on April 29, 2019

Does your child hate school?

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As a mum the hardest thing to hear from your child is that he/she hates school, especially if as a kid you loved it. It raises all sorts of concerns about why? Is the environment not right, do they have good friends, is it all just too hard?  

My son hates school. Every morning is a drama. Monday's are the worst. It is a constant battle to get him to get ready. He constantly asks me if he can have "a mental health day". My husband and I have had to read him the riot act and have said that he can't miss any school, it is just not an option. Even with this harsh stance, we can't help wondering why he hates it so much. Your mother's intuition kicks in and you can't help thinking there is something going on that you can't put your finger on.

We have seen the principal and the pastoral care staff and by all accounts our son is very popular and is always with someone having fun in the school yard. Why the attitude at home then? We have been doing some research with his teachers to see if there is some reason why he dislikes going so much.

Here are 5 thoughts to consider:

  • 1. At school you are told exactly what you must do, and you are punished for failing to comply. Our son is a very free spirit and as an only child this sort of environment is a challenge for him. Having his freedom restricted is a real learning curve. In school they must do just what the teacher is telling them to do.

  • Children who are provided the tools for learning, including access to a wide range of other people from whom to learn, learn what they need to know-and much more-through their own self-directed play and exploration. When our son has some input into the topic he is learning about he is much more engaged.

  • 2. Being bullied is a real issue in schools. Now it is not just in the playground but also online. Our son has been exposed to this. Sometimes people do or say things that are hurtful. We are teaching our son how to be resilient and respect others as well as being able restrict those who be engages with online.

  • 3. Teachers can make or break the experience. If your teacher cares about you child you can feel it. They know them when they speak about them. Teachers can have different approaches to learning and discipline. My son didn't like French because of his teacher and when the teacher changed this year he suddenly has been doing well. Having a good relationship with your child's teachers can really help.

  • 4. Homework is a lot of pressure for kids given their other commitments. I kept asking my son if he had any only to be told at parent teacher interviews that most where not giving much in the first term. Having an app with the timetable and homework is very useful for parents, however, so is just knowing what each subject is focused on for the term. Rather than sit down homework, then as parents you can weave discussions around key topics to foster conversation. We have been working with a tutor Khatie from TutorBright and giving her an outline for key subjects so at least we all have a roadmap of where we are going. As a peer rather than a teacher, Khatie has fostered a love of learning for our son. Sometimes we think he is learning more from her than going to school!

  • 5. Grades are poor. Last year our son didn't have the best attitude and as a result his grades suffered. All his teachers said he was capable but wasn't putting in the effort. Sound familiar? We made a few changes this year that have really worked.
    1. We engaged Khatie our TutorBright tutor early and for a longer time to cover off Maths and English.
    2. We reduced the tech during the week.
    3. We enforced an earlier bedtime. All of these actions have resulted in a happier kid and a much better result at school

If you are a mum that has a child that hates school, it is important to know you are not alone. There could be many reasons, but there are solutions. TutorBright have brilliant tutors that can uncover some of these issues and also put together a plan to build confidence and skills for your son or daughter. 

Dan MacInnis - Parent

Danielle is a marketing consultant and mother of 13 year old boy.