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Teach our own children...can we manage?

23rd November 2011
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School is an integral part of our lives and our children spend the greater part of their early life in school. Because of our quest for education, we find ourselves faced with the task of teaching or supervising our children as they do their homework or prepare for their examinations.

Most schools will be starting examinations soon. This means that most of us have to help their children revise. However, the problem that we were faced with is how to go about the revision process.

How much work should you give an eight year old and should you keep him busy the whole weekend because he has to revise?

Remember, these are young children who are used to mixing work and play therefore even if they are going to have tests, there ought to be a limit between what they can do and what they cannot.

You certainly cannot assume that an eight year child will spend the whole weekend locked up in his room studying as if he is vying for a degree at the university.

You have to give him work and at the same time allow him room to play remember the proverbial saying all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

If you think I am joking then try loading your child with work and you will see how that will backfire.

On Sunday after we came back from church we decided to watch a movie at home whilst our son was doing a math test which my husband had prepared for him as a way of helping him revise.

He did the first test quite ok and was given a second one and he still had to do a third one before we could call it quits.

When he was told to go and do the second test he started groaning and moaning and I pretended not to notice and decided not to intervene in what father and son were doing.

He went and did the test and then came back, but before going, he had asked if he could go and play soccer amidst the moaning and groaning to which the dad replied not until you finish the tests.

He brought the second test and when the dad went through it I heard him complain bitterly as to the volume of mistakes. He sat down with him and discussed the errors then asked him to go back into his room and do the corrections and threatened that he would not be allowed to play soccer unless he completed perfectly well.

When the boy went into his room I realised the dad was getting frustrated, I suggested that we let the boy go and play soccer for an hour then he would come back and finish his work and he agreed.

So when the boy brought his corrections the dad said ok son leave this with me go play soccer for an hour and when you come back we finish the rest.

He was excited and said thank you countless times and flew out of the house with his soccer ball in hand.

When he came back things were a lot easier, he was concentrating and the process took a much shorter time then afterwards we asked him to pack his school bag taking out all the stuff that he didn’t need the next day since they would writing examinations.

This experience taught us that the concentration span of children is minute and for that reason they ought to mix work and play.

If you expose them to all work they tend to lose concentration and thus when they start making multiple mistakes not because they are not able but just because their concentration span is small.

The moment you try to bulldoze them with work, the result will be counterproductive because they can’t concentrate for a long time.

Once they lose concentration they get everything wrong therefore once you see they are becoming g restless allow them to refresh by either watching a movie suitable for their age or playing any other game that they like alone or with friends. That does the trick and bears positive results.

Forcing them to continue working once they have showing signs of tiredness will only frustrate both you and the child and I believe that’s not what you want.

One other thing I wanted to bring to the attention of many parents is that helping our children with homework or revision does not mean that we do the homework for them.

Our ole is to guide them and ensure that they are doing the right thing not to literally do the said homework for our children. I hope you get me. Happy parenting!

msimbiso@gmail.com

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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