This post has been intended mainly for my young friends of 6-to-12 years old. I wrote it in 2012 before I became a mother. Now, like many caring mothers worldwide, I hope that my children would enjoy, instead of struggle with, their homework. So, I recalled my childhood memory on homework and brainstormed what can be better for our children.
For a brief background, I received my primary schooling in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the 1990s. When I reflect back on my early schooling days, I remember happiness.
Our world is evolving and today children have more things to learn
and more homework to do than during my primary schooling period. To prepare children for a bright future, parents can be demanding. Homework time can be stressful for children. Nevertheless, let's believe that there are ways for our children to enjoy and happily complete their homework.
Prepare for tomorrow
After half-day only school (today school hours can be longer), I would first have my lunch. My parents did not give me
any pocket money, yet they allowed me to pack some biscuits from home.
The next thing I would do after lunch is to clear my bag.
Since I was in primary one, I packed myself the books that I would need
for the next day according to my timetable and the book that listed our
assignments (buku tugas in Indonesian). I ensured that I had all the
books I need because I did not want to be punished for forgetting to
bring any required book.
A study area and a homework kit
I dreamed of a study table, but while I did not have such a solely-purposed table, I
used Mum’s dressing table – her wedding gift. My parents’ engagement
photo was my motivation because they worked very hard everyday and they
always look very beautiful and happy in the photo.
Ideally, a study area with a table, a chair and good lighting is
great for learning. The height of the table and chair needs to be
constantly adjusted according to the height of children because children
are always growing taller. Lighting matters too! I personally prefer fluorescence lighting to
tungsten lighting, because the former makes me alert and the latter is
more suitable for entertaining reading like bedtime story books.
Since I could not
concentrate on my homework when the TV was on, it seems that there are some truths in the words of Roderick MacKinnon (a 2013 Chemistry Nobel Prize winner for his work on the structure and mechanism of ion channels): "TV is bad for your". Viewing too much TV can
also hamper linguistic skills. On the other hand, TV can also bring us plenty of ideas, inspirations, and information.
I had TV time. My parents were not at home and they did not set up any
rule about the TV. I loved the American movies like MacGyver, Knight
Ryders, Superman, Wonder Woman, Little Kingdom (小人国).
But when it was time for homework, I would not turn on the TV. At
that time, there were no many TV programs in Indonesia and no internet. Today children face more temptations.
Though internet can bring distractions (if one is not disciplined), I
would have internet because it opens us many doors to gain wide and deep
knowledge. If you need to do research for your homework, first gather
all resources online, then disconnect while you focus on your homework. In brief, alternate periods of connections and disconnections.
Playing is the basic right of every child.
Playing is our reward for doing homework.
After finishing my homework, I would leave it open at the page where I
wanted my mother to help me check. Then, I would go to the nearest park
to play or to my friends’ home. They always seemed to have many toys.
Sometimes, I collected fallen leaves or flowers and imagined them as
ingredients for cooking. No recipe required, just curiosity and courage to try! Sometimes, kind carpenters gave me pieces of
woods that I assembled to build doll houses or castles like using LEGO
Other parents' & teachers' tips that I appreciate:
♥ Maureen Devlin's on the homework buffet
♥ Carol Tuttle's how to motivate different types of children to do their homework
♥ Leigh Langston (Dangerous Lee)'s how to make children do their homework at Simply Senia