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To not know what to do next? Child/school related...

(30 Posts)
Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 15:43:16

DS is 13 and in Year 9. I really thought we were doing well this year - we have established a routine where as soon as he gets in, I look at his planner to see what homework he has, and what notes have been written by the teachers.

I have had a phonecall from his Head of Year today, who says he is concerned that DS hasn't done any homework so far this term. I know this isn't true, as I have supervised every bit - but did wonder if some HW wasn't being written in the planner. DS swore up and down that everything was being written down. Seems this isn't the case...

HoY will ask his teachers to make sure that HW is written into the planner, and I will make sure it's done. Ok so far, I hope.

He has received break/lunchtime detentions at least once a week for no HW/poor classwork/messing around in class. This doesn't bother him at all. He is now on report, so will have a card that each teacher fills in, with a mark out of 5 for effort in class.

We had this for a short while last year, and I said that each mark would earn/lose "points", which would be converted into time he could spend on the XBox after dinner. It did seem to help and I intend to implement this again.

But honestly, any other ideas would be much appreciated. I have been in tears since the phonecall because basically my clever DS (confirmed by teachers, not just my opinion!) is a lazy child with no work ethic. We have had the chat about needing to do well at school to get a good job so you can afford a nice life/things... he says the right things then continues to mess around for laughs in class. Please, what else can I do?

Helenluvsrob Mon 03-Oct-16 15:51:26

Year 9, hmm, difficult. Depending on the school , for a " bright boy" it could be a year that he just coasts along but some start GCSEs.

You can cont with your strategy- it's a good one, trading work for something valued.... or... You could hand control over to him completely.

I'd be really tempted to say " it's your life , you are in charge, you work when you feel you need to and not if you don't BUT I'm telling school that I'm 100% behind any sanctions they choose to impose, and I will remove the Xbox for a week for any sanctions at school" .

If it's a year 9 like we have had, he can utterly not bother without really " failing" academically, and 4 weeks of detentions and no Xbox would rather docus his mind I suspect...

Helenluvsrob Mon 03-Oct-16 15:52:38

THe only down side to how you have things planned at the moment is that you could still be micromanaging his work ethic in 6th form , and when he leaves home he'll suddenly have to deal with it all himself, and could fail spectacularly with " no safety net"

myownprivateidaho Mon 03-Oct-16 16:06:03

The thing that leaps out at me is how far you are managing his work. At 13, is this necessary? My parents let me just crack on at that age. And surely, if he doesn't do the homework, it's him who has to deal with the consequences. I mean, does it matter if he gets a detention? The thing to worry about is his performance in exams. Is he likely to study for his GCSEs? I think the thing to get in his head is that he needs to do well in those to achieve what he wants. The decision to do or not do homework is entirely his I'd say.

Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 16:41:30


If current strategy doesn't work, I will try what you've suggested - similar but tougher. Thanks for the idea smile

I appreciate I'm micromanaging, but if I don't nothing gets done, and I get more phonecalls from the school. I feel that I need to do as they ask and make every effort to ensure that he's doing his HW.


Yep, he's the one who has to deal with the consequences, but it's water off a duck's back. He won't study for GCSE's I don't think, hence why I'm trying my hardest to instil in him how important school/schoolwork are. If he continues as he is, his HoY is pretty sure he won't be getting into 6th Form. Jobs are hard enough to get round here if you do have good exam results. I just don't want to look back in a few years and think, If only I'd pushed harder...

myownprivateidaho Mon 03-Oct-16 16:44:31

Ack yes, sorry that is stressful. Since he's naturally bright, do you think he could be scared that if he tries his hardest he won't do as well as he/others thinks he should, so it's almost like not trying is protecting him from the risk of failure? I wonder if emphasising the need to do well in order to get a good job etc could be counterproductive? Maybe reassuring him that he just needs to do his best for it's own sake could help?

OlennasWimple Mon 03-Oct-16 16:48:24

Is he scared of failing? So not doing something, or messing around and not being seen as the top performer in class, means that when he fails he can justify it to himself as his choice because if he had wanted to do it he could have done.

I'm not sure I'm putting that very well! But we have this with DD (who is much younger): she would rather not try something than try it and get it wrong. It's her self-reservation technique

OlennasWimple Mon 03-Oct-16 16:49:08

X-post with myprivate, who put it much better than me....!

Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 16:53:34

myownprivateidaho and OlennasWimple

I do agree, and in the past have said that the results aren't as important as knowing that he's done his best. Unfortunately, not writing down HW and messing around in class are not what I consider "doing his best", so I felt I needed to make it clear that these thing are not acceptable. HoY says he is currently working at about 60% of his capability...

Honestly, I love my boy to bits, I just want the best for him and for him to do his best!

thanks for the positive ideas everyone, I was expecting a roasting for being a rubbish mum/missing an obvious solution.

TheZeppo Mon 03-Oct-16 17:05:59

As a HoY myself, I'd be really pleased that you're supporting the school. I do want to reassure you that LOTS of Year 9 boys are very, very similar to this. Many of them don't seem to see any importance or urgency to this year (we try and explain the building blocks idea to them but it can go in one ear and out the other!)

I don't think you should be checking his planner for homework at this stage. He really does have to learn to manage this himself. I think the X-box points thingy is inspired though.

Lots of them kick it up a gear at key stage 4. If not, how about asking what he wants for a future career and looking into what education he'd need for that? It can really resonate with some kids when they see in black and white that to be a space cowboy/ice ballerina they really need that A in geography!

Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 17:17:00


thanks so much, it's great to hear from someone on the "other side", IYSWIM!

Problem is, if I don't check the planner the homework WILL NOT get done. How do I install that work ethic? He doesn't care about school punishments but I DO care about the conversations I then have to have with his teachers... I feel that if I don't supervise the homework, they will think I'm not supporting them, and that I just don't care...

In one ear and out the other is exactly it. I'm glad to hear it's not just my DS, and desperately hoping he's one for whom it will all suddenly just "click"!

We've talked about future jobs, and there is one thing he's very keen on. We have discussed what he needs to do to be able to do this job. Hopefully it's sinking in smile

RaspberryIce Mon 03-Oct-16 17:21:41

Dd is year 8 but at her school the parents have to sign the planner each week, so what would be the point of signing it if we aren't checking it?

Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 17:24:33


Yes, good point! Although I don't think people are saying don't check the planner, more check it, but don't interfere so much, let him get in trouble if he hasn't made the effort :D

AstridPeth Mon 03-Oct-16 17:35:50

Dd2 is also year9 and naturally smart. Working at levels expected in year 10/11. But she is so lazy and she doesn't put much effort in at all to her homework. She really really frustrated me as she keeps getting amazing reports and marks despite her minimal effort. She hasn't so far got into trouble at school as everything is done but I just know she is not trying at all.
On the other hand I have another daughter in year 6. Who puts in 120% always. Always asks for and does extra homework. Works so hard in and out of her lessons and is often getting praised for her work ethic. However, academically she struggles and I am not convinced she will meet the expected marks for Sats later this year. But you seriously couldn't ask anymore of her.
Where is the fairness in all that?
Dh and I are on at my dd2 all the time and have this week said that all technology will be withheld until completion of satisfactory homework (rather then leaving it till last minute and handing in something that I know is not her best).
She has such a great potential yet is so so lazy and I don't want her throwing that away. I have always said to my children that it's not grades that count. As long as they have tried their very best I will be happy. I can't say that of dd2 yet but I hope to be able to do so.
On another note though she has just applied for the duke of Edinburgh award so I am hoping that might help with her work ethic (I don't think She knows what she has let herself in for lol).

UpOnDown Mon 03-Oct-16 17:35:50

I've had tagine and will have some yoghurt.

Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 17:40:08


It's not fair, is it? sad Your DD2 sounds like my DS. Coasting. How do you get them to WANT to do their best??


Wrong thread? Thankyou for the laugh though, cheered me right up smile

whatyouseeiswhatyouget Mon 03-Oct-16 17:42:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AstridPeth Mon 03-Oct-16 17:45:26

Sychnant...I am still working in that lol. But if I find something that works I will let you know.
I don't agree with the attitude of let them get on with it and make their own mistakes. Her future depends on it, and yes I know she would get good results if I let her be. But I also know she will get fantastic results with the right effort. She just needs to find that motivation. Maybe if I get her to help her little sister out with her homework and she sees how much she struggles she might realise how cushty she has got it and buck her ideas up a bit.

Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 17:47:26


Consequences set. XBox is currently on the kitchen table and he will get it back tomorrow if his report card is good enough. Times calculated by marks received!

Unfortunately no VLE. Gosh, I wish! It would be the answer to my prayers (and that's not something I ever imagined I would say!!!)

Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 17:50:16


Yes yes yes! Sink or swim would be great - if I could be sure he'd swim! And if he sinks, his future is potentially bleak. I just can't sit back and let it happen until I've exhausted all other avenues.

If you do find something that works, yes, please share! I'll do the same - no promises I'll manage to find the elusive magic wand though!

murmeli Mon 03-Oct-16 17:51:29

May sound a stupid question, but has he actually handed it in? Former hoy here who once had similar conversation with a parent; child had done it but when teachers asked for it in, didn't hand it in. Had a bag full of homework.

Sychnant Mon 03-Oct-16 18:11:19


I will check. That's a good point! Although I don't really think it's the case here unfortunately sad

Justonemorecupoftea Mon 03-Oct-16 18:53:46

I have this child. He is bright and did well enough in primary school to be in high sets for Y7 then gradually moved down due to lack of work and effort.
He did no homework in Y9 and was in trouble regularly for his don't care attitude. Before the Summer holidays he attended a sports course at a local college and found out he could attend there instead of sixth form and study sports science or business related courses. This has changed him. He knows what GCSEs he needs and seems to be working towards them of his own accord. Previously no amount of nagging or sanction would budge him.
Maybe you could find out what he wants to do in life and investigate further education options to attain it. When he sees a purpose he may have more motivation. You sound like a lovely caring Mum, hang in there!

Noodledoodledoo Mon 03-Oct-16 19:57:10

Could you switch when you check his planner so give him time to do the work under his own steam and check mid evening? Gives him a chance to prove himself but time for you to intervene.

Are there certain subjects he is avoiding homework for/behaving worse for? Any patterns? Can you contact individual teachers if there are key subjects there seems to be an issue.

Another teacher here in a subject lots hate so homework avoided frequently. Teachers may have a suggestion to get him focused in their lessons.

user1471524661 Mon 03-Oct-16 20:09:08

My mum is a teacher and she has always said (going on 20 years) year 9s are the worse for attitude, behaviour and work quality. Lovely, perfectly good, intelligent kids go very wrong in Y9. But most sort themselves out in Y10.

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