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7 y.o. says he is bored at school

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IkeaAddict

This was DS last year, I spoke to his teacher and to the school numerous times but nothing changed. When he started being silly in class due to boredom nothing changed either. So unless they gave him extra stuff to do they would need to deal with his behaviour. This year, new teacher, new class, and he's being extended to where he's being challenged and is a lot happier and I haven't heard any bored at school complaints all year!!

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Octopodes

You can only extend a child vertically so far and even then all you are really doing is kicking the problem down the road. Sideways extension allows gifted and talented children the freedom to further explore subjects that interest them in a more comprehensive manner, which vertical extension doesn't. It sounds like you are expecting further vertical extension which actually goes against best practice. Have you spoken to his teacher about sideways extension?

 

Also, even if he is bored, your child still needs to demonstrate that he has satisfied the curriculum outcomes. G&T kids can really struggle with this and often don't understand why they have to do the 'easy' work instead of just doing the 'harder' work all of the time.

 

I wouldn't be rushing to change schools at this point, it sounds like the current school is willing to work with you to make sure his needs are met, it might just mean a re-evaluation of what you expect from them.

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Octopodes

One other thing, make sure he has the opportunities to explore interests at home too. The absolute best thing I did for my kid recently was find him a music teacher with a strong background in music theory. He is learning to play the guitar and the science behind how music is made. He is much more settled at school because his giftedness is being addressed through appropriate extracurricular activities also.

Edited by Octopodes
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Manicmum

I agree with octopodes, however sometimes vertical extension is also needed. It has been such a problem for me, largely resolved by extra curricular activities. We have found swimming to be great, an hour of laps 2-3 times a week has made a terrific contribution to calmness in our household, all my children learn two instruments and the older two are busy 4/5 lunchtimes with band or choir, all their own choice. They also play one school sport per term the swimming sounds strange for kids that are bored I know but it takes practice to improve and involves deep, prolonged concentration, one likes to practice her times tables when she does backstroke though.

 

Teaching them self extension techniques is a great help, using more sophisticated language, using examples, asking “how do I know?” Learning that school is not about knowing but showing that you know and why you know.

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Octopodes

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest vertical extension should be completely dismissed, only that vertical extension alone generally causes more issues further down the track. Extending vertically a year or two ahead is unlikely to be a problem, it is when you have a child many, many years ahead vertically that it can get tricky.

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Manicmum

I knew what you meant and agree, sorry if I worded it poorly. I agree vertical extension becomes difficult too. Especially due to asynchronous development.

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EPZ

I have found a group in early primary at our school finding everything mundane.

 

I think our school has more challenging/engaging work, as they progress through the year levels.

 

My son in grade 6 is loving the work. DD in grade 3 - the bored one, aspects are starting to get more interesting, with self research writing topics and writing The Daily Potato Newsletter. She will seek out her own learning opportunities. Instead of colouring in, she writes music in her notebook.

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JoanJett

I find it interesting that my highly gifted older son has never once in his life uttered the phrase that he is bored - at home or at/by school. He never asks for entertainment or ideas, just sometimes the means to complete a project he's started. He is never without an activity or project on the go.

 

It's where I see that real spark of creative thinking that many gifted people have - he sees something, reads something or hears something, and it's the impetus to create, either by building, drawing, writing, making music, or just creating an imaginary game.

 

His coping strategy for school has always been to carry a daily library of books and a journal for drawing or writing.

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Abernathy

Ditto. My kids don't cry boredom. They carry a pen and a writing book everywhere they go (and usually a book also) and they can entertain themselves.

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Pooks_

My son says he’s bored when he is feeling stressed. He’s highly capable in some regards, but is also autistic and has learning difficulties. He gets extended sometimes because he’s a natural in some areas but then falls apart on another area of the same subject. I’m bored, I’m tired... “Entertain yourself” might be a fair solution for some kids but an extremely unfair one for others. He has absolutely no capacity to entertain himself at school. That doesn’t mean he’s not very bright.

 

Being bored could mean a lot of things. Personally if I were worried enough to consider a change of school, I’d absolutely want formal testing first to paint a fuller picture of what’s going on. Masking is a very real thing.

 

And then if I were confident that he just needed a cup of concrete, then fine.

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JoanJett

My son says he’s bored when he is feeling stressed. He’s highly capable in some regards, but is also autistic and has learning difficulties. He gets extended sometimes because he’s a natural in some areas but then falls apart on another area of the same subject. I’m bored, I’m tired... “Entertain yourself” might be a fair solution for some kids but an extremely unfair one for others. He has absolutely no capacity to entertain himself at school. That doesn’t mean he’s not very bright.

 

Being bored could mean a lot of things. Personally if I were worried enough to consider a change of school, I’d absolutely want formal testing first to paint a fuller picture of what’s going on. Masking is a very real thing.

 

And then if I were confident that he just needed a cup of concrete, then fine.

 

I understand that and agree - my older son has severe ADHD and has well documented learning problems in addition to his giftedness. It was more my contribution to the fact that boredom doesn't always automatically signify an issue. Plenty of high IQ/gifted kids never utter that phrase and many of them have other problems as well.

 

My younger son on the other hand - high IQ ("gifted"), no other issues and "I'm bored" is his catch-cry .....

 

I think the early years of school are pretty boring for most kids. Repetition, reinforcement and solidifying basic learning concepts. It's the foundation they need, but you don't need to be gifted to find the first years of primary school boring.

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Octopodes

Ditto. My kids don't cry boredom. They carry a pen and a writing book everywhere they go (and usually a book also) and they can entertain themselves.

I would HATE it if DS did this. He has ASD, it is important for him to be an active participant in life, which is already a challenge due to his head being in the clouds. A book or notebook would be a great excuse to not engage with what is going on around him.

 

"I'm bored" is often (not always) code for 'I'm anxious'. When he is anxious he struggles to settle to activities and identifies that as boredom. I redirect to calming activities (Lego, reading, listening to music) and then once relaxed, he returns to one of his gazillion projects.

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Crombek

My kid is really good at entertaining himself too. Unfortunately it is more of the ‘dismantling everything in sight to see how it works and if I can make something new’ variety. He is absolutely bored by writing.

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Octopodes

My son entertains himself by draining every piece of knowledge out of every interesting (as judged by him) adult he comes across, leaving empty human shaped husks in his wake.

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Sincerely

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest vertical extension should be completely dismissed, only that vertical extension alone generally causes more issues further down the track. Extending vertically a year or two ahead is unlikely to be a problem, it is when you have a child many, many years ahead vertically that it can get tricky.

 

Radical vertical acceleration in maths is a lot easier now with maths education software. Learning with the software, without didactic teaching, isn't for everyone, but for those with a natural aptitude, the software enables the user to work at his/her pace. DS completed the Yr 7-10 maths curriculum in the first six months of high school. The Maths Pathways program allowed him to skip modules if he demonstrated understanding by correctly answering pre module questions. He is now using Maths Online for the Yr 12 curriculum whilst physically sitting in his Yr 9 class.

 

He is well ahead of the actual Yr 12 class and his older sister (uni student) even asks for his help on occasional questions to enable her to effectively tutor her Yr 12 students (she's a bit rusty since she did Yr 12 in 2015). I find it very amusing to watch these scenarios.

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Sincerely

Maths is a universal system and so is science. The school system arbitrarily determines what should be taught in each grade. There is actually no reason why a young, literate child, who can access the whole internet web of information, can't explore certain areas of maths and/or science to depths/levels which might typically be taught in Uni.

 

A lot of primary schools allocate the different parts of the multiplication table to different grades (2 & 5 times tables in first year and 7 times table may not be introduced for another two years). I learnt all of my tables within a couple of days as a kindergartener and so did my older two kids, so it always struck me that the curriculum was more a minimum benchmark and if everyone followed it prescriptively, a lot of talent in the population would be wasted.

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JBH

My son entertains himself by draining every piece of knowledge out of every interesting (as judged by him) adult he comes across, leaving empty human shaped husks in his wake.

 

I have one of these. We went to a museum and the guides wear t-shirts that say “ask me anything”. They came to regret that.

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