One of the challenges of any parent, especially one who has a child under the age of 12, is to help and guide their kids through one of their toughest ordeal=school exams.
I have a son who is in fourth grade, and for seven years (including pre-school, kindergarten, and prep) everyone in the family had done their time in helping him study for his exams. Gabby is a great kid, he’s a social butterfly and always eager to make friends, but lately his school performance is going down and we had to hire a part-time tutor to help him with his school work. I hoped that by having a tutor, it would make him focus on his studies more. I trusted his tutor would really make a difference in his report card.
Lo and behold, exam time is here. I was going through his books when I saw several pages in RED.
I could not believe it! For three quarters of the school year, I completely trusted my son to be responsible in school. He is 10 years old after all. What a shock it was to see the angry red marks in not one, but 4 of his school work books. We were doing fractions for Math and when I asked him to do some exercises, he just stared at the paper. I cajoled, threatened, and begged him to concentrate on his exercises but he was really clueless. Eventually I gave in and tried explaining how to solve simple fractions, but I was still very upset. It seems he had completely forgotten everything I used to teach him. He can only recall or remember things he learned recently, but anything last year, even skills like telling the time was confusing for him. And I was surprised to hear other parents voicing the same concern with their brood too.
I’ve come across an article by Jennifer Jordan in parentdish called It’s official-teens are getting dumber and it had a lively comment section. Stylin2599 said that children today have become “button pushers”. We may be looking into a generation who have become too dependent on technology that they dont feel the need to study too hard. Students now have the internet, laptops, calculators, or iphones that they can immediately use if they need to know something. Information is not easily absorbed. Here today, forgotten tomorrow.
Just take a look at some of the kids mobile phones. Text speak has become so prevalent and it’s driving some of us (like me) nuts. Can you imagine receiving messages like this everyday?
nobdy S ryt til sumbdy S rong. nobdy S weak til sumbdy S tuff. nobdy S luky til lov cums along. nobdy S lonly til sumbdy S gon. missN
I could probably tolerate 3-4 messages like that a day. But most teens now write like that even in emails. And their Math skills!!! I also hated Math during my time but with the attention span of kids this generation, it’s not surprising that they are also finding it more difficult.
I feel a little guilty for not regularly checking his books or notebooks. I didn’t want to add any more pressure to his tough day at school. But it seems I still need to guide him and make him understand why education is important.
What else can a busy parent do? All I could think of is to talk to my son, let him know I’m here if he needs help with his lessons, but also teach him to be responsible for his studies. Part of this would be for him to be responsible for the consequences of his performance in class.
Our education system should find a better way to teach this generation, a generation so used to instant gratification, have shorter attention span, and are accessible to information via the web. We need to re-engineer their curriculum so they could better face the challenges of the future. Kids may be falling behind, but I still hope everything would turn out okay in the end.