I will be teaching fifth grade for the first time in a private school. I have taught previously in 3rd and 4th grade in public school. In the past, I have assigned 10 minutes or reading per the childrens' grade level (30 in third, 4o in 4th), plus a paragraph reading response (so approximately 35-45 minutes total time for reading). My previous experience with math has been Saxon Math which provided nightly skills practice which took most students 10-20 minutes (depending on math ability) to complete. We would occassionally assign weekly assignments in social studies and science, but would usually give some class time to complete. All told, my students in the past had about one hour of homework each night.
If I follow my previous guidelines, my fifth graders this year would be reading for 50 minutes and, after responding, an hour would be spent on reading homework alone! I will be teaching from the Everyday Math series, so the math homework doesn't look too time consuming. However, I am under the impression that some sort of science and social studies homework is expected, so I was planning on doing a weekly assigment (assigned Mon or Tues and due Thurs or Fri). I am also looking to use a spelling contract that students will be responible for on "their own time" (either when they finish classwork early or at home). With all of these pieces combined, these poor kids are looking at an hour and a half to two hours of homework a night and that seems like a lot for me to ask of a fifth graders.
So upper grade teachers (and parents of students in the upper grades) I need your help. I was going to post on the 4-8 board, but this board seems to get more traffic, so here I am. So here is my question, am I asking too much from my fifth graders and if so, what can I do to modify my homework plan? ANY suggestions/feedback is welcome. TIA!
and have always had more homework than their public school friends. I would not think an hour and fifteen minutes average per night is out of line. Also, you might consider giving your weekly assignment on a Thursday and making it due on Monday or Tuesday so kids can have the weekend if they need it.
You might talk to the other teachers in your building and see how they handle homework.
I am a fourth grade teacher and the parent to incoming 5th grade triplets and one incoming kindergartener. Our district (supposedly) requires 20 minutes of reading per night, no matter what grade level. As a parents, I don't want my daughters to be overloaded with homework. I want it to be meaningful, but not overly taxing. I want it to require that they think about their opinions, be able to make judgments, etc. I wouldn't give more than 1 hour of homework combined.
Sometimes I send home a Time for Kids article and have them write a paragraph summary and paragraph response...this way they are reading something and responding to what they read.
I don't give spelling lists to memorize, though I might have them do some vocabulary work.
Check what your school/district policy is. Where I am, it's considered 10min (total) per grade level. I teach grade 7, so it's about 70 min/night. Grade 5 would be about 50min/night, probably not including social studies/science if they get more time to work on those.
One problem with trying to figure out homework is that each child completes it at a different rate. My 5th graders are supposed to have about 1 hr. (no more than 1 and 1/2 hour) per night. (4 nights a week.)
Last year, my teaching partner & I decided to give all of the homework out on Thursdays, due the next Thursday. This helps the kids plan around their activity schedules. The parents & the students loved it. It helped the kids that needed more time to complete things to plan for it. It helped our brighter kids free up time for more reading or other activities. Parents liked it because even though we aren't "supposed" to assign homework on weekends, they could choose to work on the homework over the weekend if they wanted too. For some families that was the best time to complete homework. All of our incoming parents & students were clamoring for the same system & we are using it again this year.
We require them to read a minimum of 60 minutes per week & complete a written or other simple project for the book they are reading. We have different spelling assignments each week. We assign 3-4 math worksheets that allow them to practice skills that we are working on. We give them science, social studies, & religion (I teach in a Catholic School.) if we have something appropriate for those subjects. If not, we will add a grammar review or other skill reviews. Studying for tests is also considered part of their homework time, so we are careful to space the tests so they don't all fall on the same day.
I teach a 4/5 combo, and I assign what I think to be approximately 30-40 minutes a night. Usually 20-25 minutes a night of reading that has to be documented, and a math or writing assignment that takes about 10-20 minutes. On weekends, I assign 60 minutes total for the weekend right now (I'll up it to 75 for the weekend soon), and explain that's 20 minutes per day. I want them reading every day.
My thought is that most of my kids ride a long bus ride to school (from 45 minutes to 75 minutes long), the majority of them go to an after school program until 5:30 or so (they have to ride the bus there- they could possibly do part of the homework there, but usually it takes place outside... and I require parents to participate in and sign reading logs, so they have to wait until parents are home for that), and many participate in sports, so I want them to have some time *away* from school activities to enjoy their families and sports. By the time they get home & eat dinner, it's likely 7pm. I don't want them going to bed too late.
I think reading is the most important homework I assign. The math or writing work is really more for extra practice and my main purpose is to encourage responsibility (bringing it back, etc).
with a lot of poverty, and we are getting rid of homework. For kids in poverty, homework is often what sinks a kid. They often have no place to do homework--when 14 people are living in a two bedroom apartment, there is no quiet place, no place to sit and work. There is rarely anyone in the home who can help them. Some of our kids get home from school and are the sole babysitter for lots of kids--have to get dinner going, watch their brothers and sisters.....no time for homework.
So we've begun only grading what the kids do IN SCHOOL--if you have a middle class demographic, homework is useful independent practice and reinforces nicely what you teach. In poverty, homework just causes a lot of kids to fail, because it doesn't/can't get done. We decided we would not fail any kid because they don't do homework.