Happiness in Life is Made

"O, happy the soul that saw its own faults" – Rumi

The homework helper

on January 21, 2012

The kids are growing each day and unlike other parents, I admit that I have not been so helpful with their homework. Partly because, they usually do a super quick work in the class ( and thus the usual outcry of “No homework today, ummi!” from whatever they were playing with) and another part because even when they have homework they would not usually ask for help. I have been thinking I had experienced such as primary-goer too. My usual subject when asking-for-help-homework-moment would usually be art. I assumed that my work was not neat enough or beautiful enough and they made me unhappy with myself and ended up doing bad drawing. (No teacher would praise me for finishing that difficult task anyway so why finish them if you could not get an A?) In retrospect, I realised that I was quite a perfectionist in myself. I would always arrange my colours in the box as they were when I first bought them. And no, I don’t like dirty corners on my eraser either so I would rub it on my desk to “clean” it from the black pencil marks.I even made sweeping my class job into act of charity by collecting all the stationary especially pencils that I found under the tables into a container and whoever needed them could use them.

For those who do not like the usual messiness of crayon on your kids little fingers, try this out!

Where was I? Oh yeah, my kids homework. I was peaceful in my head regarding their homework until the report card day (does that sound familiar? epiphany always occur during the report-card day *sigh*) when I was told that my eldest was not finishing his homework on time. I did not know how to react. First, I thought should I be angry and promised to have a long discussion regarding this with him later but then I thought oh well, these are my kids and the teacher did not seem to care enough about my child as an individual. But what really struck me was that my son told his teacher that he did not finish them on time because I was not there when he needed to ask me regarding his homework. My heart was crying inside, not because that my son did not finish his homework, but because I was not there when he needed me the most. The tell-tale signs were all over ( the problem with a doctor as a mother) but denial is the biggest and sometimes the longest challenge for acceptance to problems. No awareness equals to no action.

With the recent realisation that I must help them with their homework, and also the echoes of my friend (who by the way home-school her children) regarding the importance of actually, physically, intentionally sitting with your children doing whatever the children want to do, I announced yet another ongoing project of happiness: Homework helping. What I am currently doing is coaching them with their schoolwork. Let them get the feel of what the material is about before they start their class and later let them do a pre-test (well actually I let them do the pre-test and later the skim reading). I always believe that nature plays pivotal role in determining our children temperament, and just like me, I know that I learnt better the hardest way when I was younger. Meaning, that mistakes hurt but would forever be remembered. (Which was quite a challenge considering that I was quick to abandon any project when I foresee failure looming ahead). Knowing this, and knowing that learning style can be “learnt” and “re-learnt” I intended to groom my children into the habit of learning in a systematic way. When things clicked together like pieces of puzzles, the homework helper is born. I have to say, that I was quite happy already now that my husband helps with the Quran, religious subjects and Arabic language. The expertise has been there all this while but again if no awareness, no action!

The altruistic part of me know that I can do better if I engage others in such project. One because, somehow I know that my kids would also learn from others, be it on the subjects or the mannerism when having others in the house and two, it helps me to focus on being consistent that every Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I have coaching project instead of doing other unimportant stuff elsewhere and the stakeholders are not just my kids.

It is still early to say anything regarding the effects of this project of mine for the children. For one hour on those nights, I have started seeing the sharing of books and dictionary, opinions changed for certain questions and answers and the older helping the younger ones. I cannot predict if my effort would change their grades form, Cs to As. All I want them to understand is that I will be by their side when they need me.

Later I will share with you the wisdom of study motivator regarding the useful strategies to study any subjects in a systematic way. Keep coming back.

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