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"Mum, school is such a waste of my time "

(20 Posts)
Robindrama Fri 20-Apr-18 09:35:41

Problem with attitude here. Ds, currently in y2. Hated school since beginning.
In reception I thought it's because lack of his favourite super hero and Lego toys.
In y1, when he was still 5 yo he said: school is such a waste of my time. He didn't care about spelling tests, reading, anything. Just minimum effort.
Now in y2 still not interested. Teacher say he makes this comments at school, she doesn't take it personally.
We initiated meetings with his teachers but no real plan or ideas how to help.
He is very bright and able- teachers always say. He achieves expectations easily, not exceeds as not interested.
He has broad interests: history, geography, science. Any topic lessons or trips he is a star as he has got an amazing knowledge. No social issues.
For almost last three years I hear: "mum, I hate school"- how can we change it? Please share your thoughts, experience.

irvineoneohone Fri 20-Apr-18 09:50:11

Does he have good relationships with other children? That's the biggest reason ds was happy to go to school everyday, have fun times with other children, rather than work, in ks1.
My ds wished he was home schooled so he can do what interests him more and less of repetition. But every time we talked about it, he end up deciding that he likes school and want to carry on going.( Not that I was intending to home school anyway, but just giving him the idea of what would be like)
It may get better in KS2. More subjects and details to cover, and other children starts to get it and all the dynamics start to change.

Highhorse1981 Fri 20-Apr-18 09:54:32

Does he actually seem unhappy?

Or is it just words and become a sort of habit to whinge about it

Witchend Fri 20-Apr-18 10:01:59

Ds is year 6 and still feels that way. He's able-he got nearly full marks in the SATS tests at the start of year 6, but the process bores him.
His knowledge in what he's interested in is great-his teacher was checking her WWII facts with him as she taught this year.

He has some friends, and they seem to get on well, but he'd always choose to stay at home if he could.

But school is very good for him. With his choice he'd stay at home doing only what he liked, not mixing with many people his age.

irvineoneohone Fri 20-Apr-18 10:03:27

Another thing that I would worry about is that he isn't getting exceeding because he isn't bothered. I don't think it's hard for bright child who "gets it" to achieve exceeding in KS1. It's all basics. If he carry on with that attitude, he will likely to be taken over by average children later on, who are more enthusiastic about learning.

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 20-Apr-18 10:36:55

What is your attitude to school in general?

How do the discussions go when he brings up that it's a waste of time?

brilliotic Fri 20-Apr-18 11:45:10

Yes to sirfred's point. Examine how you feel about school, maybe he is saying this because he knows it will put him 'on the same side' as you. Him saying that might give you, subconsciously, the satisfaction of being confirmed in what you expected; and kids do pick up on that kind of thing.

DS' teacher once pulled DP up 'for a word' and it emerged that DS had said to her that 'Daddy says I don't learn anything at school' blush

Whereas DS does (of course) learn at school, it is true that we (DP and I) tend to think that school is fairly inefficient for learning, and that it is quicker and more efficient to learn things 'at home'/one-to-one/in context/out of self-interest... and that therefore DS on balance probably learns more out of school than at school. And we do think badly when schools (in general, not our specific school) focus more on assessing than on teaching (e.g. spellings or times tables - children to learn them by themselves/at home, whilst school merely tests them).
But whereas it is true that we think these things, we do not believe that school is negative, we continue to send DS despite HE being an option for us. We have a well reflected stance towards school, not blindly positive, nor predominantly critical, but seeing the downsides in context of the whole.

We realised then that we have to be more careful about how we express our own feelings regarding school. Not to deny that we feel this way, but to be a bit more nuanced about it, so that DS doesn't get the wrong end of the stick and starts to believe we feel that school is 'a waste of time'.

Also what other PPs have said: DS enjoys school for the sake of his friends. These days (now in Y3) if he said that school is a waste of his time, he would mean that he isn't getting enough time to do stuff with his friends. Obviously break times and free play are now fairly limited, but in turn a lot of the actual school work involves being with/working with his friends, which is fine in his perspective. What he finds boring/time wasting is doing (too easy) worksheets individually. Fair enough, IMO.
But then, DS lives for social connections, and 'learning' is merely a side effect/means to the end. It would be different, I suppose, if he were primarily motivated by learning.

Highhorse1981 Fri 20-Apr-18 12:19:22

Really good interesting post brilliotic

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 20-Apr-18 13:00:43

Interesting that you think that brilliotic for me KS1 isn't really about learning, it's about practicing skills, the efficiency of learning is irrelevant as what is needed is the practice time.

The split between practicing and learning gradually drops throughout the school, although there are phases where demonstrating is the key part and not learning or practicing.

"Maths is such a waste of time, I can add any numbers!"
"okay what's 37+98"
"..."
"too slow! See that's why you're still practicing it."

Equally of course, I have no problem with a child that doesn't see the benefit in spelling test practice, or reading the school book, or anything else, as long as it's done from a perspective they can justify. The practice within school is part of the teachers job to make it engaging enough to go for.

brilliotic Fri 20-Apr-18 15:15:57

sirfred, I agree with being careful about distinguishing between practising and learning. Often the learning (or at the very least, the fluency) comes with the 'doing'.

Our school does not give spellings home to learn or practise (at least not until now) nor TTs. I was surprised when DS got full marks on the Y2 SpaG SATs - clearly he learned at school. Was taught, listened, practised.
Maths however IMO they do not do enough practice by far in (our) school. They teach stuff, do some exercises, move on, don't expect the children to really have 'learned' it. Revisit in a couple of months.
DS picks up concepts really easily but would never have achieved any kind of fluency if we hadn't practised a bit at home. So I agree that practising is not a 'waste of time' even if you have 'got' the concept.

I still hold that often learning is more efficient out of school - including practising ;) as it can be much better targeted to the child's needs.
(And yet that doesn't mean that school is necessarily a waste of time!)

Robindrama Fri 20-Apr-18 16:53:21

Thank you for your comments so far.
We, as parents, always emphasise the importance of education. We both have university degree, great and successful career thanks to our education. I still do lots of courses, which he knows about-ds often sees me studying.
We talk a lot with kids about the importance of learning. We love kids school ( outstanding one) and believe they all work v hard there. We never mentioned or considered home ed.
As one of his teachers said: he rebels against the system... ( and he is not a teenager yet...).
He has got a great group of friends, spends time with them outside the school.

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 20-Apr-18 17:58:29

We, as parents, always emphasise the importance of education

How exactly? That's a very abstract thing, translating it to putting in extra effort in a spelling test in year 2 is quite a leap - it's not something I could actually justify, education is important, this weeks spelling test really not. So do you talk about the importance of learning in the abstract or the concrete - ie is it "you need to study hard so you can get a successful career", which is abstract and pre-supposes they understand and want a successful career. Or is it more specific feedback on why a particular thing you're doing right now is important.

What's the homework attitude?

The other question is maybe if it's actually a defence strategy, the not trying allows him to not live up to expectations he feels you have for him, or has for himself.

irvineoneohone Fri 20-Apr-18 18:52:30

Why does he thinks school is waste of time? He has great friends, work isn't too easy if he isn't getting exceeding. Why does he rebel against system, especially from reception? A lot of children would rather not go to school and play/do things they like all day. But that's part of life.

Robindrama Fri 20-Apr-18 19:01:59

Irvine-I'm afraid that's the point. He would prefer to play...

DailyWailEatsSnails Fri 20-Apr-18 19:23:12

Learning to put up with somewhat boring experiences is good for character and teaches us that we can do the same thing in other parts of life. It's small doses in yr2. (Almost) No one enjoys cleaning the bog or sorting out uniform the night before work, especially when tired, but learning you can do these things anyway is good for us.

irvineoneohone Fri 20-Apr-18 20:19:06

Of course it is for many children. But then, it's our job as parents to encourage our child to understand that sometimes you need to do things you don't like?
I am sure you aren't, but I sort of get the impression that you are partially blaming school for his attitude.

Robindrama Fri 20-Apr-18 21:53:41

At home he is not enthusiastic about homework or any housework but we know how to encourage/ reward him. I find him easygoing.
His teacher is a lovely lady, experienced and down to earth. Spot on my child.
We just can't break that attitude issue, that has been a problem since the start.
And as a parent I am just heartbroken when he says: my teacher knows nothing about me. Or: I want to go to a different school.

irvineoneohone Fri 20-Apr-18 22:21:36

Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. I wonder what is making him so unhappy. Why does he think the teacher knows nothing about him, when you think she is spot on? If friendship is great, why does he wants to go to other school? It is indeed heartbreaking to have an unhappy child.

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 20-Apr-18 22:55:17

but we know how to encourage/ reward him

I have to wonder if you've over-sold the external motivations to work at education, so he's completely switched off when he's expected to work for more intrinsic, there's no point working hard if he's not going to get a reward/praise/win.

The teacher knowing nothing or wanting to go to a different school is more strange though.

irvineoneohone Sun 22-Apr-18 07:00:31

I kind of agree, sirfred
My ds took an instrumental exam recently, and he's got a great result. His first response was, " what do I get for that?"
My dh's response was, "nothing, result was a reward", and I agreed.
Same for homeworks. I always took a stance, that he doesn't have to do it, if he doesn't want to. Never rewarded him for doing it. But it is compulsory since yr3 at our school, if he doesn't do it, he will lose his breaks.

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