The Idul Fitri holiday was over. The schools are noisy again. The children are back with memories of their holiday which I wonder, was it pretty or not. Visited grandparents, cousins, uncle and aunties, or had a family trip to the beaches must be nice. But I was concerned when I found some children complained about their holiday, that they could not enjoy it freely because they felt burdened.
It was an evening when a friend and his daughter visited me. Our first one hour conversation was okay until her daughter suddenly whimpered to go home early. I thought it was because they had a family occasion that evening, but then he told me that it was about the home works.
“It is very absurd and unreasonable,” he said.
Then I remember my sister who always put her home works on my table and asked me to do all of them since she was in elementary school until today, when she’s already in the eleventh grade. From year to year, I often saw her worrying her home works instead of enjoying her holiday. “My school and teachers are just crazy. They gave us home works for all of the subjects. Do they think that I am a robot?”
I, myself, also experienced that. But if it is compared, mine was much way easier and not as much as my sisters or my friend’s daughter. It was maybe the education curriculum in my period was easier than nowadays. One time, my mother–who was a mathematic’s teacher for a junior high school–commented on the curriculum when she read my sister’s text books. She said that the curriculum had changed a lot and the tasks became more and more difficult. When I shared the story to my friend, he agreed.
“If the school want to give a holiday to the kids, just give it. I think there is no need, at all, to burden them with all of those work sheets,” he said.
I still don’t understand why most of all schools, both private and public, maintain the holiday-home works from years to years. I thought maybe it’s like a tradition in Indonesian education system or formally written in some document as a school’s duty. For both of the possibilities I mentioned, I think there is an urgently need to re-consider this tradition or behavior. Because if the point is about to apply discipline of study to the students, I don’t think that it’s a nice and wise way.
Children in Indonesia usually go to elementary school in the age of five or six. There, they study the given subjects from Monday to Friday, and the teachers often give home works during the school days. Considering all of those duties, why don’t the school let the children have their freedom during the holiday?
Like the teachers who are in their holiday, off from their daily duty taking care of plenty children, I think the children have the same right to enjoy their life, without too many kind of school attributes. I believe, the children are not going to be stupid just because they do not touch their work sheets and text books for several days. I discussed this topic with some friends, both single and married. All of them are agreed that this condition is quite apprehensive.
Although the fifth or third or fourth grader are smarter than the adults, they’re still children who need different kind of brain treatment and stimulation. Instead of giving them fraction or English grammar work sheets during holiday, why don’t the schools give them an assignment to write a diary during the holiday. Or, being more innovative by giving assignment to the students to create and construct art works or any kind of installation, depend on their ideas.
Still, we will never know what freedom-of-thinking can bring. Who knows that after the holiday, a student will come to his/her teacher with a climber robot or pages of papers that contain an idea for algebra-answering-machine. Maybe, when the situation goes like that, the children will be happier when they have to go back to school again. There will be no fear, shame, and worry of punishment from the teacher because they couldn’t complete all of the home works.
Despite of my annoyance to the condition I mentioned above and generally to Indonesian education system, I still hope that the situation will change. The sooner the better. Because what I understand so far, this country has a future goals to give birth to the good quality young generation, physically and mentally. But if the situation never change–prepare, Indonesia, for a depressive generation.
That evening, I and my friend canceled our meeting with another friend because the whimper was getting louder. My friend could do nothing more but took his daughter home. While wrapping some books he borrowed, he said something amusing. “I don’t pay the education to torture my daughter, do i?”