This is an attempt to share some of our thoughts and experience with parents. Many parents are willing to find time for their children. Parents also put in a lot of efforts to help the child in studies. Students will get benefited a lot if these time and efforts are used effectively.
Another very important aspect of this is parent-child relationship. At a young age parents’ love and affection plays a very important role in the emotional development of the child. Many-a-times, tension, pressure, depression in students is related to this. At this age, students are more worried about reactions from their parents than about marks and exams!
Here are a few points about how to help your children with their studies.
Even though the chapter is written for parents, students are surely welcome to read it!
Encourage your child to do experiments
Science can be best learnt by experiments. Test the new things learnt on your own. Try obtaining a rainbow with the help of prism, try testing tea or lemon juice with litmus papers, and try checking laws of motion of pendulum.
First find a question or a science law to test. Then arrange the material and do the experiment. Maintain a small notebook and write your own findings in it.
We have designed a practical kit-box to provide useful chemicals and material to the students. This kit is useful for experiments till 10th Std science and also HomiBhabha practical exam. We also have an Electricity Kit to make circuits, and working models.
Count the working or studying hours
An average office going adult works for 45 hrs per week. A school student should not be expected to work more than that!
Growing kids need time to ‘grow’! Calculate the total hours including school, homework and all academic + hobby classes. Try to keep this total less than 45 hours per week.
Mostly with only one child at hand, parents want him or her to be excellent in everything. But the child may not have all the capacities and also may not enjoy doing each and every thing. Rather than expecting everything, only bare minimum things should be made compulsory. Leave the rest optional to the child.
For example, one must pass school exams. It is quite necessary in our system. But topping competitive exams, excelling in arts, doing one’s best in all school exams and projects, maximum attendance and developing an all-round personality is not at all compulsory!
Work out incentive schemes for your child
If you want your child to do some activity he does not like, try associating it with the things he wants. E.g. favorite dishes, a picnic, a movie. Then jointly make an agreement like ‘solve 50 Maths questions and get an ice-scream’ or ‘run 15 mins everyday for 4 weeks and get a new school bag’! But remember that once agreed, it should be compulsory for both the parties!
Helping with theory studies
Help should be mutually enjoyable. Parents can Read a lesson for the student and asking oral questions. Study a chapter together and tell the child to make questions. Ask oral questions and give a small toffee for every 10 correct answers. Play a topic-based quiz. Try to judge the child’s level of understanding. Ask 5 challenging questions rather than write pages after pages.
Tests and paper solving
Taking a test is a way to check how much one has studied. Test does have any learning value. Taking tests after tests has a little help. Instead question papers should be solved with open book method. Students feel that they would get 100% marks if they are allowed to use books. But it is not that easy. One has to search the answer in the relevant chapter and then read many paragraphs to get the correct answer. In this process the learning happens. And if a new question is asked on the similar topic, students are able to answer. So insists the student to solve the paper with open book, and underline and show the answer to all the questions from the book.
Insist on quality and accuracy
A perfectly done job is always valuable. It is better to solve 10 questions accurately than to solve 50 questions with 20 errors. Quality of work is a very important aspect of our personality but it is very rarely emphasized in our education.
Keep refusals or ‘NO’s minimum
If a child asks, ‘mother can I do this?’ don’t be in a hurry to say ‘NO’. The things which can be enjoyed at young age can never be enjoyed after retirement! The value of fewer refusals is greater and the child also learns their importance.
Pressure and tension
It is completely useless to tell a student, “Don’t take tension, and enjoy your exam!” Because this never reduces tension. Reduce the weightage of the result! Ask the student, ‘what bad is going to happen if you don’t get good marks?’
At such a young age school marks have hardly any impact on our future. Do we even remember our geography marks in 2nd unit test of 8th Std? Did any job interviewer ask you your marks in annual exam of 6th standard? Then why make it so important for the child?
Tell your child that you would love him/ her even if he/she does not appear for the exam, forget about the result. Parents love and affection has a very big impact at young age. This will surely help them to reduce tension and feel confident and happy.
Praising hard work and not results
When a child hears his parents say, ‘he is always topper in his school’, the child associates his existence with being a topper at school. After some years if he is not the topper, he feels tense and depressed.
Praise good work and not the result. If a child has solved a full book of maths questions surely you can praise it. This gives encouragement too. Off course, nothing wrong in celebrating a good result! But once the celebration is over, we should avoid talking about the result again and again.
Food and Health
This is perhaps the most important point! Do anything and everything so that the child eats good food and does good exercise. Imagine 12-13 years in the future, when today’s school going girl gets married and is about to deliver her baby, certificates and marks won’t help her! Only physical strength is going to help her! So health first, then marks. This is extremely important and grossly neglected by most of us. Please make the children exercise daily (at least 60 sit-ups or running or 24 surya-namaskar or any such thing) at any cost without giving any excuse.
Treating your child as an equal
Parents and children share similar set of genes. Parents have gained experience, learnt many skills in life, and have acquired a lot of knowledge. Sharing this experience with children is very beneficial to them. Involve the children in discussions. Ask their logic and reasoning behind their thoughts. Ask and consider their opinion about house hold work, family decisions. Share your experiences, and thoughts with them. Frank and transparent communication with them is very important. Mutual respect and transparency is basis of good relationship between parents and child.
These are few generic thoughts. But every person is different. Parents know their child best. Each point may not be applicable to each child.
Most parents want to ‘give the best’ to their child and then ‘expect the best’ from him/her. But each child has his destiny. We must considering each child’s likes, dislikes, capacities and skills. This will help them become what they are best suited to be, and the way they want themselves to be, rather than molding them the way we want them to be!
I would be very happy to receive feedback from parents and students. Feed back about this article, books, kits, the online material, or any other thought which you would like to share. Your feedback will help to me to improve. And so it is very valuable to me.
A sincere thanks to the parents to take out your valuable time and read this chapter!
Rahul Ogale (9892013836)
An interesting viewpoint on parenting: