A What Ho! Guide for Parents

AΒ What Ho! thesaurus of terms related to homework and school.

Parent-Teacher meetings and Annual Day functions

Contrary to popular belief, these are not occasions to explain to the class teacher as to why you missed an entire season of Dexter or why you have declined all social invitations, including an invitation to a dinner reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, on account of your child’s insane level of homework. These are also not occasions to perform aggravated acts of violence on fellow parents who insist that their child is “not sufficiently challenged by homework workload” and believe that the system needs to “push him harder.”

Note: In recent times, judges have demonstrated reluctance, more often than not, to convict parents of aggravated acts of violence. Also note that teachers, vice principals and Β principals will not appear to care about the fact you’ve stayed up till 11:30 every night to help your child calculate the Gross Domestic Product of Burkina Faso to the third decimal point. Remonstrations about homework workload will either elicit an expression of obviously insincere sympathy or an increase in workload till 12:30 AM.

Maths

The first thing parents will note with regards to maths is that it bears no resemblance to one of their own day. Indeed, Ptolemy and Euclid may be at a loss to graduate from grade 8 in the modern era. You might occasionally observe your child interlacing the digits of her left hand with the toes of the right foot in order to arrive at answers. This is normal and not cause for concern. In some households, mothers will find the following phrase useful: “Go check with your father. He knows this stuff.” In other homes, the case may be exactly the opposite.

Note: You will be expected to be conversant with the metric system. One litre roughly equals two bottles of chota Pepsi. And you will expected to guide your child figure out how many apples Rahul will be left with, after eating half, Β then giving two to Shreya and depositing the remainder in an offshore account in Cayman Islands. Otherwise capable parents will find themselves rendered motionless and speechless during these sessions.

The Phone Call

Each night, as dinner is laid on the table, the phone will ring. The call will originate from a class mate of your child, who will enquire as to the nature of the assignment for tomorrow. Equally likely, your child will announce that she must telephone Neha urgently to find out more about tomorrow’s submission. More often than not, the telephone number of the other party will be engaged or calls go unanswered for a minimum of ninety minutes, prompting a continuous parental lecture on “the need for discipline” during this period. The telephone conversations, when they start, will feature, on the side, running, parallel and rancorous parental commentary on the absolute need and necessity to write down assignments “in class.” The sentence “How many times do I have to tell you this?” will be repeated ad nauseum until the child’s ears grow numb with seething discontent, followed by the child tearfully storming off and seeking refuge in the bathroom.

Note: Never, I repeat, never ever indulge in late night calls to the class teacher enquiring about the nature of tomorrow’s assignment. By 1:30AM, the parent is likely to be in a state of acute Β mental derangement and distress, and hence highly apt to “download” on the teacher as to what he thinks of schooling and homework, which in turn, is likely to lead to a parent-teacher meeting and increase of daily homework load till 1AM.

The School Bag

Today’s child carries a schoolbag which weighs roughly 3.8 times her weight (in gross tonnage). The schoolbag will include items, deemed necessary by your child, such as two editions of Harry Potter novels, 42 hair clips, two dozen badges, between 2 and 5 boxes containing an assortment of pencils, erasers, short swords and sabres, surgical instruments and food items from the previous semester. The net tonnage, which is the weight of material directly related to education of your child such as books, will form a significant proportion of the gross tonnage.

Note: Every morning, be sure to warm your muscles up by performing a dozen sit-ups before you attempt to hoist the bag onto your child’s shoulders, in order to avoid rotator cuff injuries and slipped discs. The schoolbag is also an important part of the daily ceremonial homework commencement, one in which the process of getting to “Okay, okay” will take ten minutes. This will be followed by the child starting to rummage through the aforesaid schoolbag, all the while in the living room, for a pen. Any parental offers of alternative pens and pencils will be turned down. The duration of the child’s rummaging will roughly equal the duration of time left in the episode of American Idol running at that moment on the television.

Science Project

These are the most dreaded words in the parental universe. No phrase strikes more terror in the hearts of a parent than ‘Science Project’. The science project, which is announced a few weeks into the term, will be dramatically unveiled by your spouse, who will proclaim that your child has “chosen” to work with you on the project. Your spouse will conduct all conversations about your role in the Science Project in full view and complete earshot of your child to pre-empt any protests and withdrawals from responsibilities. Any and all murderous impulses towards the spouse should be tightly controlled and kept out of sight of the child. Over the next several weeks, you will spend a significant part of your time recreating a miniature version of the Large Hadron Collider or a contraption involving roughly 1 million stytrofoam balls (available at Aishwarya Departmental Store), springs, elastic rubber bands, gun powder, lemons and batteries to explain the string theory.

Note: Remember that the days are long gone when anything could be explained using two ping pong balls and a toothpick. Also note that, in the eventuality, the parent is hospitalized for exhaustion, project responsibilities are not considered to be abdicated.

35 Replies to “A What Ho! Guide for Parents”

  1. That is a really funny take, Srini :). You had me in splits! Your observations are so sharp and bang on the target. As a mom of two kids in class V and class 1, I concur with your observations. Thank God I graduated in Chemistry and hubby from IIT, we need all our skills to decipher and execute the projects given to children. And, kids are already practicing their skills on parallel bars and poles to build their muscles. I recently did a post on the plight of today's kids. You might want to read it here:
    http://cybernag.in/2012/07/has-the-child-in-child

  2. That is a really funny take, Srini :). You had me in splits! Your observations are so sharp and bang on the target. As a mom of two kids in class V and class 1, I concur with your observations. Thank God I graduated in Chemistry and hubby from IIT, we need all our skills to decipher and execute the projects given to children. And, kids are already practicing their skills on parallel bars and poles to build their muscles. I recently did a post on the plight of today's kids. You might want to read it here:
    http://cybernag.in/2012/07/has-the-child-in-child

  3. Thanks Srini for this incredibly funny post. I needed the laugh.

    So are you sitting up till 1 AM? πŸ™‚ Loved the description of the contents of the school bag. They would go on to lug the woman's handbag, the contents of which would defy logic and description making you wish they were still little girls πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks Srini for this incredibly funny post. I needed the laugh.

    So are you sitting up till 1 AM? πŸ™‚ Loved the description of the contents of the school bag. They would go on to lug the woman's handbag, the contents of which would defy logic and description making you wish they were still little girls πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks Rachna. Glad you enjoyed it. You guys have serious intellectual horsepower in your household! I read your excellent post on Zephyr's blog. Loved it!

  6. Thanks Rachna. Glad you enjoyed it. You guys have serious intellectual horsepower in your household! I read your excellent post on Zephyr's blog. Loved it!

  7. Glad it brought smiles, Zephyr! Nope, I'm too smart to be up till 1AM. I don't get into fracas with teachers! My girls certainly wouldn't allow that πŸ™‚ Aha, that's where the handbag contents come from, I see πŸ™‚ I failed to make that connection between the school bag and the hand bag. I stand enlightened!

    I think that the "hand bag contents" topic deserves a post unto itself from you, on your blog!

  8. Glad it brought smiles, Zephyr! Nope, I'm too smart to be up till 1AM. I don't get into fracas with teachers! My girls certainly wouldn't allow that πŸ™‚ Aha, that's where the handbag contents come from, I see πŸ™‚ I failed to make that connection between the school bag and the hand bag. I stand enlightened!

    I think that the "hand bag contents" topic deserves a post unto itself from you, on your blog!

  9. And people still ask me, why I stopped at just one child! Only the brave and the brash with sadistic tendencies put themselves through the endless cycle of exams-projects-homework, not once but twice πŸ˜›

  10. And people still ask me, why I stopped at just one child! Only the brave and the brash with sadistic tendencies put themselves through the endless cycle of exams-projects-homework, not once but twice πŸ˜›

  11. Actually, two is smarter (not braver, brasher or sadistic) than one. The older child is often more knowledgeable and thus more capable than the parents of guiding the younger one! Beyond two, the laws of economics kick in.

  12. Actually, two is smarter (not braver, brasher or sadistic) than one. The older child is often more knowledgeable and thus more capable than the parents of guiding the younger one! Beyond two, the laws of economics kick in.

  13. Thanks for writing a part of my biography! Or is it the biography of most parents today? I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that holds thatPtolemy and Euclid may be at a loss to graduate from grade 8! Exquisite work!

    Incidentally, I'd already written a comment before that I lost to flaky Internet in the trains.

  14. Thanks for writing a part of my biography! Or is it the biography of most parents today? I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that holds thatPtolemy and Euclid may be at a loss to graduate from grade 8! Exquisite work!

    Incidentally, I'd already written a comment before that I lost to flaky Internet in the trains.

  15. Hi Umashankar, as I've said before, I am a big fan of your writing! honored to have you here. I believe I speak for all parents, present and future .:-)

  16. Hi Umashankar, as I've said before, I am a big fan of your writing! honored to have you here. I believe I speak for all parents, present and future .:-)

  17. Very enjoyable reading, humourous and witty. Hope not Sudha has seen it. She will be grinding her teeth in exposing her escape from accountability. We of the older generation, had neither the work load, nor the luxury of parental admonitions and guidance. We were left to fend for ourselves and in the process developed some sort of individuality. Modern parents are expected to be more than familiar with science, technology, arts, lieterature, history, geography etc, etc., etc. , some sort of human Super Computer to sort out all the travails of their wards. Wish all of you the best in the bargain.

  18. Very enjoyable reading, humourous and witty. Hope not Sudha has seen it. She will be grinding her teeth in exposing her escape from accountability. We of the older generation, had neither the work load, nor the luxury of parental admonitions and guidance. We were left to fend for ourselves and in the process developed some sort of individuality. Modern parents are expected to be more than familiar with science, technology, arts, lieterature, history, geography etc, etc., etc. , some sort of human Super Computer to sort out all the travails of their wards. Wish all of you the best in the bargain.

  19. Superbly written and terribly terribly funny!! LOL.
    Math sure is an enigmatic realm…coz in life when things don't 'add' up sometimes, you gotta deal with the 'remainder' or compromise with what's 'left'…Well, that's 'probably' when problems are likely to 'mulitiply', and you end up feeling 'divided' about things…but then this enigmatic struggle is a common 'denominator' for all human life, a complex 'calculus' that serves to 'integrate' or 'differentiate' the 'aggregate' quality of our lives in various 'degrees'…wink!

  20. Superbly written and terribly terribly funny!! LOL.
    Math sure is an enigmatic realm…coz in life when things don't 'add' up sometimes, you gotta deal with the 'remainder' or compromise with what's 'left'…Well, that's 'probably' when problems are likely to 'mulitiply', and you end up feeling 'divided' about things…but then this enigmatic struggle is a common 'denominator' for all human life, a complex 'calculus' that serves to 'integrate' or 'differentiate' the 'aggregate' quality of our lives in various 'degrees'…wink!

  21. Superb writing!! Enjoyed reading this. Though I'm not that old to have experienced this, but in hindsight I see that I gave a tough time to my parents too:) This writing not only made me laugh, but also made me introspect- About the education system, the parents, the teachers and the society in general. The child is merely a doll playing to the tunes of all the above factors!

  22. Superb writing!! Enjoyed reading this. Though I'm not that old to have experienced this, but in hindsight I see that I gave a tough time to my parents too:) This writing not only made me laugh, but also made me introspect- About the education system, the parents, the teachers and the society in general. The child is merely a doll playing to the tunes of all the above factors!

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