By Nithya Sundaram
There is a constant debate that is going on regarding homework. How can parents help in their child’s education? A recent court order from Madras High Court has categorically stated that children of grades one and 2 should not have homework or tests. Their bags should carry only a minimal load. So there is a huge confusion among parents and in schools, who believe that there must be a reinforcement of learning. What does a parent do if they are in the habit of sitting with their kids daily ensuring that perfect homework goes back the next day? Some parents have reported that they feel lost.
I know most parents are in the habit of going parallel to the school when they make children study at home. When nothing goes home their first question is How do we know what happens at home? This is because they equate that worksheet or notebook to learning. Truly speaking learning is most evident in students’ personalities, the way they communicate, their changing habits, beliefs and worldview. Parents need to only look at their children and observe them in action. The best way is not to change watching their children perform their daily activities. The problem is most children are not involved at all at home, so parents do not get to gauge them.
Here is a list of things that parents can do, which will be a natural way to understand the development of their child, which is far superior to simply producing perfect notebooks and scoring perfect grades.
- While getting ready for dinner get them to lay the table; they will learn symmetry and the beginnings of geometry.
- While cooking ask them to knead the dough for chapattis; they will understand texture know how to describe them.
- While filling up water in bottles, get them to do it; they will learn to estimate measures.
- Show them how to wash and scrub even if it is only potatoes; they will become good householders.
- Have them carry small loads while shopping; they will become better at estimation and common sense will improve.
- Let them make the list for shopping even as you call out; they will become better listeners.
- Let them learn to budget every time you go shopping; they will become responsible spenders.
- Let them help choose in supermarkets; as they read labels, they will become better consumers.
- Let them track your bill payments every month even if you do it online; they will become good managers.
- Have them water the garden daily; they will become nature lovers.
- Take them outdoors and star gaze with them; they will understand astronomy better.
- Take their help to draw rangoli designs and you have geometry again as well as good artists.
- Take them out for a drive and ask them to note the speed of the vehicle; they will become conscious drivers.
- When out in the mall, ask them to note the signboards; that’s the language of symbols.
- Have them track newspaper delivery; they will learn to weigh news.
- Let them help you clean the house; they will become hygiene conscious.
- Teach them sewing; they will learn to mend their clothes.
- Allow them to fold washed clothes; their motor skills will become better.
- While going out have them check all the switches and locks; they will learn to support green initiatives.
- While playing with friends borrow 15 minutes of their time to tidy up; they will become collaborators.
- When you are traveling and making inquiries for directions, get them to ask simple questions; they will learn survival skills.
- Take their help to decorate your altar and say the prayer along with you; their visual-spatial sense will increase along with a religious sensitivity.
All great minds started this way. Warren Buffett took his ideas while selling newspapers. Kalam’s vision for the country came from speaking to vendors. His genius developed while packing up tamarind seeds for sale. Not to speak of Archimedes, who had his flash while bathing. Their day to day tasks led them to greatness. So can these daily tasks, for your child.