Advice From a Mom on Managing Busy School Schedules

By Amy Przywara

Middle School

I’m a soccer mom. A dance mom. A baseball mom. A basketball mom. A PTA president mom. A Sylvan mom – you get it. I could go on and on. It’s the point in the school year where we are only a month in and it feels like a semester should have passed. The routine is back, homework is back. We even went back to school later this year, as Maryland passed a law last year that schools start after Labor Day. But yet it feels like it’s been forever since the summer days of camps and the pool and no homework at night!


I love those memes that show the mom in September with the organized folder and healthy lunch, and then the one for the end of the school year that shows “what folder?” and a Lunchable. They make me laugh and feel like I am not the only one. And it’s ALREADY starting and it’s ONLY October! For those of you in areas of the country where you went back in late July or early August, God bless you! It’s got to feel like it should be winter break already. If the first few weeks of back to school have felt like a whirlwind to you, too, here is a School Success Checklist for October. This list can help your family take a step back and make sure you’re where you need to be!

We have three kids, twins in 4th grade and a daughter in 5th grade. Every day and night is a juggle of fitting it all in. All three love to play soccer. I really thought by now, one of them would say, “Nah – I’m good,” but they keep saying, “Yes,” and so off we go to six practices a week and four games a weekend. I wouldn’t change it, but boy is the scheduling fun! Add to that dance three nights a week for the two girls and fall baseball – you get my point. Most of you are right there with me if you are reading this still.


And then there is the homework part of this schedule. They get it done, and I check it to make sure it’s right before they go back the next day. Some things are easy for them and some things are harder. And as the work gets harder, I wonder how we are going to get it all done. I think we will figure it out when we need to, but I also have those thoughts that, “OK – things may need to change.”

One thing that I am unique in knowing is how Sylvan is there for families. I have worked for Sylvan for over 17 years, half before I had kids and half after, basically. I LIVE AND BREATHE this, and I make sure my kids take advantage of what we offer. However, I still struggle at homework time when I want to SCREAM and don’t know how to help one of my kids understand the concept they just are not getting. Or the spelling word that they spell correctly, and then the next time it’s like we never studied it before.

I tell parents ALL the TIME that mom or dad isn’t always the best person to be helping – our kids push our buttons, we push theirs and sometimes we are multi-tasking to get to the next place and just don’t give the time that’s really needed. My advice – having an academic coach or resource or tutor, whether that’s Sylvan or a family friend who is a teacher, is not only going to be good for your child, it’s going to benefit the entire family. A little bit of outside help can go a long way – especially when you do it proactively and do not wait until there is a bigger problem. All of the parallels of having a dance teacher or a soccer coach that is NOT ME apply to helping with the academics. Especially as kids get older and workloads and tween attitudes start to get “bigger.”

at Sylvan

I was on the sideline last week and my friend’s son was doing the “mommy, mommy” thing as my friend was holding a water bottle, trying to open a chair and hold a conversation with another mom. When I said, “Your mom is busy right now,” it was like the world changed, and the child did what he needed for himself. But if his mom had said it, I know he wouldn’t have let up until she put everything down. As parents, we are always helping our kids, so it may seem like a completely foreign concept to ask someone else to take over. But sometimes the best way to help our kids, is by finding someone else to help our kids.

If you’re interested in Sylvan’s tutoring programs or homework help for your family, check out Sylvan’s website for more information!