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DS7 and school - getting in trouble/bored

(43 Posts)
Lima1 Wed 08-Feb-17 11:36:46

My DS turned 7 a couple of months ago and is in 1st class (not sure what that is in UK - its his 3rd year in school). I have 2 other kids one a year below and one 2 years ahead. Both youngest and eldest are bright kids, do very well in school, manage work easily and never get into trouble. The middle kid my DS7 is very bright (this isn't a stealth boost honestly). We have always been told since he was very young that he is very smart. He isn't at the level of gifted or anything but I suppose its like a step above being top of the class if that makes sense.
At his parent teacher meetings the teachers tell me he is extremely intelligent, exceptionally bright, miles ahead of the other kids, etc. He can easily do the school work of my DD 2 years ahead, they are reading the same books, he knows all her spellings etc etc
He picks things up very easily, has a great memory, and unlike my other two who are content to learn at an easy going pace, he craves information. He is really good at maths eg his class are learning addition and subtraction tables and he is on multiplication and division, knows all fractions, percentages, measurements ...
Here is the problem, his current teacher, whilst lovely, seems to be just ignoring DS. I totally appreciate that he has a big class and his priority will be the kids who are struggling. I have a nephew who I am very close to and he is struggling in school, gets extra resources, is in a special class so I know the pain and upset of having kids on the other end.
DS is refusing to do addition and subtraction tables with the rest of the class as they are "too easy" for him, his teacher accepts this so now DS does no tables in school and I do the M&D with him at home. The spellings are too easy so now he does little to no spellings with him. He is reading a few years ahead of his age and thankfully his teacher lets him pick his own books but unfortunately DS doesn't really enjoy reading (hoping its only temporary as I love it).
His behaviour was raised as an issue at the PT meeting. His teacher said he can be a bit cheeky, but not in a bad way, he just thinks he shouldn't have to do work that is too easy for him. Teacher said he thinks he is an adult and wants to control everything - all true. When the teacher is on the computer DS goes up to his desk and wants to know what files he is looking at, where they are saved, what files he has in Word, how to do this that and the other - he askes a million questions about everything. He loves going onto my computer and creating files, he will take pictures from the picture album, and create collages with headers, set up his own folders, he has programmed the tv, set up the chrome cast with the TV, downloaded movies, etc He built a 16 years + 1500 piece lego set by himself when he was 5.5yrs. I got him the Millennium Falcon Star Wars lego (8-16yr) for Christmas to keep him occupied and he built it in about 2-3 hrs.
He has been getting in trouble in school a fair bit recently for messing, getting up and walking around the classroom, rolling his pencil around the table. When I asked him about it he said he is finished all his work and has to wait for the others to finish and he has nothing to do. I have a suduko book in his bag for times like this and the teacher is supposed to have sheets of work in an early finisher box but often runs out. The problem is that he is now bored with doing these.
I knew this problem was going to arise but I thought id get another year or two before it did. I know I should talk to the teacher but its very hard to not sound like I'm bragging and I think my child is a genius that deserves special treatment. I don't even know what I expect the teacher to do, I fully appreciate he has 20 + other kids to worry about. I suppose my best way to approach it is from the point of view of him getting in trouble and being disruptive, but I worry the teacher may not agree with me and think maybe he is just being bold.
The is an irish school in the next town, where everything is taught through Irish and DH is seriously considering sending him there as a way to challenge him for the next while. Though he is picking up the language at a fast rate so I don't know how long that will work.
I would really love any advice on what to do, AIBU to expect the school to try and do something for him in terms of challenging him more. I genuinely worry about his behaviour going downhill. In the last week I have had a note him as he got 4 warnings in the one day and yesterday he got 2 warning so he had to go to the staffroom. The school is great in ways but its a very easy going country school with an "ah sure it will be grand" attitude!

user98765797837 Wed 08-Feb-17 12:21:08

Have you spoken to the school about him maybe been given work from a higher class.... say his class is doing addition, could he have sheets from addition/algebra or whatever the older class is doing?

I know our school does this, they even take one of the brighter children into the higher class so they can learn at the level they are at and not be forced to work below.

If you arent getting anywhere with the teacher, maybe speak to the head teacher....they may not even be aware that your child need challenging more.

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 12:41:42

It sounds like a mix of not enough challenge (although the teacher is trying) and bad behaviour. Your DS may be bored but this level of disruptive behaviour won't just vanish if the work gets harder! He needs to understand it isn't on.

Lima1 Wed 08-Feb-17 12:47:36

Thanks for your reply. Part of me is reluctant is speak to them, that's why I haven't done it before, as I am worried ill look like a pushy mam but I think now his behaviour has gotten bad I can use it.
I wonder does giving him work from the years above not just kick the can down the road? He would LOVE to go into a higher year and do their work but I have never heard of it here, that sounds like a great idea.
I will arrange to speak with the teacher and will try and have a few suggestions to offer. Thanks again.

Lima1 Wed 08-Feb-17 12:55:32

TorB - I agree, he has always had some behaviour issues. They are not bad but he goes from one extreme to the other. I can say hand on heart it is only when he is bored. I contacted a child behavioural therapist when he was 2.5 and she said it was all coming from boredom because he needs to be challenged intellectually. When he is, he is an amazing child and lovely to be around, when he is bored he is a whinging nightmare.

I have told him in no uncertain terms that he cannot disrupt the class, that he is old enough to occupy himself. He can do his puzzle books or read and he is responsible for making sure he has something to do. If the early finishers box is empty he should ask the teacher to get more. The problem is that he just isn't mature enough to do it all the time. He is only gone 7 and despite him being ahead academically, he is a bit more socially immature. I have punished him for the warnings but part of me also believes its not all his fault and the teacher is taking the easy way out by giving these warnings that are doing nothing.

steppemum Wed 08-Feb-17 13:03:28

hmm, I totally get the problme with boredom and lack of challenge, byt he sounds like a cheeky little monkey to be honest.
Going up to the teacher to see what computer files he is using etc, he does sound as if he struggles with social boundaries.

I think I would take a 2 pronged approach. Talk to the teacher, without ds there. Be up front and say you know he is being a pain with behaviour, and can we together come up with a plan.
Listen to what the teacher says is their plan. Talk about dealing with boredom. Maybe ask if there are challenge books or extension books that the school could suggets. He shoudl have ability appropriate work to do in class, so you shouldn't need to be doing it at home.

You do gloss over his mistakes a bit - he doesn't like reading. Well, lets work on that. Find books he does like - Guiness book of Records? How about written work following on from the book? How about a mini project he can work on when he has finished everything else, focusses on his week points?
Or he could be tasked with making an addition /subtraction game for the other kids. he would need a lot of problem solving to work out how to make te game work.

Sounds as if the teacher needs a push to provide appropriate material (but this shouldn't be a problem, the school should have resources available) and it sounds as if he needs a clearer definition of what behaviour is expected and when and why.

I wouldn't physically move him up. He needs the social skill of his age group.

steppemum Wed 08-Feb-17 13:05:06

I can spell and type. Really. Just not on mn

Lima1 Wed 08-Feb-17 13:17:01

Thanks, he has a problem with boundaries in that he just sees that he wants to get involved in something and he gets tunnel vision and his curiosity wins out. My house is full of books and I have tried him with many different authors and they only type of books that interest him are medical and science encyclopaedias. He loves learning about the body but he only likes to read them with someone so he can talk about what we are reading about. I think they would be more of a distraction in school particularly as the kids at his desk would probably want to see what he was looking at and he would only be too eager to show them!
I like the idea of him making up maths games or maybe making up word searches- that's a great idea!

No I definitely wouldn't want him moved up, he would love it but he doesn't have the maturity.

Lima1 Wed 08-Feb-17 13:19:31

Actually a weak point is his handwriting skills, he can spell everything but his writing is barely legible at times. Maybe he would start trying to write short stories to improve that. Thanks you are getting me thinking now.

steppemum Wed 08-Feb-17 14:06:07

so, he needs to work on that tunnel vision, and on understanding his boundaries, and directing his curiosity (and knowing when to shut up!).

Also on reading fiction, responding in writing to what he is reading.
Also on being able to read and sit still and not chat to his neighbour about what he is reading for 15 minutes.

Also on handwriting, letter formation, writing on the line etc.

Some of these he is going to find BORING!
But he has to conquer them. Instead of focussing on the areas where he is good and wanting him to do extension work, how about making him a bit of an all rounder?

His quirks are not quirks in a classroom, they are misbehaviour, and you seem to go down the line of "Oh he is misbehaving but only because he is soooo curious." At 7 you can be talking to him about a time and a place for everything. And about perseverance in things he doesn't like.

Lima1 Wed 08-Feb-17 15:02:58

Steppmum I appreciate your replies but there is no need to be so passive aggressive. We are talking about a 7 year old child. I don't think his misbehaviour is caused by quirks I think it's caused by boredom. I don't think it's unreasonable that a child will be bored and will start playing with his pencil when he is waiting on others to finish. I think it's unfair he get a warning for it when it's clear or should be clear he is bored and this is happening frequently. I think it's reasonable to expect the teacher to address the root cause and not simply punish him. I don't think it's unreasonable that a 7 year old struggle to be mature enough to occupy himself through all these free periods lest. I don't know any kid his age that could sit still for a number of 15 min periods throughout the day without talking to his friends beside him. I think that's asking a lot

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 15:06:38

That post wasn't at all passive aggressive. Your DS may be bored but the behaviour you describe above is unacceptable. There are lots of areas he could be working on and he needs to understand that it isn't okay to be disruptive every time he gets bored, OP. You are making excuses for him.

Cosmicglitterpug Wed 08-Feb-17 15:15:21

Totally agree with Trifle, all this 'he's bored', where's he getting the language from? He's not the only child in the class, sometimes you do have to wait. How do you know it's 15 minutes?

NoCleanClothes Wed 08-Feb-17 15:34:09

I would be very wary of making him too aware that he's bright - at some point in his education, probably at university he'll be just average and it can come as massive shock to someone who is used to being the best - if it's something that's been happening since he was very young his entire identity can be wrapped up in being smart and it's actually not

The general consensus for gifted children is that they should take a step sideways rather than up. I would definitely stop covering work from years ahead - this is just setting him up for more boredom. There is plenty of work that even undergraduates find challenging that involves nothing more than cardinal numbers etc.

OneInEight Wed 08-Feb-17 15:56:39

There is nothing wrong in being bored some of the time. There is something wrong if your ds is bored most or all of the time. Turned ds2 completely off education. Total waste. And yes the best way to stop him being disruptive was to give him something to engage his brain as the good teachers quickly learnt.

Itwasthenandstillis Wed 08-Feb-17 16:06:56

WhIch country are you in OP?

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 16:08:25

And even a moderately bright 7 year old is capable of saying, "I'm only naughty when the work is easy, Mummy!" They WANT your approval. You are making the mistake of giving your approval to your son's arbitrary, innate qualities (intelligence) rather than his effort, patience and respectful behaviour towards others.

RhodaBorrocks Wed 08-Feb-17 16:19:03

I dont want to make an armchair diagnosis, but has he been assessed for ASD at all? I know not all kids with ASD are bright, but some of the words you are using and things you are saying scream ASD to me.

My DS is bright but not exceptionally so. He used to muck about and disrupt class because he couldn't understand why they went over things repeatedly when he could grasp them the first time. He was also socially immature. Like your DS he can do very complex lego. What you've said about his obsessions over computer files sounds similar to another ASD child I know.

If he is this advanced enough he could well be gifted. Gifted is not synonymous with genius, so he can be gifted without being a genius.

My DS has got better now he understands that the other kids need to go over stuff more than once and that he needs to demonstrate his learning (which previously he wouldn't do - he knew he knew it so he didn't see why the teacher needed to know too lol). It's also better now they are split into ability groups for core subjects (he is top for English and Science but bottom for Maths).

The needing to control things sounds like a type of ASD called PDA (pathological demand avoidance) - does he actively resist doing tasks if he is asked to do them or is he happy to perform on Cue? My DS does not like 'performing' and won't even tell a joke if asked ("DS, tell Nan that joke you told me the other day." "NO.")

There will be a lot of people on this thread who say "He needs to learn to behave" and whilst that is true, if he is like my DS (who also got told that) he needs to have adjustments made first and the behaviour issues will resolve very quickly. Ask the school senco what they will do to commodity a bright child (don't let them fob you off by saying he has to improve his behaviour before they'll help) and if there are no ASD concerns then see if they could get him seen by an educational psychologist to assess his learning and make recommendations on how r hey can make adjustments for him.

RhodaBorrocks Wed 08-Feb-17 16:20:59

*accommodate not commodity

steppemum Wed 08-Feb-17 17:40:27

I wasn't being remotely passive agressive.
I was being clear that there are lots of areas for him to work on when he has finished with the areas he CAN do.

You need to work with the school on how to structure this, so does he have a little box of work he can go to when he has finished other stuff for example. But he may not want to work on that, because he is only 7 and that other stuff is less interesting and even boring. Whereas the stuff he likes eg maths is exciting.

nevertheless, he NEEDS to work on the other stuff.
You said yourself he is a little immature, and has trouble with boundaries. So he needs to work on those things.
All your posts come across as how lovely and special he is, without acknowledging that he behaviour really is causing concerns.

It may well be that the teacher isn't managing him well. Teachers are certainly not perfect. But as a parent, you need to be encouraging him to engage. Most classes of his age have some sort of system of what to do when finished, or when there are no more extension worksheets. If that is to read quietly and he doesn't like reading, then his report back to you will be 'I'm bored' which is not a complete picture.

By the way quirks is not an insult.

steppemum Wed 08-Feb-17 17:50:34

Rhoda - I certainly don't think most schools would be either/ or in terms of behaviour and adjustments, but the two do go hand in hand.

At 7 he can easily understand that these special measures are available, but in turn he needs to work on this and this.

That is how an individual education plan works, with goals for education AND behaviour.

butterfly990 Wed 08-Feb-17 19:30:18

This maybe of interest to you.

Lima1 Thu 09-Feb-17 10:31:28

Thanks for the replies. I certainly don't think misbehaviour in a classroom is acceptable but I can understand the reason why he is fidgeting and messing. I do encourage him to accept responsibility for occupying himself, I absolutely do but I also feel the teacher has a role to play given his age.
Last year he had no issues with behaviour, his teacher gave him loads of jobs to do, she let him implement a system for managing all the kids books and copies, storing them in order according to her timetable, handing them out. She got him to assist other kids with their reading and maths, etc. She had nothing but praise for him and said he was a great assistance to her. He was in a mixed class and mixed with the year ahead and she let him to all the work of the year ahead (which is the year he is in now, so essentially this is his second year doing this work). While all that was great, in hindsight it has probably lead to the problems this year as all that has stopped.
I asked him about his day yesterday and he said when he finished the work he took out his book and read a few pages the first time and the second time he did some suduko. I praised him and told him do to the same today but that isn't to say he will.
Its not that I am overlooking concerns about his behaviour, I genuinely feel that messing with his pencil twice doesn't warrant a trip to the staffroom. When the kids get 4 warnings in a day they get a note home and they must carrying the note out in their hands so everyone knows its a note about misbehaviour. Four kids from my DS's class came out with those notes last week so I do wonder if the teacher is struggling.

Re the ASD, some of my descriptions may sound like characteristics but he definitely doesn't have it. The child behavioural therapist I mentioned did look into that, my nephew was assessed for it and two cousins have it so I am fairly familiar with - but thank you. I know when he is mentally stimulated he is very well behaved and will anything for you but when he is bored he isn't. I was bored in secondary school, the pace of learning was too slow for me and as a result I skipped a lot of school. I can empathise with him and maybe that's why I am coming across as indulgent.
There is a huge variation in the ability of the kids in his class, the teacher has told me this and probably his attention is going on the kids who are struggling, there definitely isn't a set structure in his class for early finishers as I had to ask the teacher at the PT meeting about giving him extra sheets and DS tells me often there are none.
An education assessment is an idea, I don't know much about it but ill look into it. Thanks

Lima1 Thu 09-Feb-17 10:35:23

Butterfly, a past teacher of his recommended those CTYI courses. My reluctance is that I don't think my other two kids would get in and I think they would be very disappointed, they are all very close. I am wary of distinguishing him from the others on the basis of intelligence and I think my DD would take it badly, she is very sensitive. Perhaps when they are older and can understand this a bit better.

Trifleorbust Thu 09-Feb-17 10:58:18

OP, if 4 children came out with notes about their behaviour then that means the teacher is either struggling or she is just following up on poor behaviour (I don't know). But two points occur: 1) sending your DS to the staff room for messing with his pencil twice and nothing else just doesn't ring true given that she is handing out standard notes for poor behaviour including giving 4 warnings and 2) even if she is struggling to manage behaviour (some new teachers do) that doesn't excuse your DS for his part in that bad behaviour. You can talk to the teacher about the best ways to keep him on task, but you cannot be 'indulgent' about his behaviour if it disrupts the classroom. He is not the only child present. Even if he is bored he needs to behave himself. I get bored - I don't think it's okay to make trouble as a consequence. Unless you are firm with him, he will get older thinking bored = excuse to misbehave.

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