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Y3 child gone off school work.

(10 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Thu 03-Apr-14 10:30:22

Our 8 year old DD is in Y3 and has basically just stopped trying at school.
She's a bright girl, and has managed to get this far without having to try very hard at all. Now she's encountering stuff where she has to think, it's like she can't be bothered.
She forgets to bring homework home ( there isn't a lot- perhaps half an hour a week), does it badly and half heartedly, doesn't really try in tests and just doesn't seem that interested. The teacher has noticed a real difference in her attitude over this last term.
She still goes to school quite happily, gets lots of time to just play and muck around, gets to chill and watch TV, and is usually in bed by 8- 8:30pm. She's eating okay, and not complaining of pain anywhere.
Neither of her older sisters did this at this time, home life is pretty normal although DD3 is quite tired atm. She's just sat her Grade 1 piano, which she found a bit stressful but it wasn't a bad experience in the end.
Has anyone got any ideas? Here favourite subjects are maths and science and the school is quite an academic one and is trying to keep her attention so I don't think she's bored.

PastSellByDate Thu 03-Apr-14 10:53:23


I agree with you that it could be she's a bit bored with school, but you did say...*Now she's encountering stuff where she has to think, it's like she* can't be bothered.

I've found that when school work suddenly gets a bit tricky and possibly isn't that well explained in class, this can be the point where pupils lose heart/ zone out/ give up.

My advice is play to her interests:

If she's interested in math and enjoys playing video games well why not encourage her to play video games that support her current maths issue (maybe learning times tables right now - which is typical for Y3).

My first port of call would be Woodlands Junior Maths Zone: - all sorts of resources for multiplication under TIMES TABLES.

Once your child has the idea of times tables but maybe finds a few tricky to recall consider games that work on speed of recall (again these are all free):

times table games on math champs: - you'll have to explore because they're spread out over the age ranges (5-7/ 7-9/ 9-11) - but this is helpful because it is arranged in the logical order to learn tables.

multiplication dot com:
lots of different formats - let your child have an explore and try out different games - they're bound to find one they like.

Timez Attack: download the free two platform version
The game will test your child and start off from where they're at. You child can be a small boy or girl ogre and races through a dungeon or castle solving multiplication problems which are shown as traditional vertical problems that you type the answer into and also and multiple additions (so with 6 x 8 - you would count up 8/ 16/ 24/ 32/ 40/ 48 - by throwing snails against a wall - very odd I know but it works). Link here:


For science more and more really cool websites are starting to appear:

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Khan academy K - 12 (US Kindergarten = YR through 12th Grade = upper sixth form):

Science Sparks:

Science Bob:

Also look out for things like the Royal Institution Christmas lectures (shown on BBC):

or - they have links to past lectures.

Peter Worthers 2012 lectures on chemistry with great experiments really captivated my kids.

In 2012 & 2013 the RI ran an advent calendar (2012 - favourite elements from the periodic table with a different speaker for each element - often comedians & 2013 - was about chromosomes). So be sure to look out for the 2014 advent calendar.

Also advice TV shows like Spring Watch/ Autumn Watch, The Sky at Night (new revamp and much more children friendly), Stargazing live, documentaries - the recent BBC four offerings on bones (The secret of bones or fossils (Fossil Wonderland have been fantastic.

and of course don't forget to see things like Science Museums, engineering museums, etc to see & learn more about science/ maths.


My advice is school is not reaching her/ keeping her engaged then doing a bit of exploring at home and trying to foster her interests will make a difference and help to keep her motivated as a student.


FiveHoursSleep Thu 03-Apr-14 14:36:19

Lots of good links there, thank you. Computer time is limited in our house as we only have one but we do have tablets available.
She already knows her times tables pretty well, and is doing stuff with decimals and fractions, so I think the school is stretching her enough there but we could do more science stuff.
We do watch a lot of those TV shows and go to museums and galleries quite a lot, but I'll see if we can do other things at home too.

TheGervasuttiPillar Thu 03-Apr-14 14:54:07

Now she's encountering stuff where she has to think, it's like she can't be bothered.

Thinking aloud (if possible on the internet)...

In maths, often children/parents/teachers categorize children as good or not so good - as if it is inherent to the child and has nothing to do with work or effort in the subject. Such a child may associate being clever with being able to do the work easily. When they are faced with work that they cannot do easily it can create a crisis. The child may be worried that they are not clever and have been found out.

And/or perhaps she is afraid of making mistakes.

Ferguson Thu 03-Apr-14 19:27:08

I guess you can't really MAKE children want to learn, but the loving, supportive home usually creates that kind of environment where learning, and a certain amount of effort, is just something children are happy to do; and your home sounds ideal!

Is it possible she is taking on too much busy stuff? Did she want to do Grade 1 piano, and does she enjoy music? I am very keen on children learning an instrument, provided the child really wants to, and it's not just because parents think it's the 'done thing'.

proudmama72 Thu 03-Apr-14 20:18:43

Some people are going to judge me, but I give my kids money.

FiveHoursSleep Thu 03-Apr-14 23:49:00

Yes, she mostly likes music-not so keen on the practicing but that comes with the territory, I'm afraid.
She is also learning the recorder and double bass in school so she is quite busy, but the kids do get plenty of downtime as well.

Slackgardener Fri 04-Apr-14 07:26:52

I think you need to start being vocal about valuing effort over achievement....I gave my ds the objective of applying effort - I said that was all I cared about. Not bothered about outcomes. We talked a lot about facing challenges, finding things tough and working through it. We talk a lot about the pleasure of getting over these hurdles. When he does a test at school I don't get very excited about the result and so he talks about what he found hard and how he could improve the next time. He's seen his effort pay off and this in turn has motivated him to achieve, it's a beautiful thing to watch someone develop a motivation to succeed and that is the reward - it's internal and hopefully he can maintain it.

I agree with the benefits of learning an instrument, we've had some low points along the way, with poor teachers, music he wasn't interested in but we changed teachers and convinced ds to hang on for another term - we promised to let him drop it if he wanted after that - that worked - he really loves learning music, I never have to remind him to practise. I encourage his teacher to follow dcs musical interests because for me music is about pleasure not grades, so dc doesn't do them. If he genuinely stopped enjoying music, it would be dropped.

PastSellByDate Fri 04-Apr-14 10:06:09

I think slackgardener has hit the nail on the head - and agree it's not just about trying one's best/ working at things - it's also about enjoying it (which can sometimes be tricky when it comes to run of the mill school work).

(and apologies because here I go again....)

Ye olde Protestant Work Ethic - where pride in one's work, valuing effort, enjoying the process of working toward a goal, pride in one's achievement (so not only being proud if you get 100%, but being proud you got 50% which was a huge improvement over last time) - are all really useful values to instill in your child.

One of the real issues with both of my DDs is that they truly don't understand what they're doing things for - why do I need to know about fractions? Why do I need to know about percentages? I've handled these by talking about our mortgage, working out how much to give everybody at dinner, baking measures (one part sugar to two parts flour), shown them headlines in newspapers and discussed use of fractions/ percentages in reporting etc...

I don't know that I'd go as far as offering money (hard cash) as a reward for doing school work/ practicing an instrument/ doing well at a swim meet (but I do know there are parents out there who do this - so it's not just proudmama72) - but it is possible to celebrate achievement in other ways.

At our house it's along the lines of...

If I don't have to chase you this month about practicing your instrument then at the bank holiday we'll go to X exciting film/ amusement park/ etc...

If I don't have to harrass you about doing your homework at the weekend for a month...then at Easter vacation we'll go to X national trust property for their Easter egg hunt/ events.

(In essence you are rewarding your child with money because you're purchasing access to exciting things to do - so I'm not exactly a saint).

However - there's nothing to stop you baking a cake to celebrate a good result on a music or dance grade exam or letting your child stay up to watch that tv show they're wild about, because they've finished all their homework.


FiveHoursSleep Fri 04-Apr-14 10:24:14

I do talk about how proud I am of them when they have really tried at something ( DD2 in particular does have to make more of an effort at school, and DD1 is both bright and motivated) but DD3 often turns it around on its head by announcing that she got 100% in some test but there is no point in telling me as I won't be proud of her because SHE DIDN'T REALLY TRY....
I am going to try the goal making thing.

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