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Y5 DD is bored in school... what to do? (if anything)

(22 Posts)
PassTheTwiglets Tue 14-May-13 09:32:40

DD says she is really bored in school. It's not a 'she's bright and the work is too easy' thing; I know she is being challenged adequately. She just says it's boring. How do I tackle this - I don't know how I can talk to her (lovely) teacher about it because it sounds rude ie. your classes are too dull! I've said that she can't possibly be bored all the time and that everyone has to do some things they don't like but it does seem to be a real problem. She's never really liked school but her mood and behaviour seem to be going rapidly downhill and she gets upset very easily. I had put this down to puberty hormones but she said this morning that she is in a bad mood all the time because she is feeling upset about having to go to school.

I do think she might have a point re. being bored - as an example, she loves French but in this class she says they're just doing the same thing over and over.

Is Y6 work likely to more interesting? I wonder if I can just say hang on for now and see how she goes next year.

EllenJanesthickerknickers Tue 14-May-13 09:42:53

Y6 work is likely to be a lot of SATs revision and practice, TBH. sad Obviously some Y6 classes are fun and interesting but that depends entirely on a talented teacher who can make SATs preparation fun.

Are you sure it's the work? Could it be a friendship issue or personality clash even with a lovely teacher? Most DC can tolerate the lessons they don't enjoy if they have a secure friendship group.

learnandsay Tue 14-May-13 09:46:02

What are her interests outside school?

Periwinkle007 Tue 14-May-13 10:03:19

could it be perhaps that she would just 'prefer' to be doing something else? is she really enjoying doing something outside of school at the moment and would prefer to be painting, reading a book, sport or something rather than sitting doing work? kind of like many of us feel in a job.

PassTheTwiglets Tue 14-May-13 10:25:10

I am fairly sure that it isn't a friendship problem - she's recently really improved in that area and has got a few closer friends now. I think it's what Periwinkle says - that she would prefer to be doing something else. I've explained to her that of course everyone would rather just do their own thing - Daddy doesn't really want to go to work on Monday morning, Mummy would much rather read a book than wash the kitchen floor etc. But other children must feel like this at school too and it doesn't seem to make them miserable. I've told her that you get out what you put in and that she should try and engage herself more but she is just so negative.

learnandsay, she is happiest when she's on the PC but she does have other interests - gym, swimming etc.

She isn't always at the same table as her friends and I did wonder if this would help. I could ask the teacher about that.

Periwinkle007 Tue 14-May-13 10:33:35

could you perhaps try the approach of

what would you like to do for a job when you grow up? why would you like to do that? what subjects would you need to be good at to do that?

what would you like to do for fun when you grow up? how will you pay for it? need the job etc

might be a bit heavy for year 5 but you know her best and whether it might be she needs to look at it like that and then just get on with it or whether this might just make her worse.

If it is specific subjects could you find out which topics they are doing in them and then try and find interesting books about the topic?

I am dreading the 'school is boring' stage.

PassTheTwiglets Tue 14-May-13 10:48:46

Very good idea, Periwinkle, but she wants to be a pop star when she grows up hmm

I think what might have made it harder for her is that we did part-time homeschooling for a while, where she was able to choose what she wanted to learn - so being told what to learn probably seems a little dull by comparison.

Periwinkle007 Tue 14-May-13 10:52:44

ah ok yes I can see being a pop star limits the use of that idea then!

that would make sense about the homeschooling. I suppose it is just one of those lessons of life isn't it but it is that fear we have as parents of our children disengaging from learning and then being unable to get them back into it again.

if she likes french is there any bribery type ideas you could try such as 'if you work hard in ALL your subjects and do your best then next year we will try and take you to France for a few days so you can hear the language properly' or I suppose any trip/outing or something that might work.

I am sure bribery is the key to parenting...

learnandsay Tue 14-May-13 10:55:25

You could pretend to her that pop stars have to learn music, French and geography so that they know how to get to all those foreign countries and what to say when they get there.

PassTheTwiglets Tue 14-May-13 11:23:55

I did try and tell her that pop stars need to be really good at maths because they'll need to work out how much it costs to hire a concert venue, work out how much to charge for merchandise etc. smile

what she really needs to learn is not to sing like a tone-deaf frog but that's another matter

Learning should be exciting, I hate that she is going to disengage from it, as you mention, Peri... is secondary school any different, I wonder?

Periwinkle007 Tue 14-May-13 12:38:13

I don't know - I think secondary school might be worse. that was when I started to find it boring, until you get to an age where you can choose your subjects.

I like learnandsays comment, very true - a pop star would do a lot better if they knew foreign languages, geography, maths etc.

does she like science? I don't think they really do it much before senior school but it is probably easier to get someone interested in science experiments than many other subjects. or natural history, earthquakes, volcanoes etc.

PassTheTwiglets Tue 14-May-13 12:46:30

Yes, she loves science. But they do it at a very basic level at primary and I was just telling her this morning that secondary school do proper experiments...

Periwinkle007 Tue 14-May-13 12:52:54

well whilst it won't help with her school work in general perhaps you could look at some of the science kits you can buy, (I used to have an electronics one, an electricity and magnetism one and an engineeringy type one) as at least it would get her brain working on things and you could say well of course in order to be able to be good at science or do experiments and write them up well you need to learn to write in good english etc.

Saracen Wed 15-May-13 03:43:17

It sounds like you have some sympathy for your daughter's point of view. Is she aware of the reason you feel school is better for her now than home education? It seems to me that that is the key point. If she preferred the freedom she had when she wasn't going to school, then she needs to know what the overriding reason is that you've decided she should now go to school instead. What are the benefits for her, and why do they outweigh the drawback of her disengagement with learning at school?

iseenodust Wed 15-May-13 09:43:31

Just to make you feel better, I did once phrase myself rather badly to the extent DS's lovely yr3 teacher got a clear message her science lessons were boring (they were doing mud & rocks), and she agreed it wasn't an interesting topic. blush

Is the fact your DD isn't always on a table with her friends linked to behaviour in the classroom? Do they chat too much?

PassTheTwiglets Wed 15-May-13 10:33:22

Saracen, I don't actually feel that school is better for her - I simply can't do full-time HE though sad We flexi'd very successfully but have been building school time back up in preparation for secondary school, as I don't think flexi would work so well there (though I am going to look into that).

Iseenodust, cor, rocks are fascinating though! I love geology! It's all down to the teacher, I guess, to present it in an interesting way. She isn't separated because of chatting, they just weren't together in the first place. I did warn her that if she was allowed to sit with her friends then she'd be moved if she started chatting.

PastSellByDate Wed 15-May-13 19:42:58

Hi PasstheTwiglets:

It's so hard to directly interpret what 'I'm bored!' means.

It could be that the delivery of lessons is dull.

As you have suggested above - it could be that 'school work' isn't her thing - she'd rather be doing something else.

It could be that gradually your DD is finding the work harder and harder - and doesn't like the struggle.


As Periwinkle suggested - it is important to make the learning going on in school relevant.

Learning division helps you to work out how much you need to earn a month to pay your bills or save a month to buy those cool things you just can't live without.

Good skills adding, subtracting, mutliplying & dividing means that you can double check figures people are giving you - when you're buying a car, a house, and yes...even signing that big record deal.

Reading lots of different types of books broadens your knowledge of other cultures, classic stories, turns of phrase, etc.... Has she really sat down and picked up on the lyrics of some songs - there's often a lot of reference to cultural, social, and historical events; as well as literature and literary figures (I give you Heathcliff and Kate Bush/ Sting & Don't stand so close to me (book by Nabakov line). And yes I definitely know it dates me!).

It's understanding that Star Wars episode IV is frankly a pretty close reworking of Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress.

It's Dr. Who episodes including historic figures like Vincent Van Gogh or Einstein.

My DD1 (Y5) often says the documentaries DD2 and I enjoy watching (fantastic programme on BBC Four on bubbles recently); sadly DD1 finds painfully dull - but when it's live and a bit funny (say Volcano LIVE, Spring Watch/ Autumn Watch or Sky at Night) she absolutely adores it. So part of the battle is finding that happy medium of educational & entertaining enough to hold their interest. And that is tricky - because at least for us no two days are the same at our house. DD1 can be happy reading quietly one evening and then making dramatic sighs and pouting about the place about being bored the next.

DH and I have agreed one thing and that was to always stress that we value education and that sometimes getting to grips with something which is tricky simply does involve hard work and there really is no short cut. In fact, I suspect if you asked those idolized movie stars, singers, dancers, etc.... you'd find more often than not that there are years and years of solid work leading up to those 5 minutes of fame your DD just witnessed.

One of the things we really enjoy doing with the girls is watching the extras on DVDs about how the film was made, the original story boards, the CG work, the score, the voice over recordings, the costumes, the script re-writes, the sets, etc.... It really is useful for them to understand that hundreds of unseen people are behind the actors, animals, special effects and sets they've just seen in the film.

Hang in there and fight the good fight to keep her plugging away at school, even if it isn't always that interesting - she'll thank you for it in the end.


PassTheTwiglets Thu 16-May-13 10:02:37

PastSellByDate, what a great post, so useful. Thank you so much (and to everyone else on this thread).

xylem8 Thu 16-May-13 15:46:30

sadly being bored sometimes is an inevitable part of life!

Saracen Thu 16-May-13 18:59:10

"sadly being bored sometimes is an inevitable part of life!"

Of course it is, but if boredom really is a major feature of a person's life (rather than just an occasional complaint) then it shouldn't be accepted without putting up a fight. Life is too short to spend much of it being bored if there is a decent alternative. If my job was boring I would be trying hard to fix that aspect of it or find a different job. We shouldn't let children languish in genuine boredom at school for long either. Real learning is interesting. Boredom is a sign that something is wrong.

LegAKimboGo Thu 16-May-13 20:59:36

DD, year 3 announced that she was bored at school this week, so far i've managed to get this out of her.

She's fed up of the (very lovely, very good) teacher having to tell the same three boys off all the time.
Stats are going on in the rest of the school and there's a daily lecture about noise, etc

The pattern of assembly, library visits, swapping classes, phonic groups etc has been disrupted.

Building work disruption combined with management being stressed about the stats gives the school an atmosphere.

cory Fri 17-May-13 07:38:20

I agree that "bored" could mean all sorts of things.

With ds it usually meant that he either found the work too difficult or was so afraid that he might find the work difficult that he refused to engage with it just in case...

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