What no homework for my first grader means

I’ve written before about the progressive public school my son attends. He will begin getting  homework in 2nd grade (I think). I can’t actually remember if it’s 2nd or 3rd grade.  He picks out books that are at his reading level and brings them home each weekend to read to us Fri/Sat/Sun and every once in a while he brings home a worksheet with math problems that he is supposed to do with an adult and explain what he’s doing to us. That’s the extent of his formal HW from school.

I can do another post about why I love the “no HW till 2nd grade” approach at his school. But for this moment I’m going to tell you what it means, on a very concrete level for us.


Yesterday I came home after working a full day and my son (I’m going to call him Esperto, which is his capoeira name 🙂 was saying goodbye to his grandma – who picks him up from the school bus stop every day. They had gone to the playground, had snacks and played a few games by the time I got home.

I put dinner on to cook and then told my son I was ready for him to help me bake muffins for his class the next day. Each family in his class takes two weeks out of the year where we provide snacks for the entire class. This week has been our week and he had requested that I make his favorite muffins of the moment (carrot raisin).

For the next 30 minutes, Esperto read the recipe out loud to me (as best as he could…he’s a first grader).

Independently he:
turned the oven on to 350 degrees
cracked 8 eggs (only got a little shell into the bowl)
measured out 2 teaspoons of baking soda
measured out 4 teaspooons of cinammon
measured out 4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
monitored the Vitamix blender as it blended the carrots, oil and eggs
folded the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
set the timer on the oven for 30 minutes

He also:
smelled the spices (sensory exploration)
tasted the sugar (sensory exploration)
rubbed flour on his hands (tactile experience)
observed the flour change texture once it was combined with the wet ingredients (scientific observation)
practiced reading in context (recipe)
practiced math in context (measuring)
exercised small muscles in his hands (fine motor)
practiced self-regulation (waiting for the muffins to cook)
bonded with his caregiver (me)

Bet ya didn’t realize how much learning could happen when a child doesn’t get homework, huh?


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