bright 7 yo boy but average performance

(32 Posts)
maevesport Sun 09-Dec-12 19:10:38

School has confirmed that DS is very bright and perceptive but written work is often "just average" as he does not follow instructions and makes simple mistakes.He is not reaching his potential apparently.

What can I do about this and what should I expect from the teacher.I have been quite hands off and just letting teacher get on with it as at 7 I think he needs space to develop but am worried.Should I be pushy and ask what she plans to do ?Am I supposed to accept this ?

Other Mums seem to be chatting to teacher every morning but I dont.
Am I being foolish or should I trust that as she knows this she has plans to help him ?
We do help him with homework etc and he seems very happy at school.

exoticfruits Sun 09-Dec-12 19:29:08

Very common. Play lots of games at home-ones where you need instructions-board games, chess etc. Get him cooking and following instructions. Basically anything where he has to listen and concentrate but doesn't need writing-he will get enough of that at home.

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 19:42:39

...will get enough of that at school?

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 19:47:12

Can you find him something like Airfix models to make, where following the instructions is paramount?

cece Sun 09-Dec-12 19:51:13

At that age I used to discuss things with DS1. For instance we watched a lot of youtube videos about Martin Luther King and then we discussed the issues these all raised. We went on to discuss how it influenced the elections of Obama etc and modern America. His teacher was very impressed with his feedback to the class on the subject. No writing involved though.

rotavirusrita Sun 09-Dec-12 19:53:57

I have a similar problem.... He really likes his philosophy lessons as he can discuss stuff without writing it down! Im hoping he might be a late bloomer at school. we just continue taking him to museums and things like that and reading and discussing interesting things. Ds1 is now 8 but loves Bbc4 history programmes and we are currently reading eh gombrichs history books. Basically find what he enjoys and "stretch"him at home in that subject

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 19:58:29

But at some point don't mum and the teacher have to find out what the problem(s) with the written work are and what might be causing those problems? The pair of them can't skirt around the issue(s) indefinitely.

maevesport Sun 09-Dec-12 20:03:17

Thank you so much for helpful messages.

I will put some of your ideas into practice.
Can someone reassure me that this is common and that he should grow out of it and with support his performance should match his ability ?

I worry he will be overlooked at school,and will not get the positive feedback he needs to keep interest in learning.

Also I think he loses interest and focus when he figures out the problem or issue and forgets to write down correct answer .

Does that sound familiar to you other Mums ?

treas Sun 09-Dec-12 20:05:48

My ds was exactly the same, sorry to say he didn't improve until he reached the middle of Yr 5 (aged 9 y.o.) and only then when other children were given better grades than him even though he got the top test results.

He asked his teacher why and she told him it was because he didn't put the effort in to get his test results and that actually he was capable of even better test scores if he tried harder.

It was actually being told by a teacher (a teacher he respected) that made all the difference. I'd been telling him it for years but then what do I know I'm only his mum!smile

maevesport Sun 09-Dec-12 20:10:00

Thanks Treas - yes thats another aspect of it.At the moment he experiances no negative consequences to sloppy work and its only me gently stressing away about it.

I will talk to his teacher I think....

Brycie Sun 09-Dec-12 20:12:17

Oh the dreadful word "potential".

He needs motivating by the teacher, it's really the teacher's job not yours to sort this out. How you get her to do this I don't know.

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 20:14:06

maevesport, do you mean negative feedback or constructive criticism? I'm not a teacher but I'm not sure how far negativity gets one. I seem to remember helpful hints in red pen in my margins way back in the distant past.

Brycie Sun 09-Dec-12 20:17:32

I think teachers often talk about potential as if their job on this earth is done once a child's" potential"is identified and relayed to the parent. It is extremely hard for a parent to motivate a child in their classwork if the teacher is not doing this. As well as identifying potential they need to help the child fulfil it, they'll be the primary instrument in this. You need to support the teacher all you can but you can't do it for her.

maevesport Sun 09-Dec-12 20:21:33

yes - constructive feedback - learnandsay.

Yes,the word "potential" is just a bit emotive and strikes at my "I need to DO SOMETHING " spot.

I am nervous about approaching teacher as I want her to feel valued but also to up her game a bit - so to speak.

orangeandlemons Sun 09-Dec-12 20:26:02

Ding ding. dyslexia/learning difficulties bell ringing here. Sounds classic to me. Inability to follow instructions correctly-tick, written work below ability of comprehension and understanding-tick, good oral skills-tick.

This was my ds. He was later diagnosed as very able, but with learning diffculties. This sounds like your ds, his overall ability is masking his learning issues. FWIW, I'm a teacher, and this profile would have been ringing bells in my head from the start. I am suprised the teacher hasn't picked it up.

Written work which is below the level of understanding is a classic classic marker. Losing interestis a sign of an able student, but forgetting to write down the answer could be learning difficulties. Inability to concentrate/organise are all symptoms too, it's not justabout reading and writing

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 20:26:45

To play devil's advocate for a second here, Brycie, written work doesn't have to be only school work. A child can keep a detailed scrapbook of plants and animals, enter junior writing competitions, have a pen-friend, keep a journal or do one of a hundred other things which involve writing but is not done in school. It isn't necessarily a teachers fault if a child doesn't write well. And nor is the solution necessarily only down to school.

maevesport Sun 09-Dec-12 20:39:24

Thanks orangeandlemons.
His written work is inconsistent.Sometimes excellant, sometimes full of errors.
His logic and verbal reasoning are very good.

My feeling is that its lack of motivation and possibly not stimulated by tasks in class.
He does nt seem motivated to - just do a good job or do his best .

I hope the teacher will help him to be motivated - then get positive feedback - then keep learning to the best of his ability .

Does that make any sense ?

orangeandlemons Sun 09-Dec-12 20:48:00

Could be those, but could be learning issues too.

I went on and on with my ds thinking it would sort itself, and it didn't. Eventually I paid to get him assessed, and it was the best money I ever spent.I find it suprising that a 7 year old lacks motivation, they are usually keen at that age. If not stimulated by class tasks he may be very able.

If you can afford it, I would have him assessed

exoticfruits Sun 09-Dec-12 20:57:00

Sorry-of course I meant 'enough of that at school'!

He needs motivating by the teacher, it's really the teacher's job not yours to sort this out

The teacher can be motivating but he doesn't want the boring bit is my guess and many find the recording boring.

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 20:58:21

writing is hard work

exoticfruits Sun 09-Dec-12 21:04:59

Sorry-boring and hard work. He takes the easy way of doing as little as possible-he is not alone!

exoticfruits Sun 09-Dec-12 21:06:19

Lots of DCs are motivated, enthusiastic and interested- but they simply don't want to write about it or record it.

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 21:06:38

Writing is hard work. But it can also be great fun, especially if one gets good feedback. I used to enter competitions when I was at school. I don't think I ever won one. But I did get commendations and my name in the local paper a couple of times. Even when you're very young it's possible to get a kick out of writing. I wrote a sheep farming "manual" when I was in primary school and sent it to a publisher. Of course they didn't publish it! But they did send me back a very sweet thank you letter. I've still got it.

mrz Sun 09-Dec-12 21:13:07

Research shows boys are less motivated by good feedback than girls and often they find writing more physically difficult ...hard work in a physical sense. Boys like tangible rewards ...what's in it for me!

exoticfruits Sun 09-Dec-12 21:13:20

It depends who you are! I liked it and enjoyed writing thank you letters-I had them done by the end of Boxing Day-my brothers were still being nagged about it at the end of January!

Taffeta Sun 09-Dec-12 21:15:53

My DS (9, Y4 ) has a very similar report, op. Bright, able and lazy.

His concentration when its a quick to do, easy task is great, or even a longer one in a subject he's interested in ( that'd be football - yaaawn ) is great and he is capable of great work. But in his teacher's words he does just enough and is coasting.

I spent Y3 allowing this and hoping he'd come to his senses, and despite not good QCA test results, it hasn't given him the kick up the arse I wanted. So I am on his back now, big time.

Its comprehension mainly he's lazy about. He wouldn't reread text and was trying to memorise chunks to save him the effort. So we are doing comprehension at home now and I am making him do it. And showing his teacher the work so he does a decent job at it.

<evil>

cece Sun 09-Dec-12 22:17:10

DS1 is now in Year 4 and his teacher is now letting him use a laptop to type his work rather than handwrite it. It has made an amazing difference, although he does have appalling handwriting. Completely illegible and also he finds it physically tiring to write for any length of time.

monkey42 Sun 09-Dec-12 23:09:10

hmmmm, is he just 7 or 7 going on 8? My DS1 (8) has been startlingly inconsistent but has hugely raised his game this year (Y4). His teacher says he now works incredibly hard at school and is very focussed ( i nearly fell off my chair as he does not at home), but she suggested he is incentivised to do well at school - they have a system of credits which they collect on cards to much acclaim etc. I had assumed all the above were just boys being boys i must say, and it's great he has potential. As a swotty girl I think it's great that he just isn't that bothered if it doesn't all look perfect...

My Ds1 loves chess, i agree it's good for the conentration. He can concentrate when he wants to...

KTK9 Sun 09-Dec-12 23:23:51

DD in Year 1, very similar, able, bright etc. etc. etc. All the usual things, including very articulate, good vocab. Slow with reading and had extra help, but no problems came out and finished the scheme before others on the same one.

Just a very disinterested child in school, happy to go, but not motivated (yes at 6!). I was beginning to think there were learning problems, teachers said was too early. Despite being oldest in class she was just muddling along, struggling with maths. Distracted, produced very little work, unless sat next to a TA, when she would do good written work.

Year 2, we moved her to another school, an independent, explained our concerns. Within weeks she was motivated, interested in her work, happy and working hard to improve her writing, all with no major input or nagging from us.

Start of Year 3, she was/is above average in literacy, usually gets 15/15 in spellings and dictation and 30/30 in tables tests. Her maths is very slightly below average in the class, but they have just had another assessment and it will be interesting to see if there is a continued improvement, but in all other areas, working hard and achieving.

There are obviously no major learning difficulties, she can be a bit forgetful, often leaves reading book at school etc., but they are working on her independence (only child and I think I do too much!).

Personally, I think the teacher and school just didn't motivate her. In her new school, motivating and doing your best is a given by everyone, it is so dynamic in the whole ethos and it shows.

fruitstick Mon 10-Dec-12 13:52:12

My DS too. He's in year 2.

I like to think he's very intelligent (obviously) but has the concentration of a gnat and is completely unable to sit still.

He's always been an active boy but was very late with his fine motor skills (because he couldn't be bothered). It wasn't really until reception he so much as attempted some colouring in.

It worries me but I try not to let it. At home I'm trying to concentrate on concentration & instructions rather than writing etc.

DH is doing some Airfix with him and encouraging him to stay focused. Same with following Lego instructions, recipes etc.

He wrote all of his Christmas cards (well 8 of them) without being nagged grin

We have 11+ here so I'm hoping his 'potential' kicks in sooner rather than later grin

maevesport Mon 10-Dec-12 17:06:05

Spoke to teacher today.Very reassuring.She knows him well and has an individualised approach to helping him.
Very bright boy who skips reading instructions or checking his work.Rushes through the task.

Glad I spoke to her - stress evaporated....

exoticfruits Tue 11-Dec-12 07:47:14

Good- long term strategies are needed- life would be simple if you could solve it in a term!

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