Come February and March, it is jitters down the spines of children, parents, and teachers. Why?? Exam fever!!
And my house also has not escaped this. In fact, I can say that it was these exams that made me pre-occupied and couldn’t write much here. I am a parent first, and my children are my first priority. Helping them out and being there for them during this stressful period is the best support that I can give to my children.
And now that the exams are done with, what better way to re-start the blog posts by having one on exams and the associated stress!
Whatever be the preparation of the children, all through the year, final exams is something that stands as a heavy burden on the minds of children and parents! Children go to school, learn, read and do a myriad of activities. When we as parents test them at that moment, or rather, ask them if they have understood the lesson at school, we get big nods, saying, “Yes! We have understood everything. You don’t have to teach us anything!” And when we ask them a few weeks later, we get answers that send us into a frenzy! They do not seem to remember much. And, we get concerned as exams are just around the corner!
Exams and studies and some levels of stress make up for one big vicious circle.
Personally, I feel that the emphasis should be on knowledge and not in marks. And to whatever extent possible, I implement this system at my place. I believe that children should know the concepts and basics thoroughly. Once the foundation is well laid, they can grasp things easily. When children learn concepts, we should allow them to think out of the box. We should not provide solutions to them. We should lead them to solutions.
When I teach my children, I keep aside 2 hours. I do not stick to the lesson in question. I bring in concepts from different disciplines and integrate into the subject. This makes it not only interesting for them, but they also remember the concepts very well.
And once this foundation is laid, the stress due to exams is lessened considerably. There are times when a particular lesson has to be explained twice or thrice. This is just plain reinforcement. When we teach a concept to children, they can understand it. But how much of it is stored in the memory is a matter to think about. Reinforcement plays a key role.
And during exam time, it is not one subject. They have to remember about each and every subject, which in itself is a huge task.
Not every child is good in every subject. (Though, there are exceptions to this!) And, I personally believe, we should give some amount of leeway here. The first and foremost mistake many parents do is expecting their children to perform the best in every subject. All children are not the same. Each has a different capacity of understanding and capability of understanding.
Understand and recognise the level at which your child is. You can then do wonders for them. Expectations from parents often ruin the learning experiences of children. Make learning and schooling the best experience that your child has. Recognise the level to which your child can reach. Try to tap the potential. And if you feel that your child is much more capable, encourage him/her to rise up. Slowly guide them. Show them what they are capable of. Once this is achieved, they will begin to recognise that with some bit of hard work, they can do great wonders. And when this comes naturally in children, their learning experiences are lifelong and more satisfying.
Marks come and go. But, what remains is the learning that has been done.
Make exams stress free. Emphasise on learning.
My funda is always simple. Be there for your child when he/she needs you. Your child may be a kindergartener or a middle schooler or even a high schooler. Your children need you. Your presence and your confidence levels motivate them.
What I did all these days was just that. Even during exams, we have endless talking sessions at home. And this really alleviates the stress and tension.
Let not exams over power you or your child. There is more to life than marks.