1st grader having trouble - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-01-2010, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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My dd had some trouble last year in kindy, in regards to not liking school, being bored, etc. So far this year we have had two notes home already about her behavior in class. Once she was making noises and wouldn't stop when asked. The second time she was laying on the floor with her head down and not listening to her teacher.
Dd says she hates school. She says that all the sitting "makes her feel sick". I asked her to explain and she said it makes her abdomen and neck feel bad. She said she gets a sore throat and burps. I don' t know what to make of this. I don't ever hear her burping at home, but she does have food allergies and maybe her tummy does bother her. Or maybe its an excuse*for misbehaving, or maybe something else? She says she is really bored listening to her teacher all day.
I feel bad for her, but I am not sure what we can do about it. We can't change teachers, there are no other school options except homeschool. I don't think I can homeschool her. She is really stubborn, intense, and I am pretty sure I will not be able to teach her.
I am going to go in and watch her class a few times and see what they are doing. She said they don't get to play at all, but they did play more in kindy.
I am taking this way too personally too and feeling like it must be my fault that she is misbehaving. However, I know she is just a diferant kind of kid, and I kind of knew she might have trouble with public school.
Any thoughts?
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#2 of 7 Old 09-02-2010, 01:13 AM
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Speaking as a former homeschooler whose kids are now in school, if you have the time and resources to homeschool, then I would give it a try. This is year two, and it seems to be a bad fit for her. Don't worry too much about the ability to teach her - go on over to the homeschooling forum and ask around. Especially at this age, very little "teaching" is required.

And don't take her behavior personally. Ds2 is the sweetest, cutest, most darling little boy 99% of the time, but there are certain things that cause him to act out in intense ways that shock me. I was prepared to have school (also first grade) cause some of these reactions in him, because the "triggers" tend to fall into the category of feeling pressured, not having enough time to complete projects that are important to him, or being forced to sit and do boring work (he is probably two grade levels ahead, academically). Shockingly, none of that has been an issue, but if it was, and things didn't improve, I would bring him back home and homeschool again.

I just think they are too little to be forced to endure whatever it is that is so hard for them, even if it doesn't make sense to us. I generally try to honor the fact something isn't right for them, even if it all seems just fine to me. I think it falls under the categories of listening to your body, honoring your true self, and following your instincts, all things I try hard to nurture in my children.
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#3 of 7 Old 09-02-2010, 10:18 AM
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"She says that all the sitting "makes her feel sick". I asked her to explain and she said it makes her abdomen and neck feel bad. She said she gets a sore throat and burps." sounds like acid reflux, which can be exacerbated by stress. Poor thing. I definitely think you should go in and help out in the class and see what it's like.
My 2nd grader hated his school this year, after loving 1st grade (in another school in another state). I went in and observed the class and had a couple conversations with the teacher, and ended up applying for a transfer. We're homeschooling while we wait the 4 weeks it takes to hear if the transfer is approved. But if I hadn't been able to apply for a transfer, I'd have been in that classroom a couple times a week and talking with the teacher every day or so. The most important thing, IMO, is for your child to feel that you are on her side and trying to help her make it work. My son wasn't getting into trouble at all but he was having stomachaches and crying at home.
I hope we don't have to homeschool all year, but if we do, it will be tough on both of us but not as tough as my son being completely miserable in a school that was a bad fit for him.
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#4 of 7 Old 09-02-2010, 11:51 PM
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So much could possibly be going on that it's probably too difficult to speculate until you get a chance to get into the school and observe if it's something specifically related to the school environment.

In the meantime, you mention that she has food allergies -- I'm assuming that you are avoiding all of those foods since food allergies are notorious for escalating behavior issues. How long has it been since she was tested? Perhaps she's developed another food allergy. DS developed a significant food allergy between the time he was tested at 5 and when he was re-tested at age 7. Does she have environmental allergies, and would this be a bad season for her? How does she sleep at night? Academically speaking, is she performing at grade level?

I could go on, but I'll wait to hear back.....

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#5 of 7 Old 09-03-2010, 12:33 AM
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It could be physical. I would look into the possibility of reflux.

Also, I would wonder if something at school was causing the discomfort. Do they let students use the bathroom whenever they need, or is there some restriction on it? Can students drink water when they need, or is there a restriction on that? Are they given snacks or treats during the day?

Being physically uncomfortable will make thing seem more annoying than they are (just think about the last time one of your DC was demanding something when you really needed to pee.) The "boredom" could really be impatience caused by slight physical discomfort.

If there doesn't seem to be a physical cause for the discomfort, I would look into whether or not the curriculum is a good fit for her. If it is either to slow and easy, or to fast and difficult (or possible one in one subject and the other in another) then it will be boring. The material needs to be paced appropriately for her for it to be engaging.

I would start by making appointments with both her teacher and the Dr. Sharing information with the teacher might help you get a better picture of what is going on. Timing of the misbehaving might tell you a lot. Does it tend to take place before lunch or after eating? Does it happen most during a certain subject? Etc.

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#6 of 7 Old 09-03-2010, 12:40 AM
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if you want to keep her in school, i agree with eepster et al. doctor for reflux, talk to the teacher and get into the classroom to see what it what.

but, if you are thinking of homeschooling, check out waldorf or unschooling at this age. it circumvents any power struggles about "learning" by focusing on what is natural at this age.

the focus in waldorf at this age is play, work around the home (you do it, they join in if they wish), cooking, handwork/crafting, songs and stories. being outside every day for at least two hours, more if you can do it, is also really important. gardening is valuable, if you can do it.

most of these things have a lot to learn in them--just because it's not 'academic' doesn't mean it's not learning. and, it's practical. cooking is math; gardening is science; crafting is art, math, science, etc (depending upon the craft!). so, there is a lot going on.

so if the solution is to draw her out of school, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy. create a rhythm, introduce some things in a gentle way, and then go from there. in a couple of years, she might be ready for a classroom setting again.
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#7 of 7 Old 09-04-2010, 11:31 PM
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Does you child have trouble with school work? Behavior difficulties are often a cover when a student is struggling.

A mother of a child with learning difficulties and a teacher by profession.
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