03-21-2017 10:41 AM - last edited on 03-21-2017 12:17 PM by Ngaio-RO
I have a son who is 15 and doesnt enjoy school. He is good at Maths ans Science...gets As and Bs but he hates the idea of doing work over and over and seems to get tired of being there..hes an introvert so hd loves his alone time. He finds many of the topics in school irrelevant but hes a bright kid... at the moment, I allow him to have Tuesdays off school to use to revise in his room where its quiet. I know 85% of people would say he should be at school ever day but what if 5 days a week is too exhausting? There must be other kids who feel the same as my son. I dont believe its helpful for learning if a child is overwhelmed or exhausted. What are your thoughts?
03-21-2017 12:29 PM
That sounds like a great work-around for a really tough situation. It's really, REALLY, hard to make a kid go to school, if he doesn't want to go. What are you going to do, drag him there by his toes and chain him to a chair?
For me, when it comes to my kids and school, I try to always come from the perspective of 'what will help them learn?' and I don't believe forcing a kid to be there against their will, is going to facilitate learning in any way.
In terms of solutions, I'm really keen to hear what other parents have tried. My suggestions are to contact your state's Dept of Education and speak to their Home Liaison Officer. Although it may be called something different if you're not in NSW. Their role is to support students to complete their educations. They used to be called Truant Officers and were solely about hassling kids who weren't going but that's changed over the last decade and they now have a more encouraging approach as well as looking at options.
BUT! I may sound silly but I believe in these situations is a really good idea to call first just to find out what they do and what their philisophies and ideaologies are when it comes to attendance. If they are very different from yours, inviting them in may not be the ideal option.
Is your son happy with 4 days or is he looking to do less? And has he ever identified if there are other types of schools he would be happier to attend?
03-21-2017 12:47 PM - edited 03-21-2017 12:56 PM
Hi all my first post !! Great points ! I agree that looking at alternative still schooling might be an idea. When I was at school I used to think 5 days a week was way too much and always wanted Wednesdays as my " mental health day " lol . And I'm an extrovert !! Smaller alternative schools may function with a different rhythm and pace and more intimacy which may be better for an introverted child who replenishes more by being alone than with others .
The other idea may be to contact his school and discuss what he is like at school when he is there . Is he engaged ? Does he interact with others well ? Does he have at least one consistent friendship ? The school may have an outreach wellbeing system that engages with students who are reluctant to go to school and find out if there are any other "under the radar " issues that are contributing to him being " exhausted " and "overwhelmed " . Best of luck to you and let us know how you go ! 😊
03-22-2017 09:40 AM
Hello @hippychick and welcome
I'm with you (and everyone else) on this - good on you for 'standing up for your son'. I put it this way, because I have always felt that attendance has had to be somewhat flexible depending on the individual's (and family's for that matter) need. Fortunately, this is one area that most of the schools we have accessed have worked with me on, but this has not always been the case.
I have children from Grades 6 to 12 and always encourage them to take 'mental health care' days. Given that there is discussion on a four day working week at the moment, it would be nice for this to become the norm for school too Have you heard of the Candlebark School in Victoria? Now there's a leading Australian principal on what teenagers need! They have start times of 11am I believe!
03-23-2017 04:10 PM
Thank you for this information. I did not know that there's this position to help families for school children.
@hippychick Bright children can sometime be bored. If your son is good at maths and science, I assume he might be on good terms with the respective teachers? May be you can go and talk to the teachers and see if they can give him some more challenging work to keep him occupied?
I wonder if the school has co-curriculums? Science Clubs etc? If we could help identify one thing that your son is truely interested, we might get things going.
04-05-2017 02:22 PM
Have you talked to the school about this? What do they say? I would think they would be supportive if the alternative is not going to school at all. If not, can they give your son access to the school counsellor to help him find ways to manage at school 5 days?
If it gets worse, I know that schools like Sydney Distance Education High School cater to a lot of students who have difficulty dealing with the school environment. They even have some programs in place where students can do some of their study (1 day a week) at a local learning hub and some at home. Staying at his own school where he has friends etc is probably the first best option though so school should be willing to work with you to help that happen. Best to talk to them about it though.
04-05-2017 02:49 PM - edited 04-05-2017 02:50 PM
Thanks for that @motherbear It's always good to hear about programs being run that can help students / young people and parents. The AYCE program sounds like a great option for young people who are unable to attend full-time high school. Or for young people transitioning out of home education. The only downside is it's in Victoria only.
I'm looking for similar programs in other states and I'll post them here as soon as I find them.
04-05-2017 02:54 PM
04-06-2017 01:40 AM
my initial thought - was instant - trust your judgement and that you know your son best - there is no norm model to follow but your heart . No doubt you will have a million and one judgements or suggestions (mine being one) . Your teaching to your son also to trust his judgement and have his space is such a valid one. To have open communication with your son is great, be it words, looks, body talk, or hearts connecting, sounding like that is happening for you both. school is not for everyone 5 days ... Yes you will hear it's important, I feel a child supported will find direction. My son is 16 and has ceased school , he is unable and we are now seeking homeschooling. We are all different and have different needs - remember school is a general suitability - fantastic for the majority for the outcomes of WACE ... follow your heart.
Happy to to share our journey with you ...