My son, who is turning 6 in April, has been putting the breaks on going to school lately. I asked him about it as he has friends and seems to enjoy himself playing, but he qualified it as being "bored" with the school work aspect of it. Hmm. I don't know what to do about that. He thinks reading is boring, but he also thinks it's hard. He is doing well, is meeting requirements, and is sounding out words on his own to write stories along with his own drawings. He loves to draw, loves art and music, and movies.
So I am wondering if there is something I can do to make "regular" school more interesting for him. The only other schools in town would be private (well, actually he is in a private Catholic school now), but these other academic private schools are not as creative, actually, in their teaching approach, and are more rigorous with memorization etc. So I am doubting those schools would provide an alternative approach that would captivate his imagination.
Has anyone else had this with their sons and what can be done in school to help them out? Thanks!
Do you have a Montessori or Waldorf school in your area? Have you considered homeschooling?
Have you taken time to observe the classroom for a day so you can see what he is talking about?
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
here is what worked for us.
first for dd it was boring because she was hoping K would be like ps. lots of arts, sports..
... so school was not fun. plus too much repeatition. and yes. she hated reading.
this is what worked for us. the teacher could not do any special enrichment. she had a class that was all over the place and she had NO help. whatever little she had was reserved for the kids struggling to learn their ABCs.
so this is what i did that helped.
1. talked to the teacher. what she did was involve dd more in leadership roles in class. so gave her more chores. this was the biggest thing. dd only went to school because she felt her teacher couldnt teach without dd helping her out. yeah it was sweet.
2. i started volunteering there once a week. made a huge help. helped me also see what was going on in class. plus i got to know the kids (once i started i was hooked. i loved the kids and got to know the teacher really well).
3. talked to teh teacher and kept dd home whenever she wanted to. she never lied to me. she has anxiety and some days even if she is not 'sick' she needs her rest at home - downtime to do her thing. esp. in K and first her teacher encouraged this. so dd took a day off from school after holidays for about a month or so. or whenever she wanted to. this i think made the biggest impact.
now at 3rd grade we still take regular off days. but not as many as she needed during k and first. and yes she still finds school boring. however it is worth it for her for the social aspect and to see her beloved teacher.
Since he finds reading hard, it doesn't sound like he's bored because he isn't challenged enough. However, if he HAS already mastered the level of schoolwork offered, then you can talk to the teacher about giving him more difficult work (as opposed to more of the same - which really IS boring). If he's ready for chapter books, there's no reason he shouldn't read them just because the rest of the class is still working on basic letter recognition. That doesn't sound like your son's situation from what you've written, but perhaps that's the case??
Rather, when he says that school work is boring, it sounds like he is expressing a preference for the play activities rather than the academic work. How are academics done with the students? Is he expected to sit still and listen to a lesson and then do a lot of worksheets? That does sound pretty boring, especially if he's allowed a lot of freedom and self-direction with the play activities.
I would explore his dissatisfaction a little more and get a good idea of what he dislikes about the academic side of school. Then I'd talk to his teacher about possible solutions.
For example, can he choose which books to read or are they assigned? If he has a choice, has he tried all the books in the classroom that interest him? Does he prefer to read about certain topics? Some kids aren't interested in fiction and prefer books about favourite non-fiction topics, eg. dinosaurs or the solar system or airplanes. Perhaps you can send some new books from home.
If there is a current read-aloud that you are reading together at home that he loves, perhaps you can read a chapter together at night and then send it to school for him to continue on his own. He may be really motivated to read, just so he can find out what happens next.
Do they practice letters and writing only with pencil or crayon and paper? Are there different methods offered to work on writing skills? How about finger painting or drawing letters and words in cornmeal or sand on rimmed baking tray?
Is this a fairly recent complaint? If so, have things changed in the classroom? It's possible that during the first term, the teacher took a more play-based approach to the class, particularly if there were a lot of children who never attended pre-school. As they enter the final half of the school year, perhaps they are becoming a little more structured and spending more time on academics, to prepare for 1st grade. I'd talk to the teacher about how he is coping with such a change and whether there's anything that might help him to adjust.
If he's finding reading hard and boring to the point of not wanting to go to school, maybe it's worth checking to see if there's a deeper problem, with his vision perhaps, that's making it more difficult for him? At least to eliminate that as a possible reason that's he's turned off by it?
I was also going to suggest having his vision checked, if you haven't already. DD had all the skills to read for awhile and loved books but hated reading -- and it turned out the problem was that she's quite nearsighted. She was full-out reading within a month of getting her glasses.
Wow, so many good suggestions! I can see how it could be due to a shift in the teaching program mid-year, now that the kids are adjusted, and the focus would be more on academics. I also love the idea of allowing him to take more leadership roles. I am going to suggest this to the teacher, because I can sense he is feeling "dominated" by other children in the class, and he takes it to heart if he is not allowed to express himself. Such great ideas!