time limit on it. She does not complain nearly as much, or begging for a break (which is really hard to get her back from), and, even though her grades were very good before, they are now even better! She doesn't gripe about studying anymore, because we no longer have nights where it takes over an hour to complete everything, and she is much more focused.

    Thank you for the encouragement. It helps to know that my complaints are not totally groundless.
     
  12. mrsmoore

    mrsmoore Rookie

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    Mar 15, 2008

    We do not grade homework, so really it is just practice. It takes a lot of stress away from the situation.

    I think the time limit is a great idea! I know that my kids love having a time limit on things so they know how long they need to be working.

    Is your daughter's homework graded or is it just practice?
     
  13. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    Mar 15, 2008

    I think that sounds like too much homework - since you say it is all to be completed at home. I would have expected that some students do get all of it done because things are easier for certain students. I would not feel comfortable assigning all students to complete what was comfortable for the highest achievers in the class.
     
  14. storyh

    storyh Companion

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    Mar 16, 2008

    wsop,

    I am a third grade teacher who wants to give 30 minutes of homework one night a week, but about 4 weeks into school my administartors told me that the only homework third graders should have is what they don't finish in class, but even then I get complaints from some one (the kids, the parents, or the principal). My main reasons for wanting to give homework are:
    1. Extra practice especially if the child is struggling
    2. Encourage parental involvement
    3. Foster responsibility-they have to get home and back to school with it.

    My group of kids is the most irresponsponsible, disorganized group I have ever met.

    That being said, I do feel like maybe your daughter has too much homework. Children reach a point where they will menatlly shut down, and the homework assignment will not be beneficial to anyone.
     
  15. mrsmoore

    mrsmoore Rookie

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    Mar 17, 2008

    wsop, how did your meeting go?
     
  16. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2008

    To me, it sounds like too much. I am a 4th grade teacher, and I try to keep it to about 45 minutes of homework per night. The students have 25 minutes of reading per night with a SHORT (2-3 sentence) summary of what they read. Then, I will give practice in one of the other subject areas...usually they have homework in math and writing/language/spelling. Of course, when we have a test, it is expected that they will take some time to study as well. I pass out a study guide at the beginning of each unit and encourage students to look over it a little each day as we go through the unit. I know that many do not, and some kids wait and try to study all on one day. I guess they have to learn through trial and error.
     
  17. wsop

    wsop Rookie

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    Mar 20, 2008

    Sorry for not updating sooner; my son has been sick all week. I was not actually able to meet with my daughter's teacher because my son was so sick on Monday, but we did phone conference. Basically, she told me she was okay with my stopping my daughter after 45 minutes of hw. I'm not really sure what changed her mind this time. She did mention that my daughter is a bright girl...maybe she also noticed that her test grades have actually gone up since I implemented the 45 minute rule? Or maybe it was my note detailing the minutes the hw actually took my daughter to complete? Maybe because it is not an every night thing where my daughter doesn't complete the hw?

    Not sure of the reason, but I'm glad the conference went well! :)

    Thank you all for your honest opinions. It really helped!
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 21, 2008

    Who knows what changed her mind. She may have even just had time to think after she previously got defensive.

    I actually apologized for struggling to complete one part of my son's homework on a regular basis. it was more than we could handle particularly since I have a struggling middle school student as well. the teacher surprised me by telling me which homeworks she prefers to be finished and which ones she is more flexible on but would encourage him to do it when he can. That's the approach I've been taking. on lighter nights he has the extra encouraged homeworks. He is in 3rd grade. I did leave a feedback about the family projects. I told her that initially I was excited about them but admitted when I got the latest one I hesitated to even look at it until the last moment. I did,however, admit that the last project ended up being my favorite for the year so far.

    We drown in homework in this house. Since my middle schooler needs daily coaching and help with organization I can't do both of their homeworks at the same time . At the same time we are managing roations for bath and chores. We don't even get home from work and daycare centers until about 6pm. They have 2.5 hours to eat and complete a rotation of chores (thier messes), homework and bathes. Did I even mention I do some lesson planning and I have college assignments to complete as well.

    The bottom line is I try to keep up the best I can but some stuff does fall through the cracks. I am grateful for his teacher's flexibility as I hope she also recognizes that we do sincerely try to do what we can.
     

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