"The article is ok, but the 2/9/09 post is right! Getting kids excited
outside of school does nothing to cure the problems within our schools!
What are we going to do about this decrepit institution, People?! My
generation (boomish) was bored when we went to these schools. Our parents
were told it was our/their fault: boomers were children of television and
were just too used to being entertained. "Educators" admitted that TV was
more effective than teachers were at engaging people and introducing them
to new worlds and concepts. But school was school, and our parents were
told that the kids just had to learn to sit still and listen to the
endless blather of bureau crats. ENOUGH!! I honestly believe the term
"teacher" should be replaced with "coach." Why not use TV, ipads, and
apps to introduce children to each subject and then use the "coaches" to
help them exercise the concepts to the point of mastery. Kids could take
charge of their learning and lose the inhibition that comes from the
current system which idolizes the supposedly "gifted" kids who are just
too unimaginitive to daydream.
"The articles are great. However, are you able to identify resources and
programs geared for 'all students' not just 'gifted students?'
I wish someone would create a program that could motivate and excite
students who are not excelling. Sadly, these children are often given
rote and boring material which further deceases their desire to learn."
"I'm running a summer mathematics program that is not meant to be remedial
or advanced: it is an 'out of the box' program that gets kids excited
about the possibilities of learning 'math on the streets' using the
vibrant urban culture of NYC as a context. My website is smi-ny.com if you
want to know more."
"do you have a list of programs this summer that have scholorships in the
michigan area for a middle-schooler"
"This is a wonderful list of alternatives - some more realistically
accessed than others - and a wonderfully well-intentioned article. That
said I'd need to also say this - I'd need to see and look carefully at the
research of experts that says the most common reason for middle schoolers
to be bored is that they are not sufficiently challenged.
One - the state of research in the science of education is still in its
infancy though many of us don't realize that and most of us aren't
comfortable with thinkng that. When it comes to our children and their
education, we'd like the experts to really be expert.
And - what does it mean to be 'challenged' in school? We use that word
often but almost never define it. From my many years of teaching middle
school, I'd say middle schoolers are challenged by the very process that
is school. It is very challenging for young people to sit still through
35-40 minute long classes and to do that through 7 or 8 class periods a
day. If you want an experience that will open your eyes and numb your body
- go back to middle school for a day and be a student sitting in those
And you'll see how little has changed in the curriculum or the manner of
teaching despite all the talk about 'multisensory teaching' and 'auditory,
visual and kinesthetic classes'. But you'll also see how much middle
schoolers have changed - they are Far More knowledgeable that they were at
least in my day. And far more restless, uncertain and unhappy with the
traditional process that is school - sitting in rows taking closed-book
tests (we still have them memorizing the state capitols that can be looked
up on google in a nanosecond) and we often have 25-35 of them in a room.
I'm not sure that bored says it all - they know something's wrong. They
seem to know that if school were really about learning, it wouldn't be
like it is - it wouldn't be straight rows of chairs with healthy young
people forced to sit still in them for the length of a school day, taking
notes from the board and the textbook and then writing that same
information down again this time with the notes and book closed. They like
good grades but they know that's not really learning.
Because learning isn't boring - it's empowering. Your very
well-intentioned list says much the same as I just did - most of the
suggestions it offers to alleviate boredom seem to lie outside of the
boring place that is often school.
I'm no expert just an experienced Middle School teacher and I'd say the
most common reason for middle schoolers to be bored at school is that in
these past few decades they and the world have changed and a lot and
school hasn't changed much at all. The summer schools you list are
wonderful alternatives - for the summer. Many families can't afford such
programs and if they can it leaves their bored middle schoolers to still
be bored through the nine months of the school year. On-line programs are
more affordable and sometimes free but they can only begin at 3 if you've
been in boring school all day.
It's a wonderfully well-intentioned article but I'm not sure it really
answers the question it raises - if your child is bored in school, what do
we do about that in school? Not in the summer or after school but in
There's no list that I've seen that addresses that. There are only a very
few schools that offer alternatives within the school itself. The real
question for most parents is - What Do you do when your child is bored in
school each day? How do you get them to keep up with the boredom for if
they fall out with the routine, they'll start to fail. How do you get
them to go back to school each day when it's so boring? And hardest - how
do you explain to your child why it's still learning when it's so boring
and doesn't feel like they're learning much at all?
Most parents shut down around those questions because they don't know the
answers to them. Perhaps an article addressing itself to those kind of
questions might be helpful to parents - particularly those whose kids go
to schools without alternative programs or those for whom the alternative
of stimulating summer programs isn't one.
"Thank you. Your article was thrilling for me as a middle school teacher studying the particular challenges and options that have to do with accelerated learning for public school children. I am concerned about those who are poor or disadvantaged in one or more ways and may not have parental investment to support accelerated options for their education. Assuredly the more information you get the better your chances of helping your children the way you hope you can help."
this is an excellent e-mail.at least we parents learn where to go.
i have one note though.i have a high functioning autistic son whose going high school.he loves geography and movies.by the way, he's mainstreamed in school.i don't know what's a good course for him.i don't know where to lead him.all i know is i'm doing my best in providing him good education right now.I'm LOST please help me.
"This site has been very helpful for me. It is sonice to be able to receive all that information that can help me to raise my children."
"This site has been the most infomational and helpful site I have visited. Parent of gifted child Michigan"
"Excellent overview of different options. Your newsletter is very helpful and full of information. I do not usually subscribe to newsletters but have been very surpirsed by the wealth of useful information published by Great Schools. Keep it up
>From Parent with children attending Department of Defense School in Belgium "
"I just read your email; my son is 12 years old and we recently moved from San Jose to Stockton California. The schools here are horrible, the teachers even tell us to have him go directly to high school next year, as the middle schools in this area have nothing to offer him. In San Jose he was in high school plays, choir, drama, and they thought he was great! Is there ANYWHERE in Stockton that we can put him that will challenge him and keep him interested in school? He was tested in 5th grade to be at a post 12th grade level. He wanted a job managing Krispy Kreme since he was 6 years old! I am serious! Please help us so he does not just waste his mind. Thank you"
"This is great information! Thank you & send more that is similar!!!"
"Awesome list. I wish I had had this two years ago! Carnegie Mellon and U of P also have summer residential programs for gifted students (high school) interested in the gaming industry."
"Thank you for this great information. My daughters school have a great library, but many of the classes never can use or have access to use what is there or to take out books on a regular basis. I will get with the board meetings at CMS here in Charlotte and ask why not? It'sa like not having the library at all, if the school does not make it available for every student in the school. They also have no recess time and sitting to much time in class per class. Almost every student there will tell them they do not wish to do the repetitive same exercises every morning after just eating breakfast and sweaty or smelling for the rest of their school day. What happen to recess in the middle of the day for children to enjoy also wil be asked why not? Many children would like to participate with other children of their same interest and sports during that time.
We have many mass of problems with in this school system and no one is listening to great suggestion. Many of the students will become much more connected of cultural differences if they had time to blend on their own in such a peaceful setting. My own daughter has friends in her school from other international background and they hardly every get to speak to each other during school. This is very sad for her as do the others. The principal isn't listening to any of her parents as PTA takes place or personal meetings of concerns as I watch being a volunteer in my daughters school and both of her parents active in PTA. "