How Long Does it Take to Teach a Fourth Grader?

Syllable notesA while back, a non-homeschooling mom friend was intrigued that my homeschooled, elementary-aged children were mostly done with “formal” school by lunch time.

To me, it was no big deal. It’s just the way it is with homeschooling. You move forward by capability rather than blocked off time and required busy work. But she thought it was fascinating, so I thought I would share how we get through a fourth grade school day in about 3-4 hours rather than 7-8.

We spend 20-30 minutes on math.

We spend 20-30 minutes on language arts (grammar, spelling, and writing).

Ten minutes on handwriting (cursive).

We spend about one hour on Spanish.

About 15-20 minutes on history and geography.

About 15-20 minutes on music.

We incorporate daily silent sustained reading.

We cycle through art, science, and poetry at different times of the year in different ways. Doing a sporting activity is important to our family, and we make sure the kids are exposed to and find a sport they enjoy.

That’s about three or four hours of school. A little more if you count the evening sports activities.

With the rest of the time, there are playdates, meal cooking, some laundry, plenty of giggling in the family, Lego building, and some technology time.

Not everyone would want to homeschool, but if you get the chance, it’s an amazing experience. If you love to learn, and you can share that with your child in such a way that sparks and inspires them, what a gift. I try to push my kids as far as they will allow me to, but pull back just before they burn out.

There are a couple of things that I’m really pleased with about our curriculum. I am really happy that we have time to teach cursive, which is being removed from the modern public curriculum. I really would like my kids to be able to read any old fascinating family letters and also historic, legal documents. (I would like my kids to be able to read the Constitution first-hand.)

I am also happy that my kids will be bilingual because we have started their Spanish instruction at such a young age. It does take the longest of all the subjects taught.

Lastly, although this post summary reflects the time it took my older kids when they were in fourth grade, too, it no longer reflects their current schedule. In addition to a fourth grader, I also homeschool a ninth grader and seventh grader (and a preschooler). The older kids’ work takes much longer.

Have a great day!

6 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take to Teach a Fourth Grader?

  1. Sophie @This Outnumbered Mama

    I find it interesting to see what happens in a homeschooling family. From experience in the educational system, in my case with special needs students, I’ve found that short bursts of different subjects or types of activities are more worthwhile than the big blocks of lessons that are more customarily found in classes.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Sophie,

      Hello! How are you? We are doing well. And I hope you and yours are too! We definitely naturally moved to the place where we used different shorter time spans and varying activities. For example, my daughter does a math lesson. It doesn’t take her too long, but I see she misses something we can remedy with flashcards. So we pull out the flashcards (with fun games) for about 5-10 minutes for a few days to supplement math. She’s bored by history (darn it!), so I have to mix it up with musical CDs, map work, fiction, whatever it takes–and never too long or I’ll lose her completely! πŸ™‚

      Take care!


      1. Sophie @This Outnumbered Mama

        Hi Terri! We’re well, thank you! I had to take a step away from blogging because it was creating too much stress for me. But it feels good to be back! Glad to see you’re still around and to hear that your family is doing well.

        Take care!

  2. Minimalist MD

    We have a similar experience with our 10 yr old who finishes her work before noon. They do have language classes twice a week and music as well so that adds on to the time.
    We typically don’t divide our day by time. The kids spend as much or as little time as they need to complete their work. I try to adjust if it looks like they have too much or too little.
    Most of the time is dedicated to self learning, so actual parent teaching is less than an hour per kid per day.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Our styles sound very similar. This year, I have been intentional about sitting next to my 10 year old who very quickly and efficiently (but not always correctly) flies through her work. My watchful eye has kept her more accurate and with better retention. My oldest two rarely need me anymore. It’s kind of strange! I guess that’s what I’ve been training them for, and we’ve gotten there (it wasn’t linearly, ha, more like peaks and troughs)! Thanks for commenting on your experience, Minimalist MD!


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