Parents are stepping aside, relegating what once was seen as a mom and/or dad imperative to a relative stranger known as a homework helper. Really–and not to be confused with a tutor.
A tutor comes to the task with a specific expertise or two. For instance, many kids hit a math wall when algebra is added to their rosters or have trouble comprehending their textbooks. If a parent doesn’t get it either, then a tutor is paid to come rescue the situation.
But such is not the case here. As explained in the New York Times article, “Like a Monitor More Than a Tutor,” homework helpers are not teachers with an expertise in a certain subject area. Think of them, instead, as generalists and perhaps even task masters. As New York City’s Central Park Tutors’ co-owner Mike Wallach explains it: “This niche industry caters to students who are capable of doing the work but need someone there who can just be there with them to consistently do the work in a regular manner.”
The company’s site puts it this way: “[Along with tutoring services] for those who need it, we also have experience focusing on organization, learning disabilities, emotional frustration, or lack of interest.”
Homework helper or parent substitute? You decide.