Tired of school

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“Academic apathy” is common in high school, writes Laura Handby Hudgens on The Federalist. She thinks  students are burning out in middle school.

“Up until sixth grade I had never made less than an A in any of my classes,” Leo told her. “By seventh grade, I was just tired. I just didn’t care anymore. I just quit trying.”

When her son started kindergarten, she “looked around his classroom and saw rows of tiny tables and chairs, but not a single toy. Where was the little kitchen with the miniature pots and pans? Where were the blocks?”

Fast-forward six years, and Johnny sounds a lot like Leo. On the one hand, he’s happy at school. He likes his friends, and he enjoys their time together at recess (all 15 minutes of it). Johnny thinks his teachers are cool. He rarely gets into trouble. He loves P.E.

 On the other hand, he dislikes actual school—the lessons, the homework, the constant rigor combined with a classroom full of apathetic peers.
By nature Johnny is inquisitive. He likes to learn. But the school day is hectic and exhausting. There’s little time for enjoying what he’s learned and even less time to enjoy being 12 years old. School has become a source of nearly constant frustration, and Johnny is tired. At the age of 12, Johnny is weary of school.
As a mother and a teacher, she thinks kids need more play, more recess, more sleep and age-appropriate instruction to avoid 12-year-old burn out.
About Joanne


  1. How about avoiding “burn out” by challenging the kids, instead of constantly catering to the lowest denominator and issuing assignment after assignment of pointless busywork?

    • How about letting parents decide for their own children how those children will spend the time between birth and age 18? The US K-12 school system is the largest command economy left on Earth. Socialism sucks.

  2. GoogleMaster says:

    They’d get more sleep if they weren’t snapchatting all night.

  3. greeneyeshade says:

    Try rereading the beginning of “Hard Times.”

  4. The kitchen is at preschool. After two years of it, the children are ready to move on.
    The blocks are also toddler-preschool. The students who are done with what can be learned have moved on to chess, as its boring to have to spend another year of teaching classmates who can’t cooperate to do so..and they have moved on to lego, Since.the block set isn’t big enough to do complex structures..

  5. I started school as a first-grader, in a town that had no kindergarten or preschools, and it was a regular classroom, with no significant differences between it and the 2-4 .rooms, with none of the playthings mentioned above. Of course, that was back in the day when kids all had parents who socialized them appropriately, taught colors, letters and numbers and let them play and explore, at home.

  6. A lack of sleep due to over-stimulation in the evening is the reason many students have problems staying awake and concentrating in school. I never had a problem getting up at 6:00AM to make the bus stop at 7:00AM for the ride to high school, but then again these days, I’m usually up at 4:00AM (LOL)…

    Sleeping is very important for pre-teens and teens in order to do well in school, a job, etc…though the typical response I hear from parents is to start high school later…what happens when johnny or jane lands a job which requires them to start at 6:00AM (OOOPS)…:)

    • Mark Roulo says:

      “A lack of sleep due to over-stimulation in the evening is the reason many students have problems staying awake and concentrating in school. I never had a problem getting up at 6:00AM …”

      And for some kids that over-stimulation is caused by being up until midnight studying.

      My high school commute was pretty bad (3 hours round trip if I made all the connections, six if something went wrong). I was typically up until midnight or so doing homework. Up at around 5:45AM. Running on less than six hours of sleep per night is bad. I found that I couldn’t get work done on buses, so staying up late was the only reasonable solution. It sucked.

      Kids at my local high school can be in class from around 7:15 until a bit after 3:00. If they have an after school activity it is easy to not start homework until some horrible time.

      I am quite willing to believe that some/most of this is poor time management. It can also be caused by not enough hours in the day.

      For middle schoolers, though, I suspect that they’ve just reached the point where they DON’T CARE about the subject(s). Possibly this is poor instruction. Possibly the kids are too tired. And maybe eventually you get old enough that you have subjects you really don’t want to engage with?

      • Middle school isn’t as easy to coast in as elementary. The busywork takes much more time and it has to be done to get promoted. That is a huge change from elementary days of taking two minutes to do the core basic work, then chatting the day away while the classmates get remediated.

  7. I would have lost interest in school had I not been allowed/encouraged to read challenging material, independently, during class. When teachers called on me, they would give me the page, problem, question etc. to answer. Today, that seems to be discouraged, if not prohibited.

    Late in HS, my parents told me that I had been offered acceleration , as a first-grader, and apologized for declining. They were concerned about possible social issues at 7-12 level, which did not happen; my friends were all 1-2 years older and my senior year was really lonely. (college classe not an option, then) Kids who are academically ahead of their grade are very often out of step socially, as well.

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