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School Refusal

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Re: School Refusal

My husband and I talked to her tonight and she has said that she would go to school "if they paid attention to her". I asked her for further detail and she said she wanted them to stop going so slow and to teach her something. She said sometimes she would answer a question at the start of the lesson, but everyone else hadn't known it so they spent the whole lesson on it, or when she asked further questions during time they weren't doing much or students were catching up, she got told the answers were too far ahead or she needed to understand the lesson's work first. She said she had approached all her teachers to get harder things instead and almost all of them dismissed her except for one (her biology teacher). He brought in his university textbook and let her pick chapters and do the chapter questions from that when she was bored, which she quite liked, but he stopped doing it in the following term because the head of science said she couldn't be allowed to do things ahead of the rest of the classroom. It was from then she started skipping class.

I passed on the ESP idea to her and she is SO keen, she was super chatty about being torn between three of the courses which was refreshing to see after all the issues the past month! On that note, there apparently isn't any courses that are super aligned with what she wants to do, and she likes the idea of the calculus math courses, but wants to do the 701 course because it "sounds harder and more interesting" but she isn't going to be doing a maths degree for any of the careers she's interested in. Do you have any experience with those actual courses?
My husband and I have also found some online navigation and outdoor education courses for her that we are going to ask the school if she can do at her or the teacher's discretion. Would you recommend looking into certificates or diplomas? Is there a diploma aligned with atmospherical and/or earth sciences (that's what she's said she's interested in)? My husband nor I finished the final year of high school, so we have no idea when it comes to higher education courses as our work put us through our qualifications.

As I work shifts, my husband owns a business and we live way too far away from public transport, we couldn't bribe her regularly enough with university lectures to be fair, so we're just going to take her to them when we can. So we've offered if she goes to school, she gets to learn one "new extracurricular thing" and she's come back with a list of three things she wants to learn to do by herself: skydiving, fly a helicopter (very firmly not a plane, it must be a helicopter) and scuba diving. We didn't see that one coming but she's excited at least! Thank you so much for these suggestions, she's excited about them - hopefully it transfers over to understanding it means she has to go to high school classes now!


Re: School Refusal

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Hi @qwerty11 

Thanks for getting back to us, so glad you have found these suggestions helpful! That is very exciting how keen she is for the ESP courses, I don't have any specific guidance to offer around which courses or certificate/diploma, but I'm sure they would be happy to answer questions for you through their contact page Smiley Very Happy


Good on her for having such adventurous ambitions! It's great to have things to look forward to, do you think you'll be go scuba diving and sky diving with her? Sounds like lots of incredible memories to be made!

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Re: School Refusal

We've said to do skydiving first, it'll be my husband who takes her to do them, who I'm pretty sure he's content on keeping his feet on the ground!


Re: School Refusal

The problem is not with your daughter.

I feel for your family. Having a very bright child is a blessing, and her brilliance is very sorely needed if humans are to solve the significant survival problems facing us.

I also have a very bright child who has had a mixed experience with teachers competent to understand and extend him.

Your magic daughter’s behaviour is entirely consistent with contact with a system that has insufficient flexibility to cope with individuals who are exceptional.

While the Education authorities are required to ensure all children grow and are extended each year, the practical resource limitations mean that teachers have limited capacity to extend individuals.

Most of them haven’t done the free online training for working with gifted and talented students, even when teaching Ignite stream students.

Having full marks while attending intermittently and saying it’s “all good” and that attendance is the most important thing shows you two things.

Schools highly value attendance, so it’s possibly a metric used to score them (it’s also a legal obligation on parents).

Secondly, that attaining their expectation of “high marks” satisfies the school that they are doing their job.

If you were employed as a forensic accountant and your boss required you to paint rocks for 7 out of 8 hours a day... how long would you last before refusing to be so misused.

The need for challenge and stimulating activity to feel alive (wagging school is a risk taking behaviour that’s stimulating), her difficulty doing boring things and fast and high level thinking ability suggests a condition at the core of her issues but the guidelines prevent discussing it.

My son only does half the assigned math questions because once he’s done 3 examples to prove he knows what he’s doing, he says “Why do I have to do these 6 that are the same ?”

The Uni level work sounds like a possible idea, if practical. Uni work requires consistent attendance for continuity as more difficult material relies on having learned earlier stuff. Unless she’s just auditing a course for interest. CSIRO also has online material for science nerds that she might enjoy.

Homeschool might help, where she can move through material at her pace in 2 days a week and then focus on her own development activities.

There are also entrepreneurial organisations which provide extension for students just like your daughter, but guidelines prevent me identifying them.

Your daughter is a sharp tool, easily blunted by contact with rigid thinking. She’s fortunate to have such persistent and dedicated parents.