When both mothers and fathers have high-powered jobs, sometimes there is just no one at home to help the kids with their homework. Thus is born a new specialty niche, ‘homework helpers.’ Not quite the same thing as traditional tutors who give children, and sometimes adults, the one-on-one extra help they need with a subject, homework helpers are there to give support, encouragement and help when needed to kids who can basically do the work, but they are just not disciplined enough or motivated enough to do it on their own. So a homework helper arrives at the house, kicks the kids off the Xbox or iPod, and gets them to open up their books and do the homework.
Usually this is not the only help the child needs. If a student is having difficulty getting down to the business of homework, reports, essays and the like, it is usually a sign that he/she needs some help learning organizational skills and time management. A homework helper can offer these services as well, in addition to just sitting there overseeing the student.
Critics of this new type of service provider believe that when parents can’t be there and they instead send a proxy to hover over their children, in what is called ‘helicopter parenting”™ parents are depriving their children of developing the independence and self-motivating skills that they will need later in life. All I know is that anyone that takes me away from the role of ‘evil mother”™ always saying, ‘get off that iPod and get to your homework, right now!” sounds more like a ‘mother’s helper’ than a homework helper to me.