Third Grader Bored With School

My third grader is very discouraged with school. He says that his teacher never calls on him and he obsesses about this. He also showed some signs of ADHD and we sought professional help. She thought my son was extremely bored but the school psychologist and the gifted teacher recommended that we not give him fourth grade work. What can I do to keep him from becoming bored?

Question:

I don't want you to think that giving your son fourth grade work is the only possible response to his recent problems in school. Yes, he may be bored, but the source of his boredom needs to be narrowed down to a specific reason.

Does he already know all of the information that is being taught, or does it appear that he catches on very quickly and completes his work far ahead of others in his class? If the first is true, a more challenging curriculum needs to be provided for him. If he is a "quick study" and understands concepts easily, modifications can be made to provide more stimulation for him.

I am concerned that your son "obsesses" with the number of times the teacher calls on him. While children can be disappointed when they aren't called on immediately, most third graders have learned that the teacher has to move the questioning around.

Do you think that his feelings are warranted? Is she purposefully excluding him from class discussions? If she is trying to exclude him, that really isn't fair to him and the issue needs to be addressed with her. However, if she gives him as much attention as she gives the other students and he simply cannot accept that, perhaps his reaction should be investigated further by the school psychologist. Ultimately, a classroom with a lower student-to-teacher ratiomay be more appropriate for your child's needs.

Developing your son's interests in and outside of school may be helpful in giving him a sense of purpose. Find out his strengths and try to build on those. Does he excel in music? Piano lessons may help fulfill this need. Is he a strong reader? Some bookstores have book clubs for young readers. There are ways to meet a child's needs creatively outside of the classroom that may be quite effective.

Encourage your son's teacher to develop a partnership with you to design an appropriate educational plan for your child. This may include enrichment within and outside the classroom. Because behavior appears to be an issue, perhaps a behavior management plan is in order, too. Work with the teacher to set some goals for your child and offer your support to help achieve them.

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