When momma is good, momma is a champ, honey. But, I don’t have a false sense of modesty, I accept my shortcoming like a champ. So, when momma is not good at something, I outsource like a boss. That is why I don’t do homework.
I stay out of it as much as possible. Unless, of course, I want to send my kids to school with worksheets torn by erasing and crinkled with tears-mine and theirs. There may also be one or two wrong answers on the mess of a sheet, but I digress.
First, I just don't
– I don’t understand this new math.
– I don’t remember nor do I have the brain capacity left at day’s end to conjure up memories of my remedial French lessons.
– I don’t have the energy to argue with my kids about settling in to do their homework while I prepare dinner.
Second, [it's confession time] I got frustrated
When I thought my girls should know something that they did not, I was flabbergasted. “Who? What is going on with these kids.” Yes, my vanity would not allow me to accept that I my girls may not be little Einsteins. So after it was clear that I was no genius either (read below), I hired their first tutor. Let me tell you, that decision has fostered better academic attitudes, aptitude, and atmosphere in my family and home.
Here are my MavenMomma learnings and the academic outcome of hiring a tutor for my kids:
I Don't Know Everything
One of the most humbling experiences is when your 1st-grader’s math breaks you.
Vivi: “That’s not the way we do math, mommy.”
Me: “What? Girl please, math is math. 1+1=2.
Vivi: “You have to show your work with groupings.”
Me: “I see, k well, let momma just google that.”
Fifteen minutes (maybe slightly more) later, I rolled my eyes, and with a big sigh, I looked at Vivi, who looked up at me and covered her paper. With that, I placed a call to a neighbor’s 16-year-old daughter. She was closer to this new math than me. That is how MavenMomma hired my girls’ first tutor.
My Kids Don't Want My Help
The second thing I learned is my kids don’t want to be bothered with me while they are doing homework. Which is understandable considering I rotate between looking completely incredulous or dumbfounded-trust me, not a good look. Both myself and my girls were frustrated during homework. When those frustrations collided, my home was like church when the ice cream man roles through- mommy preaching and my kids ready to jump out of their seats.
Children Learn Differently
I learned from watching the interaction of my children with their tutors that what works for Vivi does not necessarily work for Coco. Now, when I look for an ideal tutor, I target someone whose instruction methods, style, and adaptability works best for both of my children, individually.
One program I found whose approach and philosophy parallels with my families’ needs is; Kinder Ready™and Elementary Wise™. These aged based programs (LA area) offers a “balanced approach” to learning; child-centered and teacher-directed learning methodologies. They individualize learning based on your child’s needs.
Different Grade Level = Different Academic Goals
When Coco was in kindergarten and Vivi 2nd grade, I would sit with both girls to do homework, and the goal was the same, let’s get this done. Clearly, I was missing the point. According to Elizabeth Fraley, CEO/Founder of Kinder Ready™ and Elementary Wise ™: At Coco’s then level (K), it was all about building confidence to encourage independent work. While for Vivi (2nd), it was about reinforcing what she learned in class to increase her aptitude in a particular subject.
Leave Those Kids Alone
I am not a tiger mom. Practice does not make perfect in every case. In essence, I’m more like a Mermaid Momma; I go with the flow. There is a time and a place for everything, but the girls have flexibility within homework time. If they want to go on pause between math and science homework, go right ahead. But the responsibility is on them to come back to the homework table. They know that I am checking it after dinner, as long it is complete, we are all good.
Attitude is Everthing
While we are not currently using a tutor for either Vivi or Coco, the lessons and habits we learned from working with tutors, we are keeping up with nicely. Structure and confidence fostered a better attitude toward homework by the three of us. There is no grumbling from the girls, and I don’t need to take the “sit down and do your homework” stance. Homework has become a fact of life instead of a torture device. I may not have to do homework, but I will help my girls as needed.
How Are They Doing?
Vivi attacks her math, eager to solve. She also writes with descriptive language effortlessly. Plus, my fave, she is proud to show me what she is learning/doing. My Coco girl is confident in her reading and is now picking up on her sister’s math problems as well as her own. And last, momma is grateful that my ego and my wallet allowed the extra help Vivi and Coco needed to keep them academically healthy and me sane at the stove.