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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 5:37 pm 
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Might seem a bit of a negative heading, but I sometimes wonder how some people seem to produce kids who are not only super-obliging in terms of doing the work set, but who always seem to take pride in their work and who seem to do their tasks very methodically. I really think I've failed miserably as both of my kids seem very strong willed and unwilling. ;)

My eldest sat the 11+ a few years ago and passed with good scores though not top 180 etc. Although he would do the 11+ work, it was always a bit of a struggle to convince him to do it (he never dropped any activities or sports so we're not a Tiger family in that sense) and the constant issue was 'silly mistakes'.

Second time around with the youngest is proving a lot harder still. DS2 is a naturally (genuinely) very bright kid - his tutor and everyone around me keep telling me: he's the kind of kid who will know more about physics than most adults and not just from memorising facts but with a genuine understanding of concepts. He is highly inquisitive and always asks questions we can't answer. He says he learns most of what he knows from books, so he is a real autodidact, although he has had an 11+ tutor.

However, we are despairing at his slap-dash nature, particularly when it comes to the more straightforward, more routine work. And his writing, although beautifully and creatively descriptive, is often scruffy, sometimes illegible. Despite school support re the handwriting, it has not really improved and his preferred mode of writing is typing. He always scores highly in school tests and school work (done at school) although his handwriting and organisation are always felt to be lacking both in English (handwriting) and maths (sloppy mistakes due to messy workings). It is as if his hand can't write fast enough to catch up with his thinking and if he is writing by hand he just doesn't produce enough in terms of quantity.

In short - how on earth do parents produce children who are thorough and methodical; and how do you encourage neater handwriting (we've tried most things already)? I have friends whose children are genuinely not brighter but who will probably edge it due to being obliging, slower and more methodical. I fear that my very bright youngest boy may miss out on the top marks he deserves due to not taking enough time and pride in checking his work and giving his best.

Tips gratefully received.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:56 am
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Hi, one of my twins has hypermobile joints and handwriting is appalling. They get very tired when writing. Core and shoulder stability exercises have helped although there has been a marked regression whilst off school. Also problems with organisation - still a work in progress- secondary school will be a huge challenge.

Is there any ‘medical’ reason? Would core and shoulder stability exercises help? Have the school used any programmes- e.g. speed up and write from the start? I can’t remember exactly what they are called


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:38 am
Posts: 109
Two things:

1. Some people set the right environment from the beginning. Others don't for a whole host of reasons - work, opportunity, not knowing what the right environment is etc etc

2. Children are individuals characters with their own personalities & foibles. I've found that it is a constant trial and error of different techniques to see what suits each child.

You just have to keep trying.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
My daughter was always hard working and methodical. She cross-referenced and colour coded her A level revision. She sets herself goals and strives for them and enjoys the challenge. She has a wicked sense of humour and is kind and understanding

My son, equally bright, was always slap-dash and chaotic. His writing still resembles a spider staggering drunkenly across a page. He threw himself whole-heartedly at everything and has a wicked sense of humour and us kind and understanding

We brought them up the same way, did the same things with them. At times, I wished I could mix them together a bit, but I would not change either of them for the world.

They are now 31 and 27, still wildly different in their approach to life but their own characters.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:18 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:00 pm
Posts: 310
Hi
I understand your concerns. I have 3 boys, all of them struggled with presentation but the middle one is the worst for handwriting. The messiness extended into maths, but here there was an additional issue where they wouldn't show their working because they just did it in their heads. They always get things right but as they moved further up the school, marks would sometimes be lost because even though their final answer was correct there were marks for the process. There has been some improvement, but I worry about GCSEs especially for the super messy boy who can't be bothered to write neatly. I think the only solution is that we have to keep an eye on their work and encourage them as much as possible without nagging. Good luck! At least the eleven plus doesn't involve much handwriting as it's multiple choice!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:52 am
Posts: 180
turnip08 wrote:

Second time around with the youngest is proving a lot harder still. DS2 is a naturally (genuinely) very bright kid - his tutor and everyone around me keep telling me: he's the kind of kid who will know more about physics than most adults and not just from memorising facts but with a genuine understanding of concepts. He is highly inquisitive and always asks questions we can't answer. He says he learns most of what he knows from books, so he is a real autodidact, although he has had an 11+ tutor.

However, we are despairing at his slap-dash nature, particularly when it comes to the more straightforward, more routine work. And his writing, although beautifully and creatively descriptive, is often scruffy, sometimes illegible. Despite school support re the handwriting, it has not really improved and his preferred mode of writing is typing. He always scores highly in school tests and school work (done at school) although his handwriting and organisation are always felt to be lacking both in English (handwriting) and maths (sloppy mistakes due to messy workings). It is as if his hand can't write fast enough to catch up with his thinking and if he is writing by hand he just doesn't produce enough in terms of quantity.
.


Hi Turnip,

My DD has some of the same problems as your DS. We discovered her slow and untidy handwriting was the result of dyspraxia with hypermobility in her hands and arms making writing very painful. As a result she has the use of a laptop in class and we are also investigating maths software that would allow her to type her maths (if it comes to that).

A common accommodation for DC who have problems writing, and also those who learn very quickly, is to cut down the number of routine problems to solve. So instead of 20 routine questions before getting to the more complex and interesting ones DD would maybe do only 10 or even 5. Enough to show mastery but not so many that DD never got to the more advanced questions.

Perhaps your DS is rushing the routine questions and making mistakes because he knows if he took his time he would never get beyond the simple problems he learnt how to do long since. (For very bright kids endless repetition can be a bit soul destroying).

DD did the 11+ a few years ago now. It was all multi choice so slow handwriting didn’t get in her way. However for GCSE exams we have had to get a formal assessment to be able to apply for accommodations e.g. a scribe or software or extra time. This all takes longer than you can imagine.

If handwriting support at school hasn’t made a significant difference do see if you can get an assessment done. Your school SENCo may be able to advise you, or perhaps an educational psychologist or occupational therapist.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:39 pm
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I feel your pain. What you have written sums up my 9 year old perfectly. So watching this post with interest!

My son has hyper-mobile joints and does tire very easily with writing. His study centre use computers and he gets on fine there.

He is a bright boy but is let down by silly mistakes and poor handwriting and presentation.

It’s really hard to know how to help. He runs a mile when it comes to any creative writing practise!

Sorry I can’t help but just wanted you to know you are not alone.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:03 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:17 am
Posts: 738
We have two sons - will be Y11 and Y9 come September. Y11 son is organised, manages all his own workload (with minor intervention) has good notes in his books and legible handwriting. Y9 son does the bare minimum, will not do extra research / extra paragraph to try and get the next mark up, requires constant checking on that the work is completed, can't really revise from his books as parts of the work are missing and has handwriting that is most definitely illegible. Like yoyo's DC, they have been brought up in the same environment; they are just different and unique individuals.

I do despair at DS2's handwriting - I do not believe that there is anything medically wrong; he is just lazy. He would rather be doing something else that he enjoys (such as playing games) rather than writing. During lockdown all his school work was typed, printed out and stuck in his books because it was easier. Obviously not a long term solution, but it did help to focus him a little more on the work in hand rather than complaining that his hand hurt (it really can't hurt after a few lines, he just didn't want to do it). Letters are not formed properly, an e looks like a c, a g could be a y and they are not all on the line he is writing on - some are flying up in the air!! :roll: However, when he concentrates (as in having to write a Birthday card) it is perfectly neat and legible, so he does know how to do it , he just doesn't want to write and rushes through it, then complains that he can't write neatly. Most of the time the words can be made out, but when he doesn't form the numbers properly in maths it causes the answer to be wrong. He is adamant that a 4 doesn't need the line through the middle, but without it looks like a 7 which gives a completely different answer!!

Unfortunately there is no quick fix answer - he has to want to do it for himself. In this day and age the use of handwritten work is getting less and less (which is a shame in my view), but this will aid him going forward. Exams may be typed in the future (my last course was) which would be beneficial but still doesn't solve the problem of class books. We did buy him some handwriting practice paper but he refuses to use it. His writing never was the best, but it has deteriorated over time.

Sorry this doesn't give you a definitive answer, but there are plenty in a similar situation to yourself. Just requires patience and slow perseverance :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:52 am
Posts: 180
Hi Helen,

I just checked with DD as to how quickly her hand hurts when writing. She says it depends on how fast she’s trying to write. If she’s writing quickly it will hurt after a few lines. This is because she has to hold her pen too tightly because her fingers are like rubber. The Dr recommended changing her grip (she had learnt the gold standard grip) by putting the middle finger along the barrel as an additional support. Instead she’s starting going with a thumb wrap.

We only found out by chance last year that DD’s hands (and the rest of her) were hypermobile. QI’s Sandi Toskvig asked everybody to try bending their thumb to their wrist - DD could easily, and then bent her fingers back with ease. DD was in year 9.
Before then we just thought she was applying too much pressure as a bad habit.

If your DS’s hands hurt when he’s writing fast but his writing would otherwise be OK, it might be worth double checking his grip and hand flexibility. It’s not always obvious.

PS


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:17 am
Posts: 738
PerpetualStudent wrote:
Hi Helen,

I just checked with DD as to how quickly her hand hurts when writing. She says it depends on how fast she’s trying to write. If she’s writing quickly it will hurt after a few lines. This is because she has to hold her pen too tightly because her fingers are like rubber. The Dr recommended changing her grip (she had learnt the gold standard grip) by putting the middle finger along the barrel as an additional support. Instead she’s starting going with a thumb wrap.

We only found out by chance last year that DD’s hands (and the rest of her) were hypermobile. QI’s Sandi Toskvig asked everybody to try bending their thumb to their wrist - DD could easily, and then bent her fingers back with ease. DD was in year 9.
Before then we just thought she was applying too much pressure as a bad habit.

If your DS’s hands hurt when he’s writing fast but his writing would otherwise be OK, it might be worth double checking his grip and hand flexibility. It’s not always obvious.

PS


Hi PS, thanks for this. Have just checked his mobility, and although more flexible than me (which wouldn't be difficult)! not what you'd call hypermobile :) Hope your DD finds the thumb wrap helpful.


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