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How many hours do you do school with your 4th grader?


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My dd is 9 and we just started her 4th grade year. I also have a 1st grader. How many hours a day do you do school with your 4th grader? How much of it is direct teaching and how much is the child working independently?


We also have twin 5 month olds and 2 1/2 year old.


After having them in March we went on survival mode and pared down on school doing a "light schedule" for the last 6 months. Typically we'd do about 2 hrs of school a day.


Now I'm trying to get us back on a "regular schedule."


Right now we usually----


Start with a half hour morning time---CNN student news, Bible Story, prayer, overview of day, going over independent work with my 4th grader


My dd starts independent work---45-60 min


We have a mid-morning break / snack


My dd takes toddler outside for a walk and to play and I work with 1st grader on Lang, math, and his bible lesson---45-60 min


My 1st grader watches a show with toddler or plays with her and I work with dd9 on reviewing her independent work and correcting any errors, math, composition or grammar, and our Bible study---about am hour


Lunch break then nap for babies and toddler


At this point we are trying to do our chapter read alouds, Spanish and other subjects and maybe have my dd9 do a bit more independent work but we don't seem to be fitting all this in. A lot of times I'm still trying to work on basics like math and writing with dd. I usually have an 1 1/2 window for the kids to nap. We don't seem to get all in before they are up. I'd like my dd to do another 1/2 hr to 45 min of independent work then but I seem to lose her momentum.


Any ideas or tips?


Is this a realistic schedule?


I think it's partly they've been doing a light schedule for awhile and so I'm getting resistance from them. They are used to being done by lunch and are not being cooperative about doing anything in the afternoon.

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Just to give you an idea, here is how my 4th graders day looks (keep in mind though, I don't have babies or toddlers in the house)


Soon after 7am - group time - Bible, memory work, history, French, Greek

8:30 - Maths hour - this includes 15 min lesson with me, and independently completing the workbook, review, drills, or Intensive Practice Book (we use Singapore)

9:30 - Break to snack and play outside

10:00 - Independent work - Handwriting, Skoldo French, Journal entry, Duolingo French

11:00 - Work with me - WWE, Spelling, Latin, McGuffey, listen to a Read Aloud

12:00 - Independently works on her science using Abeka, or biography reading for the week. Then she is finished for the day.

We have lunch altogether at 1pm, followed by a family read aloud, then quiet reading. I don't specify how long they need to do quiet reading for, but my 4th grader usually reads for half an hour during this time. Two afternoons a week, we have extra curricula activities right after lunch, so the reading doesn't happen those days :)


We have worked up to this level of independence, it didn't just happen over night. Sometimes when I need to relook at our schedule and shuffle things around, I will discuss the options with my girls, so they can have some input. I find this really helps with having their cooperation in getting the work done. For example, I was needing to find the best time slot to do our history and languages - about an hour all up. The options were at 7am (they are usually up at 6am each morning) or after lunch, meaning we wouldn't finish until about 3pm. All three chose 7am, because they like to be done by lunch time (they don't consider reading to be school work). 



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This is the typical daily schedule of my 9yo 4th grade student:

9am -9:30 independent LA (workbook then reading)

9:30-10 LA with me, grammar, spelling...

10-10:30 writing (sometimes independent, sometimes not)

10:30-11 Break outside

11-11:15 logic. 3 days a week logic book (currently primarily logic or number junctions), 2 days a week a logic game

11:15-11:45 Math.

Morning times are very approximate but above it what it would look like on a day when she is working well and not distracted by anything and everything. Some days she finished all of the above including a half hour of reading and a half hour of math by 11am and had finished her afternoon stuff before lunch, other days she is not done with her morning tasks until 1pm the only difference in those days is her motivation and focus.


After lunch she does 30 minutes to an hour on prodigy and a minimum of half an hour (but can be up to 2 hours) on one of our afternoon topics: science, history, art, cooking.

It all averages to about 4.5 hours a day including reading and playing the prodigy math game

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About 4/5 hours including piano practice, read aloud, and silent reading.


8:00 piano

8:30 Bible and morning basket

9 read aloud

9:30-10:30 independent work (history, spelling, reading and reasoning, handwriting, reading)

10:30 -11:30 work with me (math, writing/grammar, spelling dictation or other help if needed)

He then finishes up any independent work and then takes a break until lunch

12:30 lunch

1 science all together

Finished by 2-- some days mornings have more breaks than others -- depends on the day...

Edited by ByGrace3
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My 4th grader does 30-45 min of math in the morning before breakfast.


Then we do all of our "together school" (read alouds, recitation, etc) for about 45 mins after breakfast.


Then he works on school work from 9:15-noon, with a couple of breaks thrown in.


Lunch is noon-1:ish


Often he still has about 45 min worth of work to do after lunch.


I let him choose in what order he does his subjects (except math goes first), but it breaks down this way almost every day.

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Will your daughter work independently?  Does she prefer taking a lot of breaks?  My children really struggle with switching gears between school and breaks - they can go and jump on the trampoline for 20 jumps or something to 'get the wiggles out' but if they truly get away from 'doing school' for more than 10 minutes it's hard to get them to get back to it.  But, they also like to work independently, so I've chosen handwriting, grammar, spelling/vocab, and writing that they can do mostly on their own.  I help with math and our history or science units most days.  Bible varies by age - sometimes I read stories, sometimes they read, and sometimes it's a workbook.  Instead of keeping up with hours, I set goals for the number of lessons I want to complete each week - we're flexible, but we have a plan for 3 grammar lessons and 1 spelling unit per week and 1 math unit per day, for instance.  When I had a 4th grader, it was around 3 hours of reading, writing, or workbook time most days, and of course there were other things that could count as part of 'school time' - free reading time, watching something on the history channel, sports or music practice, field trips, etc.  They like to be done around lunchtime, so our main work is from 9ish-12ish.  Sometimes we eat and then finish up and other times they say that they'd rather get done and then have nothing else to do after a late lunch.  Some days they're motivated to be super diligent and they just get done in 3 hours.  :-)  Sometimes they run grab a snack, but its not a long snack break, it's a quick handful of cheese cubes or an apple.  I'd actually expected to have more breaks, but it just didn't work for them.  My general rule is that if we start by 9ish, they should be done around 2ish. 

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I think we are in the same ballpark as everyone else here. Math, piano, and bible study take about 2 hours, then breakfast, then 1-2 hours for Paths of Exploration, 1/2 hour for Treasured Conversations, outside playtime, and then our read aloud during lunchtime. It tends to run from 8-3:00 with the hour playtime and meal interruptions. 4-5 hours of actual work at a leisurely, space cadet pace ;)

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My two will both be 4th grade when we start back next week. Not much is changing from last year though, just going next level up on the book covers. I divide up their subjects into 3 'blocks' of time during the day. Since the kids are minecraft crazy, they named the blocks after different cubes from the game- gold, diamond and emerald.


8.30-10.00 Gold block- Maths, English and French. I will do 1 to 1 work with each child for around 30-45 minutes, then switch. While I work with 1 child the other works on anything independent from their list, reads and practises musical instruments. Once they are done they are on a break until..


11.00-12.00 Diamond block- content subjects we do all together like History, Geography, Science and Religion (world cultures and beliefs NOT instruction as we are an atheist family).  These are done on a loose loop schedule, so usually a different subject everyday but as long as they all get done over the week, I'm happy. This is followed by lunch, were I might do a read aloud linked to our studies that day or if I'm feeling lazy we watch a documentary.


1.00-2.30 Emerald block. This is basically for anything else and its mostly child-led independent learning. My only rule is that they should being doing a 'purposeful activity' for those 90 minutes. They can extra learning on the diamond topics, work on their Art Award, Crest Science or Cub Scout badges, which are all ready planned out for them. Or they can go out and do sports or nature studies if the weather is good, or use computer apps for coding, typing, maths etc. Playing mindless video games is not acceptable. Watching TV documentaries is ok, but cartoons/ Disney channel is not.


We also have a fourth block on their planners (Redstone) which lists each of their daily chores and any personal care or life skill targets they are currently working on. All boxes for each block must be checked before they are done for the day. From 3pm each day they go to the after-school club (socializing and fun activities) where I work and have a weekly violin lesson, scout meeting they attend, plus swimming twice a week and Saturday morning music school.



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I thought I replied to this. We have only been going for a few months now, but here's what we do. 


Math at 8am or so, for both kids. I sit and keep my 6yo on task, my 8yo does most of his own his own unless he needs help with something. (He's doing BA 3B currently.) Then we break for a while to get ready for the day and, 3x a week, take the 4yo to preschool.


The 3rd grader does spelling on his own, piano, and reading, and has a half hour where he's to take the 2yo out to play somewhere so I can read and do writing with the 1st grader. There's also a snack in there. We haven't started grammar yet, but will have time for it in here. Then we pick up from preschool, come home for lunch, and at 1 start history or science (depending on the day). Takes us 30-60 minutes, depending on what we're doing. After a short break, the 3rd grader has writing 3x a week, which takes 15 minutes or so. We're working on pumping that up a bit. 


So all in all, your average day, 2.5-3 hours for the 3rd grader. We're done by 2:30. He reads for most of his 'free time,' which is actually kind of frustrating because he NEEDS to run around, lol. 

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I think we are in the same ballpark as everyone else here. Math, piano, and bible study take about 2 hours, then breakfast, then 1-2 hours for Paths of Exploration, 1/2 hour for Treasured Conversations, outside playtime, and then our read aloud during lunchtime. It tends to run from 8-3:00 with the hour playtime and meal interruptions. 4-5 hours of actual work at a leisurely, space cadet pace ;)

Okay, we went from 9-2 today with only a breakfast break for the bigs, but the oldest added a new math text in and my five year old sounded out his first words AND did his first handwriting with a pencil after months with just strokes and paint in a bag. It was a big day :p

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"Sit down work" Although they don't sit often. Approx times, some days faster, some slower - Math 1.5 hr., Grammar 30 min., Writing 30 min., Latin 1 hr., Spanish 30 min., History 30 min., and Science 30 min.


5 hours a day. This does not include reading, Youtube, Duolingo, Quizlet, Snap Circuits, Science experiments, nature study, art, or whatever else floats their boats.

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I'm hoping we can get it all done in 4 hours but this is the first year that I'm teaching 4 kids and have 3.5 month old twins too. I'm pretty sure if we buckle down, we'll be fine. I managed to get it all in 3 hours last year... so... yeah. We're trying some new material though so we'll see how it all shakes out. I'm sure we could tack on a few hours in the afternoon too if necessary but I'd like to get it all done before lunch because they tend to turn into pumpkins in the afternoon.

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Ds9 works a full day.


Read aloud takes an hour from 7:30-8:30. Math takes about 90 minutes. English takes about 30 minutes. Writing takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Spelling, Spanish, and geography take 10-15 minutes each. Latin takes 15-20 minutes, although he should be spending a bit more time there. His reading takes at least a couple of hours most days. That gets us to a potential of 7 hours. We haven't started science yet. I've given up on the idea of short days. I can't seem to make them work.

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  • 3 weeks later...

DS8 is in 3rd grade. He will probably have the same schedule for 4th. We have not worked on independent time because he has dysgraphia.


Math 45min to 1hour daily  (should be 30 but DS takes forever, using Saxon)

Reading 30-45 minutes;Narration 10min;Comprehension Q:10 min daily

Spelling 15min  (DS is an excellent speller) 2x week

Vocabulary 15 min 2x week

Grammar 15-20 min 2x weekly

Art 1x week 30-45 minutes 

Ancient Civ. 20-30min 3x weekly

Science 30-45min 2x weekly

German 20 min daily

Me Reading to Him 30-45 minutes daily



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Ugh, okay today it was more like 7 hours, but we are really struggling with elapsed time and the whole base-60/base-24 thing. I didn't learn to utilize anything but mental math conversions and visually seeing a clock in my brain for this, so husband is teaching me AND the third grader how to get this down pat. It's almost 4 pm and we still have more school to do today, but I need to actually do it and not just be set it aside (that makes consistency the next day much harder for me).

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Ok. My dd is in 5th this year and I have lots of littles. We school for forever it feels like right now! Ugh!


6 AM - 7 AM - direct teaching time for grammar, math, Latin, writing

7-8 - work independently

9-9:30 - read to siblings

9:30 - 11:30 - piano, independent work, reading time, treadmill time

1-2:30 - group bible time, science, history, and "circle time"


Done by 2:30 or sometimes 2

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My 8 year old is my youngest, and I am flexible about our schedule as I switch between him and my 9 th grader all day. But, our day generally goes like this:


8-9:30 independent work: sequential spelling online, reflex math, math minute, growing with grammar, grammar minute, reading & reasoning (logic), reading current book & writing answers to comprehension questions, etc.


Free time (audiobooks + Legos)


11-12: math lesson, do math and check work


Lunch, break


1-3: science, geography, Spanish, go over morning work


He takes a writing class 2x a week and has musical theater.

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I don't have a fourth grader, but my second grader spends about two hours a day on work. An hour of that or so is stuff that I read to him, with his Kindergarten brother often listening in, and 30-60 minutes is stuff I'm doing with him directly, like math, phonics, writing, map work, science projects. His only independent work at this point is copywork and finishing a math sheet if it takes a while because I don't always have the luxury of sitting with him while he's doing math problems.


My sixth grader does about 4-5 hours a day. If he gets up early, he can be done by lunch. He actually often chooses to get up early (like 6:30) and do the bulk of his work, and then he might decide not to work on anything until 11 or noon, so he might not finish before lunch, plus there may be lit discussion with DD and me and/or a science project after lunch. Depends on his mood. He does a little group work with us (Bible, poetry, geography review, and monument study), and I work with him directly on a few subjects, but the majority of his work he does on his own, asking questions as needed.


I'd estimate that a fourth grader at my house would be expected to work about four hours. Up to an hour of that might be group work (depending on whether I combine that student with another for things like science and history -- my older two have big gaps that make that hard, but I may keep my younger three together for a while because they're closer in age), and up to an hour might be directly with me (writing, math instruction, Latin, and maybe a couple of other small things), while a couple of hours is probably independent work.

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My 4th grader takes about two hours to do her "binder" work which each day includes Math Mammoth, Beast Academy or Logic Puzzles, Spectrum Writing or Vocabulary from Classical Roots, Evan Moor Spell & Write, Mosdos Press Ruby, Skill Sharpeners Math.  Then she has one hour of assigned reading and one hour of an exercise activity every day.


We do Science, History, Art, Music, Spanish, Health, Geography and Internet Safety together (not all of them every day, we loop/block).  We haven't started most of these yet since we were getting our core and extra curricular stuff worked out, but I expect them to take another two hours each day.

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