The first day of school was an exciting time for me. I remember loading up my new backpack with all my fresh school supplies, carefully choosing my outfit, and heading off to meet the bus first thing in the morning on that fateful day. However, I was a different kid a few weeks later. The drudgery of schooling set in quickly and it wasn’t long before my optimism faded, faced with the day-to-day reality of public education. Like I was, your child may already be burned out on school after only a couple of weeks. Here are five signs to look for:
- You’re already arguing over homework.
Did you know that the average high school assigns 3.5 hours of homework every night? If students are supposed to study for their classes and do homework, that’s pretty much the entire evening swallowed up by schoolwork, after already spending an entire day in the classroom. And who is supposed to make sure that the student dutifully sits down and completes their 3.5 hours of homework? The parents, of course. This dynamic, putting parents in the role of enforcer for the school, can put strain on even the happiest family relationship – and it happens all the time. If you and your kids are already arguing over finishing homework, this may be a sign that school is stressing them out.
- School stomachache is on the rise.
We’ve all done it –faked an illness to get out of school, though usually not with as much success as Ferris Bueller. If your student is only a couple of weeks into school you may not have experienced the “school stomachache” yet, but then again you may have. Does your kid complain of tummy troubles every Monday-Friday and yet are miraculously healed on the weekends? Scientists say that anxiety may be to blame. Rather than pretending to be sick, students may be experiencing real stomach pain, along with a whole host of other anxiety-related symptoms.
- “Fine” is the only answer you get.
At the end of a long day all I want to do is gather the family together and reconnect, but when we sit down around the table my teenage daughter is silent and withdrawn. “How was your day?” I ask, hoping to thaw her chilly exterior. “Fine.” That is the only answer I will get tonight, no matter how much I poke and prod. Some of this can be chalked up to unknowable teenage behavior, but school must still bear part of the blame. In this country schooling is not optional and seeing the inevitability of their situation some students simply shut down. They are determined to keep going and “get through” their schooling years, and as a result many withdraw, becoming unrecognizable from the dynamic, energetic kids we knew not so long ago.
- Consumption of video games / TV is higher than usual.
When things in life are difficult, we all need an escape. Personally, I know that things are out of alignment when I spend an entire afternoon sitting on the couch and binge-watching a show on Netflix that I don’t even like, or remember. It’s a red flag to me when I want to turn my brain off, and the same thing happens to kids. If you find your child is suddenly invested in video games to the exclusion of all other life functions, this may be a sign that they are burned out and just trying to recharge. Same goes for the binge-watching I mentioned earlier – if your kid is perpetually vegged out from the moment they get home, they may be trying to recover from school-related stress.
- You’re Googling articles like this one.
Trust me, I’ve been in the same position you are right now. Maybe it seemed like things would be different this year – a new school, better teachers, a zero-tolerance bullying policy – and yet here you are, looking for answers.
I’m here to tell you that there is hope. Suspend your disbelief for a moment when I tell you that there is another alternative to the daily grind of traditional schooling, one that produces happy, healthy, focused individuals who know what they want and can figure out how to get it. I’m talking about a school that your child will be excited to attend and will come home at the end of the day bursting with stories of their own accomplishments.
I’m talking about Alpine Valley School. We see things differently here, and have decades of research to back up our educational model. If you’re ready for a change, and want something different for your family, please call us today to schedule a tour. Our knowledgeable staff members will answer all your questions as well as showing you around our campus. If you’re looking for stories of our successful graduates, look no further than our new podcast.
If your child is already burned out from school after a couple of weeks, isn’t it time to consider a change? Check out Alpine Valley School – I know you, and your family, will be glad that you did.
Missa Gallivan is an Alpine Valley School graduate and staff member. She is also the mother of a future AVS student (in about four years) and step-parent to two amazing teenagers. She is also the host of the Alpine Valley School Podcast, available on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.