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Bored with school at age 6

Submitted by on Monday, 12 September 2011 2 Comments

Boots’ school operates on a color system – kids start the day at green and either move up to yellow, orange and then red or down to blue, purple and gray.

The problems with that are two-fold:

  • The squeaky wheel not only gets the grease, but it also stands out. Boots often will claim that, yes, he was goofing off in the morning but was good in the afternoon but the teacher didn’t see him. Yes,that does happen, I’ll agree. I could show him a whole stack of job reviews through out my career that focused on just such incidents but overlooked much of the rest of the year.
  • You can’t tell if a blue means “talking too much” or knocking at the door of juvy hall.

It was confusion over the latter that had me knocking on Boots’ teacher’s door a few weeks ago. After a solid week on “blue,” I was mentally preparing to use his college fund for bail money. The fact that Boots was unable to keep his story straight added to the confusion.

I’m not used to that. Big Guy would always quickly confess his crimes, and that helped me steer him back toward the straight and narrow. Boots will stop just short of saying “aliens took control of my brain” in inventing lavish tales about how it’s not his fault.

After talking to his teacher, I found out that it is his fault. Sort of.

It seems that Boots was finishing his work quickly and pestering people sitting at his table who still were trying to work. Looking at the work coming home, I could see why he had so much extra time on his hands. Tracing letters. Writing numbers through 10. Reading “books” with one, four-word sentence per page. It all was much easier than he was doing at the end of kindergarten last year, and he complained constantly. “This is preschool stuff,” he’d say.

He had a point. Yet, I also understand that some kids need that practice. They’re likely the same kids who started kindergarten not knowing how to hold a crayon, and my heart hurts for them. My heart also hurts for Boots, who’s starting to sour on “boring old school” only a month into first grade. He’s not alone in this either. I’ve talked to several other moms whose children are just as frustrated.

Yes, the situation is getting better for Boots at least. His teacher has started giving him a stack of extra worksheets for him to do when he’s completed his regular assignments, and his math work is starting to challenge him, though I’m sure it’s beyond frustrating for kids who don’t read well. Some of the questions are written at sixth-grade level. How can you solve what you can’t understand?

I feel his teacher’s pain in trying to serve the needs of 23 students with widely varying ability levels, especially at the start of the year when you’re dealing with kids too young to have academic track records so it’s difficult to differentiate the lessons. Yet, I also feel Boots’ pain, and I hate that he’s starting to hate school at age 6.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Parenting Pink - Elizabeth Donovan said:

    Oh I feel Boots pain Debra!I too have a first grader who is complaining she’s bored. It’s a difficult situation for kids, teachers, and parents but at least the teacher is willing to work with you. My Amanda crawled under her desk the second day of school because she had already finished her work and was “bored” so she decided to “build a fort” using the desk. Smart girl. I’d hide too if I had to read one more 2 letter word :-)

    That being said, I know it’s been a while, but hope you and your family are doing well. Need to blog more often..oh, if I could just squeeze in some extra time!

  • Debra said:

    OMG, Elizabeth, that’s just horrible for her! (And I’ll note that with both of us it’s happening with our second child, who’s sat at home for years and pretty much done school work right along with an older sibling.)

    And, yes, our teacher is working with us but it’s more oriented toward solving the “discipline” problem and keeping him busy. I’m not convinced that it’s not just a bunch of busy work, though, as opposed to something that actually challenges him. I’m hoping it will get better as the year goes on – when Big Guy was in first grade, his teacher was able to do a lot with differentiated learning later in the year – but I dread seeing how many more “blue” days we have before then.