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Dd Yr 5 is 3C for Maths...& her English paper was also awful :-( What can I do to help ?

(36 Posts)
Willowisp Thu 21-Mar-13 00:06:33

We've just had parents evening & shocked to find how low DD1 is.

She'd been recognized as being behind & had extra work & I suppose, because she does her homework each week (with attitude, so hard to help) I thought she was OK. I've had no extra work for her & not been called in to discuss her lack of progress.

She's also completed an English paper which dh & I were given & her answers are just ridiculous sad It pains me to read her answers, I don't have the test she's read from, but her answers are badly written, spelling is dreadful, no understanding or skill at checking the answers. Looking at the paper, she's scrapped 9/20.

She's a young yr 5 but her (also young for year) 6 yr old sister is 3 points from being a 2A for Maths.

I have bought numerous work book for her to do, but, & this sounds like a big excuse, she hates doing them & creates such a terrible atmosphere in the home when doing them, it seems counter productive.

She does 3 activities during the week & is dropping down to 1 for the summer term, so I'd like to get her in the habit & be less afraid of doing extra work over the Easter hols.

I've just re-read her English paper & seriously feel there is something misfiring in her brain <<shakes head>> sad

Teachercreature Fri 22-Mar-13 13:07:36

I'm blaming Friday mental meltdown for my inability to find the messaging ;)

Good luck, shall keep fingers crossed for you!

Willowisp Fri 22-Mar-13 13:05:56

hi, thanks for your help - yes there is a pm available. I will see what the school say next week & in the meantime, continue with the work books, but see if I can do it verball & whether it makes a difference.

Teachercreature Fri 22-Mar-13 13:02:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Teachercreature Fri 22-Mar-13 12:39:23

Ah pocket money for chores does make more sense! :-)

(Ref the getting angry thing - children often do with parents. In school they have to behave so they bottle it up. At home, they love and trust you, so they express how they really feel! And for a girl who wants to please, getting stuck is even more angry-making from sheer frustration. This is why sometimes a tutor is easier - no emotional involvement at all. But do speak to school first and get their take on it all - they may be able to help, fingers crossed!)

Teachercreature Fri 22-Mar-13 12:36:01

Yes you're right, first step is definitely to talk to the school. They already may have support in mind for her, or believe it's just a blip due to the settling in you describe, but just not be communicating it very well to you. I've spoken to a lot of parent friends who describe much the same sense of frustration with schools!

Now she's not VERY low in terms of national averages (can give you more info on the levels if you need them, but basically they hope for all children to get a Level 4 in Y6.) Which may be why they aren't too worried, especially if she has made progress since Y4 - they will see this as being "progressing as expected". However, it sounds as though both you and your daughter are frustrated and worried at the moment, so that most definitely needs sorting.

Have a chat with them - your planned questions are perfect, and see what they are saying. From there you can then decide how to proceed, and whether an Ed Psych evaluation is necessary. (It is ultimately parental choice, but I know what you mean re wanting their support.) Hopefully they should be able to reassure you and her and plan how to go forwards, but if you're not happy with the outcome still please feel free to PM me at any time. I hate to see a child struggling, both as a mum and a teacher! Best of luck to you and your daughter and hope it gets sorted soon.

Willowisp Fri 22-Mar-13 12:18:06

Not homework for chores...*pocket money* for chores !

Willowisp Fri 22-Mar-13 12:17:17

I'm not aware of any support groups she's in, she was in an extra English class but no plan was given to me. The maths tuition we had a timetable & the main thing that came out was her lack of memory retention.

There is no IEP, no extra homework, which I have asked for. I think because she tries hard, perhaps they think she is ok ? I know she found it difficult to settle into year 5, but is growing in confidence. She does passionatly hate new things ie when I said homework for chores she had a meltdown, I guess she must just panic ? I think she is a sensitive little girl, wants to get it right, but doesn't & with her getting very angry, helping her is a bit of a struggle.

I'm going to ask what they think the problem is & what we can do to resolve it.

Teachercreature Fri 22-Mar-13 11:55:33

From what you're saying, doesn't sound like dyspraxia or ADHD (although hard to tell without a proper face to face assessment) - most of the behavioural things you describe are pretty normal. My daughter is also very tall and gangly and has same problem! The loud at home/quiet at school thing is also really common - I often say to parents they're quiet and they look at me like I'm nuts and say well she isn't at home!!

My gut instinct here though is if you feel she is struggling then you are probably right and something is up, especially given the low Maths score and the recent reading comp you did yourself. What exactly are the teachers saying to you when you do express your concerns? Is it just that they don't agree she is ADHD, or is that they don't agree she is struggling? Or do you think they already feel they are addressing it with support groups? And if they have her in support groups, does she also have an IEP?

Willowisp Fri 22-Mar-13 11:44:09

LIZS she can recite poems & rhymes ok. I will try her with lists.

Willowisp Fri 22-Mar-13 11:42:22

Ref dyspraxia she was quite quick to learn to ride her bike, has done ice skating /gym (is hopeless at that !) but for the last few months is doing a dance class & whist not naturally rhythmic, really enjoys it & when I've watched her, I can see the concentration etched on her face.

I did a dyspraxia test with her ages ago, standing on 1 leg or something ? She was able to do it, but never walks if she can skip, trot or run, she ricochets off walls & does seem to bump/knock into things & seems to trip over thin air - think newborn foal. I think that's as she's very tall, she is lacking are ess of where her limbs end.

Willowisp Fri 22-Mar-13 11:35:37

Her reading is ok, she is 4b, although she doesn't enjoy reading at all.

When I've raised ADHD with school they've looked at me blankly because she is very well behaved, polite & quite quiet. Of course at home she is loud & in my opinion sometimes inappropriate in that she takes things too far...gets over excited & has difficulty controlling herself. She has friends & plays well, lots of imaginative play at home, schools, registers, teddies etc.

When I went to the drs, she said ask the teachers thoughts & we'll take it from there & they didn't support my concerns at all. I've also spoken to thr inclusion manager who did the extra Maths & she looked at me as though I was mad that DD is loud as she was like a little mouse during tuition. She did say she was very unsure & lacking in confidence.

I have a meeting with her Maths teacher next week & have just asked to have some extra time with her English teacher.

We could probably pay £500 for Ed phys. But my concerns are that any assessment might not be supported by the school.

I feel very strongly that she is struggling & I feel very frustrated sad

Teachercreature Fri 22-Mar-13 10:53:39

Ah! If it's been going on for a while then I agree sounds like she may be somewhere on some form of spectrum. Could be all manner of things - dyslexia would be my first thought given spelling/reading trouble. It's often hard to spot earlier. But the trouble with hanging things up and following instructions could be a touch of dyspraxia too (often go hand in hand), or the processing trouble suggested by LIZS. Any of these could lead to problems and also to the reluctance you've been describing. Can you afford a private Ed Psych? If not I believe there are charities which can offer grants and so on - if you wait for a state one they may not even get to her before end of primary, and given you've already seen doctors and teachers that is most definitely where I'd try next. A good one will diagnose both her strengths and weaknesses, plus offering support steps for you and the school to help her. Also will be invaluable for secondary school going forwards.

Willowisp Fri 22-Mar-13 10:40:08

The girls did their workbook (what a terrible word) separately although they do do their homework together.

The deeper you dig, the more information you get ! Dd1 has always had this problem, I've looked up autistic websites, aspergers, dyslexia & the Maths version, ADHD, ASD. I am convinced she is on a spectrum of some sort. I've taken her to the dr & I've seen her teachers.

She has a good diet - i consider myself on the ball with food & I try hard to Mae sure her blood sugar isn't affected. She dies suffer from blood sugar drops especially after she comes out of school.

Ref following instructions - this is very difficult for her & she struggle with things like hanging her clothes on coat hangers (!)

Just got to answer the door...will be back !

Teachercreature Fri 22-Mar-13 10:05:00

Agree with LIZS that an EdPsych can be very helpful, but the waiting list in state schools is something like 18 months I believe and a private one is around £500. If this is a relatively new problem (which it sounds like?) then the school probably won't advise one at this stage since there might be some relatively simple support they (and you) can give. If it continues, then an EdPsych would be the way forward.

RaisinBoys is also right that she might be worried about future schools/competition. (BTW schools tend to inform children of levels because a) OFSTED expect to see the children self-assessing and being aware of their own targets for improvement b) the teachers themselves are under a great deal of pressure to raise children's levels, all the more so since they've started linking performance to pay in some cases. I totally, 100% agree this can be counter productive and stressful for some children, but until the government stop the emphasis on targets and levels and focus more on bringing the best out of each individual in each subject - including areas like art and design - that's sadly what schools have to do!)

Willowisp no harm at all in her wanting to be a mummy :-) and it's lovely that she wants to be like you! Bad attitude is very tough to deal with when you're trying to help - but she is only reacting like that because she finds it difficult or upsetting (for some reason), not because of you. Again this sounds a relatively new problem, which would definitely make me suspect she has gone past something she doesn't quite understand. This will then lead to a drop in confidence and a vicious circle of her not being able to move forwards if the foundations (of understanding each word she reads, or in Maths place value and terms) are a bit shaky and would produce the "rusty brain" effect you describe. If you think about it, if someone started explaining things to you with words in a foreign language thrown in, how easily would you be able to follow the explanation? You'd get the gist but you wouldn't fully understand, and eventually you'd get very confused as more and more misunderstandings built up - this is why vocabulary is absolutely crucial. The good news is it can be fixed with support, and a nice quiet Easter of helping to gently unpick what's gone amiss through fun activities sounds a lovely start!

BUT if this has been going on longer though, then LIZS suggestions would be spot on as it's more likely to be an underlying problem like processing, and I'd definitely convey your concerns to the school and request more support from them too. (They should be providing this support anyway...) And as others have said - you do have plenty of time for her to catch up, and with a clearly caring and supportive family she will get there. Good luck! :-)

LIZS Fri 22-Mar-13 08:51:22

If her memory may be an issue ( and working memory differs to what you may think of as memory) she could have a processing difficulty. Can she remember lists and recite them back to you , in reverse for example. Does she find numbers easier to remember than words, verbal instructions better or worse than written etc. Can she remember instructions to do a several step task without prompting or becoming distracted ? Have school suggested she be assessed by an Ed Psych ? Doing more of the same may not achieve very much if there is an underlying problem which could be addressed first.

RaisinBoys Fri 22-Mar-13 08:43:57

Perhaps not doing the workbooks with her (seemingly perfect and very bright) sister is not helping.

Just a thought...

She may also be worried about schools, future SATS etc. Loads of talk in my DS's class about schools, etc, and this obsession schools have with notifying children of levels and promoting competition between them doesn't help.

Willowisp Fri 22-Mar-13 00:06:08

Thanks, the buzzer is just the kitchen timer & I think she was surprised at how quickly the time went, but can do without next time.

Interesting about giving the maths a miss, it's almost like thinking is the hard her brain has rusted up.

She doesn't know her scores, I didn't want to wound her unnecessarily... although I did get cross with her constant bad attitude.

She does know about schools, the local grammer school, shop jobs, although she does say she wants to be a mummy like me ! I think I might have to work on getting through importance education.

Yes, up for some baking. We've been doing a little bit lately, but I can see following instructions would be helpful.

Thanks - I'm very grateful for advice & will be bookmarking the sites mentioned, she is very visual, so once (hopefully!) we've got the brain cranking over, we can try the maths. Will take advantage of a quiet Easter hols & try to build up some brain stamina.

Teachercreature Thu 21-Mar-13 19:31:26

The rolling eyes and groaning definitely sounds like a child who is worried about her work in some way. I'd suggest:
1) You say she doesn't seem to understand this is to help. Sorry if this is just repeating what you've already tried, but have you had the whole "point of education" chat? Discussing jobs she may want as an adult, things she might like to do later on? I ask as I have found a lot of children have no idea why they go to school! Also they often seem to think we're just being "mean" by making them go and they don't realise that we understand parts can be boring but it's necessary!
2) At this point, if she's scoring like that in a Y3 test, I'd back away from workbooks for a while. The scores may worry her more, esp if she notices it's Y3 herself. Read nice books together. Chat about what happened. Ask her opinion. Basically sometimes you need to go back a couple of steps in order to go forwards - it unpicks problems and builds confidence.
3) Once she has relaxed a bit more, you could start checking how many of the words she really does understand - typically a problem in comprehension is as simple as a problem with the words. Can she define them? Use correctly in a sentence? If she can't, start to build her own "Mini dictionary" with lots and lots of praise.
4) Leave the Maths until you have clarified the reading a bit more - the majority of a Y5 test paper will involve a lot of reading, so that has to come first, and it's best not to overload a child who is getting anxious. Once she is starting to feel more confident with reading and understanding, and is happy to participate, then you can go back to more formal comprehension and also the Maths.
5) Talk to the school and see what they can suggest in terms of support and also where they think the key issues are. Be aware though that they may miss things that you as a parent will spot.
6) If you're finding that she still is getting stressed working with you (they often do with parents as they are more secure with you), see if you can get a tutor, but go for one who is recommended.
7) Check that there is nothing else on her mind/upsetting her - I have seen children's work suffer suddenly because of playground/friendship issues, so it's always worth making sure that's not it!
8) I know this one is really hard, but do your best not to show her that you're worried. Throw away the buzzer you mentioned (just keep half an eye on the clock instead). Make it all as light-hearted and enjoyable as possible - they do pick up on anxiety scarily well, my own daughter seems to practically read my mind at times!
I really hope that helps a bit. This sounds like it's all come as quite a shock to you - I know that's very hard, but in a funny way it's probably a good sign, as it implies this is a blip rather than a continual state of affairs. With help she'll get there - hang in there!

Willowisp Thu 21-Mar-13 18:41:18

She's had her eyes tested a few years ago & doesn't appear to have any problems.

I'm very worried, dh has marked her work & she scored 7/12 for Yr 3 work.

ELR Thu 21-Mar-13 18:13:48

Also my dd hates workbooks but loves reading the paper especially if there is an interesting story about something gruesome(I proof read before to make sure it's not too bad) you can then check her understanding of the story ect just so it gets he used to reading and understanding and able to answer simple questions i found this really helped dd to be more detailed when writing at school

ELR Thu 21-Mar-13 18:08:31

Have you had her eyes tested? Dd wears glasses but hates them it is amazing how much better and quicker she can read with them on.
Like others have said doing things together can help.
Try some fun cooking in half term as you have to read recipe and do maths to work out ingredients ect, then get her to make some recipe cards or menus to make it more fun.

Willowisp Thu 21-Mar-13 18:02:38

I've just noticed the book we are using is for yr 3 children....

Willowisp Thu 21-Mar-13 18:01:02

Well, we have been sitting at the table, dd2 rejoiced at doing a workbook, then went to play.

Dd1 called...snarled, growled, spat the question out, rolled her eyes & groaned.
I asked why we're doing this & she cant really understand it's to help her. Anyway, read 1q, said it didn't make sense (schofield sims book - comprehension) so we read it about 4-5 times. It took almost 20 mins to answer 3 questions badly, then the buzzer went off & I said ok, finish & interestingly she carried on, corrected the mistakes she made & finished all 9 questions. confused
I've yet to mark them...but at least she's made an effort smile

alanyoung Thu 21-Mar-13 16:02:00

Have you tried pageadaymaths? It's just one sheet a day, but its strength is that the topics are constantly repeated in different forms so that they don't have a chance to forget very much before up it comes again. This constant reinforcement can help enormously.

jazzandh Thu 21-Mar-13 15:15:44

I have found that the maths whizz website has really boosted my DS's maths skills. It is fun, can be done in small chunks and has picked up on his weak areas. He loves doing it and I sit and peer over his shoulder while he does it and can see where he needs a little more help or practice. Good if they are visual I think - my DS seems to have a poor factual memory for numbers - so I test him on tables and number bonds for a few minutes each day and that too has made a difference.

The trouble is remembering to do these things and finding the time for them - but it can be done.

Good luck - your DD will be fine with you looking out for her.

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