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How do I get my 11year old son to up his game a bit?

(22 Posts)
voluptuagoodshag Fri 04-Mar-16 08:33:00

He is clever, bright, witty etc. but I think his school work is sub standard. I'm not a teacher and his teacher says he "is at the level expected" but I find the basics are wanting:
- I'm still picking him up on capital letters and full stops in sentences, especially in proper nouns
- his writing is all over the place with no construction
- he doesn't read the question properly and then gets the answer wrong. When I slow him down he 'gets it'.
I'm not a helicopter, alpha type mum but he's only got a year and a bit left of primary school and when I see what they are getting at the high school, I'm worried that he is just not prepared. If he still can't put a full stop in a sentence, jaaayysusssss what hope is there?

voluptuagoodshag Fri 04-Mar-16 09:05:33


redhat Fri 04-Mar-16 09:07:05

How has he got a year an a half left of primary if he's 11 confused <misses point of thread>

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Seryph Fri 04-Mar-16 09:43:46

Hmmm, I think I would be worried too. The odd slip up here and there is pretty normal, even for adults, but if it's a constant battle with the basics like full stops and capitals (can he use other punctuation properly? Commas, question/exclamation marks, colons?) then it might be worth taking the time to practice it every week.
The misreading questions is pretty standard. I still remember my GCSE maths teacher writing up on the board R.T.F.Q and saying Read The Fucking Full Question! It's something that you just have to make into a habit, he'll get it in the end.

voluptuagoodshag Fri 04-Mar-16 09:53:45

Yes we are in Scotland. I deferred him for a year so he's the oldest in his class (January birthday).
Thing is he can do everything properly, he is just lazy in his approach so fires through everything really quickly so he can get it done and get out to play. I always go over it with him (not pointing out his mistakes) asking him if he sees anything wrong. He does spot the mistakes and then corrects them but his work is sloppy, doesn't rub stuff out well so it looks like a dog's dinner. Parent's night is approaching and I've a list of questions around his problem solving ability, applying logic (may take after his Dad there so no hope ;) ), not reading the question properly and generally not taking pride in what he does. I keep reiterating to him that if he took the time to do it properly he wouldn't then have to take extra time correcting mistakes and would get out to play with pals quicker (thumps head of wall repeatedly). His mind is like a goldfish, thought straight in then straight out again.

Readysteadyknit Fri 04-Mar-16 09:57:20

Have you considered that he may have something like dyslexia?

GraciesMansion Fri 04-Mar-16 10:02:23

I am a teacher as well as having an 11 year old ds with the same issues as yours. I found that things fell into place in the last year of primary and improved dramatically. Now in y7 he seems to have gone back to his lazy ways, especially in writing, but that's for his teachers to take up with him. If he still has another 18 months in primary I wouldn't worry too much yet.

VenusRising Fri 04-Mar-16 10:04:55

Start praising him for his effort, not for the results.

Does he realise that it's not how quickly he does the work but how well and how carefully.
Make him go back over everything twice, before you mark it.
Give him a big red pen to mark his own work.
Give him a pound for every week "credit" and deduct 10p for each mistake.

Ask him what kind of life he expects for himself if he doesn't start to take care and do his work with attention?

Show him some people working and emphasise to him how that all have to be careful and if they're not they're fired. Do this with every single person you meet, everywhere- from the chemist to the hospital doctor, to the teacher, to the bus driver, to the road digger. Go up to people and ask them how they got into the job... Did they have to go to uni, did they have to take care with their work? Would they be fired if they just did any old thing without being careful?

Emphasise the joy of the choices money gives!

Limit all the screen times.

Chrysanthemum5 Fri 04-Mar-16 10:08:22

Could he be dsylexic/dsygraphic? DS is 11 and sounds very similar. His school have accepted that the huge gap between his reading ability and written work is a concern. He is allowed to use the computer more for writing and gets extra time.

In terms of making mistakes that's DS again. I've asked him to under R the key information in a question the check he's answered that. It helps but only if he remembers to do it.

DS is p7 but young for his year (late September) so is going to senior school in August. His concentration and work has got much better in P7 but it takes a lot of effort on his (and mine) part smile

Chrysanthemum5 Fri 04-Mar-16 10:09:44

Sorry spell check mistake (I can't really complain about DS's lack of care!). I get him to underline key information not under R

sayatidaknama Fri 04-Mar-16 10:15:15

Is he bored? I found my DC took off in secondary school.

MrsSteptoe Fri 04-Mar-16 10:22:57

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Seryph Fri 04-Mar-16 10:24:44

If you really do think it's a laziness/lack of focus thing then I would just make a big deal out of how much easier life is if he gets it right first time.
So if he rushes and makes a mess make him start again with a fresh piece of paper, he'll get the idea pretty quickly.

MrsSteptoe Fri 04-Mar-16 10:25:54

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voluptuagoodshag Fri 04-Mar-16 11:53:39

Thanks for all the advice. I had considered he may have something and asked various teachers if I should have any concerns but they have all said no so I bow to their experience and knowledge - they see a lot more kids than I do. Like I say, he can do the work if he takes time and puts the effort in. He does hold his pencil if a funny way. Have tried to get him to hold it differently but he says it makes writing too difficult. DH is convinced this is part of the problem and thinks we should try to get him to change but I disagree with him saying it's Dickensian and like trying to get a left handed person to be right handed.

Readysteadyknit Fri 04-Mar-16 12:49:20

voluptua it's your comment "he can do it if he puts in the effort" that makes me think of dyslexia. People with dyslexia often develop coping strategies but have to work much harder to get the same outcome as a non-dyslexics. Dyslexia sometimes co-occur with dyspraxia. Unfortunately many teachers know very little about dyslexia and many of the dyslexia screeners used in schools are unreliable. It would be a shame to label him "lazy" if he actually needs support.

HexU Fri 04-Mar-16 12:50:02

My DD1 is in a mixed year 5/6 class. She's been annoyed because her class have had few days going back to basics like capital letters and full stops so it can't be that uncommon.

My children use them regularly as the spelling program we follow - apple and pears - spends some time reinforcing basic punctuation as well. They are having a lot of reminders through this and it's automatic now.

I do wonder if like spelling lapses in punctuation isn't highlighted to the children in their work were they occur so they aren't corrected. In year 6 DD has found spelling mistakes are now pointed out - something they do less of lower down the school. So it could improve in year 6.

Handwriting grip - have you tried Twist n Write Pencils?

We found they helped a bit as have other grips.

Reading actual question - have you tried getting him to underline the main parts - it worked for me I always had to read the question a few times over as I'm dyslexic and had bad habit or reading what I thought was there not what actually was. It makes you pause a bit.

Also ask what the teacher for suggests to help with the problems you've noticed - though I wouldn't worry to much.

HexU Fri 04-Mar-16 12:54:09

Dyslexia sometimes co-occur with dyspraxia.

This is true as I have both.

If handwriting is an issue -

write from the start and how to speed up could be worth a look.

WaterWorld Fri 04-Mar-16 13:03:13

Similar here though ds younger.
We are taking the following approach and having some success

Ensuring that DS can do the stuff using short practices at home of skills that seem lower than expected (KS workbooks from Amazon) and finding he knows often knows how when practicing but is mostly not very engaged in the subject so leads to spelling and grammar errors, untidy writing.

Therefore we are recognising and encouraging 'taking a pride' in showing you know the answer and having the best writing you can. Also teaching him to spot low standards and self correct neatly.

Setting high standards for neatness, reminding him of his best attempts.

We are also recognising and encouraging him to 'do a bit more than teacher asks' i.e. by having the best writing, adding a bit more to a picture to make it more interesting etc. Fortunately he really rates his teacher and does want recognition from him. (I am even letting the teacher know more about what we are doing at home and have found she therefore is able to 'recognise' dcs small changes in approach and achievements and dc therefore finds it is worth it).

DS has a tendancy to daydream so I think practicing his 'pride' skills will help him in the long term counteract the disadvantages of being a dreamer sometimes.

voluptuagoodshag Fri 04-Mar-16 13:16:02

Thanks for all the tips. You know despite the teachers all saying he's fine I've often thought deep down he might have some motor skill issue. He fidgets a lot, bum shuffled until 19 months old. Did once get a call back to school when they were testing fine motor skills and he was borderline but made it through on second attempt (!!!!!!! whatever that means). When we sit at the table or in car he's constantly gibbering away - nothing particularly coherent. He can have a perfectly eloquent conversation with you on other occasions though and often has me in stitches with his observations:
Me: what's so bad about the eco committee then?
Him: You don't get all your reward time and just wander around looking at plants.

Will investigate those pens and similar stuff - thanks

irvine101 Fri 04-Mar-16 13:25:03

Even the teacher is really experienced, she/he is not watching your child 24/7 exclusively. I think parents sometimes know better than teacher/doctors, etc., when it comes down to your own child, I think.

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