I am a modern day mom with a habit of calling home exactly by 4:30 p.m. from office to ensure kids are back. Kids mostly spend seconds to answer me so that they can rush to switch on the TV and have their snacks. Then I call at 6:00 p.m. to know if they have forced themselves to study. I would still be hearing cartoon noises from the TV and my mother-in-law would say with the usual tone that my children are still watching TV. But for the past few days, there is absolute silence at home. I am puzzled if I have dialed the right number. Is this my house? Very strange. My mother-in-law answers in a low soft voice that my children have already started doing their homework. I become a very happy mom all in praise of homework. When I reach home, my children don’t welcome me with a smile. They are upset. Like a usual parent, I think, “Oh! So, homework is making you sad” ? Then my son slowly says, “Amma, today, I have a lot to write. 10 sums in Math, 5 questions in Social, 6 more in Science, you know, I need to draw the diagram as well, added to that I have to write a creative essay in English and 20 Shabdas in Sanskrit”. He is quickly interrupted by my daughter, “Even I have a lot of writing work and the teachers want us to submit tomorrow… and two projects to be done too”. Now there is a paradigm shift in my thought process. The two shoulders carry books more than heavyweight champions, wear uniforms that don’t suit Chennai climate, sweat throughout the day, come home and then start writing, writing, writing! I slowly become very serious! Pity engulfs me. I look with almost tears in my eyes at those tender hands. Children are also scared of the dire consequences of facing the wrath of the teacher if they do not submit on time. If children always write, when will they have time to study?
According to a math teacher, she/he had only given ten sums as homework for the day. It is so less and can be completed probably in half-an-hour. And similarly think all the subject teachers. But what happens in the end is that a child is forced to write for four to five hours most of the days. I am sure no teacher would ask the children how much of homework they have already got. We do have time tables and schedules for everything, why not one for homework? I don’t deny that writing once is equivalent to reading ten times. But there should be a limit. Any exercise will be helpful only if children are made to enjoy and understand its fruits.
Here are some tips for teachers and the school management to bring down the burden:
1. Kindly consider that not all children stay near the school. So please take into consideration the average travel time.
2. Please make a column on the black board and jot down the homework. This practice will let you inform your peers that you have given so much and may help them adjust accordingly.
3. Nowadays almost all students involve in extra-curricular activities ranging from art, dance to sports. When it comes to sport, it is needless to say that the children will eventually be tired.
4. Teachers can decide in their department and come up with a schedule for homework when they plan the syllabus.
5. The school management can monitor the workload by checking sample notebooks randomly.
6. Kindly encourage to your students to speak out their bottle-necks when it comes to too much of writing.
Last, but not the least, children of all age groups look up to their teachers if they are kind and considerate. Kindly do not pass on your pressure on children. Even if you had an unpleasant morning at home, please ensure that you do not scream at them for small mistakes. Please guide them more and chide them less. They may test your patience but there is a saying that teachers are second mothers. A speck of kindness and a whole lot of kind words will definitely bring a lot of goodness and strengthen student-teacher relationship. This would definitely pave way for better grooming in students.
How do you manage your child’s homework at home? Write your comments below:
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