Exams Over, Questions Galore

Most kids in Bombay have finished with their exams. The brat finished hers as well. As per her, all her papers went extremely well *laughs out loud on that* and she answered all her oral examinations also properly. Her results are out on April 26th. So will let you know if she passed or not *evil grin*

This examinations are a funny thing. I dont think children upto class 5 should even have exams. I have realised for all the big talks I used to give about not pressurising my child for studying and letting her be, etc etc and yaada yaada,I turned out quite different. Which is suprising me, honestly!

I actually sat with the brat a few days before her exams started and made her go through all the writing work and the spoken part. Does that mean I am turning into a Tiger mom? I dont know. I am finding it extremely difficult to draw that fine line between being a tiger mom and a bindaas mom. I find myself oscillating between the two.

For example, I do follow up with R on her homework. Each day. Everyday. After coming back from office, I check her calender and I check if she has done her homework or if she needs help in anything. But at the same time, I dont bother revising anything with her if the homework is done. Is that becasue she is still in SR.KG? I dont know!

During her exams, I would revise everything with her, make her write all her stuff once and then let her go down to play. And thats it. We were done. I am not sure if thats the right approach?

RD is hardly bothered about her studies. Sometimes he doesnt even know which exam she has. He says he is not going to fret about such things in life. I used to say the same. But if one of us dont, wouldnt that be wrong? I remember my mom sitting with bro and me for our studies, until one day in class 3 I had a major argument with her regarding something our teacher taught us. After that I told her, I will study on my own, I will never ever come to you. And I didnt *gee what a headstrong brat I was!*
I guess the key is to keep a track but not pressurize.(I mean if we dont keep a track, wouldnt it amount to neglecting the child??? I dont know)But my question is how to do that? I seem to be either making her sit down forcibly and make her do her studies, or I seem to be just leaving everything thinking ‘ayega toh theek hai’ types. Which is the right approach? and if neither is right, which is the one that falls in between?

Many schools now a days follow a system where children dont have to do any writing till they turn 6 or 7. Unfortunately, R doesnt go to such a school because we couldnt afford the ones in our area which follow that system. She just goes to a normal school which started writing in Jr. Kg and now they even have stuff like fill in the blanks with has/have. And R gets it right everytime. How? dont ask me, I dont know the rules myself. But my problem is, are we doing the right thing? Should we send her to such a school? I feel there is too much pressure on her, though honestly, she seems to be learning at a normal pace and doesnt seem to have any pressure. She is grasping whats taught, and whatever she doesnt understand, she just tells me ‘Amma nahi aata toh main kya karu?’ Then I think, maybe I am reading too much into the situation. May be this approach is fine as well. After all we also learnt this way.

But the downside of this system is. R cant read by herself. Which kind of makes me feel bad. At nearly 6 years, kids read by themselves right? R struggles to read even 3 letter and 4 letter words. And the worst part is, she is refusing to even make an effort. How much ever I try, she doesnt want to read on her own. I stopped reading her books in the middle in a hope that she will start reading on her own, but thats not happening. I am very worried about it. My mom says am overreacting and she will start reading when she is ready. Pushing her will just make her rebel and she will not start like that. I dont know. I am so confused. And yes, I do confess that I have started comparing her to other children who I know were reading effortlessly at her age. But thats wrong. I know is it. Every child is different. But..but..

Well..so thats the disadvantage of putting her in a normal school. All in all, these exams left me with a lot of questions

1. Whats the fine line of balance between a tiger mom and a bindaas mom?
2. How do you keep track and yet not pressurize your child into studying?
3. How do you get your child to start reading on her/his own?
4. Are studies really that important?
5. Why do we lay so much emphasis on studies? Why am I not worried that she is still scared of water and she is hesitant to swim? That should affect me as well right?
All confusion and no answers? Any help?



About R's Mom

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34 Responses to Exams Over, Questions Galore

  1. RM there is no right or wrong when it comes to parenting and the choices we make for our kids. I feel we have done mistake changing Chucky’s school frequently, I hate her new teacher. I can’t wait for her to start public school next year. Don’t think high paid schools are always good, I pay over 1000 dollars for her school still I feel they don’t do justice for the money we spent.

  2. pixie says:

    Hugs RM!!
    Err.. I don’t have any answers.. but breathe darling! You need to relax just a bit.. you are doing a great job with R.. she is a great kid and your amma is right me thinks – make it a game for her – reading. and maybe she will be motivated?


  3. The Bride says:

    1. Exams in Sr Kg seems too much. I don’t remember having exams in kg. We did have exams in Primary though and we nearly six then.
    2. Going through homework, going through your kids books and seeing if she is grasping what’s being done in class isn’t tiger mom behaviour according to me. In a way, you’re doing her a service because she may face some disadvantage/shaming in school if she has no clue what’s going on. My kid is 3 and I do the same: i.e. every week his books come home and I go through them and ask him questions to figure out if he’s ‘got’ what was done. Hopefully, in a fun way. Though if I push too hard, he just refuses to cooperate. Then I back off, because, well he’s three. But if there were exams, I know I’d feel obliged to push a bit more, even though the idea of exams at that age is ridiculous.
    3. I think going to a traditional school is not terrible. As you said, we all went, though while many of us survived, we may have had varying experiences which affected us in different ways. But R seems like the kind of confident kid who is more likely to thrive in such an environment than say a kid like mine, who is shy and not super on the uptake at this point. If she seems happy enough, that should be your cue to breathe easy.
    4. Why are studies so important? Because it feels like they have only one shot and to survive in the system, you have to cultivate the habit of learning that way early. However, I don’t think it’s that important to excell, just being average or passing is okay I think. I do think though at the board exam level, it’s good to do reasonably well so you can get into college. But that’s 10 years away.

    • R's Mom says:

      1. Yep I agree…exams seem really early for R
      2. Yep I agree..thanks πŸ™‚
      3. I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the best
      4. Sigh! I agree…

      thanks Bride..felt a lot better after reading your comment πŸ™‚

  4. Smita says:

    No Help!!! You are on your own on this because whatever I say u have your own beliefs which you want to follow.

    The only thing I will say is you are on the right track by just keeping an eye and I don’t think u r pressurising R. Reading bhi ho jaayegi abhi poori umr padi hai re….Also stop thinking and analysing too much…just go with the flow!! And tiger Mom sounds like Tiger baam!!! Total Gahu I say πŸ˜€ Just be a Mom!!! πŸ™‚

  5. Phew! Tough questions indeed!
    I don’t have any answers for you yet, but would love to follow the comments here, and see what others have to say.

  6. Sri says:

    Hmmm..the grass always seems greener on the other side!

    My daughter goes to a school which didn’t have much writing/homework for LKG…she didn’t have exams too..when I told neighbours/colleagues that she had no exams, they looked at me strangely and started saying that their kids started exams in LKG itself..I am cool mostly but sometimes I feel bad that we didn’t get admission anywhere else despite recommendations and donation…

    It is very difficult to balance the fine line between a bindass mom and a tiger mom..my daughter has just started skating and she is a bit scared..some of her classmates are learning faster than her and last week, I practically screamed at her..i felt so guilty later on..i just decided that we need to let kids be..comparison will not work..

    I realised studies are just a part of life..i was the class topper/school topper type and while it did open some doors for me, it has no special advantages..once you get your first job, it is a matter of your efforts and dedication not your past marks/ranks..

    • R's Mom says:

      Sigh! life is tough eh?

      Hugs on the screaming..it happens rey..we are human after all okay?

      and yes, you are right..being a topper didnt really help me too much…I am not even earning as much as the others in my class hehehehehe πŸ™‚

      • Sri says:

        Hahaha…regarding the earning point-i think i need to write a long blogpost and rant!

        Me and another girl used to compete like cats and dogs for 1 mark during our school days…today, if we compare our classmates, the ones earning the most are the supposedly worst students of the class..they got into the BPO boom and now are in very high positions with good salaries!!

  7. Visha says:

    Err..while I may not have 100% experience in this, having seen the niece study ( who turned 6 this Jan), I say do not worry. You are doing a good job πŸ™‚

    Kids have their own way of grasping and learning things. Every kid eventually turns up all right, sooner or later πŸ™‚

  8. ashreyamom says:

    RM, I have a vague feeling that you had similar doubts during R’s last year exams… I too get into such confusion.. Bunty doing all the things what is said in her school, teacher is very happy with her.. but because she know to count till ten, i try to teach her upto 20 at home.. sometimes i feel , by teaching at home, things would be easy at school for her to learn, but at times I feel that i should not teach her new things before the school introduces, as i might not know the systematic way, so i might confuse her..

    • R's Mom says:

      Oh yes I did :):) I never ever teach R beyond what her teacher has taught..at least not in terms of studies…reading books yes, we do..a lot..but otherwise no teaching at all πŸ™‚

  9. D's Mom says:

    I have been reading your blog since the last couple of years now RM and you have never come across as a tiger mom to me!
    What you are doing with regards to her studies is pretty normal. I mean someone has to be there to guide the child no? My husband is of the same view as RD (though D is only 2). He says he will never question D about his studies cause his father never did either!!!
    so I know that taking up his studies is going to be my sole responsibility. keeping a check on what your child is doing and guiding them in the right direction is after all a parent’s responsibility. That you take out so much time for R inspite of your job is really commendable. Pat yourself on the back girl! The reading bit will happen eventually. I mean who goes to school for 10 years and still can’t read,eh?

    • R's Mom says:

      LOL..I am not a Tiger Mom as such..but its just that…well…you know the confusion πŸ™‚

      Errr…if you want to send D to playgroup..whats wrong with it..a lot of parents do believe that its too early to start..but to be honest, I did feel that R enjoyed her playgroup a LOT..and of course the fact that it was in the same place as her day care made it easy for me! And oh D’s Mom..I have been told a LOT of time..that R will never appreciate the real parent in me..because I left her at daycare when she was one year old..so just dont take it to heart..you and D’s Dad decide the best for D..like my mom says’ A parent knows the best for his/her child!’

  10. D's Mom says:

    Btw, we are planning to put D in a playschool this June (he just turned 2) and I am constantly being taunted by some that we are ruining his childhood!!! I mean when is he supposed to go to playschool, when he is 18? So there, just do what you feel is right for your child.

  11. iwrotethose says:

    R’s Mom – It’s my first time on your blog, and there is an instant connect. (I wont lie -it’s not just because of your writing, but also because I am the father of a toddler, with whom I get to spend ample time (and sometimes more…even more than I care for)). Whilst my “little R” is not at the exam stages yet, I can start to imagine all that dilemma of yours. I suppose at the end of the day, a reasonable education, and making sure we can help them identify what they are best at are probably key to them achieving success in life. Interesting post, and I look forward to reading more of your posts πŸ™‚

    • R's Mom says:

      hahah welcome here…I can understand the parenting connection!

      yaa…I guess at the end of the day..we are all looking to give our child a good education..its just that the ways and means seem to differ πŸ™‚

  12. PK says:

    Hi R’s mom, trust me kids are far intelligent than we give them credit for. They are like sponge and they generally learn everything in the classroom we just need to guide them if they ask for help. No need to push her, she is very small. Also how much ever we try, they will do what they wish to, so no point taking stress. I am talking from experience πŸ™‚ We need to create an environment that helps them enjoy the process of learning and seeking knowledge rather than worrying about exams. Each child has his/her pace of learning, reading, writing, and we as parents need to let them take time and be patient. My Son who is now 9 started reading only when he was in the 2nd std while my daughter started reading much earlier though she is younger to him. No two kids are the same, I am sure your daughter is good at something else like drawing, communicating, memorizing, solving puzzles etc…she is growing and developing in the areas that she is interested, so let her be..Just nurture her with love and care and you will have a happy child, which we all mothers should strive for. Rest all they learn with time. Yes, there are always those good and bad days, when we act and react according to our moods and stress on studies like crazy moms, but eventually we learn (unless we are the dominant kinds and our only concerned with grades). So do not try to be a tiger or bindass mom, just be a loving mom:-) have a wonderful weekend.

    • R's Mom says:

      thank you thank you thank you PK…you made me feel so much better…yes yes yes..will remember it all my life..be a loving mom! thank you again!

  13. Hi R’s mom,

    It was like as if you have put my thoughts in black and white! I have a 5.5 yr old child who also goes to sr kg.. Trust me, I’ve heard from parents of kids who go to schools where they don’t insist on writing, do not have uniforms, do not hv exams etc, but still the parents crib. They go into self introspection mode like how we do..They think their children may be lagging behind or it might be too much to take in, as they grow, to study all the sciences and histories as they’ve had a breezy kindergarten.. The truth is ther ISN”T one best way of parenting.. every parent thinks that we are giving our child the best that we could afford.. we will be having doubts throughout our life, and its upto us to not let it get the better of us… I know exactly what u mean when u say u’ve started comparing your child a bit with other kids.. everyone does that…atleast a little… we are humans afterall! and that’s normal.. let there be exams..a bit of seriousness need to be there at that level as well.. it may teach them that perfection is good when it comes to anything..what is important is we not getting bogged down if they don’t perform like how we or the school expects..and reassuring the child as well.

  14. SS says:

    Hi RM,

    Let me share my experience with my 17 and 15 year old:

    When they were young, I focused on developing good study habits and taking pride in their work. I emphasized work hard, play hard in that order so you don’t keep things for the last minute and also enjoy the good things in life. When kids are young, what you are doing with your daughter is the right thing. Check if their home work is done, make sure they are ready for their tests etc., As my children grew older these habits and probably their inherent personality made them have high expectations for themselves. Today I still have to manage their work at a very high level. Basically to set priorities and help manage their time. They are still kids and are not always responsible. Even as adults we tend to slack off sometimes right!

    You don’t have to be a bindaas or a tiger mom – just an involved mom. We all will lose that balance here and there. That’s reasonable, I think.

    On a side note, regarding nail polish – you again did the right thing. Let her get her way some times. Kids will either rebel badly or feel deprived as they grow older when we try to restrict them on anything.

    Love your blog and please keep sharing your thoughts!


    • R's Mom says:

      Involved mom…thats such a wonderful wonderful way to describe motherhood…thank you very very very much…you made my day with your comment..and yaa..the nailpolish thingie..you are right…even Sangi (who is one of my parenting gurus) said the same thing when I was fussing about make up on her annual day…once a while its absolutely fine I guess….thanks for giving your perspective…

  15. Comfy says:

    RM, as a mom I can tell you that we all do these things. If homework is due then we make sure they do their homework. If there is an exam then we make sure they study for the same. There is no tiger mom here. It is being a mom, simple.
    I struggle with Buzz and her reading as well. But I also realize that she will learn at her own pace. What helps with her is that they get small 6 page books from school. One sentence in each book so total 6 sentences and they need to read it to the teachers the next week. They are easy enough and gives her confidence. I am leaving it at that for now. I don’t want to push her too hard that she lets go her love for books all together.
    See if you can find something similar for R. I know there are a few you can find online and print them out.
    Hugs, you are doing will for little R and she will grow up to be a happy, confident girl. I am sure about that.

    • R's Mom says:

      Comfy..now I know why I consider you one of my parenting gurus..you sure have a way to calm down an agitated me and clear out my confusions πŸ™‚ Yep..lemme check online!

  16. Sangitha says:

    Late here but can’t not comment on this one.

    1. Fine line of balance between bindass mom and tiger mom – you let her go to the bathroom when she wants! πŸ™‚ Kidding completely.

    2. Sitting down with her and going over/making her go over her work isn’t pressurizing. It is preparing her for a system so as not to be pressured there in the hall. Keeping track is exactly this as and when lessons happen. Doing your daily lessons is also a good study skill, she’ll get independent at that and bought in once she sees that she is able to answer pop/surprise quizzes without pain, is appreciated for her work and is able to keep up, play before the exams because she is already prepared. I found out the hard way that keeping track is essential in all systems around here, good schools all. The pace of the kid and when they get the concept is different and keeping track means you know that before it becomes a major pressure point. Cooker weight can be released in time, little by little so that it doesn’t burst!

    3. Just phonics for some. Phonics and lots of song and dance for others. School did phonics, I did read aloud, book supply and song and dance. Even after they start reading, they can stop. Reading though is a critical skill that affects all learning. Maybe it will take her a bit longer, maybe she’s not practicing enough…some books of her interest, a book buying trip where she gets money to spend and choose? You know my posts – we really worked at all this and more. Even movies before books. Puritan sometimes doesn’t work, much as it goes against my every instinct to see a movie before the book. But that’s how son read Mathilda and HP. Stand behind you in solidarity. Also did some sneaky things – like discuss books with enthu with his good friends who were readers. Would have done it anyways but made a point of it…soon enough, we were reading that book (at that point, trying to read it) after said friends left. Yeah, very bad mom. He had to read at least enough to survive, no?

    4. Learning is important. Grades – no, except to get you to the next learning level. In CBSE that means no Ds in Std 8.

    5. You are worried because that is a factor in how she’ll look at herself, how the world will look at her. You’re right to be concerned without going to any extremes on the reading. It is her welfare that makes you worried. She could live very well without swimming. She’ll have to deal with some form of academics for the next few years. Stuff like reading and study habits are foundational skills. If you ever worry that she’s only getting 80%, then I can help with a well placed face palm….on my face, if you were wondering! πŸ˜€

    Hang in there – she’ll read and there’ll come a time when you’ll have to lay down rules on when and where she can’t read. Yep. I will take food or credit cards for my treat then. πŸ˜€

    • Sangitha says:

      Also, making deliberate mistakes when you’re reading and showing yourself correcting them through splitting, chunking, phonics. Walk the talk, basically showing that it is perfectly okay to not read well in the first, second or third attempt.

      Okay, stopping now.

    • R's Mom says:

      Sangi…you are my parenting guru..no seriously…

      1. LOL πŸ™‚
      2. thank you…will remember you whenever I see a pressure cooker πŸ™‚
      3. I did read your posts..and tried the vice versa thing..not happening..but I am not giving up..yes tried the buy you want book trip as well….but again..wasnt too successful…and friends..sigh! unfortunately..no kids in the building or school really seem to read 😦 but like I said..am not giving up πŸ™‚
      4. yes yes yes
      5. lol on the 80%..nah…I understand what you are saynig πŸ™‚

      yes yes yes…when that time comes I promise you a BEEEGGG gift of your choice πŸ™‚

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