Family Life
Embracing My Inner Tiger Mom

Embracing My Inner Tiger Mom

Do you have high standards for your kids?  How does that come through in your parenting? I recently began embracing my inner tiger mom and trying to figure out what kind of tiger mom I need to be.

Our Virtual School Experience So Far

During this whole crazy COVID time, we decided to keep our kids in virtual public school instead of homeschooling them.  I’m grateful to say that my kids have adjusted very well to virtual school.  They are engaged and participate in class.  They show up on time, for the most part.

Surprisingly, Emily’s Kindergarten class has much more homework than Alex’s 2nd grade class.  I really like that Emily’s class allows parents to differentiate students based on the academic level.  There is more work on the parent’s part to make sure that all the work is completed, but her teacher offers plenty of optional and challenge homework that she can do.  They also require her to write at least 3 times a week.  I’ve seen tremendous improvement in her writing since the start of the school year.  For her, she is being challenged and stretched, which is what I would expect from school.

On the other hand, I’ve been more disappointed with Alex’s class.  I know Alex’s teacher is doing the best job she can, given the fact that she also has 3 kids of her own, so I don’t blame her for any of this.  She’s making the best of a bad situation and I suspect it would be the same situation even if it was a different teacher.  With that said, however, Alex’s class about 15 minutes max of homework due and there is no attempt to help more advanced students.  He has a small group meeting with the teacher once a week for about 15-20 minutes, but that is it.  I wish there were more optional or challenge activities offered so we could help him.

Why I’m Embracing My Inner Tiger Mom

I knew at some point I would become a tiger mom, but I think with the stress of running a real estate business and COVID, I was wishfully thinking that the public school would figure out a way to push Alex academically. One of the key themes of Raising The Best is the idea that you have to surround yourself with the best.  Thinking back, Alex has always been at the top of his class, giving me a false feeling that he is on track.  I’m sure according to average academic standards, he is doing more than fine.  But the real question is, is Alex being pushed to his best ability? Unfortunately, the answer was clearly “no” this year. So it was time to bring on the tiger mom…

So I began researching gifted and talented programs and came across the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY).  In order to even take some of their classes, your child needs to be two grade levels ahead in math and reading.  I had Alex take a practice SCAT exam to see where he was.  He got about 50% right in both the math and verbal sections.  Although it isn’t a great score, I just see it as a data point and evidence that he has room for improvement.

The elementary SCAT exam consists of a verbal analogies section and a math section that covers 4th and 5th grade math.  To tackle the analogies section, I researched and downloaded a huge analogies bundle from Teachers Pay Teachers. I’ve been relying on TpT a lot to supplement academic work for the kids.  I like the idea that other teachers are creating and using the materials.

To tackle the math section, I’m also using TpT to go through 3rd and 4th grade math.  I’m glad there are Math Common Core standards, so I know exactly what I need to cover with him.  In looking at the practice test, I’m going to focus on teaching him multiplication, division and fractions.

My Own Tiger Mom Experience

When I was growing up, my mom was a tiger mom.  While I probably didn’t understand or appreciate it at the time, I’m really grateful that my mom had such high standards for me.  Just like in Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, I always felt my mom pushed me because she believed in me.  Somehow, I think that helped me develop a strong sense of internal motivation to always push myself.  Although my mom had high standards, I don’t remember ever feeling stressed about it.

I had a friend in high school that also had a tiger mom but her experience was completely different.  Her parents kept pushing her too hard and she was so stressed out at school.  Although subtle, there is a difference between pushing someone to do their best and pushing someone beyond their abilities.  It’s like if I were to keep yelling at one of my kids to play Beethoven’s 5th when they’ve only been playing the piano for a week.  It hurts more than it helps.

Finding My Own Tiger Mom Voice

It’s been about a week since I started working with Alex on his analogies and multiplication tables.  It’s definitely been a learning experience for both Alex and me.  I struggle with balancing how much to push Alex.  On one hand, Alex is learning there is a “new standard” at home now.  Since he’s been slacking off for a year, there has been a lot of whining, but he’s getting used to it.  On the other hand, I can tell his is very hard on himself when he gets answers wrong, so I don’t want to push him too hard to where he doesn’t enjoy learning or has low self-esteem.  I’ve been reinforcing a growth mindset with him and telling him that mistakes are proof that we are trying and it is perfectly fine to make mistakes! Is there such a thing as a growth mindset tiger mom?  I think that’s will be my new superhero mom power!

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