On parenting and homework

Pictures of my kids - visit them at www.dylanchandra.com or www.flynnchandra.com
Yes, these are actually my kids – visit them at http://www.dylanchandra.com or http://www.flynnchandra.com

RAWWR! Go back to your room, and don’t come out until you’ve finished your homework!

I’m a self-confessed Tiger Mom and am proud of my hard working Asian heritage when it comes to my kids. So when I read the article on the “value” of homework in Friday’s Herald, I was intrigued to hear about the other side of the coin. The article, for example, quotes the mother of a 9yo questioning the benefit of the homework that her son had to complete.

I remain adamant that homework has great worth, far above and beyond the history lesson in school where they learn that Istanbul was called Constantinople at one stage in time. Why you ask? What can those inane worksheets my child fills out every night be possibly teaching him? AND what am I paying the teachers for, if not to teach them within the time allocated at school?! (Some common anti-homework arguments)

Well, to answer that, I ask you, how does your day at work go? (and yes, I understand that this does not apply to everyone, and also freely admit my middle class perspective)

Sometimes, mine goes a bit like this: I start the day with grand plans and lists of things “to-do”, I get waylaid by a meeting sometime in the mid-morning, which leads to a new set of “to-dos”, added to the previous list. I may or may not have some time for lunch in the middle of this, and this may or may not be eaten over my keyboard while catching up on some emails which I hadn’t gotten to in the morning. (Yes I know that is highly unhygienic, but i’m Asian and grew up on street food of questionably hygiene) The afternoon might go the same way, or perhaps I might get a lucky break and tick some of those things off the to-do list.

So what relevance does any of this have to homework!? Well, amongst all the madness there has been one skill that has stood by me from school. The skill instilled in me by several teachers imposing several projects all due at approximately the same time. Or what is commonly known as “Homework”. Through it, I learnt to plan my time, prioritise, create to-dos. It didn’t matter that then I was making a brochure selling Rarotonga (Social Studies) and at the same time researching an essay on mangroves (Biology), and now I’m juggling several ICT/Digital Comms projects. The skills learnt have stuck. (Incidentally, the information hasn’t, I really couldn’t tell you much about mangroves these days)

So, yes, my little man is “only 5” but he has to start now. He has to learn how to prioritise his time between doing that reading and writing and maths, or a bit of programming at the Turtle Academy, playing games on his Android Tablet, or even (gasp) going outside and riding his bike.

Multitasking, the war cry of the modern age, and he better learn that lesson fast.


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