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Support for those whose children aren't the class genius.

(35 Posts)
harryhausen Mon 13-May-13 11:34:47

I mean this in a fairly lighthearted way (I think!) I think in RL and sometimes on MN everyone else's child seems to be a child prodigy of literacy, music, sport etc.

My ds is nearly 6 and he's scraping by at school. I really feel he's not flourished much in y1. The teacher has said his spelling is awful (which it is). We have letters and words stuck up all around the house. We read all the time. He can remember words when doing a spelling test but can't remember them in his writing. It's barely readable. I was told his reading was good, but I know he's bumping along and is behind many of his friends who are flying ahead.
He's tried football and is terrible at that so gave up. He likes swimming but has only just moved up a class after approx 18 months.

How can I stop panicking? He's bright in other respects. He spends hours making little strange models for his toys to play in. He understands quite complex TV programmes etc.

I think I feel a bit strange as my dd really is one of the high flyers in her class. I know I'm being silly but it just makes me sad. I feel like he's not progressing, the teacher doesn't really 'get' him. I don't think he'll do we'll at all in his SATS.

Everywhere I go people are telling me what geniuses their children are. Logically I know it's stupid to be upset but I'd be lying if I said it didn't cause a little 'chink' of upset.

Is anyone else feeling the same at the moment? Anyone want to give me a friendly slap?grin

AngelsWithSilverWings Mon 13-May-13 11:58:12

I've got a top of the class DS and a bottom of the class DD so I know where you are coming from.

What I concentrate on is how hard are they working and can I see that they are progressing.

My DD who is way behind most of the kids in her reception class is really enthusiastic, enjoys reading and practicing the words she has to learn. She loves school work.

As long as I can see that the school are supporting her and that she is progressing at her own pace and is happy then I don't see what else I can do.

My DS who is in year 2 is lazy and tries to get away with the bare minimum and yet is top of the class in numeracy and literacy. He is the one I worry about the most at the moment because one day he won't be able to get away with not trying.

AngelsWithSilverWings Mon 13-May-13 12:01:52

Oh and my DS is shockingly bad at football! He gave up when the other kids starting mocking him for his lack of skill!

We switched to tennis which he seems a bit better at and enjoys a lot more.

harryhausen Mon 13-May-13 12:07:19

Thanks Angels. I think you have a great attitude. I think I've just been disappointed by my ds's progression this year so it's making me feel uneasy. At parents evening I felt like the teacher wanted me to do more at home - but like you I'm unsure what else to do. We do reading, practice spellings, have lots of extra activities etc.

I worry about my dd too as although she's not absolutely top of everything (thank god) she over-stresses about getting absolutely everything right. One day she'll not get it right, or not get the praise from the teacher she wants and I know she'll fall to pieces.

I seem to have 2 extremesgrin

What I find difficult is when people tell you how their children are doing. (I honestly don't do this, I'm quite private about school work). It can set me off into a spin of worry and comparison. I hate myself for doing this.

My ds loves school too. I just wish he could see some results from his efforts.

harryhausen Mon 13-May-13 12:09:25

Never thought of tennis. I'd live to find something for my ds that he enjoys. My dd has just given up swimming too so we're on the look out for something new and sporty.

SEWannabe Mon 13-May-13 12:32:04

Hello everyone.
My son (9 years old) has dyspraxia (and possibly other issues-awaiting his paed assessment) and really struggles with handwriting, coordination, and doesn't seem to find school work very easy. It's good to see that there are other parents whose children aren't the next genius!

The one thing that he really loves is reading, so I am going to be reading more with him. He just cannot write well at all.

My older son (13 years old) is the opposite, and is good at pretty much everything (not a genius, honestly!).

Wishwehadgoneabroad Mon 13-May-13 12:37:24

No. 1 - Parents lie. Don't believe everything you hear!

No 2 - Does it matter if they're not top of the class? Are they happy? Are they healthy? Are they reaching their own potential?

No 3. - How they perform at primary can bear little relation to how they will ultimately perform in life.

Not every child progresses at the same rate. Some are behind. Some are ahead. They are individuals, not robots.

Here. Have that friendly slap! Seriously. Chill out. Don't pass on to your DS that you think he's terrible at things! He's a child. Let him enjoy his childhood I say.

Thewhingingdefective Mon 13-May-13 12:37:39

'Lillian is average. She opens her book well and likes a warm room - average. Gail is stagnant to inert and fights when cornered. Average.'

I always think of this line from the play Teechurs. smile Nobody wants to think of their child being average or below average but most of us obviously are average.

I used to think my DD was an infant phenomenon but soon came to realise she is not. She is doing quite nicely at school, not struggling but not by any stretch outstanding. She is edging into above average. My DS is average in most things and a little below average with hand writing and physical stuff due to his hypermobility affecting his motor skills. They are in Year 2.

I worried a lot about them at first but not so much now. As long as they are happy, engaged and have good self esteem I have confidence that their future is bright.

Myliferocks Mon 13-May-13 12:46:28

I have 5 DC.
At this moment in time 2 are high achievers, 2 are average and 1 struggles at school.
They are all unique in their own way.
As parents my OH and myself are always saying to them all that it doesn't matter what the result is as long as they can walk away saying they have done their best.

iseenodust Mon 13-May-13 12:49:04

Harry Cricket at that age is fab IMO as it's so democratic. No being ignored by the skilful as in football. Everyone has a turn at batting, bowling and fielding. Most are starting from knowing nothing, bowling underarm is fine to start, under 9's teams are mixed. No expensive kit because it's softballs.

Thewhingingdefective Mon 13-May-13 12:50:19

By the way, harry - your son sounds similar to mine. Please try not to worry. He will get there.

My son took ages to 'get' reading and his sister is a long way ahead. I nearly cried when I saw his self portrait in the classroom wall - it was by far the worst. He is bright, but cannot hold a pencil properly. His spelling is...okay.

He went to football and was rubbish so packed it in. He has just started swimming lessons and has been playing cello for six months which he is doing okay with. His (twin) sister is better than him at just about everything, which gets him down, but I just try to find things to praise him for and give him lots of support. As mentioned above,it is the progress they make that counts.

I am always looking for opportunities for him and finding things he is good at. Any interest he shows in something I pounce on and encourage. He is good at 'facts' and I big him up and tell him how super clever he is for knowing such and such.

All you can do is keep supporting and keep his spirits up. Learning is a marathon, not a sprint.

harryhausen Mon 13-May-13 12:51:49

It's reassuring to hear from others.

You're right, my ds is happy (most of the time!) and I should be over the moon with that. I think I would just like him to find something he can think to himself - I'm really good at that.

However, he is only 6grin. I need to totally calm down.

AngelsWithSilverWings Mon 13-May-13 12:58:58

I've found rugby to be a good sport for my DS. The local rugby club is much more nurturing than the football club and focuses more on developing skill and having fun. All abilities get an equal go at playing matches and I think the sportsmanship they teach is excellent.

The football club was all about winning at all costs ( even if that cost was 6 year olds in tears).

Karate is also a good one as it builds confidence very quickly as they go through the early gradings. They work towards getting a new belt every few months and the boost it gives them when they pass their grading and receive the new belt is amazing.

I ignore the other mums from my DDs class when they start going on about reading levels etc. I just smile politely.

I would never have boasted about my DS's reading levels even though some mums were quite persistent in their desire to find out!

musicalfamily Mon 13-May-13 13:03:49

It is hard to detach yourself from the context of your child's class, but as others' said, focusing on progress is very healthy even for the genius type child.

I have children on all scale of ability and still find that I get frustrated with the ones who have a lot of ability but do not progress because of laziness or lack of teaching at their level, etc

My youngest son is probably just below average but he has made huge progress since he started school and when I have feelings like yours I keep reminding myself that a few months ago he couldn't even recognise a letter. Doing lots at home helps massively but it doesn't necessarily make every child top of the class!!

DeWe Mon 13-May-13 14:22:39

I think if you're feeling tender about your dc's ability then it sounds like everyone else's dc is doing brilliantly. Like seeing pregnancy bumps everywhere when you want to be pregnant iyswim.

But also when mum's boast, I've often found that if you disect what they are saying, their dc isn't actually doing as well as their tone of voice and choice of vocabulary sounds, if that makes sense.
Those whose dc are actually doing very well generally don't tell you.

I think having a child who is happy at school, enjoys going, and is progressing academically, and making friends, is more important than leading the class reading levels (or whatever)

Thewhingingdetective My ds's portrait in year R had 6 eyes and 2 mouths. grin

DewDr0p Mon 13-May-13 14:36:20

I do laugh a bit at some of the stuff I read on here. It's amazing just how many children are so very very far above average grin

Perhaps worth remembering that sometimes children hit a plateau, despite Ofsted targets demanding a smooth upward line of progress. Your ds may well be consolidating and about to shoot forwards any minute now. This is certainly what happened with ds1 - back end of Yr1/first bit of Yr2 he appeared to be making no progress at all with reading and then all of a sudden was devouring chapter books. (A friend of his has had the same epiphany in Yr4 btw and has suddenly caught lots of his contemporaries up)

Fwiw I've got one high flyer, one just above average and one who is struggling. My main concern is are they happy and enjoying school and being supported and challenged in the right way for them Agree with DeWe and Angels too.

I'm also hoping that spending hours fiddling about with inventive models means there's bags of latent talent just waiting for the right moment to jump out. Dh didn't really hit his stride until A levels

DewDr0p Mon 13-May-13 14:37:37

I really don't understand the boasting about reading levels thing either. I try and avoid discussing it.

BerthaTheBogCleaner Mon 13-May-13 14:42:30

My ds1 (8) didn't learn to read at all till year 2 - he was on red books at the end of year 1 and, frankly, he was guessing. He has progressed to average now smile. He has two left feet, can't catch a ball, can't hold a tune, and can finish a Lego model while I'm trying to work out which way up the instructions go.

His older sister (10) is sitting Level 6 sats as I type. His little brother (5) corrects him over times tables and grammar. Ds1 doesn't seem overly bothered by this though. I am fairly sure that he is going to turn into a happy computer geek like his dad.

Numberlock Mon 13-May-13 14:45:32

Hello all, I have 3 sons - ages 17, 17 and 14.

My eldest two are doing A levels, predicted grades As and A*s and will go to university in October, exam results permitting. They got all As and A*s at GCSE.

My youngest is in the first year of GCSEs, predicted grades Bs, Cs and Ds (mainly Cs and Ds). In his recent exams, his results were Cs, Ds and Es.

I used to get really stressed about this but it got me nowhere and have now decided to try and relax about it and focus on the positive.

All 3 boys are everything I would wish for in terms of being polite, well-mannered, good company and lots of fun.

I'm not sure what the youngest will end up doing in terms of any further study post-GCSE or indeed career-wise.... but then neither do I know what the eldest two will do post-degree and how worthwhile that will prove to have been in 4 years time.

Hopefully they will all find their way in life and end up in jobs/careers they enjoy, irrespective of academic achievement. In any case, me getting stressed about the youngest's lower grades, won't change anything.

MissLurkalot Mon 13-May-13 14:48:25

Thanks for starting this thread OP.. I've really taken on board what others have said...
I, like you, have concerns, especially about dd2 who is an August born baby.
I'm feeling much better from a little 'slap'!

Thingymajigs Mon 13-May-13 14:51:07

oh gosh, I know how you feel.
With ds1 he wasn't diagnosed with ASD until he was 8 so for years I had huge concerns over his development and wondering what I had done wrong. Then ds2 (who showed a lot of promise educationally speaking) just stopped trying once he started school. We were told not to worry as all kids catch up by 7 but he didn't. I tried everything to help him to read and write but it was futile until he decided at age 9 that he'd like to catch up. So within a year he has gone from reluctantly reading books for infants to full chapter books for 9+. As well as that he was added to a spelling group just like his peers and is now top of that group.
I still can't confidently say that everything will be fine in time for SAT's but its looking a lot better. When your child wants to learn they will jump ahead and surprise everyone, even themselves. Try not to worry too much and focus on the progress that is being made.

cory Mon 13-May-13 15:24:59

Ds has always been in bottom sets, is now in Yr 8 and I am less worried than I was. I can see that in many ways he is interested in the world around him and does understand how things work: I am sure something will grab his attention one day and he will buckle down to it.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 13-May-13 15:31:46

I know how you feel. DS1 is a bright boy but compared to his peers is in the bottom half of the class for reading and writing. He's 7 and has always been like this. I have to say though at nearly the end of yr 2 his reading has really got going and he is on his 3rd Beast Quest 'novel'. He is actually choosing to read them of his own volition and is really enjoying it. At the start of yr2 he wouldn't have been anywhere near capable of this.

There is a little part of me that would like to see him nearer to the top of the class, but he isn't and I have to accept that is who he is. Plus he is lovely so that helps grin

thestringcheesemassacre Mon 13-May-13 15:35:48

My DD1 is perfectly average in every way at school. Middle set of EVERYTHING. She tries very hard and really enjoys learning and being at school. She even got a HT award for being kind and trying hard <gloats> I'm very proud of her.

Yes MN does have a load of genius children. grin

harryhausen Mon 13-May-13 17:19:27

Thanks everyone. You've all really made me feel so much better and made me see how it's always better to love the child you have rather than the child you thought you would havesmile

Also, that my ds is still so young it's silly to worry. It's especially reassuring that others have had late 'spurts' of learning. I'd much prefer my ds to enjoy reading off his own back rather than being the top of the class.

By co-incidence, the teacher this afternoon at school pick up that she's put him up a reading level! I'm thrilled. So now, he's finally officially reached 'average'grin

Yes, I inwardly laugh and suck in my teeth on MN sometimes when I hear of the levels of greatness of some children. Children in nursery reading Roald Dahl on their own and understanding it all. Children who have been picking up The Times newspaper and reading it of their own accord since they were 18 months.....

Where did I go wrong? (Said with love everyone)

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