CGM Podcast Episode #54: Lazy Homework

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes 

Life Update:
  • 1st Grade Homework: how much is not enough?
  • I'm turning 40 soon! Celebrating in style at Houston Quilt Festival. If you're going and would like to meet up, email me!
WIPs and FOs:
Podcasts mentioned in this episode:


Book Review:

The Girl You Left Behind by Jo Jo Moyes

Thanks for listening!



  1. CGM, Listened to the podcast and enjoyed it... We have homework wars and meltdowns at our house... I think that is the difference between boys and girls... I think. Bonnie Mc Caffery has a video podcast on i TUNES that is quiting, quilt divas and fiber art. She does a lot of interviews... http://bonniemccaffery.com/ .... Bonnie Mc Caffery QUILTING ADVENTURES .... http://www.bonniemccaffery.com/vidcasts/index.html >> I think you will enjoy her as you are very artistic in your quilting......


  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clnTlTQFO6o

    I follow BONNIE MC CAFFERY on YOU TUBE .... subscribe and you can follow her there.

  3. Well - just happy happy birthday. And Houston should be such a wonderful present. I really hope you do that video of the HAUL!

    You are very lucky to not have the homework wars Nonnie mentioned. I would have loved, loved less homework. I can remember 3 hours of math a night for two of my kids for years that made long division look like a cross country marathon. (And as an educator, may I say, they never do long division as adults.) But Samantha is also lucky to have you as her mom and someone that cares about what she is learning. It matters.

    1. Kelly you are so sweet, thank you! And I am so scared for her more advanced homework or the "new math", LOL. I'm the type who will yell out, "YOU'RE NOT GONNA NEED THIS IN REAL LIFE!" Hahaha.

  4. I had to pause the podcast and respond - couldn't even wait for the end!
    The 5th grade teachers at our school choose not to give homework. They insist that the time spent practicing spelling words and the one hour of reading time required each week qualify as sufficient time studying. As a result, both my kids have had a HORRENDOUS first quarter of their 6th grade year!
    We work hard to instill a sense of responsibility and persistant effort, then break all the well-taught habits....I feel like this is a real disservice to our students. The philosophy our new principal has brought with him makes the most sense to me - That good study habits serve the kids better than the actual work provided each night, so he has laid out a plan for every grade to have some sort of at-home work, 10 minutes per grade level. 1st grade = 10 min, 3rd grade = 30 min, 6th grade = 1 hour, and so on. This seems entirely reasonable to me.
    Don't let anyone make you feel like "Ghestapo Mom", your daughter is MUCH too smart for you to be lax with her education. If she gets bored, or learns that she doesn't have to work for it, you risk much harder battles in the future.

    1. Shell, thanks so much for listening and your comment! Yes, I think that was the point I was trying to make - I think a reasonable amount of homework time 10-15 minutes builds kids homework "tolerance level" up so that when they get into higher grades they aren't just dumped hours of work, which could very well be the first time they've has this. I've had her working on 1 page a night from several different workbooks, and most nights she is cool with it. It also lets me know where she needs help, what she can blow through easily, and I also consider a few of the boardgames we play "homework" i.e. Scrabble Jr. and Sequence. Very sorry to hear your kids are having a rough time in 6th grade - it's no fun for anyone (kids or parents) when this goes on, is it?

  5. Tanesha,
    It cracks me up when I listen to your podcast, we're always at the same stage in our parenting and life as women. You have girls and I have boys, and they are so much the same. Well my 1st grade homework story is my son keeps forgetting his reading book or his spelling words so he can't do his homework, how convenient. Since I'm an educator, and have taught preschool and kindergarten I tend to be pretty strict and follow the rules, and his teacher is a little more lenient. He lost the first reading book, in the house, we discovered, after I bought another copy on Amazon for $10. Now we're on the 2nd reading book, and he forgets it 3 out of 4 days for homework. ARghh!!! I too, have a shelf of alternative homework, reading, computer programs, and workbooks, that I pull from.
    Thanks for telling my stories, and I still believe we are sisters in some land.

  6. As a former 1st grade teacher and a mom who is a little further along the path than you (okay, a LOT further!) I have to say enjoy it while it lasts. Most educators agree that about 10 minutes of homework per grade is appropriate. So 10 minutes in first grade, 30 minutes in 3rd grade, an hour in 6th grade, etc. While your daughter is obviously quite bright, it might take ten minutes to have that conversation with some kids. I think the point of those exercises are to make the lesson more meaningful without making the kids hate school by 2nd grade. Yes, it took her about 30 seconds to figure out that math example, but it could have been an opening for a conversation about the language of math. You'd be amazed at the kids who can do 5-2 but can't answer "Joe has five pencils. Jimmy has two fewer pencils than Joe. How many pencils does Jimmy have?" Math in real life often looks like the second problem and rarely like the first.

    Also, as Sam gets older, you will realize that she is spending hours and hours in school every day with little physical activity, social or down time. Those hours after school and on the weekends become more and more precious. Their extracurricular activities become more demanding along with the homework, and pretty soon you will be wishing for those carefree afternoons when you had time to read a book or do a craft together.

    Happy 40th birthday! 40 is my favorite decade so far, and I hope you have as much fun in your 40s as I have had. I tell people that my 20s revolved around work and my DH, my 30s were all about my kids, and now it's ME time! Have a blast in Houston. I can't wait to hear all about it!!

  7. Tanesha,
    I just finished listening to your episode and was so honored to have you speak so highly of me in the beginning of your podcast in regards to me becoming a teacher. You made my day!
    I'll give you my two cents regarding Sam's homework - it truly sounds like the "calendar" is an "extension menu" full of little things that help to extend the student's mind. I agree with Jenny above, where the question about math could become a real world question where you could have a 5 minute conversation about that math problem but make it relevant to her life - how many outfits her American Doll's have? (sorry - I know you would just die if she really did have 45...lol) Making what children learn in school relevant to their lives is one of the best ways we can get them to learn and retain what they have learned.
    I think homework is a pain for all - student, teacher and parents. Not enough, too much, too easy, too hard....but I do think in the elementary grades that homework is a stepping stone to help children learn how to study. I realize that you posted this episode almost two weeks ago and things may have changed, but if she still has practically nothing for homework every night and you still feel that she should be working on something, let me give you a suggestion. Have her write, write, write.
    (Examples: Two sentences about her lunch, who she sat with at lunch, an assembly at school, if they learned anything about science that day, etc. )
    You already know how important writing is for people who love to read, but now that most states have adopted the Common Core Standards, writing is being incorporated into all contents in school. As a history student writing was the key component to my degree and now with the Common Core Standards, math, science, art, P.E., for example are all having to incorporate writing into the curriculum.
    The better Sam can express herself on the page, the greater success she will have across all contents.
    Good luck and thank you for making my day. :):


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