Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back to studies?

Yet again, one more term of studies have gone and I am now in the self evaluation mode.

Before we wonder if I have joined a course or am in some distance education program, let me tell you that it is neither. I am just an ordinary mother trying to figure out the marks that my ordinary kids have earned in their first terminal exams (only two months of studies before their Summer holidays). Every term begins with a resolution to take my kids through their lessons daily and before I even try to begin they are already into their Unit Tests and then the Term Exams and so they have reached 6th and 7th standards.

Do we really have to slog so hard with them? Is it necessary for them to score high marks in each subjects? Here in Gulf( I am sure elsewhere too), it is not only the weak that go for tuitions but also the brightest students. The marks that they score in their Board Exams as each year progress is mind boggling. I believe this can be achieved only if one focuses completely on one’s studies (if one is not a genius). This would also mean that the kid will have time for no other activities and so also the parents. In most houses the TV will be either banned totally or switched on sparely. And come exam time in most homes, no visitors shall be allowed into your homes and you will not get out of yours too.

Our daughter is consistent and she does her best, although I am sure she can score much better marks if either I or a tuition teacher cajole her. But on talking to my son’s class teacher I understood that he is not the “studying” kind since he is not scoring good marks for all the subjects. But since I am his teacher at home (as time permits), I think he is not a total dumbo but grasps concepts quiet easily. But then boys will be boys they say and he is happier to play with his cars or the computer.

And then comes the villain (mine) – tuitions. The Class Teacher did hint that she takes tuitions when I went for the Parent – Teacher meeting. Should I give up my stubbornness and sent them? Will our kids benefit from spending some more hours studying concepts which should have been taught in school? While I try to weigh the pros and cons, I am still convinced that they ought to study at their own pace and that we as parents better be satisfied with what they bring home. Looking at their marks, I understand that I never did any better during my school days when the syllabus was much easier. But then the competition was not that high too. And when the teachers talks about those kids who score good marks etc, I do want mine to score those marks which they were scoring in lower classes. But now the sylabus is tougher and the teachers go full speed with the lessons.

And only today I read what Roop has written so well in her blog . She quotes from an article in Indian Express where the author laments in not finding the right candidate during the interview for the top B-schools, although the candidates have passed one of the toughest examination in the country.

Of course I may be wrong since my kids are not highly intelligent and they may be in need of extra help. But for now I am just going to renew my resolution and give a part of my time, while the kids will continue to indulge in their favourite TV shows, amidst my constant reminders to sit and study (over the phone at work and while I am doing things other than teaching them while at home).


  1. Tutions or no tutions, parents have to spend QUALITY time with children and not just 'quantity' time.

  2. Thank u Indrani..

    U r very right... and after reading your post on the butterflies...

    "The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough."

    ...I wouldnt dare complain on the lack of time!

    But in the end, whatever a parent does is not enough since you need the grace of the Almighty too.

  3. Marks certainly dont measure a child's capability or intelligence, and yet marks decide where the kid goes? Looks like the adults need to be educated, isnt it? Bravo for not falling for the 'tuition' stunt!

  4. seriously - i dont think tutions are a great idea. trying to make things easier, i guess.

  5. @gardenia: Thank U...As for the bravery... dont know how long I will brave it :-

    @Maddie: Yes, it is an easy way out in some ways.

  6. I your post I found these questions: "Do we really have to slog so hard with them? Is it necessary for them to score high marks in each subjects?" Reading through your post I am glad that you have the right attitude, when you say: "they ought to study at their own pace and that we as parents better be satisfied with what they bring home."

    Since I am the father of a 15-yr old boy, I take the liberty to make a few comments.

    One, Try not to push the kid. Gently prod them, remind them, of the need to study, how good marks generally help etc etc. Let the kid take studies at his own pace.

    For ex: my son wasn't intereted in tuition even though the subject was tough. We went by the kid, and didn't send him for tuition. He scored poor marks; but we let that be. Gradually, he realised he needed help, at that point (without telling him "see we told you so long back) we arranged tuition and his marks improved. For science, he resisted tuition, but managed good marks in the final exam. The morale: whatever we parents might do, the kid has to finally realise. Nothing will work until then.

    Two, the ambience in the house matters. Studies shouldn't become a source of tension for them. A tension-free healthy ambience will help the kid realise the right thing at the right time.

    Three, never compare the kid with other kids. May be about marks or anything else. The damage can be severe.

    Four, rather than talking to the kid, engage him in a coverstaion. It works wonders.

    Five, marks in one exam is just that. Period. It's no guarantor of any future success. Unlike the mark, the kid is for ever.

  7. Pradeep: Thank you for your comment and the valuable advice from an experienced Parent. There is much we read on parenting, yet we fail to practice it.

    "Five, marks in one exam is just that. Period. It's no guarantor of any future success. Unlike the mark, the kid is for ever."

    Too good!

  8. I agree with Pradeep entirely. From my experience, I find that it is not necessary to push children in the lower classes and burden their already heavy shoulders with tuitions - but never undermine the importance of studies to them. Parents can easily guide them at this stage.

    When they reach the higher classes, they are mature enough to realise that it is their effort that counts and they are willing to put in that extra bit.

    The joys of childhood should not be skipped on account of pressure of studies.

  9. Raji; Thank you for passing by and giving me your valuable comments.

    I hope my kids find a new mother once we return from vacation and that dont I forget all that I read!


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