The other day I went to clip my 3rd grade daughter's finger nails. I asked her why she keeps biting her nails. She told me that she bites them at school because she is bored. Her school does blended classrooms. She is in the 3/4 class. One teacher and 28 kids.
When she comes home from school, she does her homework right away. It is done neatly and accurately. She does what is asked. And not more. If there is extra credit, she won't touch it. This is the kid who just does exactly what is requested.
At school she is quiet and behaves herself. Never any issues. At our conference her teacher told us that she was delighted with her and that she adored my daughter. Hmm...
I get it that she is bored at school. School isn't exciting anymore. PE is once a week. Music is 2x. There is no art class unless incorporated into class work. Science class -- ha ha! -- part of class work. At recess, running is not allowed.
I'm scratching my head because we live in a community considered to have "top" public schools.
We cannot afford private schools. Sorry.
Assigning my daughter more work isn't going to happen. She just isn't that type to be challenged...I know she hates school and she just goes because that is "what we have to do."
We have been trying for the last few years to move to another school district that has a better public school system that focuses on extra curricular activities....but, it means a more expensive home. All the homes we have seen are either dumps that need an overhaul or are way out of our budget. It's been tough. Crossing our fingers that something nice in our budget will pop up. *sigh*
Some kids that do biting and skin picking might feel/say bored, but there is a little bit of nervousness/anxiety mixed in there too. Does she have any anxious traits? Just curious. My son started nail biting when things were more tough socially and the demands in general were increasing.
I bite my nails and I'm neither bored nor stressed. It's just a habit.
Having said that if she really is bored by school, and is bored because the work is unchallenging and unengaging, you could schedule a meeting with her teacher to discuss it. Just don't use the word bored. Talk about loss of enthusiasm for learning, and the fact that she doesn't seem challenged and excited. Explain that you know your dd to be quiet and compliant in school, but that you're worried that she's doesn't seem particularly engaged by her learning. Ask if there's the possibility of some more open-ended assignments, or of more self-direction and independent work, or for differentiation. Ask what the teacher is observing. Ask whether there are provisions for students capable of more advanced work.
It's possible that the teacher is seeing things very differently, or that your dd is already being offered opportunities to move ahead and is simply not interested, or that the teacher is already in the process of implementing strategies for alternative learning that will likely answer your concerns. It's also possible that the teacher just isn't aware that she needs a bit of a push to pursue things at the pace and depth she's capable of.
At any rate, if you're concerned that her needs aren't being met, I think your first step should be to schedule a meeting with the teacher and get the lines of respectful collaborative communication fully open. Good luck!
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
Sounds like that would be boring for all kids. You say she doesn't like to be challenged but not how she is being under-challenged. Is the work below level or simply presented in a way that is not of interest too her. If she won't take accelerated work, then your options would really be a different sort of learning environment. I look around for any charter school options... these are public schools that are open to anyone from any area. They aren't all good so look carefully but there are some that are really fantastic and can offer different teaching styles that might be more interesting for your daughter.
Wha? At our school running is required! Seriously, they have to run (or walk) 2 laps on the track (it's a small 1/6 mile track) before they can go play.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie
Being more and more of a pragmatist when it comes to public education, I'm inclined to say that the things you mention don't sound too far off the mark for public school. Yes, there are variations for sure but art and science (and social studies) bundled with other subjects sounds pretty typical for elementary. It's a bummer!
Is your DC with the same teacher all day?
My guess that a child who is board in what sounds like a somewhat typical school, may well be board in another somewhat typical school even if they have some additional resources. I don't say this to make you feel bad about your DC's relationship to traditional school but to make you feel better about the options you have right now for your DC.
When in my most positive state, I think I could see the value in your DC's experiences right now. Especially since you don't have any other options anyway. I have observed that third grade is an important year. It seems to be a year that kids start to really show their individual selves. I like to think that all kids have things that they do well with in school and all kids have things that they need to struggle with. Sounds like your DC has got the behavior and academics down - awesome! I would help her focus on these advantages and help her know that remaining focused and interested and finding ways to make the work more fulfilling is a wonderful life skill. Because it is!
If the boredom is a matter of her just being very efficient and the teacher is not able to offer additional instruction to students who are ready to move forward, I suggest something like a book, journal, sketch pad or some other solution you can arrange with the teacher(s) so that your DC has something to do when she's finished. It's not in anyone's best interest for students to be finished with nothing to do -- good behavior is likely to turn to bad at some point if your DC is desperate enough for a distraction from her boredom.
Also, maybe just appealing to the school and their support to help your DC be such a good student would help. Go to them with a little flattery and say that you are observing that your DC is starting to not enjoy school, which you know no one wants. See if they have any out of the box ideas. Maybe your DC can do some project for the teacher or office or something.