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Is Your Child Being Challenged Enough In School?

Young male student resting his head on his hands from boredom in class.

No two students learn exactly the same way, so it’s difficult for educators to meet the needs of every student in the class at all times. Each student progresses at a different pace, and some students progress much quicker than others.

The children who learn quickly and have a strong grasp of the material don’t require much additional support, which can result in them being overlooked when extra help is considered.

However, just as students with learning difficulties need extra help to reach their potential, so do those bright, “quick learner” students.

What Happens When An Under-Challenged Student’s Needs Aren’t Met?

If class material isn’t moving fast enough, under-challenged students lose the motivation to pay attention or put effort into their work.These students require advanced material and challenging work to keep them engaged.

If these students aren’t being challenged, bigger problems can arise such as:

  • Lowered motivation to learn
  • Poor school performance
  • Poor self-discipline skills
  • Emotional problems
  • Difficulties meeting challenges later in life

Keep an eye out for signs that your child is under-challenged so you can make sure he or she is reaching his or her potential at school.

9 Signs Your Child Is Bored In School

    1. Your child doesn’t want to go to school

Many kids complain they dislike school from time to time. But if your child is getting good marks and says he or she hates school, doesn’t want to go, or complains school is boring, it’s a strong sign that he or she isn’t being challenged enough.

    1. Your child has lost motivation to do work

Students who are under-challenged often feel like they already know what is being taught, or can learn it very quickly. Because of this, they might not think completing homework or assignments is important (or necessary).

If your child is putting less effort into homework or assignments than what is expected for his or her level of intelligence, it may be a sign that more challenging work is needed.

    1. Your child is performing well on tests but not assignments

If your child has a strong understanding of concepts that are taught in class, he or she will likely perform well on tests. However, decreased motivation to do work outside the classroom often results in poorer grades on assignments.

If you notice your child isn’t completing homework or is receiving poor grades on assignments but is still performing well on tests, it could be a sign that he or she isn’t finding the work challenging enough.

    1. Your child doesn’t talk about school or schoolwork at all

When school is exciting, children want to talk about it and share what they have learned with their parents. Not hearing about what your child is learning, the different assignments he or she has, or school in general can be a sign that he or she is bored.

    1. Your child has a consistently low mood

It’s common for a child who was once engaged and happy with learning to become frustrated when he or she feels like school isn’t challenging enough. This frustration can build up over time and impact mood. If your child is coming home from school unhappy (and other issues have been ruled out), it could be a sign that your child is feeling frustrated from a lack of challenge.

    1. Your child says he or she is bored

It’s common for children to complain that school is boring from time to time. However, if your child is always complaining that school is boring and nothing new is being learned, he or she probably needs a bit more of a challenge.

    1. Your child doesn’t pay attention in class

When material seems too easy, children can have a hard time paying attention because they feel like they don’t need to, leading to poor focus and class participation. If your child’s teacher says that your child has trouble focusing, is distracted, or seems to be daydreaming in class, it’s a strong sign of disinterest.

    1. Your child’s grades are starting to slip

Many children who are under-challenged see their grades begin to drop because they have simply given up on trying. Not completing graded work at home or in class can lead to your child receiving lower grades than what is expected for his or her intelligence level.

    1. Your child is working quicker than the rest of the class

Children who move through material at a more rapid pace than their classmates can quickly become bored and disengaged. If your child understands new concepts easily and is constantly working ahead of his or her peers, it’s a sign that he or she may not be being challenged enough.

Learn more about elementary school tutoring in this guide.

How You Can Help

Ask questions

If you notice your child is starting to lose interest in school, ask questions to determine the root cause of the problem. Ask your child about what subjects he or she finds boring, how he or she is liking the teacher, and what types of assignments he or she is enjoying the most. Getting a better idea of what is causing your child’s disengagement is important when taking further action.

Meet with your child’s teacher and other school personnel

Meet with your child’s educators to discuss your concerns and develop a plan for how to keep your child engaged in learning. Ask your child’s teacher for extra homework, special assignments, or more challenging work.

Encourage your child to set goals

Encourage your child to set small, gradual goals to motivate him or her to keep learning. Some examples of goals include:

  • I will complete the three hardest math problems assigned for homework.
  • I will read 2 chapters of a book each school night.
  • I will read 1 science article online each week.

Use our goal setting toolkit to get your child started.

Explore enrichment programs

An enrichment program is designed for students who require a higher level of learning than they’re getting in the classroom. These types of programs provide more advanced material for students to keep them engaged and excited about learning.

Subject or grade advancement

If your child is still showing signs of being under-challenged, it may be worth considering a grade advancement. Talk to your child’s educators about the process and how it might benefit your child.

Keep Your Child Engaged In Learning

If your child is giving clues that he or she is bored at school, it’s important to pay attention to the signs before it becomes a bigger issue. Once you know your child needs a bit more of a challenge, you can take action to get your child excited about learning again.

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