5 Reasons Your Child Stops Being Curious After Starting School

school kills curiosity

Have you ever taken the time to actually sit down and watch a toddler? They’re fascinating little people. They have this extraordinary gift of being able to find something to do with any object they come across. Granted, they’re not always things we want them to do, but their plans are usually ingenious just the same.

Ask any parent of a preschooler about their little one and they’re bound to tell you multiple stories of how their precious children manage to get into everything. Besides that, there are the constant questions: Why is the bee on that flower? Why is that flower pink? What do worms eat? Are worms bugs? 

Besides being avid little explorers, small children are also little geniuses. They teach themselves how to crawl, then walk, and then talk with nary a single formal lesson.

Sorry, Rosetta Stone!

As wonderfully amazing these kids are, have you ever noticed what happens once that child turns school age and heads off to school? The questions die down, the “getting into everything” decreases, and your once future adventurer is now perfectly content sitting in front of the TV all day after coming home from school.

Most parents chalk it up to growing up, and while that certainly is a part of it, have you ever wondered if maybe there was a little more to it? 

Isn’t it strange that it almost always seems to happen like a switch once kids start attending school everyday?

As a mother of 7 kids who spent at least some time in school and 4 more who have always been home/homeschooled, I can tell you with certainty that there is no magic switch once your kids reach a certain age. Children don’t stop being curious because of getting older; it conveniently happens once they start regularly attending school. I have personally witnessed this in the lives of my own kids.

 

5 Reasons Your Child’s Curiosity Ends with School

 

1- Precious time for exploring is taken away in lieu of spending 6 hours behind a desk. 

School takes away time to play.

Most kids are excited at the beginning of the new school year. They’re happy to wear their new clothes and shoes, carry their new backpacks and lunch boxes, and show off their cool folders and binders. After a week or two, though, these new possessions lose their luster  and kids will start to yearn for their summer days at the pool, at the park, playing kickball, and wading in the creek. Instead, they now have to face at least 30 hours a week for 36 weeks of the year in a building that holds them back from getting out there in the real world and learning about real things in real life– and not something between the pages of a textbook.

 

2- Their once endless questions soon begin to go unanswered.

 Teachers have an impossible task ahead of them. They’re expected to manage a classroom of 20-30 kids for 6 hours every single day, and provide them with a quality education.

Let’s give a hand to teachers everywhere. I don’t know how they do it.

Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of having such a large number of children is the inability to answer all of the things that these kids want to know. I realize that if it’s related to the lesson, their answers are more likely to be answered. But more than likely, they’re not, so those questions may well be pushed to the side.

school prevents learning

Thank you to Still Learning Something New for this awesome meme. This cartoon clearly says it all.

 

3- Their interests will always have to come “later”.

 When kids are at home and something grabs their attention, they usually have the freedom to do what they need to do to pursue it. This just can’t happen in a school building. Imagine a boy who tells his teacher he wants to learn about snakes. We’ll get to that next semester. Volcanoes? Lucky you! You’ll be learning that next year! Greek mythology? Sorry, buddy. You’ll have to wait a few years until you can take that as an elective in high school.

As an adult I get frustrated if I have to wait to do something that has caught my interest. The prime time to learn something is when you are interested in it…not six months later when it finally shows up in a lesson plan!

It’s no wonder then that a great many school age children stop pursuing their own interests- they’re so used to having them pushed aside that they don’t even bother anymore.

 

4- They’re either bored or overstimulated all day long, everyday.

I know that seems like an odd combination, but it couldn’t be more true. Each day school students are bombarded with papers that need a parent’s signature, special assemblies, homework assignments, unruly classmates, and a ringing bell every 45 minutes, or so. As if that weren’t bad enough, they’re expected to sit still and be quiet through most of this and feign an interest in whatever the teacher is presenting, which 9 chances out of 10 will never be retained as actual knowledge.

Is it any wonder that all they want to do is veg out on the couch when they get home? 

 

5- They get too used to being given an education.

Hear me out on this. Isn’t it about time that we stop trying to give our kids an education and just let them take one for themselves? Everyday in school they’re being told what is important and what is not important without ever taking into consideration what the child actually wants to learn.

I’ve heard the analogy many times that children are empty vessels that teachers need to fill with knowledge.

That couldn’t be more false!

Children are already filled with knowledge before they ever enter school. Knowledge that they learn from their parents, friends, family members, neighbors, TV, books, and, most importantly, themselves. 

And the travesty is that many kids grow so used to being told what to learn that they begin to believe the empty vessel nonsense and no longer bother trying to explore things on their own.

 

This isn’t what I want for my kids. I want them to dive full speed ahead into whatever topic they please because that is the key to learning.

Curiosity should be encouraged. Not crushed.

 

 

 

Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

57 thoughts on “5 Reasons Your Child Stops Being Curious After Starting School”

  1. yes yes yes yes YES, Shelly! Sharing this like crazy because it is SO true! Oh, how many times did I have to say to my class, “OhMyGoodness, look at the time! I’m so sorry, but we have to stop learning about this so we can do this thing that we’re required to do…”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So true, Shelly. Many years ago 😉 I had to wait another year to attended kindergarten because of my birthday. During that year and previous years, I played outside a whole lot (exploring my surroundings), frequently shopping at the grocery store with my mother, and visiting my grandparents. These are some of my most cherished childhood moments. My most memorable kindergarten moments are: 1. lying on a mat and waiting for the dreaded nap time to end and 2. my teacher constistently complaining about the position of my paper as I wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to say, 15 years into the school system in Australia, I haven’t found this the case at all. I can’t think of a single day where I haven’t said “I don’t know. Good question. Let’s google it” because the questions they ask are so sophisticated I have no idea. Even in primary school the term projects are on their subject of choice (I have to question the point of doing a project on the history of skateboards but I guess my attitude is the problem there). For the HSC many of the subjects involve major projects on subjects of your choosing (Society and Culture had major works on Transgender, Addicition, Preserving historical sites and an amazing range of subjects, all chosen by the students). I think the curiosity stops only when the parents shut it down, not the schools – though I acknowledge maybe our school systems are different. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, the schools in the US have completely turned into institutes for teaching to the test, and, unfortunately, they just keep getting worse and worse. I’m glad to hear Australian schools still seem to have it together.🙂

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  4. I agree that so much learning stops when kids are held in a building behind a desk for 6-8 hours a day. When we started homeschooling, I had a 7th grader and a 4th grader. They were not excited about learning anything because they had been in the ps system and didn’t see that it could be a wonderful experience instead of a dreaded chore.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with so much that you say and share all of your concerns about school-based education which has major flaws. My children are much older now (18,15 and 10 yrs) and looking back I think that my eldest would have benefited greatly from being educated at home. However, with my other two daughter I wonder if they would have missed the rough and tumble of the class room, on which they both seemed to thrive. We have discussed it with them now that they are older and they both say that they would not have wanted it which is interesting. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a lot of kids who say they wouldn’t want to be homeschooled often imagine themselves sitting at home for 6 hours a day doing nothing but school work. Fortunately, homeschooling usually looks nothing like that, otherwise most of us who do do it wouldn’t want to, either!

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  6. I haven’t found this to be the case personally, I think our school system in the UK is excellent and encourages curiosity and questions – and I’d go absolutely mental trying to teach my kids but hats off to you if you can do it! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I honestly CANNOT love this enough. Long before my son was even born, I decided to do whatever it took to homeschool him. The public education system robbed me of my love of learning, and it took a loooooong time for me to love reading, writing, or anything that had to do with “learning” again. I desperately yearn for a day when kids are put first in our education system! Thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing with me was that i loooved school, but as an adult I’m realizing that I’ve had to re-learn how to learn because in school I was so used to everything being spoon-fed to me.

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  8. Fostering curiosity is crucial to being a lifelong learner whatever your choice in educational environment. I homeschooled my children through 4th grade and then had them both in a small charter type public school that focused on the 4 core subjects. My daughter will enter high school at a regular public school this year and my son continues at the same smaller school. Both of them are very curious learners. I believe it has a lot to do with our home environment and encouraging their interests. May God guide and direct each family in these difficult decisions! Thank you for sharing your insight, visiting from #LMMLinkup today🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. YES!! This is why ALL children should never go to school, in my opinion!! I was a teacher, and it’s horrible what school does to them!! My daughter says public education’s whole purpose is to turn kids into drones. I have experienced it!
    I’m so thankful for all you home schoolers out there!! God bless you!!
    Inspire Me Monday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never gave a second thought to school until I read some books by John Gatto, who was also a teacher (retired now), and who convinced me that that is exactly what schools intend to do. I certainly don’t blame the teachers-many of them are oblivious to it, but I am very wary of the entire institution.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That must have been so hard. Gatto is famous for saying that he quit teaching because he was no longer willing to hurt children. Not something you’d expect to hear from someone who won the NYC and NY state teacher of the year awards multiple times!

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Giving our kids an education – that is an interesting phrase when put together with the idea of losing curiosity. I think kids do lose their curiosity – they may still learn but not with the same vigour they do when they are young – and I think you’ve nailed the reasons. Giving our kids an education seems so empowering doesn’t it – but one has to wonder if our kids truly are empowered for life (maybe for a job!!). Anyways…. you’ve given me food for thought with that phrase alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a fascinating read. I’m somewhat sad at it all though. My girl has just started pre-school but I’m hoping we won’t have this problem as the pre-school she’s going to is fab! #FridayFrivolity

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think this is why I keep my kids signed up in any sports activities that I possibly can. But only if they are interested in it which luckily the only thing that failed to be an interest was for my tomboy and ballet. My kids really enjoy going to school but I can tell that when they get home they are just tired and cranky. And then to top it off they have homework and reading to do. So by the time “after dinner” rolls around I just let them do what they choose to do and yes usually it involves electronics. But I really feel like sometimes they just need to be able to do what they are interested in, like you said. Thanks for linking with #momsterslink and hope to see you again on Thursday!

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