1st grader suddenly doesn't want to go to school - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 34 Old 10-08-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LightToast View Post
He does have a couple of special friends at school, but that doesn't seem to be enough of a good reason to look forward to going to school. I'm feeling sorry for him because he can't seem to find it worthwhile to go. But we are trudging along and taking it one day at a time

He's gone on play dates with friends outside of school as well and that just doesn't seem to be enough either. I sure wish I could be a fly on the wall at school and REALLY see how things are going because I really can't get how he has such an aversion to the environment.

As an outsider looking in, the people seem generally kind and professional. However, I cannot be certain of this because DS is so, so unhappy every single school day morning.

I find myself questioning all of this but can't pinpoint an answer. I've talked to some of the other moms and they have had similar experiences with their first graders not liking school. Does the resistance merely stop in successive years because they have just resigned themselves to the fact that school just isn't going to change for the better? I'm reminded of Elizabeth Kubler Ross and her stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

I sure hope this is not the case. I'm trying to remain optimistic during this marathon. He is such a smart, sweet kid. So where's the justification for all the woes? And what's it worth? I keep asking.
Those are really hard thoughts. I'm not sure we ever really get an answer to them either. It's very hard to find the right balance. Since you started this thread my son, who's 5 and has loved loved his Montessori for years, has started to have issues with it.

Working with the staff I think we've pinpointed that he's struggling with writing (not doing it, wanting to do it), and because they're preparing them for grade 1 they are expected to write most if not all days. They don't make him write but then when he doesn't he's upset his book doesn't have words written in it. (Don't ask me, I don't get it either, but it's clearly extremely painful for my kid.)

It is really hard to know whether to back off or continue or what. The advantage I have that you don't is that I really really trust this staff to be caring with my son, so even if we err on either side it will be done with respect, and that will have to do. But boy is it hard.

I know a lot of people believe homeschool is the answer and maybe it is but...I'm not sure that kids would have any way to resist homeschool either if it weren't working, because it's their parents too. If that makes sense? Probably it doesn't, Fri afternoon and my brain is fried.

I do know one thing for myself and my personality and it is that I have almost never liked anything for the first 3-6 months of it. Every change in school/classroom, going to university, going to camp (was more like 3 weeks...out of 4), going to Italy, every job I've had - the first while has been torture. I have figured out that I'm the kind of person who hates not knowing things. So any situation where I'm the new person, I just hate by default.

I'm really really glad that this hasn't stopped me from doing things. I don't feel that I went through denial and grief and all that, or that I do now. I just do not like that space of newness...but not enough to stop doing new things.

My parents were utterly clueless as to how torturous it was though and it would have made a world of difference to me if they had just listened and hugged me for it, you know?

Anyways that is rambly. I would myself try to pop in a bit, keep being caring and listening to him at home, and stay tuned in. I think if by November he were not at least starting to seem more at home I would, myself, start re-evaluating.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#32 of 34 Old 10-08-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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I've been reading this thread with interest (and tears). I am having very similar issues with my daughter (turning 6 in November), who started full-day K this year. It's a small private school that does play-based K--lots of outdoor time, free play, art, etc. I trust the teachers and believe it is a good environment for her.

Yet. Every day this week, drop-off has been horrible. Tears, clinging, pleading, all ending in teacher intervention (i.e., prying her off of me). It breaks my heart, and I'm a mess most days afterward.

As far as I know, there is nothing happening at school specifically that is bothering her. She has made friends, and talks about things she's done at school in a positive way. The teachers say she does great after I leave.

Still, it is so so hard to get through those mornings. Then, when she's home from school, she is really emotional--upset over small things that ordinarily wouldn't upset her, expressing anger (throwing things, sometimes hitting....but we're working on that). It wears me out.

I wish I had advice, but I have only sympathy. I will be watching this thread to hear, I hope, a happy update.

ETA: My daughter too is something of a perfectionist who hates surprises and the unknown. I have recently figured out that it is extremely uncomfortable for her to be what she considers incompetent at something. I'm sure this aspect of her personality plays into her current challenges. I just am feeling helpless about what I can do to truly help her.
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#33 of 34 Old 10-12-2010, 09:27 PM
 
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Reading through this whole thread at once has me wondering about two things. First, I wonder if the main problem has to do with lunchtime. It sounds like the only issues your DS has specifically named happen during lunch. An awful lot of schools have either fairly crazy or overly controlled lunchrooms (or some weird combination of both, LOL), and either can be really overwhelming, especially for the little ones. Often the kindergarteners get a special time or space for lunch, and then starting in 1st they are in a big, crazier group. Is that the case at your DS' school? This could also explain the dread in the morning and happiness in the afternoon... he may be really enjoying the vast majority of his day, but dreading that half hour in the cafeteria could be making him not want to face the day each morning.

If that rings true, you might want to meet with his teacher and share your hunch. Ask if she has any suggestions for helping him feel better about lunchtime. She might be able to arrange a different seating arrangement or even eating in a different space for a while.

The second "wonder" I have is whether there is another way to get your DS to express where the dread is coming from, since he seems to mostly like school but be really, really worried about something. I wonder if a prompt like "I would LOVE going to school in the morning if..." or "Let's write a story about your perfect school and all the perfect things that would happen there" might help you uncover the problem more completely.

This is so, so hard! I remember going through (thankfully brief) periods of dreading going to school when I was a kid, and my heart goes out to you and your son as you work through this.
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#34 of 34 Old 10-16-2010, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Stefka, I think you might be onto something with lunchtime being a primary stress point for DS. I'm still trying to get to the bottom of things though. However, the impression I do get is lunchtime is BOTH chaotic and overly controlled, just as you have stated. I will need to talk more about this with his teachers and the school.

He still won't take the bus to school in the morning, but we've tabled that issue for now since it really isn't much trouble to drive him in the morning. I asked him to let me know when he's ready to start taking the bus again. (He does take the bus home though)

There was a issue that happened in the classroom on Thursday that really upset him. The teachers have a "behavior system" and he had to move his clip onto "yellow". But he felt that it was unjust. This was the first time EVER that he had to move off "green".

According to DS, another classmate was tickling him while they were at their desks. When he told the classmate to stop tickling him, the teacher told him to move his clip to yellow because he was talking when he wasn't supposed to be. The students are supposed to get 1 warning before they have to move their clips, but he wasn't given one. He said he was too afraid to explain to the teacher why he didn't think it was fair that he had to move his clip to yellow. He said that even the offending classmate told the teacher that is was her fault and that he should NOT have to be on "yellow".

So on Thursday he was pretty upset when he got home from school because of that incident. I told him it was no big deal, but if he felt strongly about the lack of fairness he would need to explain that to the teacher.

While I'm not a fan of this type of behavior system, we need to work within those parameters because that is what the teachers have decided to use in the classroom. There are some special needs children in the class. I'm not sure how many, so they may have decided that it is useful to have a system like this. The problem is some kids, like DS, nearly have a heart attack about being on yellow. It ruined his day and Friday he was a mess going into school. He's super sensitive perfectionist kiddo.
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