For many working parents, the
start of school year means more work – for them. Here our principal software
engineer, Robin, reveals one trick that’s already helped ease the anxiety and
tension -- so she can spend more happy time at home.
I started dreading the start of the new school year in June.
Sure, I’m enjoying the lazier days of summer. My girls are at camp which means no lunches to make, no homework to check. And no drama (well, less drama – I still have two teen girls under one roof!).
I can have the after-school activities booked, the care-schedule in place. That’s nothing. It’s more that my 15-year old daughter stresses me out from September to June. Like clockwork.
My daughter is beyond driven. The pressure she puts on herself take over our house. She wants to get the best grades, be the best athlete, log community service hours and work to earn money for a car. Last year she struggled in a few honors-level classes, and would be up late into the night trying to get her assignments completed – after swim practice and dinner. Her quest to get all A’s (an A minus just won’t do) and build the perfect resume, meant too little sleep, regular stomach aches, and frequent arguments borne of frustration. By the end of the school year, her confidence was weakened. Especially when it came to math.
But math has always been my strength. I was a computer science major after all. Admittedly, I’m a little rusty when it comes to high school algebra. And my daughter has no patience while I get up to speed. Fights start and our relationship tenses. I think back on the days when I was the smartest person in her life. But now, like many mother-daughter relationships, I no longer seem to know anything!
So this summer, I finally convinced her to get a tutor. She was reluctant because she’d always thought that tutors were for kids who were "behind" or not as smart. I finally convinced her that having a tutor to prepare her in advance for next year’s math class would help her feel on top of the material -- and that would build her confidence (as well as lessen her stress-level).
Once she agreed, the funniest thing happened – her younger sister said she could use a tutor too!
So I created a math tutor job post and heard from a ton of tutoring agencies. One franchise owner came over, met with all of us, talked to the girls’ teachers about their strengths and weaknesses, and hand-selected the tutor who would be best for their needs. Even better: the tutor would come to our house!
I have to tell you -- this is the best thing I’ve ever done. We started the sessions this month and our house is already calmer. I’m calmer. My older daughter is going over next year’s Algebra II curriculum, while the younger daughter is refreshing her grasp on last year’s pre-algebra. And the level of confidence I see in both of them is refreshing.
I feel so much better about the roller-coaster ride this fall will bring. I’m sure we’ll still have our tense moments. But hopefully now we’ll only argue about who does the dishes!
Tell me, what stresses you out about the start of the school year? How are you handling it?