“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” ~ Nelson Mandela

India is a nation of many cultures, dialects, and religions. With 22 official languages and many more regional languages, there is a wide selection available for your children to choose from.

Because of the three-language formula in centrally administered schools, it is compulsory for every child to learn three languages. You have to decide what their first, second and third language will be. State syllabus usually has two languages.

Our nation was divided and reorganised on the basis of language. We must realise that this ‘weakness’ is actually our strength, making us one of the most diverse nations ever. This three language policy will benefit everybody by bringing us together again as one unified country and help keep India intact.

In the words of Frank Smith, psycholinguist – “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”

Students shouldn’t perceive languages as a burden. In fact, studies have shown that learning an extra language is advantageous and helps improve focus, concentration, memory, and intelligence. Also, it takes less time for a child to learn a language than an adult, so it is good that schools are doing this at a young age. Here are the factors that should weigh into your decision and the pros and cons of selecting a particular language:

Languages Available

The first factor that plays into your decision is the options that the school offers. Obviously, if the school doesn’t teach French, there will be no way for you to enrol in French class. Your first step should be to look at the options you can select as this eliminates some languages instantly. From the list of languages the school offers, you can narrow down your list.  

Parental Knowledge

The parent’s knowledge of the language may also play a part. If the mother or father is fluent in the language, they can help the child learn and teach them at home. Parents can help answer questions and clarify doubts regarding the language. This isn’t absolutely required as you expect the teachers to take care of it. There are always tutors available to help.

Comfort Level

Are you comfortable with your child learning a particular language? It is not just about you, as your kid should also be comfortable. After all, they are the ones who will learn the new language. You should sit down with your child beforehand and look at all the options available. Some students opt for Sanskrit as it is easier to learn and score well than other languages. Whatever you do, be sure to get your son or daughter’s input first so they are comfortable with the decision.

Relevancy & Difficulty

One should look at the practical usage of the language while making their choice. You need to examine how frequently people speak, read, and write in the language. For example, although some of the more ancient languages such as Sanskrit are part of the Indian heritage, they are not spoken a lot today. On the other hand, Sanskrit is the language of Vedas, Shastras and classical literature and those with a historical bent of mind should consider it. The key question to ask yourself is whether your child is actually learning the language. They could end up just memorising the information and forgetting about it after the end of the school year.

Future Employment

Will it help them in the place where they seek employment? Obviously, this depends on where they will seek employment. Your child could plan on working in the same state, move to another state, or leave the nation. Employment may seem far off, but it is difficult to change languages halfway through school.  Then comes the conundrum of whether they will retain the language learnt in school. Often times, children tend to just study for marks and forget about the information once the exams are over. Either way, keep their future in mind for sure.

Regional vs. Foreign Languages

According to this study by World Atlas, the five most spoken languages in India are Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, and Tamil. Each state has its own local language, with some even having two or three. Learning to read and write the local language will help the child traverse the place without the help of their parents. In some places (mostly rural areas),  the street signs and store names are only in the regional language, and anyone who is unable to read them will get lost.   

On the other hand, German, French, Russian, Greek, Arabic and Japanese are some foreign languages that your child can learn. However, the school should offer these languages. The debate is ongoing about whether children should learn regional languages or foreign ones first. Foreign languages give children more exposure to the world outside of India. As of late, many students in the US are opting to learn Mandarin Chinese.

The final decision is yours to make. If you want your child to learn about the roots and ancient culture, they should take Sanskrit. If you want them to learn the most popular language, they should go for Hindi. It would be suitable for them to learn their mother-tongue for their own heritage. For anyone looking at the present, the best thing would be to make them learn the local language. A glance to the future and English or a foreign language may be the way to go.   

Many parents tend to concentrate more on maths, science, and social studies, and language tends to get ignored. You should not do this. Place equal emphasis on all subjects as bad marks in one will drag the entire average down. Fluency in languages will help your children to express themselves clearly – which is instrumental not only for marks but for any life activity.

We work with and tutor students from 3rd to 9th standard on a variety of school subjects, and language is one of them. We will help them understand the language, and through increased understanding, their marks will increase as well. Hindi courses for CBSE and ICSE boards are our speciality. Contact us now.

Are you looking to get your child admitted in a new school? A combination of shortsighted government policies, vested interests and unrealistic expectations has led to a quagmire in the quality of education. The majority of government schools just aren’t up to par. That’s the sad truth! Private schools offer a better quality of education, but they only have a limited number of seats and huge number of parents clamoring for them.

Not everyone can start and complete their schooling in the same campus.  Owing to job changes, housing issues and transfers, it is quite likely likely that you may be forced or willing opt to choose a new school. However it is tough if the child has to switch schools, for that means they have to adjust to an unfamiliar location, make new friends and essentially start a fresh way of life.

Sometimes, you just don’t have a choice and have to opt to go with whatever school you’re ward is lucky to get admitted. We all want our child to get the best education possible in the new surroundings. How can you make sure that the school is meeting both your expectations and the child’s needs? Here is what you should look for when assessing the right new school for your kid.

Referrals from Parents

The best way to determine the quality of the school is to or visit education forums or ask parents whose children attend the shortlisted school. Also be sure to ask if there are any unwelcome surprises in terms of fees. This will give you an unbiased opinion of the school. How is the atmosphere of the school – easy going, mildly strict, very strict or toxic?

No school is perfect, but if the school has too many negative reviews, it is time to rethink.  Enquiring with other parents may also get you the inside scoop on how the school runs classes and events. If you have multiple kids, getting them all in the same school may be a better option.

Transportation

Check the travel time between the school and your home. Ideally you want a school that isn’t too far off. Consider the time and finances that you have to invest if you enroll your child in a faraway school.

Does the school offer safe bus or van services? If alternate travel arrangements cannot be made, and If you are going to be dropping them off and picking them up, you have to make sure you are available during the specified time. If both parents are working, it is doubly difficult as there will most certainly be traffic during school hours. What about parking?  Check that out too.

Security and Infrastructure

Be sure to take a look in and around the school to inspect it. It’s not just the tables, chairs and classrooms that you should observe. Are there clean restrooms, play areas and a well stocked library? Are the cricket pitch and football ground properly maintained? Is there proper security, fencing and CCTV at vantage points to keep unwanted elements off the school premises?

Cost

One crucial information you should look for is the cost involved. Sometimes, the tuition fee claimed is not the total. The real expenses could be much higher – books, uniform, shoes, stationery, transport, snacks, field trips, sports, study classes and the dreaded ‘miscellaneous expenses’.

Be on the lookout for hidden expenses or fees that the school may tack on after your child has joined. It is tough to back out of the deal after you have accepted.

Parent – Teacher Association

You can find out more about your child and what they’re doing in class if you meet the teachers. There are times when your child  will conceal information from you and the only way for you to find out is by hearing it from a teacher.

Does the school have a Parent-Teacher Association? Are regular meetings being held? How easy is it to get hold of the teachers? Does the school offer online or a mobile app to access the academic information? Is there a WhatsApp or other forum to seek answers?

Language Options

Does the school offer a choice of vernacular and international languages? The medium of the school is also important to look at. Don’t restrict your choice to English speaking or ‘convent’ schools. Vernacular students can also excel with the right support at home and in the school.

Another important question is whether the school carries the quality through to all levels. They may be excellent at managing younger kids, but can they maintain the interests of middle and high-schoolers? There is nothing wrong with wanting a good environment for your child now, but please keep the long term interests in mind as well.

Choosing the right school for your child isn’t easy, but remember to keep these notes in mind as a sort of checklist while you go scouting for a school. Once you find the school you want, Let’s Practise can help your child succeed. We offer programs and courses for students from 3rd to 9th standard. Just contact us today to find out more.

Asking your children questions and receiving proper replies is no easy feat. Don’t let your interaction with your child suffer since the communication bridge between parent and child is one that should be strong. Here are seven tips for effective communication with your child.

Remove distractions

Connect with your child before starting the conversation itself. If you keep glancing at your phone, TV, or book while talking to your child, they will feel like you’re ignoring them. Take care of all your priorities and prior commitments before you begin talking to your child.

Even if you are good at multitasking and can still hear what your child has to say, keep the focus on them and only them. Make them feel like they’re the only thing of importance in the room and they are more likely to open up to you. Also, stay in the same room as them and never have conversations from across the house. If your child comes up to talk to you, stop whatever you’re doing and listen.

Maintain eye contact

Maintaining steady eye contact while asking them questions shows that you are serious. Establishing proper intent is very important when attempting to communicate with someone. A small gesture like eye contact may not seem significant, but it means the world to your child.

Eye contact can get the truth from your child. It also helps you spot subtleties in your child’s dialogue. They might be trying to tell you something without directly saying it, and you would have missed this if you were distracted.

Ask open-ended questions

Try asking questions that warrant a more informative answer than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. At the same time, keep your questions short and simple so the child doesn’t get confused.

It’s better to avoid asking the generic “How was your day?” which will result in “fine” or “okay”. A better question would be “What did you learn?” or “What interesting events occurred?”

This way, you show your child that you are interested in their day. Another technique is to start off with a statement or to talk about how your own day went before asking them about their own.

Let them speak

If you bombard the child with three or four questions at a time, they are less likely to respond properly. Badgering your child with lots of questions will put them on the defensive and it will seem like you’re against them, which is the complete opposite of what you want.

Talking about school with their parents shouldn’t feel like a chore to them. Some of the questions you have may be answered along the way. Always wait to hear the complete story. Granted, the information will come from their side so it might not be 100% true, but at least you’ve heard all that your child has to say. Looking at the scenario from their point of view gives you perspective about them.

Also, avoid interrupting them when they are talking. You should give them the benefit of the doubt. Side with them on any arguments or conflicts that occur unless you are absolutely sure they are in the wrong.

Keep your cool

Arguing wastes time and energy and causes both you and your child to get upset. When you yell at your child, it makes them nervous. When they get nervous, they get scared, which is when problems happen. They have now forgotten everything you said and are focused on defending themselves from your wrath. It could even generate a feud between you both.

More often than not, the child will realize their error and will apologize. Just take a deep breath and help them resolve the issue. We know this will seem like a tough task to ask as children are difficult to handle at times, but you have to stay calm.

Forgive them

Children make mistakes. You certainly did when you were young, and so will your child. It is a part of growing up. It’s okay for them to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. This doesn’t mean that you should let them off the hook, but that you should mentor them on right and wrong.

Be proud of their accomplishments and don’t harp on their faults. You are the most important person for your child. More than their friends or teachers, it is you, the parents, who shape your child’s future the most. Forgive them, but at the same time remember that letting them get away with minor mischief may lead to bigger problems going forward.

If keep pestering them about something wrong they did, they will revert back into their shell and refuse to reveal information again. After all, how can you expect them to forgive you if you don’t do the same to them?

Set an Example

Kids learn a lot from watching their parents act, and are sure to pick up your mannerisms and adopt them. Therefore, always be courteous and honest with them.

If you’re using cuss words or fly into a fit of rage, your child will emulate this behavior when they grow up. Stop everything and listen to them, no matter how important the other work is. If you absolutely have to attend to something else, excuse yourself for a few minutes and complete it.

Instead of an order like “Do your homework now”, say something like “Do you want to do your homework now or in five minutes?”, and hold them to their word. This makes it seem like a friendly conversation and gives them a choice. This method is much better than bossing them around.

If you inculcate these habits with your child when they are small, they will be much more willing to tell you stuff when they’re teenagers.

Let’s Practise has many more articles on parenting tips. We wish to help children excel not just in studies, but in life. We specialize in students from classes 3-9. You can visit our contact page if you want to get in touch with us.

Time for a lets Practise Summer tip. Summer is here again and is usually seen by children as the time where they can wake up late, fiddle around on the phone / computer / TV for the whole day, and generally be lazier than during school days. While this is partially true, it is important not to let the child slip past the point of no return.  

Of course, summer is the time where your child can enjoy and have fun, but make sure they don’t get too carried away. After all, school is fast approaching and it is important to stay on top of the next year’s class material. You don’t want to fritter away your child’s summer days.

Here are four things you can do to make sure your child has a productive summer:

Read

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ George R. R. Martin, Author

Reading is one of the great activities your child can do during their summer holidays. Reading expands your knowledge and lets you create new worlds and characters. It improves your child’s creativity and imagination.

Make sure your child reads a lot of books during the summer. Reading a good book is better than sitting at home and watching a television or playing on the computer, smartphone or other electronic devices all day. Electronic gadgets make children strain their eyes more than books. Also, video games, movies, and shows don’t force the child to be creative as the visuals are already on display. Reading in this case doesn’t have to refer to school books. Just reading novels and storybooks can help improve your child’s vocabulary as well as teach them good life lessons.

Many stories such as Aesop’s Fables, Amar Chitra Katha and Panchatantra teach morals to children in an entertaining manner. Reading also lends perspective on the cultures and ideas of other people.

You can even go more in-depth and ask them to discuss the books they read during dinner. This way, the whole family gets involved and your child can improve their oratory skills. Older children can keep a diary for their books or write reviews for a book detailing their favorite and least favorite moments.

Strengthen Weak Subjects

Summer is the best time for your child to strengthen their knowledge on school subjects, especially the weaker ones. Catching up on weak subjects helps the child be on top of their game and they will be sharp mentally for the next year of school.  When school starts, they will be bogged down with new material and will thus lag behind. Studying during summer helps them get a head start on the material and makes sure they are ready by the time school comes around.

You should sit down with the child and set a timetable where they take time out of the day to work on math problems or revise their Geography. This can either be one hour every day, half an hour every day, or two hours every other day. Be sure to set something that both you and your son or daughter can agree on. However, remember that studying is probably the last thing that a child wants to do during the summer holidays, so don’t make them spend a lot of time on it. Be fair with them and they will be happy to be your kid!

Join a Hobby Club

There are many activities that your child can join during the summer. Try to find a group or club nearby where your child can learn a new skill or hobby. Some examples of activities include chess, swimming, singing, cricket, and football. There is also karate, dancing, art, singing, and much more. The advantage of these classes is twofold. One, your child can learn something new. Two, they now have their own clique of sorts and have found children with similar tastes as them. This helps them make more friends and expand their social circle.

If your child is old enough, consider enrolling them in a summer camp. Camps are full of action and interesting pursuits for your child. They will learn how to live without their parents and develops their independent growth. They can learn new abilities and improve upon their existing ones. In a way, summer camps can shape how the child grows up to be. If you are worried that they will be alone or won’t fit in, ask a friend to enroll as well. The best part is that they are separated from technology, but will be too busy having fun to notice.

Community Service

You can make your child volunteer at a place like a temple, clean up the beach, or park.  They can also help out at an old age home. Volunteering teaches children the value of hard work. A trip to a place like an orphanage lets the children know about those less fortunate than them. It makes them feel thankful for what they have and not take things for granted. If possible, take your child to a farm so they can learn more about farming techniques and how vegetables are harvested.

We advise just telling your child to go outside and getting fresh air. We know it’s tough to beat the heat, but don’t just let your child stay inside the house. Make them go outside and play and be physically active. You don’t want them to be a slouch once the next school year starts.

The main goals for your child in the summer are to make more friends and gain knowledge. The key is to minimize the time they spend inside the house as this will put them into a rut that is difficult to get out of when school begins again. Summer is the only time when they can freely play outside and not worry about homework or tests on the next day.  

If you follow these tips, you will end up with a summer that makes both your child and yourself happy. Let’s Practise wishes everyone a fun and productive summer!

Are you, as a parent, more anxious to check the results than your children? Of course you are, and why shouldn’t you be? The CBSE ICSE mark sheet is an encapsulation of the entire year’s work, which makes it a very important document.

Do you know how to read the mark sheet? Viewing a mark sheet can be overwhelming and confusing. You may not know what is important and which factors you can ignore. Let’s understand what certain phrases mean and what to watch out for.

Here are five aspects you should look for while evaluating your child’s mark sheet:

The Grade Point System

Mark sheets have a point system for the child’s marks. Alongside a number for the exact marks, there is also a letter for the range of marks. Sometimes, there will only be a letter and not the exact score. Here is an explanation of the grade point system and what it means.

Below is the current CBSE grading scale for classes 6 – 8:

CBSE grading school

It is important to note that these are the general letter grades on a mark sheet but may vary depending on school and board of education. The scale differs for class 9 and 10. Check the mark sheet for a key with the exact values.

Attendance

Marks are important but be sure to look at the attendance section as well. It will tell you if your child has been cutting classes. If there is less attendance than you expected, look in the teacher’s notes. Poor attendance may indicate low interest in school or in a particular subject.

Teacher’s Notes  

Often in the case of younger students, teachers will leave personalized remarks in the mark sheet. Does he pay attention in class? Is your child following instructions? Is he getting along with others?

The answers to these questions can be critical to identify your child’s behaviour in class. As a parent, you should not neglect this behavioral aspect. It shows their attitude towards other students, teachers, and learning in general. Marks are not the only important factor as the child can learn life lessons and get practical experience for the future.

If your child has not performed well, these remarks can also point out the reasons. You will get notes on their personal attributes, communication, behavior, work habits and social skills. If they talk a lot in class or be very silent, do not dismiss it as something that young kids do. The problems may continue unless you remedy them now.

Percentage vs. Percentile

These are two terms which you will probably encounter on your child’s mark sheet. They are often used interchangeably, which is wrong. Both of these have different meanings.

Percentage is more common, and it means, in the simplest terms, ‘a representation out of 100’. The word ‘percent’  can be divided into ‘per’ and ‘cent’, which literally means ‘a part of 100’. The values are being converted to a total of 100.

You should note that percent is indicated by ‘%’ but percentile is not. If your child has scored 20 marks out of 40, they have scored 50%.

Percentage is usually used in general terms whereas percent is for more specific purposes. One might say ‘A large percentage of the children aced their exams’.

Percentile is a bit more complicated. It denotes a measure of distribution through statistical means. If your child is in the 60th percentile, this means they scored higher than 60 percent of the kids who took the exam. You can use percentiles to compare your child to their peers. Was the exam for everyone or just your child?

Percentage – Representation of data out of 100

Percentile – Representation of data in comparison to the rest out of 100.   

For example, a child scoring 95% on the exam means they got 95 marks out of 100. However, the exam could have been easy and many others could have scored 100 marks. Percentage doesn’t tell you anything about the others.  

If the child was in the 95th percentile, you know for sure that they did better than 95 percent of the class. Therefore, a high percentage is good, but a high percentile is better.  

In the end, percentile seems to be the fairer way to judge your child’s performance and know where they stand in class.

Extracurricular

There are periods apart from the main subjects that are on your child’s schedule. Karate, music, swimming, art, singing, and dance are just some of the other activities that your child may excel in.  It is important to test the waters and ask your child what they like to do. Look at their performance in areas such as PT, writing, and public speaking.

Schools also conduct programs and tournaments for sports, drawing, chess, etc. See if your child is interested in any of these. You may have uncovered a hidden talent and found an athlete or singer.

Other Tips

Try not to compare your child’s marks in front of them as this is off-putting. Not all children learn the same way and someone who excels in one subject may struggle with another.   

Do not scold or verbally abuse your child for missing out on marks. Try encouraging them and asking them a genuine reason for failure rather than berating them. This will only make them dislike studying even more.

Knowledge is the top priority but marks are a way of measuring that knowledge. The system is not perfect, but as of now it is the only one that exists. Apart from this, meet the teachers so you can know more about what your child does in class.  

Focus more on whether they are learning rather than memorizing and regurgitating information. If they only study so they can do well in exams, the knowledge will get stored in short term memory and be forgotten after the exam.  

At Lets Practise, it is our constant endeavor to keep you abreast of what’s happening in the educational scene. If there is a topic you want us to write about, do let us know. Fill in the contact us page or send us an email.

Never forget that these are the formative years for your child and will shape the rest of their life. Keep this in mind and your child is sure to go places. Happy parenting!