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Does school change children?

(18 Posts)
howtocalmachild Thu 22-Sep-11 22:40:23

Hi all,

I'm just wondering if you can give me some tips.

I have 3 children. My first two are fairly close together and they have always had lots of fun together playing, not really argued much but do get pretty engrossed in whatever they are doing together (I feel quite uninteresting to them). Third child seems to take up more of my time and they pretty much go off and be kids together and play. When I cook they are off playing etc. They don't spend very much time alone! I don't have a problem with this but I am trying to paint a bit of the picture.

My first child is year 3. She is pretty spirited but from what I have gathered she keeps herself in check in the classroom and is doing ok. I encourage her to do homework and work hard at school but she certainly isn't the type to just get on with it. There are a few things that are bothering me :

1) She doesn't always follow simple instructions and drags heels with me - good with school teachers but perhaps other adults she is too hyper or distracted to even hear them i.e dinner ladies, brownie helpers, sports coaches (I find this disrespectful). I feel she is starting a slippery slope after working hard in year 2 and being more respectful.
2) She still chooses to go loopy and has high energy levels at break time. It's like she doesn't know how to have a calm conversation some at the moment. It's all high energy as soon as she's out of the class. It seems to have got worse since she returned to school. How do I get her to hold onto the good things we expect when she is away from the home. Slow her down enough to think.
3) She is starting to have more of an attitude and less consideration for others and almost quite rude.
4) I also worry because I'm not liking the way she is generally at the moment. Holidays were good. She was lovely to be around. As soon as school starts it upsets me to see her change.

Please could someone either share, be honest and direct with thoughts or offer advice.


ps. I want her to be happy and not have me or other adults project our irritation by her more in your face / energy ways, make "nice" friends, do well at school, respect others and rules and I think that by doing these things she will feel good about herself.

MagicFingerGoesPop Thu 22-Sep-11 22:43:15

watching with interest. My ds is like this.

mungogerry Thu 22-Sep-11 23:49:01

Ooo, also watching with interest, my eldest (of 4) also a DD has just started doing very similar, in all the situations and ways you describe. Plus add in a silly voice with the over-excitement. It is completely getting my goat.

howtocalmachild Thu 22-Sep-11 23:55:53

I'm not feeling so alone already smile

cory Fri 23-Sep-11 08:47:45

Growing up changes them ime. Acting up when in the presence of your peers is a very common stage in growing up and yes, it will mean she is probably easier to handle when on holiday on you. But is not necessarily an indictment of the school experience (my ds got particularly difficult when on holiday as we spent them together with large extended family, so lots of over-excitement and showing off to his peers). In the long run she needs to learn- and chances are she will learn. Ds is calming down noticeably.

sugartongue Fri 23-Sep-11 10:54:04

Could be my yr3 DS!

Tewkespeggy Fri 23-Sep-11 11:08:05

my daughter is in yr3 three and some of her classmates have started talking in really baby voices. she tried it at home. i asked her why she was talking like that, she said 'everyone is' (OMG its started already!) i asked her if she liked it and she said 'not really', so i said 'dont do it then' and it stopped! Really it just stopped. Was totally gobsmacked!

mungogerry Fri 23-Sep-11 11:08:51

If it happening to them all at Y3, do you think it is in part due to the "going up" to KS2, and the "growing up" that is talked about so much by their teachers. My DD is in a primary school that goes from R to Y6, so there is no school move, but there is definitely a step change when they move key stages - they move playgrounds, go in and come out of their classroom (at the rear of the school) without a parent accompanying. Do you think this is how they are trying to grow up - by testing out their behaviour?

mollschambers Fri 23-Sep-11 11:17:49

Sounds pretty normal.

They all go through phases where they're pushing boundaries. Just part of growing up. Keep giving a consistent message of what is and is not acceptable and they'll work there way through it.

Also, they do have to blow off steam at times. Mine can at times be a complete nightmare handful at home but I know are very well behaved in the classroom which reassures me that I'm doing something right.

School, or any other social setting, will expose them to other kids ideas and behaviours. Completely normal to explore them, both good and bad.

munstersmum Fri 23-Sep-11 12:10:19

Totally recognise need to slow down & think with DS yr3. I'm putting it down to new term & more disciplined atmosphere in classroom. Often he doesn't seem to know why he's pinging off the walls at home showing his more exuberant side. I'm like a stuck record 'if you don't know why you're doing it, don't do it'.

aries12 Fri 23-Sep-11 13:26:01

That sounds very similar and normal to me. I have a Dd in the Y3. Sometimes, she can be very nice but other times I look at her in horror! She puts on all thses silly voices..somtimes with an American twang...reads the Wimpy kids books!! She is polite in school but is becoming more questioning at home and has an answer for everything.
She always displays the "not listening " attitude and whines when I ask her to do things.
I think it's part of growing up, unfortunately, no matter what you do with your children at home, they are exposed to all kinds of behaviour in the classroom and at school in general. They learn very quickly everything you do not want them to learn but hopefully, they will eventually have the maturity to distingush betwen what they should and should not do. In Y3 they are just becoming more aware of testing boundaries !

Saracen Fri 23-Sep-11 16:15:41

Not sure whether this view is one you want to hear but... among home educating parents the behaviours you describe are considered to be mainly a school phenomenon.

Our kids aren't angels and they do have their moments of pushing us. They have problems as they grow up. But the scale is quite different for those who aren't at school. I think that doing very directed activities in a crowded environment for long stretches at a time is stressful for some kids, and they show it in their behaviour.

These behaviour changes are often attributed to just growing up and to mixing with other kids, but I think it is something particular to the school environment. Some home educated kids like my older dd spend huge amounts of time with other kids, doing things their parents might not approve of, but don't seem to feel stressed in quite the same way. Away from school, they have rather more freedom to develop relationships and to get space from other people when they need it.

My dd tried school for a term. She wasn't miserable there and she liked some things about it. But there were some signs of low-level stress which showed in her behaviour. She was aware of what was happening and told me of the sorts of little things that all combined to make school slightly stressful: the noise level, the lack of "down" time, the crowding, being unable to go out and get a bit of exercise when she felt the need, the poor access to adults and older/younger children. After she came out, she soon returned to her usual self.

You have seen your daughter show very different behaviour during school holidays. Not all schoolchildren show this difference, because some don't have time to get out of school-mode in just six weeks. Maybe some weren't at all stressed in the first place. But people who have withdrawn children from school report that though it may take months, eventually they undergo a remarkable change, becoming more relaxed and cooperative.

Your daughter is still quite young, but you may be interested in this article about the experience of adolescence: The author points out that the alienation of teens and a separate youth subculture doesn't happen in pre-industrial societies. He argues that separating teens from the rest of society (in school, for example) is the root of many of their problems.

Your dd's behaviour may well be normal but that does not mean it is inevitable. If you feel that the positives she is gaining from school outweigh the negatives then perhaps reminding yourself of all that she is getting out of it will help you to accept the disadvantages? I don't know. Or if you don't feel that school brings out the best in her, perhaps it isn't the right place for her.

howtocalmachild Sat 24-Sep-11 07:32:57

Thank you for all the replies. Saracen, I have totally taken on what you have said (still need to read the link). I do believe my daughter is like me and I totally didn't fit into school from day 1 but unfortunately being home educated would not have worked for me either (my mum has changed now but she would not have been able to let go of the perks of having children in school - able to work and earn money also she wasn't particularly educated herself).

I find it incredibly hard to just get homework done with my 3 (toddler very active) so I have no idea how home educating would work and feel totally under educated to be able to offer my children what school does. I have actually learnt a lot from DD being in the school to thus far. My children are more interested in playing together. Things like cooking together doesn't really happen (more interested in playing still). My main connection with my children is running through woods or heading to a park (first years of life in a warm climate and we were at the beach, swimming and generally way more active). They like painting but this has always been without direction. I'd love to change all of this but don't know how until an interest is sparked in them.

I will go and read your link and ponder over the other posts. Thanks in advance to you all and any more replies.

Saracen Sun 25-Sep-11 01:05:37

I'm glad you found it useful!

About you feeling under-educated... It's quite difficult to do statistical comparisons between the academic achievements of children who've been to school and those who've been home educated. I think you have to take all results with a big pinch of salt, because home educated kids are a self-selected (or parent-selected) group. However, having said that, one researcher who had a stab at it did come up with a result which may surprise and interest you.

Paula Rothermel of Durham University studied groups of British children, comparing those of similar background who had been to school with those who had not. She found that among middle-class children of highly-educated parents, those who were home educated had better academic outcomes than those who had been to school. Among children whose parents had a low level of academic attainment, the home educated ones also outperformed those of a similar background who attended school. Not only that, but the difference was bigger in this group. Some people have concluded that home education gives children an academic edge, and that home education gives an even bigger boost to children of lower socioeconomic class than it does to middle-class children.

Rothermel's findings are a puzzle to those who believe that educating a child is like pouring knowledge into an empty vessel: such people would expect that only a well-educated person could educate a child properly. But many home educating parents believe their role is to ignite a spark, to present opportunities, to expose the child to interesting people and places and ideas, to support their children in learning rather than to "teach" them directly. To people with this view of education, the findings make more sense. It suggests that parents with a low level of formal education should not feel disqualified from home educating their children. Some of the most effective home educating parents I know have just one or two O-levels/CSEs/GCSEs.

And here is an interesting study which is more specific to younger children. The book is called "Young Children Learning: Talking and Thinking at Home and at School" by Barbara Tizard and Martin Hughes. The authors recorded and compared conversations which four-year-old children had with their preschool teachers to conversations which the same children had at home with their mothers. They found that the conversations with mothers were what I'd think of as more educational: far longer, deeper, wider-ranging, meaningful and interactive than conversations with teachers. This was even the case for mothers who did not value talking and thought of talking as "just chatting," just a way to pass the time, who had a low level of educational attainment and who were very busy with other responsibilities around the home. In one way this study echoed the Rothermel research: in the case of children from lower socioeconomic groups, there was a particularly dramatic difference between the way they interacted with teachers and the way they interacted with mothers. I stumbled across this book in the library and found it very readable. It's mostly just transcriptions of the actual conversations together with the authors' observations and opinions about what's going on.

Saracen Sun 25-Sep-11 01:21:47

If battles over homework are the bane of your existence, you might find home education easier than school, not harder. Some parents require their kids to do formal work, but many others like me do everything informally, just taking them out to see stuff and reading aloud and letting them build things.

There are even some school systems (not UK state education) where the proper business of a child under eight is thought to be running around in the woods, going to the park and painting. So it isn't only the radical fringe of home educators who consider this acceptable. You don't have to direct your children toward more focused activities, any more than you had to chivvy a baby to learn to walk and teach her which way to go. Just watch and wait, and before long they will be dragging you off in whichever direction they want to go. Their curiosity is pretty amazing.

It's great that you feel you've learned so much already through your dd being at school. For parents who are involved in their children's education either at school or at home, it's like a second chance at education for themselves. I think it is one of the most fun things about being a mum!

startail Sun 25-Sep-11 01:26:07

hmm at the HE post, my HE friends son is a high energy bouncing of the walls limit tester and he's great.
My DD1 is chatty lively, a bit load and scatty at home and at school.
DD2 cares much more what people think of her and is ridiculously good at school. Pain at home sometimes.

dikkertjedap Sun 25-Sep-11 09:20:17

School has only just started again, she is still settling in. School can be a relatively disciplined environment, so during breaks/after school/weekends she is letting off steam.

I think that it is about finding the right balance for your family. She needs some space and she also needs to learn to show appropriate respect to others. She is not an adult, still a young child.

I would consider starting a reward chart and let her earn her pocket money through good behaviour. I wouldn't take money away she has already earned. I would in first instance focus on positive incentives only. You can either do it with pocket money or a weekend treat (film, food she likes, nice activity together) or small present. Whatever works best.

I agree that it is important to tackle it, but don't expect an instant turn around. Try to stay calm, you are clearly under a lot of pressure too with three children, having them to get ready in time for school, juggling different things, so it may be a two way thing.
Good luck.

Saracen Sun 25-Sep-11 10:13:58

"hmm at the HE post, my HE friends son is a high energy bouncing of the walls limit tester and he's great.
My DD1 is chatty lively, a bit load and scatty at home and at school.
DD2 cares much more what people think of her and is ridiculously good at school. Pain at home sometimes."

LOL. Yes, it's quite true that kids are all different and it is very dodgy to generalise... though tempting, I guess, if you regularly see large numbers of children who go to school and large numbers of children who don't and you think you see a difference.

At the end of the day, the only thing anyone can be sure of is how school, or home education, affects one particular child. Fortunately, that is all that matters when it comes to finding the best way forward for that particular child. The only way to be certain whether the child does best at school or at home is to give both a good try.

If you have a feeling that your own child's current situation is having a wonderful effect on her then there's probably no point trying anything else. But if, like the OP, you feel that your child isn't thriving where she is, it might be interesting to know that some people have found that an alternative works better for their children. In such a case, it could be worth trying a different way. There's always the chance that it could be a simple and brilliant solution.

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