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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

ijustwant8hours Mon 20-May-13 19:46:53

I was a high flier at school, straight a's, scholarship, cambridge. My brother got one GCSE (a D in drama).

We are now in our 30's, we are both happy, both have lovely families and both have good lives.

losingtrust Wed 15-May-13 18:17:46

I found at school those who did well olin O levels did badly at A Levels and some of the happiest and better off people set up their own businesses after failing at school.

losingtrust Wed 15-May-13 18:15:07

My two are the same. Ds started at primary in all the special groups. Got reading at 7 and moved to top group year 6. Lots of worry in the meantime. Average in maths. He is now in Year 8 and doing well. Maths still his weakest though so just not that way inclined. Not interested at all in football or sport. DD nearly 9 just now hit average for reading, writing coming on but still in bottom table for all although she told me yesterday she had been moved up a table for Maths and was really pleased. It really bothers her though so she has been trying to learn her times tables off her own back. I tried last year but she was not interested. She needs to decide herself. She loves performing but not the greatest dancer or singer. However she is a determined little girl with good work ethic compared to her brother who is generally content to do just enough. She may actually end up being more successful as a result. Who knows? Glad to see a thread that is not all about the top 10%.

Taffeta Wed 15-May-13 14:40:07

What a great thread, thanks for starting it.

I have one of each. DD (6, Y2 ) doesn't shine at school. She is mostly forgotten. Her reading is OK, her writing is erm developing shall we say, and her Maths.....lets not go there. She has tried swimming, tennis, French, netball, recorder, piano, ballet and horse riding and is average at them all! She sings nicely and she is a little sweetheart. She sits on the floor for hours talking to her dolls. Not outwardly motivated by success.

DS (9, Y4 ) top sets, v sporty. Plays football for an academy ( which btw is not competitive at all, it's all about how they play not who wins..... ), cricket, tennis, rugby, cross country etc. Wants to succeed and do well.

They are different children entirely. Of course as a parent you worry about them, but I am a firm believer in they are what they are.

I think often about their inherent traits, which are also v different eg patience, and how this will help em navigate through secondary school and life beyond. Who knows? I do think that with mine, DD is a more content sort of a person, where DS may well "succeed" as he is always striving for more. But at what cost? There's always a flip side.

Farewelltoarms Tue 14-May-13 14:15:44

MN education threads can be crazy. My favourite example of how skewed they are is the one that said that a level 4a 'was about average for a middle class child with no SEN'. Average for y6? No, this thread was about the levels of a child midway through y4...

wheresthebeach Tue 14-May-13 13:17:02

I know how you feel. Middle or last from bottom set and you can't help but worry. The only thing that makes me feel better is that the top flyers from my primary didn't go on to do anything more exciting than the rest of us! Development happens st different times and I think it's the predicting future marks based on exams at such a young age that adds to the angst.
Always telling myself to stay calm... It will be fine.

DorisIsWaiting Mon 13-May-13 22:55:43

DD2 (5) in Yr1 (so young in the year) having a nightmare with her writing too, readings coming along really nicely now but try and get more than a couple of sentences out of her and you would think I was asking for War and Peace!

She would much much much rather draw a picture grin (they say a picture is a thousand words grin.

I am trying not to be too bothered DD1 (Aug born) had a horrendous yr1 (again great reader biut we saw very little written work as she was in a split class with reception) She managed to do really well in Yr 2 and seemed to surge forward and catch up / overtake some of the class, but this year seems to have dropped back to middling again... DH keeps telling me it's peaks and troughs but still you worry...

Roshbegosh Mon 13-May-13 22:42:45

Nothing to panic about OP. He is what he is. Don't worry it's no reflection on you, as it wouldn't be if he were a genius. I get irritated with the "I have a child so I never need to achieve anything again, they can be amazing for me" attitude, not accusing you of that as I don't know you, but I have heard mums imply it. He will find his thing in the end and I hope he doesn't pick up on all those comparisons you are making with his sister.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 13-May-13 22:34:24

Three DS1 is a real dreamer and lives in DS1land for most of the time. His brother is 3 and tonight asked again 'where is DS1" I said I have already told you that, where do you think he is and he said 'he is at Beavers and you are going to collect him'. He lives in the real world and has a good grasp on reality.

DS1 with the same question would really have struggled to remember what I said although he may have got there in the end. That is because he lives in his own world and randomly comes out with stuff like 'what is a sapling' confused his world comprises Minecraft and Spongebob on the whole which is where he got 'sapling' from grin

ThreeBeeOneGee Mon 13-May-13 20:08:17

I'd like to join as my DD is average in every subject (middle of middle sets). She got off to a bit of a rocky start with global developmental delay so has made astonishing progress to get to the level she is at now. She is still a bit of a dreamer and takes ages to complete any task given to her, but she is enjoying school and progressing well.

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)

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

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

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.

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.

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'!

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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!!

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!

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.

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.

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