Helicopter parenting is a topic roaming around the internet now-a-days. Good, bad, or what have you, when it comes to MATH homework in this house: I AM A HELICOPTER PARENT! Take me away. Lock me up. I confess it with both hands up in the air.
The authorities may need another set of handcuffs, though. I am not alone in this small, rotating, hover craft. My co-pilot sleeps in bed beside me at night. Sometimes, he flies solo. Other times he covers a shift for me. We are both engineers, he is an active one while I retired a while back. (Numbers are our passion.) Call it what you want. Judge us or don’t judge us. We helicopter addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even how the numbers are written.
I learned this lesson from a more experienced pilot, a parent who flew before me. Her son kept getting poor math grades on report cards. He aced his tests but his unchecked-nightly homework scores were detrimental to his final grade. After a few poor showings, she decided the time had arrived for her to review assignments before he turned them in. After that, her son’s confidence increased and his math grade got a leg up.
Are grades important? Heck, yeah!! It’s easy math. 2+2=4 while 0+2=2. It’s pretty black and white. There are no grey areas in getting a higher score. A zero is a zero.
Well, what about teaching kids INDEPENDENCE with their homework? Our children are taught the lesson at school without us. They pack their homework in their bags at school without us. They complete the work without us. We require they double check it before we review it. Then, they fix the mistakes without us. If extra help is needed, then of course we help them through it, but you get the idea. The extra practice at home is done on their own before we even look at it.
So, every day or night after school or maybe sometimes the morning before it’s due (because we are busy like that), the teacher assigned arithmetic, in each given grade level, in this household – is thoroughly inspected, marked for errors, and returned to the appropriate child for correction, as needed.
Besides “how was your day,” “I love you,” or “good-night,” the other most spoken phrase between us parents is “did you check the kids’ math?” When the answer is yes, relief is felt inside. One nightly task got checked off on the long list of to-dos before bed. Those two hands that were thrown up in the air in confession might actually land swiftly on the shoulders of the other to massage because it is a completed job worth celebrating over.
Come on, parents. Admit it. You fly a little over math homework, too! And if you can’t admit it, then maybe you sub-contract it out. (Tutors, anyone?) Or, if you don’t think it will ever be you one day, it will. Just wait. It might not be in math but rather another subject you are passionate about. Over and out.