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DS very bright, no challenging work and getting careless

(26 Posts)
Lima1 Fri 31-Mar-17 13:33:59

My DS is 7 and in this third year of school (1st class in Ireland, I think its UK year 2). He is very bright, he picks things up very quickly, would need little to no repetition to grasp new concepts. He has always been quite advanced. I have had a PT meeting each year and all teachers have said he is extremely intelligent and miles ahead of the rest of the class.
The last 2 years the teachers did cater for this and gave him more challenging work and as he was still fairly new to formal education and was learning to read and write, he was kept busy.
This year is different, I did post on AIBU a while back about him being disruptive in class. Thankfully this has stopped now and he is getting on great but his teacher gives him no extension work. Occasionally he gets additional worksheets but always more of the same level.
My DS has taken it upon himself to start helping other kids who struggle (this came about when he was being disruptive and I said I wanted him to try and do one good deed each day to help out). He says the kids he helps thank him, the teacher tells him well done and DS enjoys it too. I'm glad that he is doing this and I am sure it will help him to understand his thought process etc.
However I feel lately that DS is getting a bit lazy. His work has never been presented carefully, his handwriting is really sloppy and rushed. He is careless when taking down work ie spelling words incorrectly.
The teacher isn't strict about homework and has stopped giving DS reading for homework. I always insist he reads a bit but its usually after a row as he "wasn't given any for homework".
I genuinely feel the teacher doesn't care about him as he knows he is capable and knows all the work anyway so just lets him off.
He can do all the schoolwork my DD gets who is 2 years ahead in school. He asks me to do work at home and is at least 2 years ahead in terms of maths and English. His teacher said he is about 3/4 years ahead in reading and comprehension.
I would love for the teacher to challenge him more, get him using his brain and looking at things differently.
We don't have G&T programmes here, the school are supposed to cater for kids like DS but ours doesn't.
I push DS to improve his handwriting and present his work better but its a tough task and while he will do it for a while it always slips back.
So my questions are
How can I get him to understand he needs to improve his handwriting/work presentation and any tips for it?
Should I approach the teacher, how do I approach the teacher without looking like I am criticising him?
Is there any resource that would should me how to do extension work rather than advancement of a topic (if that makes sense)/problem solving etc

Lima1 Fri 31-Mar-17 13:37:32

Sorry I should add we do lots of mental maths and games where for example I will give the kids a sentence with a "weak" verb and they have to change it to a "strong" verb eg The dog ran across the road and he might say "the dog bounded across the road"

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 31-Mar-17 15:38:59

He clearly has a huge challenge in presenting the work accurately and avoiding silly mistakes, it sounds like you and previous teachers have possibly been too focussed on academic challenges and rather than use the fact he found the academic easy as a chance to work on the weak areas, just carried on pushing in the strong.

You seem to also be asking for yet more pushing on the strong, pushing the strong and the interested is easiest for everyone concerned, but I can't see how it really does good?

Unfortunately I don't know how to build that, particularly now after a few years of just letting it slide.

Lima1 Fri 31-Mar-17 17:44:07

Letting what slide for years? His presentation of work and handwriting? No where in my post did I say or suggest that. I clearly said I push him to do it but while he does improve in the short term it regresses. And I also said "lately" he has been getting lazy.

I believe if he was more interested in the work he would be less lazy about his approach to it and that would be good.

Do you have a child who is G&T Sirfredfredgeorge? How is he/she managed in school, maybe that information might assist me?

JustRichmal Sat 01-Apr-17 09:57:33

My view is if a child is ready to learn something, then teach them, rather than follow the pace dictated by the school curriculum. So you could either continue teaching him at home, in which case the difference will get more pronounced until he gets to secondary when he will be in top set.. Or you could stop and let the rest of the class catch up and in the mean time you could get him to do things like Primary maths challenge questions, Nrich or UKMT if he is really good at maths if you want to add depth rather than stride ahead.
You could do something he does not do at school, like learning programming from Khan Academy. It is your choice what course you want to take.

lljkk Sat 01-Apr-17 10:30:34

I think this is a personality thing, really. You're talking about style over substance. Some kids love taking time to make something pretty. Others could not care less. Most teachers have their own incentive schemes, I'd try to work with that.
You could incentivise him with something (chocolate?) to just do one piece of beautiful bit of work a week. As long as he works on presentation a little, he can tap into that skill in future when he sees the value in that.

sirfredfredgeorge Sat 01-Apr-17 13:09:39

Sorry lima1, I guess I was unclear - the challenge he has in class is working, not being sloppy, understanding the actual point of the work, getting it done etc. That is a challenge, and it's why I was suggesting you were wrong to characterise him as not challenged, and that perhaps his and the adults around have put too much effort on challenges being mental academic.

The writing in two's example - it is simple task, he's right, but I would suspect that the aim of the task was practice to get really fluent, fast and accurate in writing. It probably wasn't about understanding counting in twos, that's a reception target isn't it?

Maybe the teacher isn't doing enough to challenge him in the pure academic way, but equally he needs to work on his weak areas. You need to get him to understand and value the non-academic requirements, and understand that he sloppiness will be stopping get extension work as the teacher won't have the evidence.

My DD is younger - only in YR1 - she works, she chats, she helps the other kids, she challenges herself with tasks, the teachers suggest more ways. She still complains that she knows the work and I'm sure she does, the maths and english curriculum is not that demanding. The writing speed and neatness, the mental arithmetic speed, the sloppiness are all things she still needs to improve.

irvineoneohone Sun 02-Apr-17 18:44:17

Op, it sound bit rude asking sirfred if she has a gifted child. I am sure she does, from her past post.

I do agree with sir. Being able to produce presentable work and not being too careless is something you need to make sure you let ds work on.
My ds leaned lessons. He normally gets 10/10 for spelling, but once or twice he got wrong, not because he spelled wrong, but his writing wasn't clear enough. His a and u wasn't written clear enough. Also he used to make so many careless mistakes. His answer for the question in maths was totally different from his working out. He wasn't concentrating. My ds' target for ks1 maths was all about showing working out, since he tends to do everything in his head.

These things are what teachers try to work on, before moving on to next level. And it really help them too, ime.

You can always give him academically challenging work at home, but these things need to be told regularly at school, imo, for them to get into the habit of it. (When they are taking formal exams, we won't be able to sit next them to tell them to check your answer, or write neatly etc.)

Lima1 Wed 05-Apr-17 13:37:13

Thanks for the replies. Sorry I didn't mean to be rude to sir by asking that question, I don't check peoples previous posts so I know nothing about him/her. The reason I asked was to get practical advice - which I go,t thank you

He has a free writing book and I checked it last week and while the story was great (which I praised him for), the writing was terrible. Capital letters in the middle of words, no spaces between words etc. I made him re-write it. I Almost none or none of his work seems to be checked by the teacher, its all peer checked. When I tell him his presentation is terrible he tells me the teacher doesn't mind it. I obviously explain to him the importance of presenting neat work, I have told him in an exam his answer could be marked incorrectly because it can be ready clearly.
Lately his teacher has stopped giving him reading homework, I don't know why. His teacher has also excused him from working on his table book as he already knows them.
I feel like I'm trying with him at home but not getting the support in school. Everyday its an argument to get him to read as he wasn't given it for homework. If I ask him comprehension questions at the end, he doesn't want to answer them as it isn't part of his homework. He is getting lazy and I find myself arguing with him to keep him working. I told him yesterday id give him 10c to do the neatest writing he could and it was really good, maybe if I just keep bribing him he will eventually get in the habit.
The teacher doesn't appear to be interested in working on his strong or weak areas, he seems to be happy just letting him mosey along however he wants.
Thanks again

Lima1 Wed 05-Apr-17 13:39:53

Thanks for those suggestions Richmal, we did an experiment from the Khan academy website a couple of weeks ago and the kids loved it.

SirVixofVixHall Wed 05-Apr-17 13:46:55

Have a look at Potential Plus, they are really helpful. You could get him privately assessed, and that would give you a better idea of his overall ability. I found it helped to be able to show my dds results to the school, as then they took our concerns more seriously.

irvineoneohone Wed 05-Apr-17 14:15:13

For reading comprehension, these are great sites.

irvineoneohone Wed 05-Apr-17 14:25:02

Addition to khan and nrich, these sites have great maths tutorial videos

Also this site is great for MFL.

And for creative writing

MyGastIsFlabbered Wed 05-Apr-17 15:08:06

Lima I could have written your OP, DS1 is 7 and in year 2 too. Will be watching with interest.

JustRichmal Fri 07-Apr-17 08:31:02

For the reading: Instead of presenting him with, from his point of view, the chore of reading a book,, you could try to get him interested in stories. Dd used to love the "How to Train your Dragon" series. You could get the first couple on CD, (read by David Tennant), and then see if he wants to continue by reading the books. Dd used to listen to the CDs as she went to sleep.
A little older and she got into the Percy Jackson series.
If he is finding the idea of reading a whole book daunting, you could try the Usbourne Puzzle books, where there is just a little reading then he gets to do a puzzle.
I used to worry about dd's writing and I used to encourage her to try to use full stops and capital letters correctly. She started secondary with massive, untidy scrawl, but in year 9 it has now settled down into something approaching a more adult handwriting style. In the end it was nowhere near the problem I thought it would be, as it just sorted itself out with age.

Lima1 Fri 07-Apr-17 09:39:26

Thank you all for those fantastic links, he loves websites like these and its actually one thing his teacher does do is give him websites to look up.

I'm delighted to report that his handwriting and presentation of work has really improved this week and I have been giving him lots of praise for it.
Justrichmal, I will try the "HTTYD" series as he loved the movie. He enjoys fact based books like books on the human body, science, universe etc but he always wants me to read to him. I do shared reading with him (I read one page he reads the next) to encourage him to read. I got him a set of Star Wars books which he will read but they quite easy and he knows them off by heart now. Hopefully at some point he will just read on his own initiative (I'm an avid reader and was from an early age).

MyGast - how is your little boy getting on?

MyGastIsFlabbered Fri 07-Apr-17 10:35:13

My little boy broke up for Easter yesterday and came out of school saying he wanted to spend the holidays 'learning'. I'm having a bit of a health crisis at the moment but will definitely have a look at the websites on here later.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 09-Apr-17 12:28:58

I too could have written your post OP. DD is now in Y7 of secondary. She has always been keen to learn but the resounding feedback from her excellent superselective grammar is that she is superb academically but to shine and not make silly mistakes she needs to slooooooow down. In hindsight this could have happened earlier. How we do that is mindfulness techniques and focus on what she is doing now, not what could be or what also needs to be done. We aren't there yet, Girls in the same class take longer on their homework, DD does the bare minimum in half of the time and does well (which is annoying!) but 'could do better'. It is work in progress. So I would say if you can extend with your DS now more depth into what they do, encourage them to think about what else they could have done to make the same work even better, review what they've done, colour in the border of a story, re-read a fairy tale taken from a different angle or different tense and discuss how it is different that will all lay good foundations. On this plus side r cel in the fact they love to learn, that is something many parents would really wanted for their DCs and it sounds like your lovely son has it on spades. I won't wish you good luck as I don't think you need it, sounds like you have some great advice already and a DS who wants to learn so any details will right themselves in the end.

Hiddeninplainsight Wed 12-Apr-17 09:35:54

I also could have written your post Lima. My DD is Y3. We are struggling with the school at the moment. I don't have much to add, but I do agree that it is hard to be motivated to do what they find hard (slow down and present neatly) when they are bored by the work they are being asked to do. I must confess, I sympathise. I had the same problem in school. I was careless and fast. It became easier to match pace and quality as I got older and the depth of thinking got greater, although I am never going to be meticulous. I also ended up moving from humanities to sciences because the experimental method slowed me down by default. So I would say it is important to make sure that children understand that detail is important, but you are never going to be able to slow down a fast brain when that brain is trying to find thoughts and ideas to challenge and stimulate it. I do think it gets easier as kids get older. I should add that I don't think fast is better to slow and careful, it is just different. I am a great global thinker, and I do think the speed I think helps.

Phoenix07 Wed 24-May-17 09:28:37

This all sounds a bit familiar.

My son is incredibly bored at school (he's also 7), and the quality of his work is slipping as a result. There are, in my opinion an excessive amount of 'colouring, cutting, categorising and sticking' activities presented by his teacher. For example, he will be given an A4 sheet of black and white pictures of food to colour and cut and stick according to what is healthy and what is unhealthy. The next day he will get the same sheet and have to do the same colour and cut exercise, but categorise according to what he likes or doesn't like. The following day he'll have to colour and stick the pictures according to a food pyramid diagram. Phonics are done like this too, the teacher gives them two A4 sheets of black and white pictures to colour, cut, sick down and label. For example, if the sound is 'oa' there will be a picture of a foal, a goal, etc….

Maybe this repetitive activity is good teaching practice? I don't know. Are there any parents and teachers out there who could advise me?

I've unfortunately already gone down the route of starting to challenge the teacher on the content and engagement of these activities (I'm meeting with her on Monday). Perhaps I shouldn't challenge, and he should learn to get on with work, no matter how boring it is?

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 09-Aug-17 20:15:37

ours don't get set reading by that age - it is just expected. if they don't write in their reading records they get moaned at but one of mine quickly discovered she could just write "nothing really happened" and get away with it!!!

I have a daily battle with one for presentation, but to be fair she has probable dysgraphia (I have no idea how to get it diagnosed but her fingers dislocate when she holds a pencil and she is borderline dyspraxic as well). She has now realised though at 9 that if she doesn't look like she is making any effort then noone will take any notice of her if she does have a problem or a question. So I am hoping she is going to start sorting it out herself. she is so anti handwriting group lessons and refuses to attend that that might be a good threat.

whosafraidofabigduckfart Sat 19-Aug-17 10:00:59

He sounds like my dd 7 (also in Ireland) we're on the last HTTYD at the moment 😄

We're in Ireland. DD has done very well in her results apart from spelling where she was average.

She's bored my school and makes silly mistakes. She'd read the term book in a few minutes and be given nothing else to do.

whosafraidofabigduckfart Sat 19-Aug-17 10:07:54

Any recommendations to help with sloppy mistakes (I was guilty of the same as a child so know how important it is 😄 But I remember getting bored so worked at a rapid pace).

PettsWoodParadise Sat 19-Aug-17 12:46:23

Start off with counting the mistakes and praising all the right answers, tell them the aim for next time is to have less mistakes, not criticising them per se. Then that next time check the work, see if you can identify the mistakes and tell them how many you've found and ask them to see if they can do the same. If they can't see the mistakes it helps you identify what they either don't know or how to help them spot errors and review work. Reward them for spotting the mistakes and reward for less mistakes than last time.

whosafraidofabigduckfart Sat 19-Aug-17 18:35:36

Petts thanks, I was giving 50c for fully correct sheets, but it's useful to get her to check her work herself.

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