Some might refer to me as a helicopter mom, hovering around the school, volunteering at every opportunity. Just to be close to my kids, in case they need me. Making sure the middle schooler has all his books and knows his homework assignments. Checking in with my youngest son’s teacher to see if he ate all his lunch. My oldest son has focus issues and this was an easy excuse for me to fly my helicopter.
The education of our boys has always been a priority to my husband and me. We chose a private Christian school for them because of the benefits we saw in comparison to public school, including smaller class size and the opportunity for them to grow their relationship with God through their schooling.
It seemed more acceptable to helicopter over my oldest when he was in grade school; no one really noticed or pointed it out. When he started middle school, I quickly realized I wasn’t doing him any favors by constantly doing everything for him.
These middle school teachers expected him to keep track of his assignments and when they are due, by himself. They even supplied a daily planner to write assignments down and stay organized.
The first year of middle school was rough on this mama! I had to start being part of the team to help my son start becoming responsible for himself.
Now that we are in our second year of middle school, I have learned to fly my helicopter a little less, or at least a bit higher.
Here’s a handful of tips that made it a bit easier:
- Read the syllabus provided by teachers at the beginning of the year to learn what their expectations are of your child regarding homework and assignments.
- Talk to your child and let them know what your expectations are about their homework and assignments. That they are responsible to write it in their planner.
- Make sure they have access to any online grading and homework program your school might use. Our school uses RenWeb and my son checks it daily to make sure his planner is up to date.
- If you have consequences for not completing assignments on time, be clear with your child what those consequences are.
- Allow them to forget without bailing them out with the teacher. If your child knows what is expected of them and they do not complete an assignment, allow the teachers to carry out consequences: no credit, half credit, stay in at lunch, use of a grace pass, etc. Don’t step in. Allow your child to learn from it, accept responsibility, and hopefully grow.
This backing off has been difficult for me, but also very rewarding to see my son start taking responsibility for his school work.
He’s learning to manage his time and growing into a mature young man.
If you have chosen private school for your child, you should be prepared to be a partner in their education. It is important to trust your decision of the school you chose.
Also, be prepared to take a step back and allow your child to be a partner in their education. Trust the teachers to give them the tools they need to be successful and prepared for the next step, whether it’s high school, college or the workforce.