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Able but distracted DS

(15 Posts)
cherryschnapps Fri 07-Feb-14 15:44:35

DS, year 5, prep school - he has always been in the top sets for all set subjects based on his ability, and is at top of of top sets for 3 or 4 subjects (I hesitate to use the term gifted but he has been called that by teachers), but worryingly, his effort level in class or homework seems to wholly depend on whether he finds the teacher or subject - matter interesting ... he can be very engaged or completely distracted and slapdash .....and he prefers to subjects where you work things out rather rote learn facts ...on thinking about registering for next schools wondering I should be looking for somewhere that's higher on pastoral care and tolerance and less fast paced than a top 10 academic school (though am told he would have a good shot at getting into one) especially since class sizes will get bigger at secondary level. By contrast his older sister has always been super diligent on the effort front and proud of her homework being neat and tidy but is not as naturally "gifted" as her far less diligent brother. So much for the saying "it's all in the genes".

ajandjjmum Fri 07-Feb-14 15:49:12

You know what cherry, I think to have a hard worker is preferable to someone 'naturally gifted', as they learn to work, which we all have to at some point. It's just a darned sight harder if you've got into uni without a huge amount of effort, and then have to step up! smile

Doesn't help with your school question though - sorry!

cherryschnapps Fri 07-Feb-14 15:56:01

i am not even worried about uni yet, just thinking about next school...if he gets into a school like St Paul's, will it even suit him ... we had an ed psyche assess him not so long ago and his IQ came out as over really disappointing that he sometimes just can't find his groove...agree his sister may well go further than him in life/career due to sheer hard work and determination...

cherryschnapps Fri 07-Feb-14 16:07:58

agree though aj, high IQ is useless unless you put it to good use...and there are plenty of highly intelligent criminals in jail or even disaffected but gifted high school drop outs - not that i think my DS will go that way!

maillotjaune Fri 07-Feb-14 20:03:00

What are his current teachers doing to try to engage him?

My oldest is a bit like this but this year (Year 6) he has had a teacher who just won't let him get away with it. She has kept him sitting near her, prompts him to return to work rather than day dream, tested him regularly in the things he should have learnt (he prefers thinking to learning) and recent SATs practice papers have shown he is indeed very able. Previously teachers, and I, only suspected it.

This is in a class of 30 in a state school with quite a few children with problems. So I'd have thought in a prep school the teachers would be able to do something to stimulate your DS.

cherryschnapps Fri 07-Feb-14 21:16:03

the best teachers that are inspirational really enjoy his engagement, and yes, won't let him get away with it a bit like the teacher you described, and he will really shine sometimes, others who he finds less engaging, bemoan his lack of effort compared to his ability at times and I can see why ...problem is in senior school the classes will be larger and pace faster especially in one of top academic schools and I just hope he gets there by the time he starts. Problem is he can be very engaged in something he is interested in (he is not Asperger's by the way as he is quite sociable) but it is often at the detriment of the thing he should be learning at school!

cherryschnapps Fri 07-Feb-14 21:27:05

I should add I have never told my DS his IQ score as i think those tests are overrated and a bit arbitrary anyway and IQ does not equal education ...but he knows he is smart because when he does engage he just gets things faster than most others including his older sister.

YoureInMySystemBaby Fri 07-Feb-14 23:37:57

This sounds Oh So familiar - my 11yo DS is exactly the same...

This also sounds like a replica of me and my elder sister; my sister being the diligent hard-worker, but not as 'naturally able' and me being the easily distracted but 'gifted' and 'doesn't have to try, just picks things up' yet always frustrating my teachers because I lacked the same work ethic as my elder sister etc.

My sister is 100% more successful than me, in every sense. My DS has just sat the entrance exam for our local indie, offered an interview (which we had today!) and we find out if he's offered a place in 3 weeks - nerve racking, but I believe it will be the making of him.. If he were allowed to go to the local state comprehensive (I live in the North-East, so different secondary school system to further down South - apologies if I am making presumptions), I fear it could go either way.. and I would HATE for him to be a drop-out like me, because his personality & attitude, as well as his ability (and the potential that's there), is me all over. Quite frightening. It's only now that I feel the same despair my parents must have felt watching me head down the path that I was headed!!

ajandjjmum Sat 08-Feb-14 08:47:07

Sounds a familiar story to me too! DH had a sister who was very bright, always got a prize at speech day etc. When he was around 13 he actually told his DM that he was fed up of this, and he was going to get a prize the next speech day. And he did, for effort (best one of all imho!). He is still so focussed and determined, whereas I peaked at 11+ and went downhill from there! grin

difficultpickle Sat 08-Feb-14 12:27:18

Ds is in year 5 and exactly the same. If he is engaged then he is top of the year in those subjects. If he isn't he is near the bottom. Huge disparity but school are treating him as if he is academically unable. That's despite them insisting he saw an Ed Psych they recommended who then assessed him as being very gifted indeed (98% centile).

I'm not sure what the answer is and not sure where to aim for regarding senior schools. Ed Psych said he is Eton scholarship material but school have suggested a school that is known for taking CE failures.

cherryschnapps Sat 08-Feb-14 16:27:41

I have the opposite difficultpickle, school recognize him one of the most able but think he is not putting much effort or under performing in certain classes, albeit in others he is very enthused, they have however recommended some of the most academic schools, and we will register for a couple of those but am just wondering of that will be for the best or whether we should look one tier down.

I do wonder of he just finds the whole notion of school and rote learning limiting because he can't go off at the tangents he prefers to explore. I don't have any doubt he can get 70% at CE it's just the lack of consistency. He struggles to stay on task sometimes in lessons or homework (I don't want to label that as anything) and whereas his sister can sit quietly and do her homework without being asked, and want to get the maximum marks, he will be much less consistent.

wordfactory Sat 08-Feb-14 16:38:44

OP you may find he benefits from being in a highly selective environment where there is nowhere to hide.

My DS attends a super selective and part of my thinking was that he would have to work hard. No one gets to coast. And that he would see himself as perfectly ordinary.

wordfactory Sat 08-Feb-14 16:40:12

Also, at DS school there is plenty of room to ski off piste.

However, I think it's tremendously important that all pupils learn to stay on task. Even if they don't like that task. Hugely important life lesson.

difficultpickle Sat 08-Feb-14 20:56:52

At ds's school I don't think off piste is allowed at all. I got an email asking me if ds was working in Waitrose at the weekends because apparently he had given a very detailed description to staff of what his job there entailed. They said they knew that 9 year olds would not be employed there but the details ds gave made them wonder confused Makes me wonder if children at ds's school aren't allowed to have an imagination.

surreytuition Sun 16-Feb-14 15:21:33

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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