Giving children gift of exploring and less stress -Ban Homework for young children.

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Giving children gift of exploring and less stress - Ban Homework for young children.

Dear Sir,

I'm a mother of two children -the eldest is 4 years old boy the second is 8 months old boy.
I'm a very imaginative person, my little son who is 4 yrs old also looks to be so..I would never want to diminish the positive imaginative bubble side for him because of academic stress.. hence I'm writing this for him and other children around his age group (yes children who just started schooling) and children under 10 years old.


'Homework' is a never ending drama for children and parents. Most parents of primary school-aged kids would agree that homework creates tears and tantrums. (sometimes the kids get worked up about it too!) and it takes far too much time! 

I'm delighted to have my son studying in one of the good schools in my locality, Chennai..he is a happy child, he is happy about the class teacher ..all that is fine till now..And I trust my child is contributing his best for his age. But then there is a minor conflict at every home (hopefully) it's about homework..heavy portions for this age..cycle test for kg classes.. surprise test..and weekly test..what not for small children (most parents would agree with it.) This is something which I'm referring to all schools(atleast most schools across India, 98%  irrespective of the syllabus or teaching methodology...we fear stress level is way too high both with kids and us..I don't like to debate with anyone here saying..when they address need to evolve and say times have changed ..and move on with flow..
I am worried that if this is how it will be for my eldest..I wonder if I need to worry even more when my second child enters school later..would it be even more ??seriously!!

I'm writing this with a heavy heart after discussing with many parents (family,friends, acquaintance) and have put lot of effort into this letter, and hope that all boards will take it seriously, and also recognise that we wish to make things better for all children & parents not more challenging.  We also recognise and appreciate that many teachers and school management who has our child's best interests at heart, and hope that this will be the first of many constructive conversations we have around thier learning in coming years.

Barring two exceptions which we'll mention in a moment, we do not encourage homework in our home. The reasons for this are as follows:

1. Homework creates stress for our Children.

It might be tough for teachers, but I believe it's even
more tougher for small children, even in small amounts.
Time spent on homework and levels of anxiety, depression, anger and other mood disorders and issues.
"It definitely overwhelms struggling kids and removes joy for high achievers". I want my children and other kids to be happy and balanced, not depressed and anxious.

2. Homework creates an extra burden on us as parents.
With more than one child at home, work/business, and myriad other priorities, we believe this one is dispensable.

3. Home work creates family conflict.(ofcourse at most homes trust me...endless stories and experiences from different people)

4. Homework  - diminishes the time our children have for other activities.

If the parent has more than one child or comes back home after work, you can imagine that homework has the potential to occupy a significant component of our afternoons.
We have our children involved in music lessons/dance/sports and more. Additionally the children enjoy being children,playing with friends, having free time colouring
Or reading or going shopping or contributing in our home with chores (they are tiny little helpers at times), or simply what ever they like to do.

5. Homework is generally not inspiring and lack of evidence.
There is no evidence to support the belief that homework helps children develop the characteristics it is often suggested will be useful, such as ability to organise time, develop good work habits, think independently, and so on.

6. Homework and learning - 

It has become negative impact saying only then one can get grades and standardized tests scores. Infact to show off that the school is doing the best..at schools there is endless parents, teachers meet..giving feedbacks, and finally the teachers share scheduling challenges in finishing the portions, marking the homework and even more pressure indirectly through us..and when we reach home..most parents shout endlessly at children ..the stress level is more for Children from adults.

Most of what homework is driving children away from learning.

I hate this rat race for seeing who is the topper at young age..and I feel sad that children are clocking in more time with academics in the name of classwork, homework, tuitions than what an adult does in office.

We mentioned exceptions to our homework and these are the following :

1. Reading - We encourage reading in our home. The children are encouraged to read every single day, however we strongly discourage placing minimum time limits or dictating number of pages to be read. We've found that time limits leave children watching clock more than the words on the page.
Minimum pages quotas lead them  to the easiest books with the fewest words.This removal of autonomy turns reading into a chore rather than a pleasure.

2. Projects : 

Other form of acceptable homework is Projects
We actively encourage projects, especially with some creativity ... writing speeches/stories. This helps the children in information gathering, critical thinking,  a logical formatting of content and presentation skills..plus it gets them actively, "discovering" in their learning, and sinks much deeper than much "busy" work.
And kindly give topics suitable to thier age and considering the level of understanding..and project is for children..and not for parents period


For example : Do not give topics such as "NASA" for 5 year old..even the parent has to refer only Google to write ten lines in simpler form to teach the child..it is difficult for an adult..its  difficult for little ones too..and there is no point in asking the child just mugging up and saying it word by word ..even if it's appreciated..there is no use if the child actually doesn't understand what he or she is even learning.

Though there is a court order which bans homework until class 2..It's sad to see small children loaded with so much by many schools across India. 

This is no way to undermine any particular syllabus, or school management or teachers or teaching methodology.
We believe that it will make things easier for everyone and assist in a well rounded positive developmental outcomes for our Children.

Thanks for reading so much..I hope you can understand tiny tots position..as well as parents concerns..kindly take my personal request and take necessary steps in reducing their burden.

 

Regards,

Mirudula Manian

 

 

 

 

 

 



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