With September looming in the not-too-distant future, our thoughts are slowly – albeit reluctantly – turning back to school. All across Canada, classrooms wait to be decorated for a new group of learners. “Back to School” signs adorn storefronts from Toronto to Halifax. Backpacks are flying off the shelves in Vancouver, pencils are being sharpened in Calgary and Edmonton, and uniforms are being fitted in Ottawa. All of this activity means one horrible truth for our family: the season of homework is nearly upon us.
Whether you currently have a nanny or are considering hiring one this fall, now is the time to determine what role your nanny will play regarding after-school support. For our family, it is a non-negotiable that our nanny must be equipped to help our ten-year old with her homework. Although both my husband and I are college-educated (and <cough,cough> I am a certified, full-time teacher), we have made a conscious commitment to outsource a portion of our daughter’s need for academic assistance to our nanny. And here’s why:
(1) Our nanny is there when our children get off the bus. She gives them a snack, and then our daughter and son start any homework after 20-30 minutes of relaxation. This is a great timeframe for them to get to work. If they wait for us to get homework started, we are all exhausted.
(2) School is difficult for our daughter. She needs extra support, and sometimes she just wants her mom to be her mom and not her teacher. Our nanny is a great cheerleader for her as she does her work. (Our son, who can work more independently, just needs a mild taskmaster to keep him focused on his work and not the dog.)
(3) There was a lot of homework last year. Completing two shifts of homework made it more manageable for my daughter as well as for our family sanity. She would complete 30+ minutes with the nanny and then finish up with one of us in the evening.
If you plan to have your nanny provide tutoring or after-school support, be certain to include this requirement in your application process. If you already have a nanny, sit down with him/her and discuss your expectations with homework and your children this fall. Make sure the nanny has access to study materials, online resources, and other support aids that the school has provided you. Be clear that the nanny should only provide support and not answers. Finally, give yourself an “A” for effort if you keep the lines of communication open among your children, the nanny, the teacher, and you. Happy Back-to-School!