You don’t have to look at the results to last week’s “Are You a Competitive Parent?” quiz to know that we parents are doing everything we can to ensure our children’s success. And it seems like this passion for our children’s futures is increasingly focused on their education. At Care.com, over the past two years, parents have started using academic-related keywords, like homework, 25% more frequently in their job posts. This means a quarter more parents today are including homework in their caregiver’s job description than they did in 2009.
I'll admit, I am a stickler when it comes to homework. Every parent wants to make sure her children have all that they need to succeed and excel in the world. I know I do. As a young mother in college and later in graduate school, I would wake up at 3 a.m. so that I could do homework before my older son Ryan woke up.
When my boys were young, I supplemented their school homework with a curriculum I created from various educational resources, including writing exercises and Singapore Math workbooks. I called them “blue sheets” since I didn’t like the word “work.” I emphasized that they were fun and always planned a variety of activities for the week on blue pieces of paper, tailoring them to what I felt was appropriate for their individual needs. Believe me, I took ribbing for them from friends who thought I was the uber-extreme mom.
When Ryan was found to have ADHD, I realized that I couldn’t keep up the rigorous academic schedule I’d been pursuing. Trying to get Ryan to do his homework often left us at odds, and I came to realize he needed special help that I couldn’t provide. My boys needed me as a supportive mom, not another teacher. I still expect great things from my sons - and encourage them to excel in everything that they do - but for everyone's sake, I've learned my limits.
For most parents, we don't always have time to tutor our kids, particularly if they start having difficulty in school and begin to fall behind. While it's tempting to relearn calculus in order to help your child succeed, it's equally important for parents to know that there is help – and options – both for you and your kids. The realization that it's okay to seek help can be a breakthrough and a relief.
As I've mentioned earlier, I’m always evolving my parenting style. Tutoring – or homework help – no longer feels like an indulgence of competitive parents but rather a necessity in order for our kids to compete successfully now so they can be prepared for the future.
Whether it's a belief – or hope – that a child will catch up, most parents wait too long before getting their kids the academic help that they need. For me, it was my own drive to do it all, and Ryan's increased resistance, that enabled me to seek help elsewhere. Good tutoring can be the safety net your family needs and get your child back on track.
I've found that by creating an environment where I encourage interest, my sons don't need pressure. When Adam learned from his singing coach that he could be the best treble in the country, I saw a new sense of determination and excitement in his face that I could never achieve with one of my former "blue sheets."
If my story seems a little too familiar, consider the following options:
Check out these articles and resources for additional tips:
Have you hired a tutor? What was your experience? Would you recommend that other parents hire a tutor for their kids? Post a comment and share your own family’s story.