After a disastrous attempt to get her kids ready for the first day of school, Frankie devises a plan to stay on top of her kids' schedules in order to better organize their lives. But things go from bad to worse when Frankie - aided by a reluctant Mike -- tries to be pre-emptive and explains Brick's eccentric quirks to his new, no nonsense teacher, Ms. Rinsky, and gets accused of being over protective. Meanwhile, Sue is so enthusiastic about being on the school's cross-country team that she wears a heavy sweatshirt touting her team spirit in 80 degree heat, and Axl's body clock gets thrown for a loop when Frankie begins waking him up for school with an alarm clock.
Axl has just made the varsity football team, much to Frankie's delight, and she looks forward to a life-long dream of dressing up and walking him out on the field with Mike during homecoming. However, when she learns that Sue's first cross-country meet is the same day, Frankie and Mike must each make a Sophie's Choice-like decision on which kid's activity to attend. Meanwhile, Mike gets Brick to rake up the leaves in the yard but is thrown when, instead of taking them to the dump, Brick wants to set them free in the forest.
While shopping for baby diapers for Sue, who has run out of them on a baby-sitting job, Frankie is completely humiliated when a clerk assumes she's shopping for adult diapers. Meanwhile, after getting on Mike's case to get a physical exam because she thinks men tend to fall apart faster than women as they age, Frankie proceeds to throw out her back and hides it from Mike, who tells her he received a clean bill of health from the doctor; a clueless Sue falls for Axl's friend, Sean, who barely notices her existence; and Brick begins to test all of the age-old urban legends parents tell their kids - such as not to swallow a watermelon seed for fear one will grow in their belly - after discovering Frankie has used these white lies on him in the past.
When Axl is suspended for skipping school, Mike decides it's time to teach his son a lesson about life and makes him go to work with him at the quarry. But Mike's master plan backfires when Axl likes the job so much that he wants to quit school and lead the life of a quarryman. Meanwhile, Frankie is devastated when she fears that she accidentally prayed away Sue's cross-country team after it's cut by the school; and while practicing a magic trick, Brick makes the main TV remote disappear - and can't figure out how to make it reappear.
Frankie convinces Mike and the kids that the Heck family should host a foreign exchange student from Japan to expose him to life in an average American family. But the Hecks become frustrated when the student shows no sign of interest whatsoever in the family.
Frankie is excited over being invited to an adult neighborhood Halloween party. But will she be able to get Mike to dress up in a costume, or will he have his own idea of fun? Meanwhile, a melancholy Sue's spirits are lifted when she discovers that Reverend TimTom is back in town and hosting a Halloween church event; things don't go quite as planned for Axl, his friends or their dates as they head out to an exclusive haunted house party; and Brick chooses a unique Halloween costume that is not easily defined.
Frankie and Mike are speechless when, on his ninth birthday, Brick demands to hear the true story about the day he was born, which has remained a mysterious Heck family secret. Meanwhile, Axl's new manager at the movie theater turns out to be a conundrum - hot and dumb - which leaves a confused Axl wondering if her hotness trumps her incompetence.
Brick is sick and tired of being forced to accompany Frankie on her weekend errands and pleads with her to let him stay home alone. Meanwhile, Mike is torn over how to deal with Sue's friend when he overhears her diss his daughter, and with his fellow teammates all growing beards for the football playoffs, Axl tries to grow one of his own - with mixed results.
Mike begrudgingly invites his brother, Rusty, who is temporarily living in a tent, and his father, Big Mike, who has recently broken his hip, to join him for the annual Heck family Thanksgiving. But when Frankie observes the macho Heck men's non-communicative nature, she encourages a not-so-receptive Mike to engage them in a real conversation and express their feelings. Meanwhile, Brick is ecstatic when he discovers that Bob is bringing his girlfriend, Linda - the local librarian who loves books as much as Brick does - to Thanksgiving; and Sue wants to start a mother-daughter tradition of baking a pie for the holiday, but ends up getting more sliced up than the crust.
The Hecks count down the 12 days of Christmas with Frankie's parents, Pat and Tag, when they come to town to spend the holiday with the family - much to Mike's dismay. But when Frankie decides that she wants to take the focus off of the gifts and make it a simple Christmas, Pat and Tag have other ideas.
After years of being at their kids' beck-and-call and never having time for themselves, Frankie and Mike decide to take charge of their lives and regain control over the Heck household. But Axl, Sue and Brick don't plan on going down without a fight.
Mike freezes Frankie out because he can't fathom how she inadvertently paid $200 for a small bottle of eye cream that she thought was priced at $20. Meanwhile, Axl's fathering techniques are put to the test when he has to take care of a mechanical infant doll for health class, and Sue and Brick desperately search for a way to fix a hole that they caused in Sue's bedroom wall.
As the Super Bowl approaches, Mike is thrilled when Brick takes his advice and studies up on football in order to understand and talk the sport. But Axl thinks his little brother is taking over his turf by being Mike's football buddy - a position Axl used to cherish. Meanwhile, Frankie thinks her professional career is looking up when Mr. Ehlert chooses her to accompany him to a managerial seminar, and ex-boyfriend Brad asks Sue to be his dance partner for the school's annual Square Dancing with the Stars.
As Valentine's Day approaches, Frankie becomes elated when elusive son Axl asks her to accompany him to help pick out a present and choose a restaurant to impress his mysterious new girlfriend - who may be way out of his league. Meanwhile, Mike inadvertently spills the beans about Brick's crush on fellow student Autumn, which totally humiliates his extremely shy son; and having neglected to get a name or email address, Sue begins a diligent search for the boy she kissed during a Halloween hayride.
Fearing that a friendless Brick could be missing out on his childhood, Frankie makes it her mission to find a suitable friend for him. Meanwhile, after Mike forbids Sue from seeing an R-rated film, she goes against her father's wishes and sneaks into a movie theater with her friend, Carly; and Axl and his band need a hot chick to appear in their online music video and try to shoot footage of their sexy biology teacher, Ms. Devereaux - without her knowledge or consent.
After Sue wins a family trip to New York, Murphy's Law goes into full effect when the Hecks board a plane and fly to the Big Apple.
Ms. Rinsky, when Brick gets a D on his math test and Frankie thinks poor teaching skills are to blame. But Frankie wonders whether or not she can make the grade when Ms. Rinsky requires that she and Mike attend a class to test their own math skills. Meanwhile, while begrudgingly watching over their crusty, old aunts, Axl and Sue mull over a plan to accompany Aunt Edie on a search for a time capsule she buried when she was young.
Spring Break turns out to be anything but peaceful when the Hecks try to clean up 20 years of junk accumulated throughout the house. But digging through the past leads to some things that were better left forgotten. Meanwhile, Brick opens up a lucrative neighborhood information stand, giving advice on everything for a dollar per query.
After receiving multiple warnings about leaving his dirty, smelly socks lying around the house, Mike has finally had enough and punishes Axl by forbidding him to play in the final school basketball game of the season. But everyone assumes that Mike is being petty when they discover that Axl could end up beating his father's record for most free throws landed in a season if he does play in the game. Meanwhile, Sue is ecstatic - but Frankie and Mike are suspicious -- when she wins an MVP trophy for cross-country, and Brick is humiliated when he's forced to wear hand-me-down clothes from his rebellious cousin.
Obsessed with the upcoming Royal Wedding, Frankie shocks her family when she treats the event like the Super Bowl and begins purchasing commemorative chotchkies - as well as an expensive HDTV - to enjoy the festivities. Meanwhile, Brick tries to teach Sue how to become an on-air reporter when she decides to try out as an anchor for the school's Shucker News Team, and Mike has a mutiny on his hands at the quarry when he's forced to make cutbacks and takes away the one thing his workers care about - free pretzels.
Mike and the kids present Frankie with the perfect Mother's Day gift - a day to herself. But when her day off goes awry, Mike offers a do-over with the family, which comes with its own set of glitches.
After learning that Axl text-invited the wrong girl to prom and plans to solve the situation by standing her up, Frankie and Mike demand that he meet the girl face-to-face in a timely manner to gently break off the date - or face the music and take her to the big event. Meanwhile, Sue and her friend, Carly, try in earnest to fit in with the school's "B" crowd during lunch, and after a successful first show, Brick begins to bore Frankie and Mike with his impromptu one-man plays.
Frankie and Mike attempt to cure Brick of his irrational fear of crossing over bridges. Meanwhile, Axl is pitted against nemesis Sean Donahue when a lifeguard position opens up at the local public pool, and Frankie is ready to pull her hair out when she tries to help an indecisive and emotional Sue pick out a two-piece bathing suit to wear on the pool's opening day.
With only three days left until summer vacation, Frankie is ecstatic that she's made it through another school year with the family. But her happiness turns to panic when she and Mike learn that Brick needs to write a daily journal and turn it in to Ms. Rinsky or risk not moving up to the fourth grade; that Axl hasn't fulfilled his required 30 days of community service; and that, because of an error, Sue must prove that she never took a sick day from school in order to receive a perfect attendance award at her middle school graduation ceremony.