You can find the french version of this blog post here :
It all started to bother me after I heard these to things:
I know a lot of people that would simply reply to a child who says “I want to play instead going to school” that this unacceptable. I would have said the same thing before, reminding him or her about the importance of effort and perseverance. Maybe I would even add the example of going to work everyday even though you don’t necessarily feel like it. Although I understand the possibility of being bored at any time it is difficult for me to accept completely that a kid HAS to be bored in school. I also believe that I have a responsibility, as a parent, in terms of developing the intellectual interests of my children. We shouldn’t leave schools all the responsibility of educating or developing the intellectual potential of our loved ones. School is way too mainstream do deal efficiently with specificities of people’s brains.
I’ve seen bored students: English native speakers in an English as a Second Language class, Kindergartners that can already read in a letter-sound association activities. I’ve also seen overwhelmed students : first graders that don’t understand the concept of numbers trying to follow maths problem. This happens everyday, everywhere in the world, in every grade. And… I am not even getting into the topic of children with special needs in a regular school setting. Again, it is normal to be bored, it’s ok to be overwhelmed sometimes. Kids will learn good skills from both of these situations. But these situations should be minimized in a learning context.
Students arrive in class with sometimes as much as 11 months of difference in age between their classmates. It’s a huge difference, especially for the younger grades. Teaching the same concepts to all of them may be counterproductive in my opinion. Even if we are using the strengths of each one to help the weaker students, even by making all children active during one activity.
There are educational resources or approaches that can help to adapt teaching to the different types of people. Special education teachers or those teaching in a class of students with special needs ( learning difficulties, neurological disorders, etc), use them constantly because everyone agrees that these students are different. Unfortunately most of the teachers I have seen in my career as a resource teacher don’t use these strategies enough. Why? Economic reasons explain some of this, but also because we parents tolerate that our children are bored at school.
I must say that with the development of various pedagogical approaches, children are more active in the classroom. But in my opinion, they rarely have challenges exactly equal to their abilities. However, let us be positive because there is a lot of advancement being done in this field. But it is very slow going.
The truth is that as parents it is possible to help. It is possible to get involved in the intellectual interests and therefore in the development of the intellectual potential of our child. Here are some simple ideas that should not mess up your schedule and that should support the development of the academic skills of your kids without being totally academic.
How do I adapt/integrate these activities to my busy schedule?
Being a parent, like being a teacher, means being constantly in the process of managing priorities. There are always multiple variables and you have to choose the right one to be the most effective / meaningful / fun / organized possible. It goes beyond just saying “choose your battles”. It is basically saying “choose everything you do, and choose it well”. However, in order to make good choices one must know as many variables as possible. In my opinion, the perfect choice of ”battle” in this context, or the perfect project for your child should be:
Choose a theme that is most closely related to my child’s interests and ability to be performed in his or her proximal area of development (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development). This needs to be done without messing my schedule completely and leaving me the opportunity to do my usual tasks. Also ideally this learning activity or project would allow me to spend quality time with my child while not destroying my own free time.
A miracle solution does not exist (unfortunately). But, in my opinion, I can get very close by averaging out of all these variables and multitasking. Be brave!