Are we living through the worst time in modern history to be a parent? Perhaps. Which is why education experts such as Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer have never been more in demand.
Longtime teachers and colleagues at an independent school in New York City, and co-founders of a self-explanatory company called Teachers Who Tutor, Freireich and Platzer are having a bit of a moment during the pandemic. These days, they’re writing an advice column for The Atlantic called “Homeroom,” contending with a big uptick in tutoring inquiries, parenting, Zoom-schooling their own children, and, now, publishing a book.
Taking the Stress Out of Homework aims to support both students and the parents who love—and supervise—them. Out this week, the book is packed with tips, strategies, and insights that help turn those oft-dreadful assignments into manageable—and even, dare we say, fun?—routines. “The book has allowed us to democratize some of the strategies and systems that previously had been available only to those families who could work directly with our tutors,” says Platzer. “We took some of the best practices that led to educational autonomy and independence, and packaged them for the price of a paperback book. That got us very excited.”
Tips, strategies, and insights help turn those oft-dreadful assignments into manageable—and even, dare we say, fun?—routines.
The book was well in the works before the pandemic, Freireich explains, “but then COVID hit, and we needed to re-frame our ideas, because the entire education landscape changed.” In short: most schoolwork is happening at home these days. For families, Freireich says, the conflation of adult roles—where suddenly we are compelled to serve as parents, teachers, tutors, employees, and spouses simultaneously—can be “highly problematic.”
“Parents are being stretched every which way,” Freireich continues. “A year in, everyone’s at a breaking point, trying to figure out how to best support their kids without making schoolwork so contentious.”
But with a few hours’ worth of reading, there might just be a way to optimize the situation at hand and help kids master some of the skills that will serve them well beyond their school years. “What homework teaches, in terms of executive function and organizational skills and processes and time management, is incredibly important—more important than the content, per se,” says Freireich.
Frankly, many of us could use a primer in such matters. It turns out that Taking the Stress Out of Homework can also de-fang some more adult types of work as well—we’ve already been converted to the easy methodology of their to-do list.
Taking the Stress Out of Homework: Organizational, Content-Specific, and Test-Prep Strategies to Help Your Children Help Themselves, by Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer, is out now
Ashley Baker is the Style Editor for AIR MAIL