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 Post subject: Year 7 and struggling
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:13 am 
My son is in year 7 at a local buck grammar having scored 139 in 11+. I am concerned that he doesnt seem to be focused. We battle with homework as he doesnt seem to make the effort. i have to continually chase him and remind him. He has not had very good feedback from his classwork - such as poor effort, poor presentation and missing work.

Is it possible that he is not suited to grammar and i should move him? he has worked so hard to get there. he is not stupid just lazy. i support him at home as much as possible but his attitude to work is terrible. He just doesnt get it. any help / suggestions?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6966
Location: East Kent
*sigh*

It all sounds so familiar!!

My son was the same and we seriously considered whether to move him or not. He was academically bright enough, but just didn't have the work ethic. He is in year 10 now and we have just had his report, for teh first time at teh school he has nothing below B for effort. I think it is partly because he is now doing subjects he enjoys.

I don't really have any advice, but just wanted to say stick with it. Biys DO eventually become vaguely human


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 Post subject: Year 7 and struggling
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:41 am 
thanks for ur words. i really dont want to move him but he has to learn to apply himself. basic things like using a ruler, full stops and spellings all seem to have disappeared. in comparison his 7 yr old brother rushes to do his homework as soon as he comes in from school, but this has no effect on the older one.

i guess one day he will realise - lets hope its soon.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:18 am
Posts: 4083
don't give up on him, bucksmom.

He had a very good score of 139 and is obviously very able..

I think it takes a while to settle in and the workload/ style of work is so different from Junior school.

Some children in my son's grammar are very focused as they came from good independent prep schools that taught the children to research, present and go quite deep into any given topic. They seem to settle in much faster. Some state school primary children on the other hand can take up to 2 terms to 'get' it.

It is difficult to watch him struggle and you want to balance helping him and wanting him to be independent with his work.

I feel there is no shame in helping him organise his work and supporting him with research material etc. He might be feeling the change in pace as he might have been 'coasting' in his primary school(?) and therefore is reluctant to put in any more extra effort. It becomes a chore.

We've got 3 big trays at home and sort out the homework so he sees not one big stack of work but manageable pieces of assignments. Work that is half finished gets put back in the relevant tray and he picks up again from that tray.

Some of the hiccups we have had are related to time issues. He wants to do a complicated homework just before tea when I know there's no time to research, draft and complete. I will suggest a shorter Maths/English/Language Vocab piece and when he sees he's completed some work, he is more ready and keen to tackle the rest.

If possible, have a promised break and chat about things other than school. (Football seems to come up quite often and even 10 minutes to watch the football highlights on TV goes down well)

Once he gets into the habit of organising his time and work(with your continued input at this stage), he will do it on his own confidently eventually and than you can take a back seat then.

We do check our son's work as he is doing it as it is easier to put right there and then, rather than if it's all finished and is poorly done. That is not to say , you are doing his work for him. Things like answering Science questions so that all the facts have been included, if he's missed the critical ones!! The erasing out and amending and redoing is kept to a minimum and he gets a reasonable/good mark for the homework.

It is time consuming supervising H/W and I don't know your circumstances but my experience shows that by Christmas, things will improve and we can enjoy the Holidays. It pays to lay the foundations down now. He must have been used to working hard before, for the 11+??

If you move him, how easy is it going to be to find him a school now?
He will have to get used to new kids,school,teachers all over again.
Would it be easier to focus on improving his attitude to work which seems to be your main worry? My son has settled in well and after the half term knows even the surnames of kids from other classes.

Homework which used to take him ages are done at a quicker rate.
So maybe have a look again to see what might be putting him off from achieving the excellent work you know he is so capable of doing.

(It's taken me so long to type this and you've had a reply!!)


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 Post subject: Year 7 and struggling
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:11 pm 
dear laid back son, worried mum

thank you so much for your enormous reply. i think that you are right about the fact that he did 'coast' at primary and do the minimum as the teachers just overlooked him. it wasnt till year 6 and a really good teacher that anyone took any notice of him. my other 2 sons have been moved to a totally different primary as the school my eldest was at just doesnt have the resources any more.

i give him my time and will continue to do so. i have to show him how to do research, presentation of work and content. im sure it will come with time.

thanks again


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6966
Location: East Kent
my son was the same, he could get almost full marks in most things with a bare minimum of effort at primary and was not going to put in any more time in Grammar.....

inevitably the others caught up with him and in some cases overtook him in Secondary. I must admit that i think some of the teachers did little to encourage him and that he was often bored at the beginning of KS3. They seemed quite happy that he was level 6 in some subjects in year9, despite the fact that he had all level 5s in year 5, there was an element of cruising as all the boys were bright


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:31 pm 
hi bucks mum,
how was he in primary school? Have you had a' heart to heart ' with him as to if there may be aproblem in school? Does he like it? Has he made friends?Is he eager to go to school in the mornings?
I think if he was good and doing all the basics in primary,ie underlining his work,dates ,titles etc then there could be a possible problem, because why else would he stop doing it now, now that he is in a grammar school after working so hard to get there?
I think have a 'good' chat with him. I do 'empathise ' with you.
My child is in a somewhat similar,but 'different' situation.He came from a private school and is very used to research when doing homework,underlining ,dates, good presentation etc. All the basics are in place ,but since starting school in a local Grammar, he doesn't want to put in as much effort as before, because it is not expected of him at this stage although he has been 'used ' to doing it.He's becoming a bit 'sloppy '
especially with his spelling, almost as though because not all the children in class are up to a 'certain standard' ,he feels he can do the bare minimum and get away with it!
He has had 'good comments' in his diary- but I know he is coasting......
and is capable of doing more... so I know how you are feeling.
I hope things work out for you.
all the very best.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:30 pm
Posts: 960
But please don't assume that children from independent schools do better - this is so unfair on the many able, bright chilren from state schools. The vast majority of children in grammar schools come from state primary schools - and the vast majority of the children with fabulous A levels that come out the other end are from state primary schools too!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11952
katel I was going to say the same!

I have found that it's more often children from Private schools that struggle the most because they have been spoon-fed and they cannot tackle open-ended tasks.


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 Post subject: Year 7 and struggling
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:08 pm 
dear all who replied - thank you!

This is my son: attended local primary, overlooked most of time by teachers, lazy and did not pay attention. year 5 and 6 gave him good teachers and passed with 139 - top of class. probably shocked the school.

year 7, has made friends, but he is shy and insecure. writes badly, forgets everything, doesnt seem to care but gets upset when he realises he should have done something. every teacher is reporting missing classwork/poor effort but some how he has earned 2 commendations. i suspect he is not bothered one bit by school. at home i support him totally, thinking of ways to help him and show him how to present his work and what he should think about when doing his homework to try to instill into him some basic rules and grounding.

strangely, i am not sure he gets it. on the computer he is a complete wizz, mathematically [unless school work] good, but the rest of life... not interested.

it sounds like im not supportive but believe me he is growing into a great young man, and there is alot going on in his head. do i let him just live or die on his own? allowing him to fall into the detention trap? just stop mentioning and chasing him about homework and his responsibilities?

i really dont know what i am supposed to do. i cant go to school for him!

thanks - i feel better now!!


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