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to NOT get involved in my son's GCSE courses and revision

(173 Posts)
LittlePeonie Sat 13-May-17 22:15:15

End of year tests (Y9). 14 year old son barely bothered, or at least very unfocused. Hasn't even got the one book he needs for 2 subjects to revise, and the tests are a week a way.

Suddenly had an unwelcome vision of the GCSE years round the corner. I just can't face chivvying my son along on his GCSE courses, or with his future revision plans etc, as I am sure it will only end in arguments. Really I want to keep out of it unless he asks for advice or such advice offered is welcome "Come to me if you need any help" kind of thing. AIBU?

I managed my own school exams without any parental input - but I was naturally motivated and fairly academic. But things seem different now. Parents seem to be expected to be more involved.

What did other parents do? What would you advise?

LittlePeonie Sat 13-May-17 22:17:36

E.g. Last month the school told me he wasn't doing his homework, and he hardly gets any! I'm glad they told me. But on the other hand, if he is going to be foolish and not do his homework, especially at GCSE level, thats his choice/problem. IYKWIM.

qwertyuiopasdfghjkl Sat 13-May-17 22:18:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StillDrivingMeBonkers Sat 13-May-17 22:18:44

Good luck with making any teenager do anything they don't want to do.

MiniCooperLover Sat 13-May-17 22:21:30

Has he got natural ability or will he struggle? Your attitude seems a bit odd ... I take it you won't mind him living with you for a long time if you don't encourage/help/push at least a bit as he'll then struggle to get decent work and will wonder why you didn't help him ...

Iamastonished Sat 13-May-17 22:22:13

DD revises on her own, but still needs some support. Depending on the subject she like me to test her. You need to remember that your son is not you, and what worked for you might not work for him.

If you show no interest at all in his education it is unrealistic to expect him to do well.


LittlePeonie Sat 13-May-17 22:26:13

I am interested in his education, but its his, not mine. And I just don't like the arguments it seems that come out of it. I mentioned my own experience because I know it was different. But son doesn't seem to want support anyway confused, at least I don't think so, perhaps we should wait till GCSEs. I was just wondering what worked for other parents, obviously not the same as me or my child, but perhaps some insights there.

WatchingFromTheWings Sat 13-May-17 22:26:58

Good luck with making any teenager do anything they don't want to do.

^ This. I tried it with my DS. Found out he was behind with one course and doing badly in most others. Nothing I said or did would make him revise. He did catch up with the one course but the whole thing caused me so much stress I left him to it in the end.

My own mother never took any interest cause I'm a girl and was meant to get married have kids and be supported by a working husband so it didn't matter

Potentialmadcatlady Sat 13-May-17 22:27:23

I'm the provider of treats/decent food/listening ear/hot water for relaxing showers/quieter of the house so it's peaceful/provider of pens,paper,revision books/general what can I do to help person,here's a revision timetable other words I make it as easy as possible for my teenagers to's their job to do the revision and mine to support them, that's what a parent does? No? They are teenagers,they need support and encouragement

Squishedstrawberry4 Sat 13-May-17 22:28:17

Personally I'd try to facilitate his own organisational skills. So using a white board or sheet of paper, ask him to sketch out a weekly revision plan. You could demonstrate how you might do a revision plan for yourself. Then tell him to chat to you if he needs extra support creating a detailed plan.

I'd also help him look past GCSEs and to his course/job aged 18. Are there a few things he might like to do? What gcse grades does he need to achieve his goals? What will happen if he fails? Retakes?

LittlePeonie Sat 13-May-17 22:28:47

Yes, I want to try to avoid that stress Watching, I could see it bubbling up tonight and its something we really don't need at home ...

Alanna1 Sat 13-May-17 22:29:54

One of my friends had a son a bit like that. She - at wits end - in the end offered a large sum of money for each A or A* grade. It worked for her son (who also had an occasional job so really saw how many hours of work that was). My kids are only just at primary school though so no experience of my own.

LittlePeonie Sat 13-May-17 22:30:02

Good suggestions Squished.

StillDrivingMeBonkers Sat 13-May-17 22:32:37

In my professional experience - assuming your son doesn't have any impairment which may prevent access - boys tend to do enough to get them where they need to be to go to the next stage.

They remind me of fireside cats. One eye open, snoozing, will catch the mouse with a bare minimum of effort.

humblesims Sat 13-May-17 22:37:01

I think its a bit of a balancing act. I do get what you mean; they do need to be self motivated but at the same time they need support. My DS2 is just about to do his GCSE's and up until about 3 months ago he wasnt really interested in revision at all and homework only at the last possible time. Something changed after Christmas though (some sort of pep talk at school I suspect) and he started to take things much more seriously. Had his head down and is revising well without me hassling him at all. I agree with the pp who said that you can only provide the right environment and encouragement. The rest has to come from them.

Parker231 Sat 13-May-17 22:42:33

GCSE's and A levels are major stress at home - I don't think there is any way of avoiding it. I have DT's who are at Uni now so we survived the exams years. Both had revision timetables and we helped with testing them on what they were revising and past papers - I'm sure I could have taken A level physics by the end of it!
We had many arguments, lost tempers and tears but when it was over and they got the grades they wanted, we had lots of celebrations . All part of being a parent to a teenager.

Hercules12 Sun 14-May-17 09:54:52

We were in similar situation a few years ago and tried lots of different things to encourage and support apart from bribery as we wanted him to be self motivated. Nothing we did worked apart from causing us stress and strained relationships.
He didn't do as well as he should have in gcses but enough for a levels.
We continued to try to support him in the first year of a levels and spent a fortune on tuition having already spent a lot for gcses. He then ended up changing his a levels after disastrous first year and we begged school to let him start again so he spent 3 years in sixth form.
We left him to it at this point with o tuition but had much better relationship and finally he was self motivated. He ended up with good a level results despite poor predictions based on gcse results so went to uni through clearing.
Thankfully he's continued to work and got 2.1 end of first year at a redbrick uni on a very academic course.
My point is nothing we did made a blind bit of difference and he had to get there himself.

Trifleorbust Sun 14-May-17 09:58:46

I think his education is your responsibility until he is grown up. If you are doing all you can, fine. But to say you aren't going to do anything in case you have to argue with your teenager sounds lazy to me.

AngryGinger Sun 14-May-17 10:02:16

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all, no. I got through GCSEs and A Levels with no parental input, not because they weren't interested but because it never ocurred to me to ask them. Mind you, it never occurred to me to revise at home, I did it all in lesson times and at school. I got enough GCSEs to get to college, maybe he has the ability and is studying at school? I left school over 10 years ago so my experience may be so outdated as I know now parents are saying the SATs are really stressful for their kids but it never was on my radar that they were important.

AngryGinger Sun 14-May-17 10:04:19

Also, any time my mum would try and help me with maths homework ( the only thing I really struggled with) we would just end up arguing.

Ktown Sun 14-May-17 10:05:15

I think bribery is important - money for exams; restrictions on screen time; not being allowed to go out until work is done etc.
I think we have a fantastic approach in the U.K. Which is more hands off.
However that is only fine for certain kids.
If you let go too soon they will probably just blame you for their poor results later.
Take a look at some other cultures in the uk and see how they deal with things.
No suggestion is perfect but for boys I think we are failing them if we are letting them play computer games and take it easy.

sayatidaknama Sun 14-May-17 10:08:05

Totally agree with StillDrivingMeBonkers. DS is doing iGCSEs currently. He appears to be getting by on the absolute bare minimum. He's on course for A* in the subjects he wants to do for A levels. He's already got one. The rest, who knows. I help him if he asks and have to nag him a lot bit but it's basically up to him. My DD's are the complete opposite. You can take a horse to water and all that.

blueskyinmarch Sun 14-May-17 10:10:30

I have had 2 DD’s go right through the school system. I didn’t interfere at all in their course work/exam revision. I made sure they had the right tools plus extra study guides/revision papers if they wanted them, a quite study space and and food/snacks they needed. They also got a lot of praise and encouragement. If they wanted advice or support they knew they could come and ask. I went to parents evenings and talked over what their teachers said with them. Other than that it was top to them motivate themselves. As it happens they were both pretty motivated and did well but they did it themselves. I am not sure there was much more i could have done.

AngryGinger Sun 14-May-17 10:11:08

Why should you have to pay your children to get good results though?

Wineandcoffee Sun 14-May-17 10:12:58

I would facilitate learning and help with testing, so:

Help them make an exam timetable which is realistic and includes time for breaks etc.

Provide decent meals, snacks etc.

Provide a suitable environment for them to revise in.

Buy revision resources e.g.. things like CPG revision books, blank flashcards, notebooks etc

Test them where necessary on key vocabulary and/or asking them to explain a concept to you.

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