General chatter - Little Boys and Hating School

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06-23-2008, 11:08 AM this is a lot more common. But my son has become so bitter about school. Thing is is he's very smart. He gets 100's on all of his spelling and math tests and his reading level is so far ahead of everyone else's that he has his very own reading group. He's bored out of his mind in school and gets into trouble and the other day told another kid that he hated his teacher and the other kid promptly told the teacher and he got in trouble for that. They have awards assemblies every month and the only award he has gotten this year was for 100's on his spelling tests, but I had to call the school and ask them to give him an award for something because he's become so negative watching his friends get awards for things that are way beneath his academic level that he comes home saying, "Why should I try? I never get any awards." If I ask him to read with me, he doesn't want to and he used to love reading and learning. Now he's become totally bitter about learning and school.

They told me at school that he needs to work on his social skills, but all through the winter, they had ZERO recess time. I asked, "So, when is he supposed to work on these social skills? In lunch? They have assigned seating and are expressly told they are not allowed to talk during lunch." The principal sites that they are not allowed to talk because they don't want anyone choking. Seriously. They have a huge snow pile behind the school that they use for recess during wintertime and the only went out on the snow pile once this year....when they had a substitute. So, then they send him to the bathroom with a friend and he gets in trouble for playing with the hand dryers and playing in the bathroom. I said, "So, finally he got to have some social time and have some fun!" Its like boot camp, not first grade.

Again, any suggestions on how I can get my son to love learning again? Summer's here and I can work with him at home, but I have huge obstacles to overcome. The scuttle around town is that his teacher has an alcohol problem which is why she never likes to go outside or have recess and is short tempered....especially on Mondays.

06-23-2008, 12:26 PM
Does your school district have an enrichment program? Is it possible for your son to skip a grade? I had the same experience in school - 100% on everything and bored to tears. I didn't feel challenged until sr. high where I was placed in an enrichment program with a few of my fellow classmates. I honestly feel my elementary education led to my lackadaisical attitude in college. I never felt challenged during my entire public school experience, and I never had to work for an A. You can imagine the reality check I had my first year of college. As silly as it sounds, I had to learn how to study.

As far as social issues, your son's school sounds bizarre. How can a child learn to be social if they're never allowed to socialize? What a complete lack of common sense!

There are lots of ways to get your son interested in learning. Here are a few ideas just off the top of my head. How about work books or activity books? I loved workbooks when I was little, especially when I was rewarded with a sticker on my paper for getting all the answers right. What can I say? I was easy to please. I do workbooks now with my 4 year old nephew, who also loves them! I'm also teaching him how to read. He is fascinated right now with trains, so I found coloring pages of trains on the internet. Then I wrote a simple story to go along with the pictures. What does your son like? Maybe you can find a way to incorporate learning with his favorite hobby. Turn fun summer activities into a learning experience by asking questions. For instance, when I took my nephew to Sea World we'd count the number of dolphins or fish in the aquarium. I'd have him help me read the signs along the park's walk-way. I'd ask questions like if there were two whales in the first tank, and one whale in the holding tank than how many whales does the park have? It also helped to keep him occupied while we waited in long lines. What about going to the library? Most libraries have a summer reading program or summer story time hours. How about playing an educational board game?

Another thing I suggest is some kind of learning toy. With technology now they have a plethora of options. What about a computer game or a video game for the T.V.? When I was little I had a speak 'n' spell. :)

I hope at least one of these suggestions helps. Now that school is out he may be more susceptible to learn. You can tailor what you do to his advanced needs, and he won't be so burnt-out on the day to day monotony of school.

06-23-2008, 01:20 PM
Is there any chance to put him in a private school, or an enrichment program at his own school?

Those rules are ridiculously restrictive. No talking at lunch? No recess? Developmentally speaking, that's just stupid, repressive, and completely inappropriate for a child.

Marathon Mom
06-23-2008, 03:55 PM
You may want to rethink where your child goes to school. The school obviously doesn't see that your child is not challenged or enaged in school. He's BORED!

For your district to allow a teacher's personal addictions to interfere w/ her work is unacceptable. Have you gone to the school board to have her/him reviewed?

He's not wrong for playing w/ hand dryers or for being a child! They should embrace him not break him down... Be your child's advocate.

Hat Trick
06-23-2008, 04:07 PM
Be your child's advocate.

This is the best advice. I have a special needs child and I learned to be vocal and to be his advocate. If something about the school seems wrong to you -- NO recess? How bizarre! -- SPEAK UP to those in charge. Do not worry about offending the teacher or whatever. You have to speak for you son because the only way he can speak for himself is to act out.

Its very possible that your son is gifted. Do they have a gifted program at his school? Might be worth looking into. Don't know about skipping a grade. Academically it might be good for him, but if he needs work on his social skills skipping a grade might impede this.

Enrolling him in activites outside of school is a great idea. Find things he's interested in and go for it. Set up playdates too. Make some one-on-one dates but please make some that include a few kids. My youngest had a friend whose mom always, always, always made playdates for her kids (to the point where the kids were always having friends over or over someone's house -- IMHO too much of a good thing). BUT she was really big on 'one kid at a time' playing. Her kid (she's 10 or 11) now has a pretty darn hard time 'playing well with others'. Gets very frustrated when things don't go HER way or when compromise is called for.

Don't know if any of this is helpful or not but good luck to you! :)

06-23-2008, 04:18 PM
I've enrolled him in Pop Warner football for the fall and I'm also going to sign him up for the summer soccer program.

When my son was in kindergarden, he was reading fluently already. When I asked the teacher if they could give him some enrichment, I was told to take him to Sylvan. They have no enrichment programs. Furthermore, when I had my son reading at home, he'd refuse and say, Mr. Pettit says I'm not supposed to be reading yet. And I got yelled at by the teacher for giving him age-inappropriate material because my son is totally in love with all things science. On his preschool place mat (for snacks) he drew the entire solar system, in order, correct size, shape and color and correct spelling of the planets. He just loves it.

So, I also live in an area where there are no private schools...the cow population far exceeds the human population. We're actively looking into moving to a larger city for this very reason. More opportunities for the kids.

Hat Trick
06-23-2008, 04:29 PM
TW -- your son sounds like one smart kid!! Good luck to you in moving to a more populated area. Sounds like the school system simply isn't prepared for your little genius. I'll bet a buck if you get into a better school system, his interest will grow by leaps and bounds. :)

06-23-2008, 04:40 PM
The principal has a boss, the superintendent of the schools system. Document your attempts to help your son and your displeasure with the reaction and take them to the superintendent. I had to do this once, and my issues have been addressed quickly every time since then.

I also have a very gifted child, but he refuses to do anything because it's all "boring". The gifted program here is a joke, just a glorified reading program. There's more to being gifted than reading bigger books, but I could go on about that all day. We've had a lot of the same struggles and I've found very few good solutions. I just try to keep him in extra curricular stuff to keep him stimulated and to help with socialization. Have you tried music lessons? Guitar lessons really helped my son with focus. Good luck to you!