What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

a podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

Episode 27: The Homework Slog

Do our kids have too much homework? Yup. Agreed. But since moving to a yurt and living off the grid may not be an option for your family, here’s how to make the homework slog a little quicker and less painful at your house. Perhaps even tear-free. (We can dream.)


In this episode we discuss

  • whether the kitchen table is an acceptable homework location (one of us says yes)
  • whether you– or your kid– should be checking the nifty new school website with every assignment listed  (one of us says no)
  • how to help your older kids ignore the distractions of the internet when most of their homework– and many of their textbooks– are online
  • how to invent a system that supports your kid… and then back away from the oversight

Our favorite advice on this topic (besides our own) is from KJ Dell’Antonia, who provided these “three cardinal rules of homework” in her most recent newsletter:

1. It’s not yours.

2. What kids learn from homework is rarely on the worksheet.

3. You don’t want to make tonight’s homework better. You want to make ALL the homework better.

Here’s links to some other advice and research discussed in this episode:

KJ Dell’Antonia (she’s good at this) for NYT Motherlode: Creating a Homework Habit

Bruce Feiler for the NYT: The Homework Squabbles

The Learning Habit Study (American Journal of Family Therapy)

The Learning Habit: A Groundbreaking Approach to Homework and Parenting by Dr Stephanie Donaldson Pressman 

With this episode we celebrate our podcast’s first birthday!

Thanks to all of you who listen, laugh, and tell your friends. It’s been a wonderful first year for us and we look forward to continuing the conversation! 

This episode is brought to you by SheBee Jewelry. Women who wear SheBee (like us) love to express an individual sense of style. SheBee jewelry adds a touch of chic to elevate the everyday. Get a little something for yourself— or create some hints you can not so subtly drop for your next birthday– at shebee.com and get 15% off with code FRESH.


Episode 26: Pets- Worst Idea Ever?


Episode 28: Is This Battle Worth Fighting?

1 Comment

  1. Lynda Ables

    I encourage all grandparents who occasionally care for their school age grandchildren to listen to this podcast. I also encourage the chilren’s parents to listen as well. Having a clear understanding of the parent’s routine for doing homework is crucial for guiding grand children through the process. If the children know the routine and know the grandparents will follow it, homework will be accomplished much more smoothly. (Just be certain to watch a tutorial on the new math ahead of time.)

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