Most city schools are closed for the next week or more and children are having a whale of a time enjoying vacations. But, don’t be surprised if your school-going neighbour has the lingering tension of finishing the homework.
Holiday homework has become an essential part of the curriculum where teachers make it a point to pack some “assignment” along with the joy of holidays. From improving handwriting to writing tables and revising chapters taught already, curriculum-related homework can sometimes become a sheer formality or play spoil sport to one’s vacation plans, especially if the work to be done is very intense.
Ask Aishwarya Roy about her plans for the next two weeks and pat comes the reply. “I have a lot of assignments to complete before school reopens,” says the class VII student of Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
Prompting Aishwarya and her classmates is the five marks that will be added to the subject assignment. “I need to write the entire question paper for most of my subjects, for which I intend to take my own time to write neatly,” she explains.
While the concept of holiday homework is not new, it has become important that schools make it interesting.
M. Lakshmi Ramana, teacher at Sri Venugopal Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School, feels subjects such as mathematics and languages need constant revision and the idea is to make sure the child is in touch during the break.
“In a class of 40 students generally only 15 complete their holiday homework, so I don’t make it mandatory, as there are students who go out of station,” says Ms. Ramana.
However, she says holidays can be a good way to exercise the child in subjects like English, where one can use his or her creativity to frame sentences, list adjectives and overall “think independently”.
Parents might frown seeing their children glued to the television during holidays, and a little homework actually comes as a respite. Parents such as Sapna Dugar, however, feel that a majority of parents do not want their child to be loaded with holiday homework.
“Exams are generally followed by holidays, where like children, even parents look for a break. So, it is better schools do not give any curriculum-related assignment where either of the parents need to sit through. Instead, schools could do something to make the child need read,” says Ms. Sugar.
V. Venkatachalam, dean, Vels Group of Schools, suggests giving project work, a small survey or any “interesting or relevant” during holidays.
“Till Class VI there need not be any holiday homework, whereas for senior secondary sections, the assignment should be outside the curriculum where one must do it willingly,” says Mr. Venkatachalam.