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7yo son is complaining of boredom

(7 Posts)
camberwellred Sat 22-Mar-14 15:42:17

Hi all.

I have just realised that I have entered into the gifted and talented thread. Apologies if this is misleading, my son has never been identified as this, he may well be (or never will be) tbh I feel a bit uncomfortable with it. However I have read many posts here which seem very similar so thought it would be a good place to air this.

Okay, so my 7yo son is complaining of boredom at school. Each day is a bit of a battle to get him in and I have recently received a call asking to pick him as he was feeling sick (he later confessed he was actually 'bored')

He has 2 teachers who job share, I'll call them teacher 1 & 2. At a recent parents evening Teacher 2 asked me straight away whether I thought he was being challenged enough, (which is really hard to say when not actually in the classroom with him) Being guided by her we set out a plan of action, where she suggested being a bit stricter and really pushing him, she also noted that he has been considered to be a little bit arrogant when it comes to learning (I agree with her actually) Afterwards I had a quick check through his books and reading material. His books showed many examples of differentiation, but having read other posts here, it could be beneficial to look again.

His stated reading material and grade is way below his ability, which makes me question his other grades a bit. When I checked for the next box 'up' there wasn't one. When I got home I also realised we are at an all time low with suitable material- I've asked him what he wants and he has requested 'adventure and comics' (he's an avid drawer too) so any suggestions would be greatly welcomed, however, am wondering how and if to approach this with the school?

Maths is his favourite subject (ironically, or not, this is his least strongest subject, although still in the 3's) He detests writing, but (much to his teachers frustration as they have spoken of his capability) is naturally very talented should he actually want to be.

I'm just looking for any thought or suggestions on how to deal with this. We love the school - it's incredibly enthusiastic and has an exceptionally creative approach to learning, plus the pastoral care is outstanding. I know he's definitely capable of 'working' both the teachers and myself, but his teacher number 1 twigged this straight off at the start of the year and I am catching on, so between us we have him fairly sussed in this sense.

I have tried extending his work at home, but if he gets the faintest whiff he gets furious and completely shuts down. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly welcomed, could definitely benefit from the gift of hindsight. It's also worth mentioning that my main wish for him isn't his grades - it's his love of learning and that he doesn't think he can just coast through it...

thanks in advance.

HolidayCriminal Sat 22-Mar-14 17:31:29

What's his social life like?

camberwellred Sat 22-Mar-14 17:52:05

Pretty lively. We are lucky to live in an area with a lot of children around, culturally it's pretty rich, with an impressive choice of events for children, he regularly plays after school with his friends after school and a a family we really prioritise this.

bluewisteria Sat 22-Mar-14 21:08:10

I think I would question how good the school is regarding
A) differentiation- they aren't differentiating if he doesn't have suitable reading material on hand or if he is getting all his work right. Does he get his work right? I mean is he wrong on silly errors because he is bored and can't be bothered or because the work is genuinely stretching him? If he is being genuinely stretched then fine, it's good to be wrong to learn etc, but if boredom then I would suggest that they aren't differentiating...

B) I'm not sure the teacher being stricter and pushing him is really very useful imo. If a child is bored because they aren't giving him enough challenging work then they need to address their own efforts to provide for him, not how they provide it ie by being stricter. Unless of course he plays up and is disruptive etc. Is he? Because if he is then fair enough, but otherwise that tack seems like the fastest route to turn someone off learning, which is what you didn't want.

All children need to be taught in an interesting way, you seem confident that the school do this which is great. Some kids drive themselves, very hard, and need a lot of options to self direct rather than dressing up facts in fun ways... A bit of both but the balance varies massively on the child. If he has a massive internal drive, all be it lapsing because of boredom, then being strict might make him feel his own efforts are underappreciated? Perhaps he gets angry at you at home when you work because he feels like he does work hard, but can't do it always. Or maybe he's being lazy. You'll know which.

Last thing, he is only 7. He may want a bit of downtime and cuddles with mummy. A nice one on one trip or regular time away from hubbub of school and social whirl? Not wanting to go to school might not be linked to the underachieving problem.

camberwellred Sat 22-Mar-14 22:25:34

Thanks bluewisteria!

To comment on your points;

A) I think you're absolutely right, I need to take another look at his workbooks. Re: reading I also need to check whether he has frequent access to the library, and whether they assess/what provisions they have for above level 3, as I have heard that often this is overlooked.

B) Absolutely agree also - I think being stricter is possibly the worst tactic to take with him, I really don't want him to be achieving high grades at the expense of falling out of love with learning. He doesn't play up as such but has been noted to be slightly arrogant which I guess in a way is a form of acting up, and good luck to the teachers as I haven't quite figured out how to handle this! Tbh I think once his teacher repeats this to his other teacher (!) she will rubbish this, and actually it's her I need to speak to in order to follow this up.

I think he's possibly getting angry as maybe he feels like he has 'done his time' at school so to speak - he's about to sit his SAT's so no doubt they are gearing up for this and it will be somewhat of a stark transition in comparison to Yr1 & reception...

Re: downtime, I also agree - we prioritise this equally to socialising. He is only 7 and a full week at school is tiring enough!

Re: underachieving - I don't actually believe this to be the problem at the moment- I just really want him to be happy and engaged in his learning. I also really need to identify his use of the term 'bored' I read some really interesting posts on a similar thread highlighting the use of this word as a trigger, and in fact he could be using this to describe something he actually finds quite hard, or out of his comfort zone.

I do feel very confident with the school so far for which I feel very lucky, however due to this being my first child I am seeing through primary, it is all very new ground. I also think it's so bloody competitive now that this instils fear very quickly, which in turn can unhelpfully cloud judgement.

Thank you


blueberryupsidedown Mon 24-Mar-14 13:55:40

Can I just point out that all children will be bored at one time or another, during a school day. Your son has to learn how to deal with his boredom. Smart children will get bored, and average children get bored. Some will prefer one subject to another. I think that by being strict the teacher is trying to encourage your ds to behave in an appropriate manner as to not disturb teaching, and other children from learning. I have an issue with the justification that a child is bored because they are not constantly stimulated. Would he appreciate being constantly stimulated, every minute of every day - that is way too much to put on a child. I prefer if children of all abilities are left to think on their own, for some time, every day.

camberwellred Tue 25-Mar-14 16:21:41

blueberryupsidedown I agree with you.

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