Why foster carers can learn to hate school?
I bet you’re as surprised as I was to find out that out of everyone we spoke to, foster carers hated learning the most. That was about 50% more than the children we spoke to who also said that they didn’t enjoy learning.
But what did they mean when they said they hated learning? We’ve picked out three foster carers to help us understand what they mean.
“It’s just frustrating when he goes to school happy, and then comes home all stressed. I would much rather that he leaves school at school, and come home and not think about it. It has an impact on all of us.
“ To be honest, I couldn’t stand school myself. I had a teacher who hated me, and who forced me to do a maths exam that was too hard for me. When [my foster child] comes home, and asks me how to maths, it just brings up all the rotten stuff that I had to go through when I was his age”.
“Getting [my foster child] up in the morning is the worst part of my day. I can’t stand how much make up she puts on to impress people, and I think that’s a really unhealthy environment. And when she comes home upset about what people have said, I just think ‘well, if it’s going to make things worse, I’m not going to pressure her to get up and go next time”.
Now, admittedly, that’s not what everyone was saying. But I would say the consensus was that as a foster carer, many of their children were coming to them with a whole mix of emotionally charged behaviours, and they really wanted to keep the peace at home. Which makes total sense. And anything that triggered off a negative behaviour, therefore, seemed to become the enemy. And it just so happened that school seems to be a melting pot where their young person spends most of their day, and sometimes triggers some challenging behaviour, that spills back home.
Over time, many of these foster carers had come to mix up school and learning, with something innately negative. In fact, one foster carer said ‘I don’t like teaching [my foster child] to cook at home with me, because it starts to feel a bit too much like school, and I want to avoid that!’.
But is this the fault of school? Is this the fault of learning? Is there any way foster carers could support the learning of their foster child by doing things at home that would enhance their achievement at school- without destroying the peaceful atmosphere at home?
To find out, One-Eighty brought a group of 15 foster carers together in London to look at positive learning behaviour at home, and how to make sure school doesn’t become the enemy. The course has run over one morning a week for 4 weeks and covered:
- Ways to get your child motivation to learn on their own
- How to encourage your child to do their homework without having to argue about it
- Ideas on how to make the mornings easier and how to overcome your child refusing to go to school
- How to create a positive and aspirational learning environment at home without changing your routines
If you think this is something that you would like in your area, please contact: Johnny.Latham@one-eighty.org.uk