As a parent of a seventh grade child, I am more tense than my child when it comes to exam time! This maybe because my way of studying was different when I was in school. Being from a non -mainstream school like Vidyaranya myself, I was never forced to study or memorise things for tests or exams. However, we did have periodic tests and year-end exams starting from the eighth grade. Looking back, I feel that we did end up studying for these at our own pace. Of course, we did not have as many distractions, nor was it the norm to go to music, dance and sports classes after school. So as soon as it was dark we came home from playing in the neighbourhood and did what we had to do to prepare for the next day at school. This was mostly reading and reviewing what was taught that day in school.
If children are trained right from the early years to make it a habit to review what they did in school everyday, it would make the end of the year less stressful. If a child reads what was covered in school that day, he can see if he has understood what was taught, and clear any doubts right away. Teachers do not have the time to revisit topics that were already covered earlier. So, when a child finally gets to read a chapter and feels that he has not understood any of it, it gets stressful for both the child as well as the parent. This work ethic of reviewing the day’s work everyday, I feel must be taught. This is something that needs to be reinforced by both the school as well as the parents.
Today’s children have a very busy schedule. In mainstream schools they are loaded with homework and projects. They also have various other activities like music, dance and sports that they go to after school. In the newer schools which claim not to be mainstream, the hours are longer as they include sports, music and other activities as part of the curriculum. The new trend also seems to be to give the children projects in every subject. From my experience so far, these projects do not reinforce what was done in school, and are not reviewed carefully, nor is there much constructive feedback from the teachers about what was completed. Here is one area that definitely needs to be addressed in greater detail by the schools. What should the goal of a project be? What is achieved by completing it? Is it age and grade appropriate? How much time should be spent on it? Do parents need to help with it? How does a child learn from such work? Unless I monitor every project given, I find that my child takes hours to find information on the internet, and then just copies, pastes and prints it up, without processing anything he is copying! So when does he have time to actually sit down to review what was taught in school?
I have started working hard with my child to get him into the habit of reading and reviewing things everyday. This has been, and still is an uphill task, as he feels it takes away from TV time and play time! However, I hope he will appreciate my efforts in later years when it pays off, and he realises the importance of working everyday instead of cramming at the end of the year!
The author is a parent of a 12-year-old and a 6-year-old. She can be reached at [email protected].