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Frustrated parents, child and teacher

(86 Posts)
BringOnTheSunshine Sun 25-Nov-12 03:16:12

I have posted in behaviour/development:

I will try to be brief: DS (6y) is in P2.

DS is one of the youngest in his class and is really struggling educationally and socially at school.

Throughout P1 we spent 2 hours per night on homework, not by choice, feeling we were not getting very far.

DS struggled to retain phonics and blending was impossible. He was able to read some words but forgot simple words even after frequent repetition.
From one page turn in the story he would forget "and" or "stop" etc. His behaviour in school deteriorated very quickly and we had our first red slip before christmas, (he threw a crayon and which hit another child, didn't throw it at the child but not the point). I was phoned twice 1 = he cut another childs hair, (didn't realise the other child cut his hair until he was home but don't think the teacher had noticed) 2= he cut a hole in his trousers. He was no longer allowed to sit with classmates when using scissors or use scissors unless supervised. We had monthly phone calls with the teacher and he was started on a behaviour chart. The school felt he was immature compared to his older classmates and felt things would improve by P2.

At the end of P1 he was able to write a simple sentence of 5 words but couldn't blend and though he progressed slowly through reading books, still had the same difficulty remembering phonic sounds and words.
P1 teacher was passing along that he needed firm guidance in class to push him to complete tasks.

He started P2 in August and we are no further forward. We spend 2 -4 hours each night working on his homework. He tries hard, sometimes ends up in tears of frustration because he can't remember a word he knew the page before etc. I asked for a meeting with his teacher after the first month to find out how he was getting on and express our concerns. The teacher said she would spend till Oct holidays observing him. He attends a session with deputy head once per week along with a group who are struggling. The teacher has asked for another 30 min session once per week to work on writing/reading. He was given a behaviour chart again...which has since stopped!

He can explain what task is being done, give answers and solve problems verbally but struggles with writing. He wrote a whole page of random repetitious letters when asked to write about a topic. He will sit staring at his work for an entire lesson...not disrupting others...just doing nothing! They have sent incomplete work home which is a nightmare on top of homework.

He tells me he is not good at reading/writing and it is too hard. He hates school and thinks the teachers don't help him. He also said that he doesn't bother telling the teacher when other kids push/hit him as they don't believe him!

We are on his third red slip so far since August. His behaviour is getting worse at school and we are really at a loss. I have had two calls from the deputy head. 1= to complain he had been swinging his lunch bag in lunch line...not attempting to hit anyone, swinging it around and over his head and to inform us of restarting behaviour chart. 2= he had created a behaviour chart for another pupil who he felt needed one due to disruptive behaviour in class.
The third slip was posted yesterday asking us to arrange a meeting to discuss his behaviour. He had pushed passed a teacher in the lunch hall and ran past another teacher with his arms out and hit her side. Both of these were intentional.

Ds is a sweet and loving boy. At home he is a boistrous, bundle of energy, loves superheroes, being tickled, playing jokes, runnning about, playing with friends in the village. Being 6, he has his moments of being too rough..usually when playing and getting carried away rather than random hitting. Though he has pushed or hit his sister (3y 11mo) and is aware this is not acceptable etc. He is helpful and will tidy up toys etc and help his sister/play with her.

He has a routine, is in bed by 8pm, he gets affection and praise and correction/time out as needed.

Negatively, he is seen as too loud, (he has a loud voice rather than shouting IYSWIM) and is a fidget, needing frequent reminders to sit still, focus on tasks etc. He shows, (I guess), the usual 6 year old cheekiness and attitude.

He knows...can verbalise... that the behaviour is wrong. He is aware of consequences for good/inappropriate behaviour.
We have both spoken to him regarding his behaviour and he has lost Wii time. (he was given his first wii games this month for his birthday and loves it) and is aware that he will probably miss the school trip to the pantomime.

DH is concerned that the behaviour is related to his frustration about class work. DH is Dyslexic and we have mentioned concerns about ds being dyslexic to the teacher in previous meetings. The teacher said formal assessment wouldn't happen until he is 7.

We are all tired, frustrated and utterly fed up....I include the teachers in this!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 04-Dec-12 20:43:44

I am so, so pleased that you have a happy child back for the end of term.

BringOnTheSunshine Tue 04-Dec-12 20:41:40

TalkinPeace2, I think he would need to run the great wall of china before he would be tired enough to sit still!

IndigoBelle, I am not concerned about a label, DS will alway be DS. I am just trying to find out some information about all the things mentioned in the posts to find out better ways to help DS.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected, I understand your view based on the first post. It is very hard to communicate effectively on these sites and is impossible to include every detail of a situation without posting too much or drip feeding. I accept we spent too long on homework, I agree that none of us were happy and we are working with a new plan!

wheresthegin, I was annoyed that ds hair was cut too, but it is unfortunately something that happens when small kids get scissors! DS said that he...and "a girl" thought it would be funny to cut each others hair. The girls haircut was more obvious, (I would imagine) than DS who had a chunk out of the back of his head which was less noticable because he had short hair. DS was told not to do it again, the school didn't allow him scissors without supervison and it hasn't happened since.

The teacher seems to have stopped all spelling for DS, just sending home his reading book. Today he was to cut out and glue a santa he painted in class. He came bursting in the door determined to do it as soon as he dropped his bag! I also filled in and returned his panto form this week so he must still be going! :-D

wheresthegin Sun 02-Dec-12 15:03:49

wish someone would have thought another child cutting my dd hair was naughty and not funny.

CaseyShraeger Sun 02-Dec-12 11:04:12

KeepCool, it's generally best not to comment on a week-old thread if you haven't read more than the OP, however little time you have. If you don't even have time to skim-read the OP's latest updates, you might reconsider heather typing a long post comparing her to the Gestapo is a good use of your limited time.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 02-Dec-12 09:59:00

Have only read your thread as not much time.

I also have a 6 year old boy. Half an hour is completely adequate at such a young age. Frankly, I am amazed you haven't put him off altogether.

This 2-4 hour thing - you are making him do another half a day at school! It's actually cruel.

Running past teachers, waving his lunch box around etc., do you know any boisterous boys at that age that don't do it.

Incidentally the fidgeting thing is when they are past it and are very tired and have had enough - haven't you sussed that yet.

My son's reading is very good, but he still has to sometimes remember 'and' and 'stop' like words from one page to the next page - particularly if he's tired. They are both 6 they are still learning!

With respect, I think the problem is with you. You need to calm down and really look at what you are doing to him - he's 6 and not at university yet!

I am sorry if this is painful reading but I think the problem is with you, and if you're not careful you will totally put him off. Give him time to develop - at his rate and not yours. Help him, guide him, but stop acting like the gestapo.

IndigoBelle Fri 30-Nov-12 17:11:46

ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia often exist together - because they are all symptoms of the same underlying problem - development delay.

So don't get tied up in knots over exactly which label he has, just think about what you want to do to help him.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 30-Nov-12 17:10:53

have you got a spare mountain you could run him up and down a few times a day?
hope the restricted homework is making all three of you happier

BringOnTheSunshine Fri 30-Nov-12 17:04:52

too much information so I won't bore you all with every detail. I just hope he can go back to being my happy wee boy!

BringOnTheSunshine Fri 30-Nov-12 17:02:32

Thanks everyone. We have managed 1 week so far and it feels great. DS is coming home from school with a smile on his face. We will have to see how his behaviour is at far so good. No phone calls, no red slips! Just have to wait until new year for EP assessment to start. I have looked at ADHD, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia information online and there are various bits in each that could fit...DS has no understanding of personal space or his own strength. He can't sit still, even when he is watching a dvd, he bounces his feet, is on his knees, back on his bum...continuously! He has a nervous cough, the more stressed or excited he is, the more he does it. (we had it investigated and paed said it was likely post nasal drip)...but even the school have mentioned it...might have to ask them to look again! He is full of energy, jumping, running, doing forward rolls etc and would rather flip upside down on the chair than sit on his bum. He can't sit still to eat, perches on the side of the chair, stand, sit, bounce, sit etc all through dinner. He would rather use his fingers to eat or a spoon. He can hold a fork but always drops it and goes back to his fingers.

catstail Thu 29-Nov-12 08:55:57

yes I was going to say the same about dypraxia, which is very commonly found with dyslexia, accidental injuries that could appear deliberate, barging, swinging things in a way that other children don't etc

absolutely you need to provide a safe environment at home, stick to your 15 minute homework thing and you are helping him - 2 hours and you are making things worse.

daytoday Wed 28-Nov-12 11:27:13

So you're son is 6?

If so, I think he is doing far far too much. I completely understand that you are trying to complete a task set by the school but I think you need to stop after 30 mins - regardless. He sounds mentally overloaded, exhausted and stressed. You seem to be going round in circles - with a very unhappy child.

I found at this age that my (late developing) son would switch off after 15-20 mins and sort of give up. He was such a sweet boy but would blurt out any answer so it felt like he couldn't retain information. His short term/working memory didn't really develop till he was 7 nearly 8. Then we noticed a big lurch in what he could do.

During this earlier phase, we accepted he wasn't a flier with education but a hard working child who got there slowly, eventually. We backed off - let him draw, be creative. We made him read for 10 mins every night and did number bonds and times tables and that was pretty much it. We decided not to do some homework tasks but concentrate on what he needed. At points we wondered about underlying issues and they were explored. It is so very hard when they are young. He was just a late bloomer.

seeker Wed 28-Nov-12 10:16:38

Keep checking in here, op-you might find it hard to keep on the 15 minute straight and narrow! We can help you!

Tgger Wed 28-Nov-12 09:42:10


nooka Wed 28-Nov-12 03:32:36

Sounds like your ds is responding to the new approach. That's great. All of you being happier at home should make a difference to his behaviour, and you never know with a bit less pressure perhaps the reading will have more of a chance to click.

drjohnsonscat Tue 27-Nov-12 17:17:48

That sounds good OP. Apart from anything else, you need time to just be together as a family, sitting around together doing nothing, sometimes.

auntevil Tue 27-Nov-12 17:13:10

Apologies if this has been mentioned before - haven't read every post blush , but the swinging bags, barging side of things sound very much like my DS. He has dyspraxia as well as dyslexia. In fact both theses and ADD, ADHD etc are often linked, sharing similar traits.
If I hear it once a day, I hear it a hundred times "It was an accident!" This is when DS hasn't allowed enough room to do whatever he is doing and knocked into someone etc. He has no spatial awareness. This also means that his version of a tap on the shoulder is another's version of being hit. It is hard sometimes to give him the benefit of the doubt with all the accidents - so I know some people stop believing that they are accidents and then do not trust the voracity of much that is said.
Totally agree with everyone who has said about doing smaller amounts of work. I don't think we would have ever found the time to do that much studying after school!

Euphemia Tue 27-Nov-12 16:52:34

Fabulous! smile

BringOnTheSunshine Tue 27-Nov-12 16:26:47

I know we are only on day 2 but what a difference there is to the atmosphere in the house.

Last night I put the timer on for 15mins and spent that time doing his 6 reading pages. We ran through slowly helping with words he couldn't manage then I read the pages with him repeating each word. He loved the bell going at the end...and the fact he had completed the reading 30 seconds before it went :-D

He was told that if he manages 3 days trying hard with homework...gets a sticker each day...then he can have time on the Wii. He is very excited about it all.

DS has gone for a walk with DH before it gets dark then we will have dinner and do his homework sheet. Today he has a maths sheet and reading...we will see how it goes! fingers crossed.

I think knowing that regardless of how much we get through, it will only take 15 mins, is making me giddy.

I know this is just the start and we have only scratched the surface but I don't feel like we are drowning ... can only be good

crazygracieuk Tue 27-Nov-12 08:22:51

I think that you have had some good advice.

My sons struggled with phonics, reading and writing in Reception. What I have learned is

It's pointless doing homework that's too hard. Ds2 is currently in Y2 and quite good at maths but last week's homework was too hard for him so I sent it back undone with a note that he did not understand it so could she go through it. It would have been easy for me to tell him the answers but if the teacher doesn't know it's hard for him, she might move onto harder stuff which is pointless.

I did not make Ds2 learn spellings in Y1 (which is P2 in Scotland). He could not even form letters correctly so it was pointless. The time that he would have spent on spellings was used as handwriting practice. Sometimes we spent the week simply reading the 10 words which was more useful and appropriate to his level. By the end of Y1 (P2) he was ready to learn some spellings. He's currently Y2 (so P3) and I still edit which spellings he learns. For example, last week he had words like "ascend" which he could read but didnt know the meaning and would never use so I didn't push him learning it.

Spelling tests are not an efficient way to learn how to spell. It is very common for a child to learn how to spell a word correctly for the test and not in general written work. General spelling rules like "If a word ends in e then add an s for the plural." is much more useful. My son used to write z in those cases so learning that rule was more useful. His current school are good at matching the sounds that they do in phonics to the spelling lists but I know that some schools aren't.

I'm surprised that he has to learn 5 if he's in a low group. Our old school did 10 for high group, 5 for medium group and 2 for the low group.

I'm surprised that you manage to sit him down for so long. I think that you can learn efficiently in much shorter times say 20 minutes a day and that it can make a big difference if you do it daily.

Good luck

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Tue 27-Nov-12 07:49:13

I'm glad that the meeting with the HT went well.

I would still say to ask his SALT about Auditory Processing Disorder though - a school based EP is unlikely to diagnose this.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Tue 27-Nov-12 07:45:34

The homework is too much.

Do 30 minutes, if it is incomplete, leave it. 30 minutes and stop. No Primary school age DC should do more homework than that.

He has some barrier to learning - the poster that mentioned 'slow development' of visual processing has a point, proprioception and visual processing disorder are totally different to base vision.

And with the struggles with phonics, have you considered an Auditory Processing disorder? Again, this is different from base hearing. Your DC could have perfect hearing, but the brain is not PROCESSING the sounds properly. Hence needing SALT to learn correct pronunciations, and struggling to decipher phonics.

My DD has APD, and never learnt to read using phonics. She couldn't read until she was 8yo, in Y3, when she started being able to read basic Reception level books. She learnt mostly by whole word recognition.

I would ask the SALT about the possibility of Auditory Processing Disorder. It sounds VERY likely to me, given what you have said.

RibenaFiend Tue 27-Nov-12 07:24:30

Couldn't read without saying you're clearly a very dedicated and hardworking mum OP. To have got to 2-4hrs a night must have taken a lot of incredibly hard work.

Your meeting with the head sounds very positive. Enjoy the bing or buzz of your timer and enjoy your son in the evenings!smile

nooka Tue 27-Nov-12 05:42:03

Just to give you another positive story. My dyslexic son who would throw himself to the floor and scream rather than attempt to read his home reading book for any time at all at the age of 6 told me today that he was officially the fastest reader in his class - 260 words a minute apparently. He still writes terribly mind, but there are more solutions for writing so I think that's less of a long term issue.

He is 13 now and cracked reading at around about 8. Behaviour wise it took longer to resolve (remembering the consequences of his action at the time of deciding to do the latest dumb thing being the biggest issue) but he has grown up a lot the last few years. Some children just take a bit longer to get there than others.

squeezedatbothends Mon 26-Nov-12 21:27:43

Oh poor little man...and poor you too. It does sound as if dyslexia might be an issue, but also stress does nothing for the memory - cortisol and adrenaline literally destroy memory and Talkpeace2 is absolutely right about the need to develop the lateral synapses. You all need a break - stop the homework straight away - this is madness. If the school can't understand this then they're the wrong school for your child. Play games, if you want to, developing movement memories as another post mentioned can help dyslexic children - they're encouraged to use joined up writing ASAP for example because the hand remembers the movement. I've found sign language useful for spelling patterns, also magnetic letters, drawing words in sand and in the air and on each other's backs...lots of fun stuff you can do.

On an optimistic note, a friend's daughter was labelled 'remedial' at school, left primary with a label of SEN and ended up with a first from Cambridge once her dyslexia had been diagnosed. Times have moved on thankfully, so tell DH not to worry too much. Ask the school about the Lexia programme - it's online and interactive and my kids enjoy doing the tasks on there. If they don't step up, move him to somewhere that won't put him under this ridiculous pressure and label him as a problem.

Euphemia Mon 26-Nov-12 20:02:17

I would rather a pupil in this position handed in incomplete homework - then at least I could see what he can manage. Perfect homework tells me nothing. It certainly doesn't tell me about four hours of tears and frustrations. smile

Keep talking to the school - that way neither side is making assumptions, and you're working together to help DS.

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