Frustrated parents, child and teacher

(86 Posts)
BringOnTheSunshine Sun 25-Nov-12 03:16:12

I have posted in behaviour/development:

I will try to be brief: DS (6y) is in P2.

DS is one of the youngest in his class and is really struggling educationally and socially at school.

Throughout P1 we spent 2 hours per night on homework, not by choice, feeling we were not getting very far.

DS struggled to retain phonics and blending was impossible. He was able to read some words but forgot simple words even after frequent repetition.
From one page turn in the story he would forget "and" or "stop" etc. His behaviour in school deteriorated very quickly and we had our first red slip before christmas, (he threw a crayon and which hit another child, didn't throw it at the child but not the point). I was phoned twice 1 = he cut another childs hair, (didn't realise the other child cut his hair until he was home but don't think the teacher had noticed) 2= he cut a hole in his trousers. He was no longer allowed to sit with classmates when using scissors or use scissors unless supervised. We had monthly phone calls with the teacher and he was started on a behaviour chart. The school felt he was immature compared to his older classmates and felt things would improve by P2.

At the end of P1 he was able to write a simple sentence of 5 words but couldn't blend and though he progressed slowly through reading books, still had the same difficulty remembering phonic sounds and words.
P1 teacher was passing along that he needed firm guidance in class to push him to complete tasks.

He started P2 in August and we are no further forward. We spend 2 -4 hours each night working on his homework. He tries hard, sometimes ends up in tears of frustration because he can't remember a word he knew the page before etc. I asked for a meeting with his teacher after the first month to find out how he was getting on and express our concerns. The teacher said she would spend till Oct holidays observing him. He attends a session with deputy head once per week along with a group who are struggling. The teacher has asked for another 30 min session once per week to work on writing/reading. He was given a behaviour chart again...which has since stopped!

He can explain what task is being done, give answers and solve problems verbally but struggles with writing. He wrote a whole page of random repetitious letters when asked to write about a topic. He will sit staring at his work for an entire lesson...not disrupting others...just doing nothing! They have sent incomplete work home which is a nightmare on top of homework.

He tells me he is not good at reading/writing and it is too hard. He hates school and thinks the teachers don't help him. He also said that he doesn't bother telling the teacher when other kids push/hit him as they don't believe him!

We are on his third red slip so far since August. His behaviour is getting worse at school and we are really at a loss. I have had two calls from the deputy head. 1= to complain he had been swinging his lunch bag in lunch line...not attempting to hit anyone, swinging it around and over his head and to inform us of restarting behaviour chart. 2= he had created a behaviour chart for another pupil who he felt needed one due to disruptive behaviour in class.
The third slip was posted yesterday asking us to arrange a meeting to discuss his behaviour. He had pushed passed a teacher in the lunch hall and ran past another teacher with his arms out and hit her side. Both of these were intentional.

Ds is a sweet and loving boy. At home he is a boistrous, bundle of energy, loves superheroes, being tickled, playing jokes, runnning about, playing with friends in the village. Being 6, he has his moments of being too rough..usually when playing and getting carried away rather than random hitting. Though he has pushed or hit his sister (3y 11mo) and is aware this is not acceptable etc. He is helpful and will tidy up toys etc and help his sister/play with her.

He has a routine, is in bed by 8pm, he gets affection and praise and correction/time out as needed.

Negatively, he is seen as too loud, (he has a loud voice rather than shouting IYSWIM) and is a fidget, needing frequent reminders to sit still, focus on tasks etc. He shows, (I guess), the usual 6 year old cheekiness and attitude.

He knows...can verbalise... that the behaviour is wrong. He is aware of consequences for good/inappropriate behaviour.
We have both spoken to him regarding his behaviour and he has lost Wii time. (he was given his first wii games this month for his birthday and loves it) and is aware that he will probably miss the school trip to the pantomime.

DH is concerned that the behaviour is related to his frustration about class work. DH is Dyslexic and we have mentioned concerns about ds being dyslexic to the teacher in previous meetings. The teacher said formal assessment wouldn't happen until he is 7.

We are all tired, frustrated and utterly fed up....I include the teachers in this!

IndigoBelle Sun 25-Nov-12 06:34:07

Certainly sounds like he is dyslexic. You don't need to wait till he gets a formal dx - after all one (of many) definitions of dyslexia (from the Scottish dyslexia association) is a child who fails to learn to read and / or write despite adequate tuition.

Therefore he has dyslexia.

Doesn't sound like he's badly behaved. Sounds like the school have unrealistic expectations and are not supporting him with his dyslexia and therefore he's in a bad way.

There's no easy answers, but there are a few things you can do.

* stop spending 2 hours a night on homework. It's not helping and it's not fair. It's almost certainly making things worse. Tell school you won't do it and then don't.

* research dyslexia. A diagnosis of dyslexia brings no help and no answers with it, so don't wait till you get a formal report. Start understanding it now.

* don't believe the schools naughty label. He isn't naughty. School is hell for him and he's doing the best he can.

nooka Sun 25-Nov-12 06:50:06

It sounds as if school is a very difficult place for your son, and I would be going in and asking the school what they are doing to help him because it doesn't sound as if they are really doing anything very much. My ds also found school very difficult (and also is dyslexic) so your story sounds familiar. It certainly sounds as if your son has some additional needs that are not being addressed with a once a week half hour session and a behaviour chart that is not being used consistently. We were in the UK and had an IEP - I'm guessing you are in Scotland, so I'm not sure of the equivalent, but essentially it's a plan used to address in a consistent way the behaviour/educational problems.

I agree with Indigo I really would stop with the homework, if school is very hard then having school at home as well must be exhausting! We opted out of spellings and reading at home because ds resisted so, and it wasn't helping him in any case, just escalating the frustration. For us having synthetic phonics tutoring got ds's reading back on track, but he was being taught mixed methods so there was an obvious problem to address.

You might want to think about asking for a referral to a community pead, either through school or your GP, even if it's just to rule more significant issues out. I found it very frustrating that dyslexia testing is done so late, but then many schools do nothing as a result in any case.

Valdeeves Sun 25-Nov-12 08:01:47

As a teacher and a parent - I totally agree with the above. I'm disapointed in the school - he needs a support assistant clearly as its obvious his behaviour is about struggling to cope academically. Having taught many kids who sound similar I can tell you two things.
1. It is the schools responsibility to differentiation the learning for him. It's yours to support this.
2. He will be alright - he just needs to stop being pushed in a way that is not working.

I agree with the research for dyslexia - I think it costs you a fair bit to diagnose (I don't think scho

Valdeeves Sun 25-Nov-12 08:07:41

School pays.

Just a tip from me - I found kids who didn't retain info were better if asked to retain just one thing in a visual or creative way. Draw pictures with him, sing words to a tune. Try and get outside the box but keep it very short - one thing a night or he won't have any chance of remembering it.

I think you sound like an amazing mum to understand your child and support him so much.

Valdeeves Sun 25-Nov-12 08:09:25

Differentiate! I mean - btw - I should add I really felt for your son when U read this. He clearly just needs a support assistant helping him.

fridayfreedom Sun 25-Nov-12 08:12:04

He's six!! lots of this is normal behaviour for six year old boys ( and girls!!) I help run beavers and non of them can sit still, listen for more than a few mins and they do silly behaviour stuff!!
Totally agree with the above re the homework, 2-4 hrs a night, give him a break and back off, I'd be acting out if that was happening to me.
Am amazed the school rang you re the bag swinging incident, why didn't they just tell him to stop- job done.
Also agree re getting extra help and support for him. Think your DH is right about the behaviuor being linked to what is going on.

lljkk Sun 25-Nov-12 08:50:13

2-4 hours a night! Wow. sad There is no way I would spend more than an hour, maybe limit it to half hour and then be done with it, whatever he has or hasn't finished.

Yes he sounds below average but ime (mere parent helper) a lot of children would be on about the same level academically at same age, esp. boys wrt writing.

DS2 had far worse behaviour at same age & has settled down now (young 8yo in yr4).

I can't decide if you are being too hard on him or if school isn't giving you right support or both.

Have you had his eyesight checked? Bad vision can present a little like dyslexia, I found out.

seeker Sun 25-Nov-12 08:56:49

I would stop doing anything at home AT ALL 2-4 hours is ridiculous, frankly.

Stop doing anything and see what happens.

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 25-Nov-12 14:39:37

He has had eye and hearing tests and both are fine.

Trust me when I say none of us enjoy any part of the homework. We always start with the intention of getting it all done so we can play/relax/get dinner etc but it rarely works that way.

We know it is not working but feel pressurised to keep pushing him.
DH has hellish memories of school but he clearly remembers being ignored by teachers as the "difficult/slow/trouble maker" and he didn't complete school. He is scared of the same happening to DS so feels he has to push him. The concern is if we stop all work with him, then how will he progress at all!

The teachers words about ds: "never met a boy like him" They are also at a loss. She did not feel the behaviour chart was any use as his behaviour in class is ok. He just produces very little/no work. He has had moments of refusing to work which results in being sent to the head teacher.

Regarding the phone calls, I am fed up frankly. They have zero tollerance of any physical violence/threat etc. They want us to work together to resolve behaviours, which is good. But I honestly feel like they are starting to single him out. We started sitting in the car after dropping DD at nursery to watch how he behaves in the lunch line and playground. None of the children were doing anything unusual for a group of kids their age. There was shouting, a bit of bumping and shoving, bag swinging, throwing the ball so someone had to run after it, kids picking up other kids to prove they were stronger etc. Why phone me about ds swinging his bag.....like other kids do without anyone telling them to stop...to "nip that behaviour in the bud" The call about the behaviour chart he made was frankly odd. No ds should not have made and given it, but he didn't understand what was wrong....the teacher explained to him and the end! no, they phone DH to discuss this innappropriate behaviour and express how serious it is...even mentioned it as bullying behaviour! To be very clear, the teacher states he does not verbally/physically attack other students or disrupt their work. We have watched him at play time and he plays like every other kid, running with friends, (mostly girls), playing with toys etc

We feel like we are failing DS and I am struggling between telling the school to get a grip and sobboing quietly

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 25-Nov-12 15:01:14

They feel he is capable of more than he is doing but don't feel he requires educational support. I am at a loss as to how I make him work when in school....

They have a yellow warning/red action slip. Red slips come home and are signed by the parent and returned to the head teacher. They also loose golden time at school. The ruls is if they have 3 or more red slips per term, they loose out on the school activities. They haven't told me yet that he can't go to the panto...I am just expecting it as it was mentioned at the last meeting we had.

I believe they assume that his behaviour/attitude is the root problem...and he can't be bothered doing the work. We have spoken to them about his work at home, the struggles, tears etc...I wrote a list, (very anal) about the specific reading/writing issues/patterns and they are unconcerned. They said by p3 things even out!

IndigoBelle Sun 25-Nov-12 15:16:44

Honestly - I would be looking to move schools.

The school sounds dreadful. Eventually your DS will get a dx if dyslexia - but that won't change schools attitude or help your DS.

pantaloons Sun 25-Nov-12 15:18:54

I'm just a mum, no expert, but I think he has been labelled as "the troublesome one" and that's that as far as the teachers are concerned. I have a 7 year old ds and have had one red slip home because he peed in the bin! And actually the slip was more about the fact he got very angry when challenged than about the actual deed. Swinging bags and the like is something they should be saying "don't do that please, you might hurt someone." not sending red slips home for.

I know my 3 dc's couldn't manage 2 hours homework a night, they do their reading and spellings and then relax and really need this time to tune out. I'd stop the formal stuff and if you feel you need to do something try some vaguely educational games.

Sorry I don't have any real advice, just wanted to say I think it sounds like school is expecting a 6 year old to behave like a 16 year old.

Feenie Sun 25-Nov-12 15:20:29

Good advice, Indigobelle - and great to see you back thanks

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 25-Nov-12 15:35:41

Should I ask for a meeting with the teacher, deputy head and head teacher? I have met with the teacher/deputy head at parents night & for behaviour meetings but never the head. I feel like getting them all in a room to discuss it might clear the air and we can all come up with a plan.

Forget to say...He has been attending SALT since pre school year due to speech difficulties, (mild), and she feels DS requires "over-educated" to understand and retain her lessons.

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 25-Nov-12 15:37:14

forgot

IndigoBelle Sun 25-Nov-12 15:54:45

Over learning is just teacher speak for lots of repetition.

SALT problems often exist with dyslexia.

seeker Sun 25-Nov-12 15:58:29

Do you think you say to the teacher that you are going to stop all homework until Christmas and concentrate on having a nice time at home? Then spend the time reading to him, making and writing Christmas cards, making mince pies- all that sort of thing. Then maybe talk about it all in the new year when everyone's taken a breather?

Tgger Sun 25-Nov-12 16:09:42

Move schools. Start again. He is 6. And quit the homework. If you musit max 15-30 minutes done with a timer then stop.

Good luck.

skaen Sun 25-Nov-12 16:10:29

Your poor DS. The school sound horrible. Fwiw, my brother struggled terribly with reading and writing. He wasn't dyslexic but his eyes hadn't developed properly so they weren't processing the information - he'd been fine on sight tests as that wasn't testing the same thing.

The strategies were very similar toy hose for dyslexia so it might be a food idea to start looking into other methods which might help him learn and stop doing 2 hours per night of homework!

(I have a 5 yo DD is enjoys school but it would be a horrible struggle to get her to do more than 10 minutes!)

Good luck.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 25-Nov-12 16:17:06

OP
Your child is 6
When does he play lego
doodle on a piece of paper for an hour
look out the window for an hour
doze while pretending to do a jigsaw
flick a leaf over a stick 30 times
contemplate his navel
all the things that create the lateral synapse connections in the brain?

if he is dyslexic, your obsession with making him not be dyslexic will impede the rest of his brain developing to compensate
please
relax
stop living your aspirations through him
(as that is what 2 hours of homework at age 6 signifies)

let him be a child so that he has somewhere to grow up from

rhinobaby Sun 25-Nov-12 16:34:40

Our school homework policy for this age is maximum 1 hour per week. The school is being very unreasonable. Agree stop the homework, do what seeker suggests instead.

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 25-Nov-12 16:45:09

Dh is just back with the kids after visiting their gran. We are discussing everything suggested. I actually mentioned to dh about stopping everything until after new year so we can all get a break. I can't express how much dh is scared of ds falling further behind! this is not about ds failing us or falling below our standards. It is about us failing him and trying to work out how to help him!

TalkinPeace2, I think you may have mistaken our intenetion. We are not setting extra work for ds. We do not want or expect ds to do homework for such a long time. We do not push ds to become more than he can. We are just attempting to complete the homework set. It takes that length of time to actually get through a handful of reading pages and some spelling words.

If he is dyslexic we will do everything we can to support him, not push or force him into being anything "special".
I have told him our goals are for him to be happy, have friends and try hard at school. The emphasis is try!

seeker, our home feels like a draining battleground at times, (well mon-fri). With the struggles, frustration and general annoyance. I want DS to enjoy school, (as much as possible), he loved stories but now can't really be bothered with them. I think we all need a break from the pressure and stress

seeker Sun 25-Nov-12 16:49:18

Op- I didn't really say all I wanted to say- I got distracted. The important thing is that the activities I suggest are all incredibly useful learning tools for children-but not formal sit down homework. So you can have fun with him while being able to relax about the homework, because he will be learning by stealth if you see what I mean! I think from your posts that you and your dh would find it far to stressful and worrying to just stop all "schooly" stuff at home- this way you get th beet of both worlds.

racingheart Sun 25-Nov-12 16:49:27

Trust me when I say none of us enjoy any part of the homework.

To me, this is a crucial statement.

He may be dyslexic. Sounds likely, but not definite. He could be a late starter. DS2 was a very late starter. Bottom of class age 6. Now top of the entire year in literacy.

I work with children who hate literacy. Not dyslexics - not qualified to do so. But I work with a lot of ADD/ADHD and some on autistic spectrum.

The key to it clicking if he isn't dyslexic, is to show him it's fun. What i'd do, if he were one of my pupils, is stop all homework for two weeks, so the air is cleared and pressure is off. Then play some fun games that involve writing. e.g. Paint a cupboard with blackboard paint and chalk messages to him on them.
Write him a note in invisible ink (milk, lemon juice, white wax crayon or WH Smith spy pen sets). Get him to discover the message (iron the paper, or paint over the wax, or use the other spy pen to colour in.) Make the message an easy clue to where a treat for him is hidden.
Write notes to Santa and stick them up the chimney. Get him to read them aloud if they are illegible to you.

Give comics and books as treats. Let him choose them. Even Where's Wally has some text.

Give loads of praise. Ditch anything that turns writing into a chore.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 25-Nov-12 16:50:03

then the work set is unreasonable.
Stop and breathe
he is 6
he has another 90 years of life ahead of him
these are the ones where he learns to be who he will be later
the school seem to be setting him up to fail
time to walk away

novembery Sun 25-Nov-12 17:06:47

The school sounds poor in that the response to the behaviours you mentioned seems way OTT.
Your ds sounds very like mine, in that he was and is not really 'school shaped' yet- he's getting there now (aged 7) For him it's writing- reading was ok, but he won't write.
I would totally ditch the homework and just read, read, read great stories to your ds. Share the magic of books without any pressure whatsoever. No 'what's this letter' or 'what's this word' just loving the language, the pictures and the stories.
At this age, it's the love of language and what it can do that is the thing to teach, not the mechanics of it, which can come later (and would, if you lived elsewhere)

IndigoBelle Sun 25-Nov-12 17:12:10

My DD had severe dyslexia - and all the work in the world didn't stop her falling further and further behind.

So is all this hw helping your DS? Is he actually learning anything?

I suspect you spend hours on his spellings a week - and the next week he's forgotten them all.

In which case those hours were a total waste of time.

mrz Sun 25-Nov-12 17:12:25

How much homework is the school setting if it can take up to four hours per night? Is there an unreasonable amount or does it take so long because it is a battle?

Euphemia Sun 25-Nov-12 17:44:54

I've PM'd you, BringOnTheSunshine - maybe I can help?

Euphemia Sun 25-Nov-12 17:46:54

Have a look at the government's webpage for Additional Support for Learning - I don't think your school is meeting its obligations to your son.

BringOnTheSunshine Sun 25-Nov-12 17:50:59

IndigoBelle

That is exactly what happens. The teacher cut his spelling from 10 words to 5 per week. We work all week on those words, sometimes he can spell 3 of them by the friday. We then get him home and he was unable to spell any of them at school and can't remember what the majority of them when reading them. He has bee reading biff and chip since P1 but still forgets their names at times.

Some days, (very infrequently), it is like a light switches on and he can read through the work with maybe a pause/reminder or two but the next day he will struggle to say words he has know for ages "the" "and" "on" "in" with no recollection of his new words.

His daily homework is reading pages, usually around 4 pages per night, (1-2 sentences per page) and his spelling words. Some nights he is given a wordsearch, maths sheet or worksheet relating to his book. Or he has been sent incomplete work home.

We go over his words and he copies, covers then writes them. The problem is when he can't remember them we take time working with him to sound out the letters and show him how blend, then he writes them, sounds them out and says the word etc. Doing this takes around 15 mins. That is before we have even started his story.

On the nights he can't be bothered...and who blames him....he takes twice as long.

Euphemia Sun 25-Nov-12 17:53:44

I agree with posters saying stop the homework. It's not fulfilling its purpose, in fact it's worse than that as it's causing him a lot of stress and must be putting him off learning. sad

mrz Sun 25-Nov-12 17:55:27

I wouldn't spend more than 15 mins and if it's clear it's going to be a battle tell him you'll come back to them when he's ready but he has to put in 10- 15 mins effort and use a timer so he can see there is an end.

Tgger Sun 25-Nov-12 18:03:59

You need to get your DH on side re that less is more at this age. It's better he is engaged for 15 minutes, than he is battling for hours. Also, he's just 6, in many countries he would be just starting education, or still be in kindergarten. I've got a niece in Scandanavia who is 7 in March who hasn't been taught any reading or writing. She's showing an interest herself now and starting to blend and write at the level of about a Reception child. She's doing this at home not school grin. But.... noone is alarmed or worried about her as it will be next year at school that she is expected to do these things, not this.

Of course in some ways this is irrelevant, you are in the UK and expectations are different. Just worth seeing the bigger picture sometimes.

IndigoBelle Sun 25-Nov-12 18:07:07

You can't tackle this kind of learning difficulty with brute force.

You need to work out what is causing this huge learning problem and tackle that instead.

Is it diet? Is he intolerant to gluten or dairy?
Is it vitamins? Is he deficient in omega? Zinc? Magnesium? B6? b12? Folate?
Vision? Has he got convergence insiffuciency?
Hearing? Has he got hypersensitive hearing?
Neurodevelopment? Has he got retained reflexes?

He sounds as bad as my DD and she had all of those problems.

missmapp Sun 25-Nov-12 18:12:58

Is there anything outside of school that he loves ( and can succeed at ) that he could do as an after school/weekend activity? It sounds like he really needs to succeed at something so he can feel good about himself. This will also give him a new group of children where he does not come with a label IYSWIM.

I agree with stopping the homework and just trying to do things about subjects he does like.

Push for more support from teh school and less them telling you all the things he has done wrong!!

Good luck

RaisinBoys Sun 25-Nov-12 21:36:10

Aside from all the good stuff that everyone else has said...if you're spending up to 4 hours (!!!) on homework, so say from 4-8pm, and then presumably supper, bath, story (i hope!), he's going to bed quite late for his age.

At 6, after a full (and clearly often stressful) day at school, followed by this level of work the poor little thing must be absolutely exhausted. When does he get the opportunity to run off some nervous energy? Or to just veg out?

A tired child is going to fidget.

And phonecall home for swinging bag?! Think hard about whether this is the right school for him, but quit the punitive homework. He is not a machine

drjohnsonscat Sun 25-Nov-12 21:46:06

I have absolutely no experience but just wanted to say the poor love! He really shouldn't be staring at homework for 2 hours. So demoralising for all of you. I think you need to down tools and rethink. School is failing you all.

Sorry not to have any practical advice but it must be so horrible for your little boy to be demonised like this and set up to fail. Awful for you too. But my instinct is that school is failing.

seeker Sun 25-Nov-12 22:35:14

Bringonthesunshine- I am worried that you aren't responding to all the posts saying drop all the homework.

zalana Sun 25-Nov-12 23:06:36

I agree with what all the other posters have said about the school and the homework, he is a small boy who is clearly experiencing many issues with school and learning resulting in behaviour the school find inappropriate. With the homework help your son as much as you can, read the book with, to him, and help him to write when he has to,encouraging and praising him all the time. Try and meet with the school and discuss your concerns then look for another school which may suit him better,that amount of homework is very over the top.Good luck try not to let your son pick up any anxiety from you.

sagandswing Sun 25-Nov-12 23:57:01

OP just out of curiosity are you in the uk? Boys don't tend to mature into writing until after the age of 7. Just relax, ease off a little, chances are the pressure will be on him at school as it is...if he is having the same frustrations at home this will just make matters worse. Speaking from experience (we tried EVERYTHING! I kid you not) be sneaky smile a little at a time, as fun as possible.

Don't force the writing on him, let him learn at his own pace. If it continues after the age of 7 then have a chat to the schools learning co-ordinator. Please just give him time to relax and soon he may just surprise you wink.

sashh Mon 26-Nov-12 02:47:13

He may be dyslexic, he may be ADHD. One thing is for sure - the school are not helping.

The home work - either scrap it, or alter it.

So instead of learning 10 spelling - impossible for a dyslexic child - pick a word and do something related.

Say you pick 'trifle' - well tri means three, a trifle has three layers, what else has tri at the start and is linked to three?

Make a list - him telling you the word and why, you write it down.

Or if he is given something about castles (sorry no idea what homework P2 is) then get him to draw a plan of a castle and label it together. If he can tell you why there is a moat then you can write that down.

He will learn to read and write, but in the meantime he needs to be keeping up his learning.

He also might find 'time out' cards useful. These are used in FE but I see no reason why a primary child can't do it.

In FE students who find long sessions difficult for any reason are give a number (typically 3) of time out cards. If they feel the need to have a break they give the card to the teacher and leave the room.

Obviously in FE they can go to the canteen or an empty room, for a little one there would have to be a safe place aranged.

cory Mon 26-Nov-12 08:09:50

I frequently wrote in dd's homework diary: "corydd was too tired tonight", "corydd was not able to complete this homework"

dd had no reading difficulties and only got moderate amounts of homework but she was only little

after a whole day at school she was tired

BringOnTheSunshine Mon 26-Nov-12 09:11:28

Thanks for your replies. I am sorry I didn't answer, I was working night shift. I am so tired, can't wait to go to bed!

I am phoning the school for an appointment this morning so I will bring up our concerns to the head teacher and see what she suggests. The letter from them is pretty clear they feel we are working on DS behaviour rather than education issues.

DH and I didn't get much opportunity to talk last night as I was getting organised for work when he came in. We both agree the current situation is not working and is making things worse. It will be a huge struggle for DH to totally stop homework. He feels the school are not helping ds produce work so if we stop, he will have nothing/no one to help him progress.

Euphemia Mon 26-Nov-12 09:20:45

Producing work isn't the issue here. He's only P2, and they're not expected to produce much at all!

I have P2 at the moment: it's an important stage for setting down the building blocks for learning. I have children who can write their name and not much else.

I have 18 in my Maths group, most of whom are struggling to master the numbers to 20. Most lessons are practical: stringing beads, using playdough, writing numbers in shaving foam, physical demonstrations of a numberline and talk about the number before, after, between.

If the children haven't produced anything all week eg written in their workbooks, it doesn't mean they haven't learned anything. My visual and aural assessments demonstrate their learning to me.

Likewise in Literacy, learning is still in small chunks, and as active as possible. Not even the brightest pupils are doing screeds of writing yet!

Let us know how the meeting goes. smile

anitasmall Mon 26-Nov-12 12:14:31

Hi,

Not every child is ready to read and write at 6. It is still worth to check him with a specialist. The earlier you find out the faster you can fix it. Check him for other related dis-es like being able to count, make easy practical tasks...

Many dyslexic people can read and write but they feel extreme pressure when they do it.

However there are articles about the education system that is labeling too many children as dyslexic. (In many other countries children learn to read confidently in about a year).

If he doesn't like this way of practicing, ask him to sign the letters in BSL. He can learn basic words, too. It is a logical system that will help him to understand the meaning of verbs, consonants... and can be a big help at learning languages.

seeker Mon 26-Nov-12 12:19:19

Bringonthesunshine, would your dp be able to accept that the Christmas card making, cooking and list writing activities I suggested count as "work"?

GooseyLoosey Mon 26-Nov-12 12:27:55

Agree with others about easing off the homework.

dd (now 8) has problems concentrating and is the youngest in her year. Her work books had no complete tasks in them and her teachers described her as "zoning out". Like you we had incredible frustrations with homework which (and I am ashamed about this) sometimes led to tears.

She moved schools at Easter this year and we were advised to have her assessed for dyslexia. The assessment showed that there was no identifable problems and in fact dd was very bright. The Ed pysch could only put dd's issues down to emotional problems.

Not saying that this is the case with your dd, but in the same way that our approach and expectations did not help her, I am not sure that yours are helping your son.

Our approach to homework is now (on the advice of the EP) that we will explain anything dd is stuck on once and once only. She then has a timer to complete it. If it is not completed or she can't do it then that's fine, it doesn't get done. We have tried to de-stress it as much as possible.

Also we found with dd that she herself developed the attitude that she could not do things and would not try. With lots of encouragment and not stressing over what she can't do, this is now changing.

Good luck.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Mon 26-Nov-12 12:47:22

I really feel for you as a family and especially for your son.

I agree with everyone that the homework should stop or at least put a time limit of fifteen mins. It is actually counter productive. Try to get your DH to see it your DS's way - feeling under pressure, feeling a failure, etc. when does your DS get a chance to be successful? To be told he is amazing at something he has done? I'm sure you tell him, but he needs more of this so instead of concentrating on something that is clearly not working and that makes him feel like a failure, your DH can work on building your DS's confidence by doing stuff that he enjoys.

Also, I think a lot of the behaviour at school is probably due to frustration too, and whether or not there may be other reasons, it's certainly made worse by this focus on reading and writing.

When you see the school, I would concentrate on what they are going to do to support his needs. Don't let them give you a catalogue of his bad behaviour and no resolutions.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

OP, my DSD is one of the youngest in her year too and has had similar issues picking up reading, writing and math, to the point where my DH has wished several times that he'd deferred her entry to primary school. Homework has been a pain too - her P3 teachers in September were sending home double-sided worksheets that they thought should take 20 mins to complete, but it took her 40 mins to an hour. And I remember 1-2 hour homework disasters when she was in P2 and P1.

Taking a break from your DS's homework sounds sensible to me - I can't imagine your son's confidence with schoolwork will improve if he keeps going for hours over his assignments. My DSD got into a spiral herself about homework, to the point where she was in P1 and lying to us about having any.

When you decide to go back to trying homework again, can you get your DS's teacher to confirm how long she actually expects her pupils to spend on homework (I will bet it is 15-30 mins)? Maybe it would be worth doing homework for exactly that long, and then stopping for the night and turning in the incomplete assignment with a note about what went wrong. It would at least become obvious to your DS's teacher how much he can realistically do - and maybe then she would stop thinking your DS has an attitude problem in class.

DH and I have had to lower our standards and let DSD occasionally pass in homework with mistakes (this is usually in sentence writing). We've had to write notes to her teachers in the homework book and document how long her assignments have taken. Bringing in non-classroom programmes like Dancing Bears flashcards and putting on TV shows with Muppets singing about phonics helped with DSD's attitude towards learning to read. It is still uphill, but it's gotten better for us.

I feel for ya. sad I think if DSD had been a boy with her issues, she might have been singled out as a troublemaker too - instead she was the class crier and dubbed "very sensitive".

CaseyShraeger Mon 26-Nov-12 14:41:09

I agree with everyone else. It sounds very likely that he's dyslexic, and the hours spent on homework isn't actually helping - it's just making him behind and miserable rather than behind and happy.

DeWe Mon 26-Nov-12 15:27:10

I can't see why those behaviours were considered bad enough for a "red card".
If "swinging his bag" was "swinging his bag and refusing to stop when told to" fair enough-but the card would be for the refusing to stop.
Behaviour chart. Sorry, but I chuckled at at, and I would have expected the staff to chuckle in the staff room too. That's not a "bad" behaviour at all. A little word about how it's only the teacher allowed to do that would be appropriate. I'd only expect a teacher to bring it up in front of you as a "very sweet amusing moment".
Again, pushing past the teacher should be a "LittleBring remember to walk until you get outside", no more than that.

My ds is in year 1 and I am certain I would not have been told about 1 and 3, and 2 would only be told in a "amused" way.
He hates writing too. We usually do some of the homework on the computer. he writes some much better knowing he can type the rest. And he only gets one thing of homework a week that takes maximum 30 minutes. That's more than enough for him.

picketywick Mon 26-Nov-12 15:31:23

yes 2-4 hours homework frightening good luck, you are great

BringOnTheSunshine Mon 26-Nov-12 15:33:45

We had out meeting this afternoon with the head and deputy head and feel much better. We have a plan! We are going with the 15 min timed homework. We explained all the difficulties he is having with writing/reading and how we feel it is affecting his behaviour. The head took lots of notes and is contacting an educational psychologist to assess him. She said it would likely not happen until after christmas holidays. They are going to produce a special 10 min break time as positive reinforcement for ds so he has something positive to aim for during the day/week. She doesn't feel the behaviour chart or red slips are working with him so they need to try something else. She didn't mention the panto so I am assuming he can still go. She was very positive and keen to help and was upset that ds doesn't like school so wants to work at changing things for the better.

We feel more positive that something is being done to help rather than feeling he is "trouble"

Euphemia Mon 26-Nov-12 15:37:16

Well done! Sounds like a good plan!

TalkinPeace2 Mon 26-Nov-12 15:37:19

GOOD
While its still fresh in your mind, write down EVERYTHING you can remember from the meeting - for the record
ideally you and DH do the task separately so that your different memories come into play
and then yes
let your son PLAY and be a kid for a while - it will make all three of you much happier

seeker Mon 26-Nov-12 16:14:28

And please, please, please get a timer and don't be tempted to do a second more than the 15 minutes- even if it means stopping in the middle of a word. I'm a bugger for saying "oh, come on, let's just........." and it's such a bad idea! And watch your dp like a hawk- I bet he's a "let's just get this finished" type as well!

BringOnTheSunshine Mon 26-Nov-12 18:13:15

I have a timer ready to go :-D

DH agrees that we need to try something new. He is hoping that if the homework time is fixed and we are all more relaxed that we can start enjoying bed time stories again....they had become a real chore just because we all felt drained by bed time.

We already do crafts and cards. DS enjoys crafts so we always make teachers/family gifts for christmas and easter etc. He is asking to do crafts as his special time at school??? his choice!

It will be a struggle for us both to just stop without doing all the work. It seems so wrong to hand in work like that.....but we both know how important this is so we will have to be firm with ourselves and each other.

BringOnTheSunshine Mon 26-Nov-12 18:17:16

I strangely feel much more posititve and confident after speaking to the head teacher. She seems very proactive and actually listened to our concerns. His teacher just seemed lost and unsure and adopted a wait and see. The deputy head was more for punnishing him and removing treats.

zalana Mon 26-Nov-12 18:54:30

Oh that is good news that you have been to see the Head, sounds like it was a positive meeting.
Hope it makes a difference and you are able to develop a good relationship with your DS teacher, perhaps you could offer to go into school to help.

Euphemia Mon 26-Nov-12 20:02:17

I would rather a pupil in this position handed in incomplete homework - then at least I could see what he can manage. Perfect homework tells me nothing. It certainly doesn't tell me about four hours of tears and frustrations. smile

Keep talking to the school - that way neither side is making assumptions, and you're working together to help DS.

squeezedatbothends Mon 26-Nov-12 21:27:43

Oh poor little man...and poor you too. It does sound as if dyslexia might be an issue, but also stress does nothing for the memory - cortisol and adrenaline literally destroy memory and Talkpeace2 is absolutely right about the need to develop the lateral synapses. You all need a break - stop the homework straight away - this is madness. If the school can't understand this then they're the wrong school for your child. Play games, if you want to, developing movement memories as another post mentioned can help dyslexic children - they're encouraged to use joined up writing ASAP for example because the hand remembers the movement. I've found sign language useful for spelling patterns, also magnetic letters, drawing words in sand and in the air and on each other's backs...lots of fun stuff you can do.

On an optimistic note, a friend's daughter was labelled 'remedial' at school, left primary with a label of SEN and ended up with a first from Cambridge once her dyslexia had been diagnosed. Times have moved on thankfully, so tell DH not to worry too much. Ask the school about the Lexia programme - it's online and interactive and my kids enjoy doing the tasks on there. If they don't step up, move him to somewhere that won't put him under this ridiculous pressure and label him as a problem.

nooka Tue 27-Nov-12 05:42:03

Just to give you another positive story. My dyslexic son who would throw himself to the floor and scream rather than attempt to read his home reading book for any time at all at the age of 6 told me today that he was officially the fastest reader in his class - 260 words a minute apparently. He still writes terribly mind, but there are more solutions for writing so I think that's less of a long term issue.

He is 13 now and cracked reading at around about 8. Behaviour wise it took longer to resolve (remembering the consequences of his action at the time of deciding to do the latest dumb thing being the biggest issue) but he has grown up a lot the last few years. Some children just take a bit longer to get there than others.

RibenaFiend Tue 27-Nov-12 07:24:30

Couldn't read without saying you're clearly a very dedicated and hardworking mum OP. To have got to 2-4hrs a night must have taken a lot of incredibly hard work.

Your meeting with the head sounds very positive. Enjoy the bing or buzz of your timer and enjoy your son in the evenings!smile

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Tue 27-Nov-12 07:45:34

The homework is too much.

Do 30 minutes, if it is incomplete, leave it. 30 minutes and stop. No Primary school age DC should do more homework than that.

He has some barrier to learning - the poster that mentioned 'slow development' of visual processing has a point, proprioception and visual processing disorder are totally different to base vision.

And with the struggles with phonics, have you considered an Auditory Processing disorder? Again, this is different from base hearing. Your DC could have perfect hearing, but the brain is not PROCESSING the sounds properly. Hence needing SALT to learn correct pronunciations, and struggling to decipher phonics.

My DD has APD, and never learnt to read using phonics. She couldn't read until she was 8yo, in Y3, when she started being able to read basic Reception level books. She learnt mostly by whole word recognition.

I would ask the SALT about the possibility of Auditory Processing Disorder. It sounds VERY likely to me, given what you have said.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Tue 27-Nov-12 07:49:13

I'm glad that the meeting with the HT went well.

I would still say to ask his SALT about Auditory Processing Disorder though - a school based EP is unlikely to diagnose this.

crazygracieuk Tue 27-Nov-12 08:22:51

I think that you have had some good advice.

My sons struggled with phonics, reading and writing in Reception. What I have learned is

It's pointless doing homework that's too hard. Ds2 is currently in Y2 and quite good at maths but last week's homework was too hard for him so I sent it back undone with a note that he did not understand it so could she go through it. It would have been easy for me to tell him the answers but if the teacher doesn't know it's hard for him, she might move onto harder stuff which is pointless.

I did not make Ds2 learn spellings in Y1 (which is P2 in Scotland). He could not even form letters correctly so it was pointless. The time that he would have spent on spellings was used as handwriting practice. Sometimes we spent the week simply reading the 10 words which was more useful and appropriate to his level. By the end of Y1 (P2) he was ready to learn some spellings. He's currently Y2 (so P3) and I still edit which spellings he learns. For example, last week he had words like "ascend" which he could read but didnt know the meaning and would never use so I didn't push him learning it.

Spelling tests are not an efficient way to learn how to spell. It is very common for a child to learn how to spell a word correctly for the test and not in general written work. General spelling rules like "If a word ends in e then add an s for the plural." is much more useful. My son used to write z in those cases so learning that rule was more useful. His current school are good at matching the sounds that they do in phonics to the spelling lists but I know that some schools aren't.

I'm surprised that he has to learn 5 if he's in a low group. Our old school did 10 for high group, 5 for medium group and 2 for the low group.

I'm surprised that you manage to sit him down for so long. I think that you can learn efficiently in much shorter times say 20 minutes a day and that it can make a big difference if you do it daily.

Good luck

BringOnTheSunshine Tue 27-Nov-12 16:26:47

I know we are only on day 2 but what a difference there is to the atmosphere in the house.

Last night I put the timer on for 15mins and spent that time doing his 6 reading pages. We ran through slowly helping with words he couldn't manage then I read the pages with him repeating each word. He loved the bell going at the end...and the fact he had completed the reading 30 seconds before it went :-D

He was told that if he manages 3 days trying hard with homework...gets a sticker each day...then he can have time on the Wii. He is very excited about it all.

DS has gone for a walk with DH before it gets dark then we will have dinner and do his homework sheet. Today he has a maths sheet and reading...we will see how it goes! fingers crossed.

I think knowing that regardless of how much we get through, it will only take 15 mins, is making me giddy.

I know this is just the start and we have only scratched the surface but I don't feel like we are drowning ... can only be good

Euphemia Tue 27-Nov-12 16:52:34

Fabulous! smile

auntevil Tue 27-Nov-12 17:13:10

Apologies if this has been mentioned before - haven't read every post blush , but the swinging bags, barging side of things sound very much like my DS. He has dyspraxia as well as dyslexia. In fact both theses and ADD, ADHD etc are often linked, sharing similar traits.
If I hear it once a day, I hear it a hundred times "It was an accident!" This is when DS hasn't allowed enough room to do whatever he is doing and knocked into someone etc. He has no spatial awareness. This also means that his version of a tap on the shoulder is another's version of being hit. It is hard sometimes to give him the benefit of the doubt with all the accidents - so I know some people stop believing that they are accidents and then do not trust the voracity of much that is said.
Totally agree with everyone who has said about doing smaller amounts of work. I don't think we would have ever found the time to do that much studying after school!

drjohnsonscat Tue 27-Nov-12 17:17:48

That sounds good OP. Apart from anything else, you need time to just be together as a family, sitting around together doing nothing, sometimes.

nooka Wed 28-Nov-12 03:32:36

Sounds like your ds is responding to the new approach. That's great. All of you being happier at home should make a difference to his behaviour, and you never know with a bit less pressure perhaps the reading will have more of a chance to click.

Tgger Wed 28-Nov-12 09:42:10

Hooray!

seeker Wed 28-Nov-12 10:16:38

Keep checking in here, op-you might find it hard to keep on the 15 minute straight and narrow! We can help you!

daytoday Wed 28-Nov-12 11:27:13

So you're son is 6?

If so, I think he is doing far far too much. I completely understand that you are trying to complete a task set by the school but I think you need to stop after 30 mins - regardless. He sounds mentally overloaded, exhausted and stressed. You seem to be going round in circles - with a very unhappy child.

I found at this age that my (late developing) son would switch off after 15-20 mins and sort of give up. He was such a sweet boy but would blurt out any answer so it felt like he couldn't retain information. His short term/working memory didn't really develop till he was 7 nearly 8. Then we noticed a big lurch in what he could do.

During this earlier phase, we accepted he wasn't a flier with education but a hard working child who got there slowly, eventually. We backed off - let him draw, be creative. We made him read for 10 mins every night and did number bonds and times tables and that was pretty much it. We decided not to do some homework tasks but concentrate on what he needed. At points we wondered about underlying issues and they were explored. It is so very hard when they are young. He was just a late bloomer.

catstail Thu 29-Nov-12 08:55:57

yes I was going to say the same about dypraxia, which is very commonly found with dyslexia, accidental injuries that could appear deliberate, barging, swinging things in a way that other children don't etc

absolutely you need to provide a safe environment at home, stick to your 15 minute homework thing and you are helping him - 2 hours and you are making things worse.

BringOnTheSunshine Fri 30-Nov-12 17:02:32

Thanks everyone. We have managed 1 week so far and it feels great. DS is coming home from school with a smile on his face. We will have to see how his behaviour is at school...so far so good. No phone calls, no red slips! Just have to wait until new year for EP assessment to start. I have looked at ADHD, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia information online and there are various bits in each that could fit...DS has no understanding of personal space or his own strength. He can't sit still, even when he is watching a dvd, he bounces his feet, is on his knees, back on his bum...continuously! He has a nervous cough, the more stressed or excited he is, the more he does it. (we had it investigated and paed said it was likely post nasal drip)...but even the school have mentioned it...might have to ask them to look again! He is full of energy, jumping, running, doing forward rolls etc and would rather flip upside down on the chair than sit on his bum. He can't sit still to eat, perches on the side of the chair, stand, sit, bounce, sit etc all through dinner. He would rather use his fingers to eat or a spoon. He can hold a fork but always drops it and goes back to his fingers.

BringOnTheSunshine Fri 30-Nov-12 17:04:52

too much information so I won't bore you all with every detail. I just hope he can go back to being my happy wee boy!

TalkinPeace2 Fri 30-Nov-12 17:10:53

have you got a spare mountain you could run him up and down a few times a day?
hope the restricted homework is making all three of you happier

IndigoBelle Fri 30-Nov-12 17:11:46

ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia often exist together - because they are all symptoms of the same underlying problem - development delay.

So don't get tied up in knots over exactly which label he has, just think about what you want to do to help him.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 02-Dec-12 09:59:00

Have only read your thread as not much time.

I also have a 6 year old boy. Half an hour is completely adequate at such a young age. Frankly, I am amazed you haven't put him off altogether.

This 2-4 hour thing - you are making him do another half a day at school! It's actually cruel.

Running past teachers, waving his lunch box around etc., do you know any boisterous boys at that age that don't do it.

Incidentally the fidgeting thing is when they are past it and are very tired and have had enough - haven't you sussed that yet.

My son's reading is very good, but he still has to sometimes remember 'and' and 'stop' like words from one page to the next page - particularly if he's tired. They are both 6 they are still learning!

With respect, I think the problem is with you. You need to calm down and really look at what you are doing to him - he's 6 and not at university yet!

I am sorry if this is painful reading but I think the problem is with you, and if you're not careful you will totally put him off. Give him time to develop - at his rate and not yours. Help him, guide him, but stop acting like the gestapo.

CaseyShraeger Sun 02-Dec-12 11:04:12

KeepCool, it's generally best not to comment on a week-old thread if you haven't read more than the OP, however little time you have. If you don't even have time to skim-read the OP's latest updates, you might reconsider heather typing a long post comparing her to the Gestapo is a good use of your limited time.

wheresthegin Sun 02-Dec-12 15:03:49

wish someone would have thought another child cutting my dd hair was naughty and not funny.

BringOnTheSunshine Tue 04-Dec-12 20:41:40

TalkinPeace2, I think he would need to run the great wall of china before he would be tired enough to sit still!

IndigoBelle, I am not concerned about a label, DS will alway be DS. I am just trying to find out some information about all the things mentioned in the posts to find out better ways to help DS.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected, I understand your view based on the first post. It is very hard to communicate effectively on these sites and is impossible to include every detail of a situation without posting too much or drip feeding. I accept we spent too long on homework, I agree that none of us were happy and we are working with a new plan!

wheresthegin, I was annoyed that ds hair was cut too, but it is unfortunately something that happens when small kids get scissors! DS said that he...and "a girl" thought it would be funny to cut each others hair. The girls haircut was more obvious, (I would imagine) than DS who had a chunk out of the back of his head which was less noticable because he had short hair. DS was told not to do it again, the school didn't allow him scissors without supervison and it hasn't happened since.

The teacher seems to have stopped all spelling for DS, just sending home his reading book. Today he was to cut out and glue a santa he painted in class. He came bursting in the door determined to do it as soon as he dropped his bag! I also filled in and returned his panto form this week so he must still be going! :-D

TalkinPeace2 Tue 04-Dec-12 20:43:44

OP
I am so, so pleased that you have a happy child back for the end of term.

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