FOR most primary school children homework is a drag. It can mean continual nagging from parents and a battle of wills between child and mother with neither usually the victor.
Cleverly though, many schools have introduced the mathematics homework program called Mathletics into the weekly mix of compulsory homework.
The results have been brilliant.
Instead of hiding in the garden or staring at the ceiling when they should be busily completing homework sheets the children now scramble to be first on the computer, completing the set tasks before mixing and matching characters and challenging other children from around the globe in online mathematical battles.
All the while unknowingly soaking up new knowledge and cementing what they have previously been taught.
Year four Tumut Public School student, Kashyap Aghara, has been one of the thousands to embrace the online resource.
He has excelled in the tasks and the challenge events to such a high level that last week he found his name sitting third on the world-wide leaders board twice.
The leaders change daily with everybody starting from scratch each Monday morning again.
“It feels pretty good to do so well,” young Kashyap said. “I was coming third twice this week, but one time dad stopped me because he didn’t know I was going for first and was very close. He thought I’d been on the computer too long.”
The Indian born family have lived in Australia for the past three years, calling Tumut their home for a year and a half now.
Kashyap’s father Ramesh wanted a better life for his family and is pleased to have escaped the city life near Bombay, with all the family embracing the slower pace and more recreational lifestyle of Australia.
“I like living in Tumut, there is not much traffic and I have good friends at my school,” Kashyap said. “In India we had to do lots of homework and there was not much time for playing, it is better here. Mathletics is fun to do and I like division the best, it’s pretty easy.
“Even the multiplication is alright. The more activities you do the more points you can get. Then you play Mathletics live so you can go against other kids and see if can get the highest score.”
Kashyap was momentarily ranked second in the world several weeks ago and from week to week is a constant in the top 10 rankings within Australia.
His great scores and participation rate has helped Tumut Public to climb the ladder in the schools competition as well.
“The school has moved from 20th to sixth last week and we were 31st in the world which is pretty good,” Kashyap said. “I love to play games and also do maths so I think that is why I have done pretty good.
“My Teacher, Mrs Edwards, thinks I am the best and is proud of me. My friends keep saying I should keep playing and be number one.”
With the scores starting from scratch again each week, the challenge to be on the leader board remains fresh and constant, with Kashyap keen to ensure his name remains up in lights.
Turning 10 in October, Kashyap lives with parents Ramesh and Niru and older sister Happy, who often laugh at his furious typing during the challenges and the speed at which his fingers type in the correct answers.
“Apart from Mathletics I like to play chess, soccer and cricket with my friends during recess and lunch at school,” Kashyap said. “Goosebumps books are my favourite thing to read as well.”
The quick to smile young mathematician has spurred the rest of the school into competitive action as well with the students keen to ensure their school remains in the top rankings.
As for the parents? There are many sighs of relief now heard around the town from mums, dads and grandparents as they witness a first for most children. Young ones actually asking can they please do their homework and begging for just five for more time on Mathletics.