can't get DS to revise for GCSEs

(21 Posts)
Millenniumbug1 Mon 18-Nov-13 11:02:11

I can't get my DS to revise. I've done a revision timetable with him & tried to go through, "stuff," with him, DH has sat with him to help him, but he just won't work & sneaks off to his PlayStation or tablet to play games at the 1st opportunity.
We're worried about pushing him though, it's been a rotten 6 months all round. I've had cancer & more surgery recently, the games have been his escape from it all.
His younger DS does not help, often not getting ready in a morning. This morning, going to a French exam, DS made them all late. DH is doing the school run before work & we try to get uniform, books etc ready the night before,but DS always seems to have a hair/clothing problem that needs instant attention.
Any ideas of how to put a rocket under motivate this pair?

TeenAndTween Mon 18-Nov-13 11:33:09

Can you clarify a few things?

DS1 - is this mocks he is revising for, or actual GCSEs to be taken soon, or are you already trying to get him revise for his May/June exams?

DS2 - how old?

No way should DS2 be allowed to make DS1 late on a morning he has an exam. If DS2 isn't ready then he needs to go to school not ready and face the consequences. If DS2 is younger than 9 maybe he needs more support to be ready in the morning. If older than 9 he has no excuse really.

Assuming mocks for DS1. Can you take away access to playstation etc until the evening. Maybe reduce revision time required, or say that for every 90minutes done he gets 30mins on playstation? Does he do 'active' revision, eg writing out notes, testing on BBC bitesize etc, or is it all 'passive' reading. (I've got all this to come next year ...)

eatyourveg Mon 18-Nov-13 11:55:54

ds3 is revising for mocks at the moment. He too has a revision timetable and whilst he sometimes cuts short his sessions, I think as TeenandTween suggests, doing a variety of different types of session seems to help eg bitesize quizzes, past papers, for french we try to ban English for a morning or an afternoon. No-one wants to spend a long time just reading or writing notes. getrevising.co.uk has a good range of activities.

Can you stick post it notes around the house with key words/definitions for some of his subjects? When ds1 was revising I used to set him a few pages of the the cgp or similar revision books as a task. I also put all his french oral onto a dictaphone as well as the Geography case studies and he just played them in the background as he was lying in bed or doing other stuff. It may be that he just isn't sure how to revise. Variety is the key.

The playstation has to be a reward for revising and your ds2 maybe could get a reward for creating a conducive setting for his older db ie not making him late, giving him space and time to revise etc etc

Millenniumbug1 Mon 18-Nov-13 12:12:21

He really didn't know if today was a mock or the real thing. We haven't had/he hasn't given us his exam timetable.
DD is 12 & always has a scream about something before they leave.

Millenniumbug1 Mon 18-Nov-13 12:14:21

I like the post-it's around the house idea. He can write 10 key things & stick away, makes it fun too!

GCSEs are in May and June.
Any tests or exams now will either be mocks or Controlled Assessments. I think you could help your DS more if you were clear what exams he was doing and when. I have DS2 in year 11 and he's just finished mocks but has several CAs on the go.
Is there a parents evening this term? Perhaps you could get more information then from school.
If it's really his actual GCSEs you are thinking of, then now is too early to start properly revising. March / April would be the time to be doing revision timetables and the like.

Talkinpeace Mon 18-Nov-13 16:49:46

Has the school not sent home the timetable for the mocks? I have it on my phone for DD
Has there been a parents evening yet this term to run through predictions?

The closing date for the local college applications is in the middle of next month and the mock grades will be sent to them : focuses minds properly

Younger child can go to school in PJs if needs be - they DO NOT distract in exam year

you also need to remove electronic distractions : its your role as parent to set the boundaries

slickrick Mon 18-Nov-13 16:54:52

Take all electronic items away they are a total distraction.

BackforGood Mon 18-Nov-13 17:02:52

Ultimately, there's an element of "You can take a horse to water but you can't make them drink" about it - my ds is in Yr13 now, and has been heard to say "I wish I'd got .... for my GCSE", but he wouldn't accept help / support / nagging before doing them.
One thing that did seem to work for him last year (ASs) was making up a timetable of hours he would be awake (well, 2 timetables, one for term time and one for holidays grin) and showing him all the hours there were in a day, and pointing out to him that nobody expected him to work for the 17hours he was awake, etc., but that he could choose the hours he worked, and, if he wanted to lie in until dinner time, that was fine, but meant there were 8 hours less available to him, which would impact upon x-box time or going out with mates time, etc. He could do any of these, in moderation, but he could visually see what proportion of the day he was actually taking up with work / nonwork things. Might be worth a try ?

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Mon 18-Nov-13 17:09:19

Tbh if they are Mocks then I would gently encourage but not force. The shock.of shit grades might be just what he needs to pull his socks up for the real event.

Especially if he had a college/uni plan ehich requires certain grades.

Millenniumbug1 Mon 18-Nov-13 18:32:21

We've got the timetable tonight & it is mocks. It was Geog today confused the French is a CA in 2 week's time!
I tried the post it idea, but it was a no-go. Off to try again blush

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 18-Nov-13 18:36:40

Agree with Mortified. If he does badly he may get a wakeup call. This happened to my son in year 12! He then bucked his ideas up to get the A levels he needed for university.

Littleredsquirrel Mon 18-Nov-13 18:40:15

Definitely remove the playstation and use it as a reward.

I completely understand that he might have had a tough few months but he'll have a tough life if he messes up his GCSEs and this is his chance to practice for the real thing.

longtallsally2 Mon 18-Nov-13 18:46:24

What time is he getting home at nights? Is he on his PS/tablet/TV for four to six hours a night?

Either way, it's not the end of the world. Revision for mocks does not have to be arduous - and as someone above said, failing mocks is often a wake up call, showing how much work is needed in the summer.

However, if it were me I would want him to start to have a work routine now, and so would be saying that he has to do 45 mins/night revision (BBC bitesize website has good online revision exercises which you could do with him) or the PS/tablet would go away.

eatyourveg Mon 18-Nov-13 20:51:15

If you have the time, can you do the post it notes? Put them in places such as next to the loo roll, opposite his eye line when sitting at the table, next to the light switch in his room, on the mirror in the bathroom, by the coat pegs in the hall, on the front door etc etc so that he can't miss them. I think the whole family knew exothermic and endothermic combustion by the time ds's exam came along.

Do you think if you are able and have the time, you could revise together rather than leaving it to him to do on his own? As others have said though, this is only a trial run so no need to go overboard

ds3 also has french CA in a fortnight, he is writing it in french today and tomorrow, writing it out in english tomorrow and wednesday and on thursday it'll go onto a dictaphone and he'll learn it over the weekend by backward chaining.

LibraryBook Mon 18-Nov-13 21:56:37

I would let him do disastrously in the mocks.

Talkinpeace Tue 19-Nov-13 17:56:57

message from DD : check out these youtube channels ...
HEGARTYMATHS
MyScienceGCSE

sunbathe Tue 19-Nov-13 18:04:28

With mine, I provide what they need to revise and remind them from time to time.

I also point out that their success or failure will impact upon their lives, not mine.

Theas18 Tue 19-Nov-13 18:09:37

Take away his gadgetry apart from for revision- to be used in communal areas. Other than that I'd let him sink or swim.

There comes a point when you have to back off and let them get on with it. THe sooner you do that the better as the consequences of them " failing" are less, and the sooner they take ownership and realise it's THEM they are working for the better.

Millenniumbug1 Sat 23-Nov-13 21:56:43

So, 1/2 way through mock fortnight, have limited DS's access to tech-games & it seems to be working. Also had the chat suggested by submarine & he seems to be taking it all a bit more seriously now. Fingers crossed & thanks for all the sound advice & ideas. thanks

Millenniumbug1 Sat 23-Nov-13 21:59:25

Submarine? Sorry sunbathe, the joys of predictive textblush

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