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DCs who were slow to shine, does they really catch up?

(39 Posts)
NigellaTufnel Fri 09-Nov-12 07:44:22

DS is in Y1. Summer born. Solid Level 3 reading. Euphemistically described in the "group that needs most support" in class.

He is a lovely boy, gets on brilliantly with his sibling (never really fights), happy, and we are very proud of him.

Question for those with older DC, if your child was at the bottom of the class at such a young age, did they ever rise? We would just like him to be average at something. Not always being last. He gets a bit upset sometimes, and we tell him how great he is, but I'm just getting a bit low.

mumsneedwine Fri 09-Nov-12 08:00:24

They certainly do. One of mine really struggled with maths, was in bottom groups all through primary and hated the subject. Fast forward a few years and he is now at Cambridge studying .... Maths !! It just took longer for him to click but in year 8 he just got it and then he loved it. Keep encouraging, make it fun and try and relax (I know how hard that can be !!).

tiggytape Fri 09-Nov-12 08:41:57

Definitely. Some children just click. Literally overnight they go from barely understanding something or really struggling to suddenly charging through the levels at great speed.

Progress in some children in broadly linear - they go up 2 or 3 sub levels a year as expected and make steady improvements maintaining their positon in the class relative to their peers.
Other children have stops and starts - periods where they seem far behind followed by periods of very rapid progress.

DS was a steady type - top group in Year 1. Still top group in Year 7 although now better at maths so top of the class for that.

DD was a stop/start type - bottom group in Year 1 and now top of the top group in Year 5. She went from below average in her Year 2 SATS to already exceeding the Year 6 targets and she's still only in Year 5.

As a result, she really enjoys school. To go from bottom to top has been a huge boost for her in other areas of confidence and now she believes she can do anything. She is struggling to learn an instrument right now (the neighbours are thankful half term is over!) but she fully believes that in a year she will be brilliant at it - she has learnt not to give up and that early struggles aren't a bad thing and don't mean you can't be great later on.
Academic work has always come easily to DS so if anything he is less motivated and takes it for granted he won't have to try much.

NigellaTufnel Fri 09-Nov-12 09:05:24

Thanks for that. You always hear people saying "don't worry, he'll catch up." but I don't know anyone with older kids who has been in this position so was afraid it was just people trying to make me feel better.

I know what will be will be, but it would be nice to think that he won't always be last at everything. smile

dottygamekeeper Fri 09-Nov-12 09:20:18

Just another one to confirm they do catch up - my DS struggled through Reception, Yr 1 and Yr 2 and his pre-prep indicated that he wouldn't really be up to moving iinto Prep, so we moved schools to our village primary. He's now in Yr 11 at our local High School, and in the modules of his GCSEs taken so far (Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Eng) he has achieved A grades, and is also predicted A or A* in Geography and French. He has worked hard to get these grades, and has learned that being organised and determined pays off.

He was very unconfident in those early school years, but is now Chairman of School Council, was nominated for Head Boy, and organises the fortnightly whole school quiz. He enjoys school and is looking forward to going on to sixth form.

dinkystinky Fri 09-Nov-12 09:23:51

My sister was slow to shine - held back a year in year 1. She really took off academically aged 11, got art scholarships, all As at GCSE, 4 A stars at A level and a double first in her degree - and I'm so proud of her as she had to work really hard in the first 6 years of school, but when it clicked, boy did it click

DeWe Fri 09-Nov-12 09:24:06

I think the thing is some do, but some don't. But whether that is because they don't achieve their potential in academia, or because there is obviously a full spread of abilities in August babies, just as in September babies, is difficult to say in an individual case.

I know in dd1's form, by year 2, almost all the top ones were July and August birthday. In dd1's form, in year 2, almost all the top ones had birthdays September to December.

I knew one boy in my year at secondary. He worked unenthusiastically at the bottom end of the class and got a smattering of GCSEs at B-C grades. Not sure what happened wink but he then got 5 As at A-level and went off to be a doctor.

I think what I'm saying is that he won't necessarily always be at the bottom of the class, but don't just relax and say "oh well, he'll catch up" (which I'm sure you won't) "I don't need to worry about it". Because then you might miss the stage where he needs a little push to achieve his potential. Hope that makes sense.

5madthings Fri 09-Nov-12 09:31:13

Yes!! All my boys were slow with reading etc and then in yr 3 they caught up and whizzed ahead. Ds 1 is 13 and in top sets now, reading age of 17 apparently and well ahead of where he shoukd be. Ds2 is 10 in yr 6 and again top sets and expected to get level 5 and 6 on his sats.

Ds3 is in yr 3 and is all if a sudden catching up as his brothers did in yr 3. They were always bright just not into reading/writing but once they got it they werr away smile

wordfactory Fri 09-Nov-12 09:35:58

My Summer born boy was decidedly average.

He is now considered extremely academic.

However OP, you must be vigilent. Teachers, other DC and parents are very quick to pigeon hole DC. And the whole thing becomes a self fullfilling prophecy (see Outliers by Malcom Gladwell). Do not allow this.

I was like a rock on this...and it paid off.

socharlotte Fri 09-Nov-12 09:38:40

My DS1 was on the bottom table for everything up to about Y4.But passed the 11+ and is now in the Upper sixth predicted A*A*A in maths,Physics and chemistry.It is well documented that boys are often late bloomers and also don't tend to work hard until they can see something in it for them .In both my DSs case this was the start of their GCSE courses when they were working towards 'real' exams.

MirandaWest Fri 09-Nov-12 09:40:53

My sister was considered "slow" until she was in about year 3. When she was in year 5 something really clicked and she ended up going to Cambridge to do maths.

crazygracieuk Fri 09-Nov-12 09:44:21

Yes!
Ds1 left y1 on 1c, left y2 on 2b and left y6 with 6 and 5s.
Ds2 left Reception below average on Eyfs points and left y1 on 1a/1b so national average. He was on red at the start of y1 so level 2 books.
It sounds like your son is at a school with a high achieving cohort. Level 3 wouldn't be bottom in many schools.

ontheedgeofwhatever Fri 09-Nov-12 10:13:02

Can't tell you about my own children as they're only 7 and 3 months. However I was well behind until I was about 11 then suddenly everything became easy except maths and I got some of the highest GCSE grades in my year and took a couple of A levels at the same time with an A and a B grade not maths

They certainly can catch up. DS1 late summer born was way behind in Yr1 and is now average or above average in subjects in Yr 5.

However, I am with wordfactory on this, you really need to keep an eye on the situation and make sure he isn't labelled as a child you don't expect too much from etc. The other thing I found with DS1 was that it is extremely important to support their confidence as they can lose belief in themselves and stop trying if they start to adopt the label themselves.

Tiggles Fri 09-Nov-12 12:51:14

When my DB was 7 my Mum had the following conversation with head of independent school
"I'm very sorry LargeMrsGreen but LittleMasterGreen is a dear little boy, but really won't amount to anything".

Roll on 15 years and he graduated with a good degree from Cambridge Uni. It wasn't until he was about 13 that everything clicked, he passed the 13+ and went to Grammar School 'late'.

BlueberryHill Fri 09-Nov-12 13:11:00

Reading this with interest, DS1 doing OK in Year 1, I don't know where he 'is' in the class, just that he isn't on the 'top' table or doing the more difficult books. I think he is really bright, just not focusing at the mo. I'm fine with that he is still young, I just want to keep his confidence high. The thing that has concerned me is him not being pigeonholed and he stays where he is in terms of expectations.

Wordfactory andChazs how do you stop them being pigeonholed and keep their confidence up? I keep focusing on the effort that he has put in and praising that. Just looking for some ideas.

midseasonsale Fri 09-Nov-12 13:18:50

By about juniors, most kids have found their real level or some start with a late love of reading. The work gets more interesting and inspiring too.

Of the kids on the top table in reception, only about half of them are still there on the top table in Y6.

Blueberry

Exactly as you say. I focus on effort and perhaps trying to beat his previous mark. Also they are usually good at something so I kept reminding him of the things he was already doing well at.

midseasonsale Fri 09-Nov-12 13:22:34

Also my friend son had not interest in school throughout primary and even into secondary. Suddenly in year 3 he realised he needed to knuckle down to get the job he wanted and he has more or less zoomed from bottom to top set within 9 months.

BlueberryHill Fri 09-Nov-12 13:54:27

Chazs thanks for that.

Midseasonsale, I feel a bit mean, but thank god the top table changes. Also at a really young age, it is mostly girls. The differences in development are stark.

ImaginateMum Fri 09-Nov-12 13:58:10

DS did in reading and maths. Now would like him to do so in writing!

LostInWales Fri 09-Nov-12 14:02:57

Totally, DS1 wasn't just in the group needing most help, he was in the 'taken out of lessons and given 1 to 1 as he's clueless' section up to years 4/5. I can never thank the school enough as they coached him and helped him and taught him in a way he could understand and now he is in Y8 top set Maths/Science with A* in nearly every subject in his report last term. And I'm crying typing this because it still stuns me every time I look back on how hard he struggled. Sometimes they don't just catch up they overtake!

hoodoo12345 Fri 09-Nov-12 14:05:01

I am finding this thread really reassuringsmile

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 09-Nov-12 14:08:37

I am seeing this already with DS1. He is nearly 7 and in yr2 and has never been interested in reading and is in a low group. He has all of a sudden just clicked and now reads anything he can get his hands on. His learning is just like this though. He will just click and then he is off. It is quite disheartening though when you see you lovely bright child seeming to struggle

R2PeePoo Fri 09-Nov-12 14:52:31

My brother struggled all the way through school, he really wasn't academic at all and he hated it. All he wanted to do was build computers and play computer games, spending all of his money and time on them. He got five GCSEs (C to U) and sat three A-levels (I think he got E F and U) with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. My parents encouraged him to go to university anyway but he repeated the first year and then dropped out.

He applied for lots of jobs and got an entry level job in IT based on his enthusiasm (over university graduates). His boss trained him and sent him on courses and he repaid her trust. Eight years on he is on £30k, has a nice flat and a sports car. It was even harder for him because his sister (me) was incredibly academic and ended up at a very good university and our parents couldn't help comparing. Made me all the more determined to nurture my children's interests wherever they may fall. All I ask is that they try as hard as they can and do their best. I reward effort rather than results.

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