My Ds is not doing well in school due to reluctance.(23 Posts)
He’s 8, in yr3 and he’s just so resistant to school!
There are no underlying problems, no sen or bullying. Just him, not wanting to engage in anything that involves numbers or grammar.
He’s behind in everything! Reading, spelling, maths, grammar!
However he’s very good at telling me about stuff he wants to learn such as random stuff about the Romans. But ask him to write it down and he huffs!
He’s a smart kid and is good at retaining information, he just doesn’t want to put the effort in and it’s pissing me off!
Homework is a stressful nightmare of trying to get him to actually sit and do the work, then I have to watch over him whilst he does it. He drags it out and doesn’t concentrate which means he makes stupid mistakes.
On the off chance that he is engaged, he can do it independently, but most of the time he just hates it.
As soon as I mention homework he storms off to his room, it’s infuriating.
Not because he can’t do it but because he WON’T.
I have done charts and rewards, sanctions and praise but nothing works!!
Would it be a bad thing to tell him that he is falling behind in class and he is failing if he doesn’t put the effort in?..... Although I doubt he would care!
I have read that learning has to come from them, but it’s just not!
This is so hard to know what to do. What is he actually doing in class? What does his teacher say? You say he is behind, but is this in comparison to others or is he not making progress at all with the curriculum? Does he need to do all this homework? Is he at a private school?
This comes across as force feeding a child who is not enjoying the overall experience of learning. I would talk to the teacher about a limited diet of homework and try and work on the basics to pull up attainment and progress. Can he just write about what does interest him? Read what interests him. Can you work out with him what he would like to do regarding homework? How long it should take? Agree 20 minutes a night for example. None on a Friday! Treat night for doing well on 4 nights. Can he articulate what he might like to do when he’s older? Can he see that he needs to make an effort to achieve what he wants?
Don’t stand over him. Let the teacher see what he will do on his own. At least this might prompt another style of learning. There is research that shows primary homework doesn’t achieve much. Maybe scaling it right back is the way forward at the moment.
My DD2 was (is) like this. A lot of her reluctance was because she knew she found it really hard, and after a day at school the last thing she wanted to do was more hard stuff.
Even now y8 we have to break it into tiny chunks. usually 20-30mins homework, 15-20mins break (usually TV), then homework, break, repeat.
It takes a lot of energy to coax her, but we usually get there in the end.
Does he like being on the computer?
There’s lots you can do online that comes across like playing a game.
Does he draw?
I’d try encouraging him to draw and paint (so he’s using pencils, brushes etc), play some maths and reading games online and read a book or two with him every night.
Let him learn about things he loves like the Romans. Then see if he can write numbers like the Romans and read some books about them, seeing if he can read some too.
Otherwise, you could formalise his learning and get a tutor or take him to a tuition centre like Explore learning.
No idea if this will ring true for you but DS , who is now yr 10, has always been the same. He was behind at primary in that he did as little as possible because it was boring, he is sports obsessed & thinks everything else is a waste of time. But he is bright and did fine in his SATS. As he’s got more mature he has improved his attitude but still only tries hard for the few subjects he likes (history, geography and PE), the others he says he aims to get a pass in at GCSE. He was never badly behaved at primary, just disengaged and bored. Some teachers had a real problem with him, I think it’s hard to have a bored child in your class all day long. One teacher got him, they swapped cricket statistics. Homework was a problem at primary, in the end in yr 5&6 I enforced 30 minutes regularly every evening but no more. And just 30 minutes at the weekend. Once at secondary I’ve left him to it, he does the bare minimum, except he loves history and really tries in this subject. This is a new thing, only happened in yr 9, & it’s a real relief that he has found an interest other than sport, and he is now getting good grades in the subjects he likes. I tried so many things to motivate him over the years, school did too, but some children want to do their own thing.
He may feel pressure to learn and that's causing him stress which is resulting in reluctance. He also could be afraid of failure so it's easier to not do it.
The pressure is not from you but from society and how the schooling system is.
He could now think learning is bad or he won't be able to do it in his sub conscious memory which means he wont even know why he doesn't want to engage.
If it is really a problem it may be worth accessing counselling as they will be able to access his fears around it and help him deal with it.
It could simply be that at home you have a cycle of insistence , dispute and then getting away with not doing it.
Does he engage at school ? Does he have dyslexia or another similar learning difficulty such as his eyes having difficulty focusing and tracking between board and book etc. This is more than long sighted.
There is so much that it could be.
It may be worth having assessed by an ed psych if you can afford it.
Thanks for all your replies.
bubbles he’s in a normal state school, although small as it’s rural. He says he wants to be a scientist when he’s older, and I tell him that it’s important to be good at maths for that too, in an encouraging way.
I do feel that the homework is more effort that it’s worth, however I want to help him so I am keen to see what the homework is so I can see what he’s learning.
I think that’s exactly it teen He hates school because it’s hard, he has to put a lot of effort in to do well and it tires him, so it’s easier to do as little as possible.
He has his tablet live which is restricted to weekend use only, I have tried to start using it as a reward for homework.
He loves to draw and write under his own steam.... he has some amazing bits of writing in his room which he’s done. The grammar’s shit, and if I try to help him with this he gets defensive and tells me not to look at it. (I’m nice in my approach! I don’t say it’s shit but will say it’s great and then point out where he needs a full stop for example).
We/I read Harry Potter each night... we’re on book 5.
I’m really considering formalising his learning, but I’m torn as he’s 8! I have friends with homeschooled children who just say he’ll be fine! But he’s not in school.
Sounds like my ds milk his teacher even said that he is like her ds, who was bright but disengaged. He went on to do well mid secondary due to being bright and more mature. I’m hoping this happens!
dancing I think you’ve hit something there! He has an introverted nature and has always been reluctant at trying new things, he wouldn’t even join in with story time as a toddler. I think there may be an element of fear of failure. And he does fail! Often!
He is reluctant in school too.
I found sumdog quite good for helping my disinterested 7yo engage with maths. They use it as school so everyone else does it. It's free if your school use it.
My kids loved Education City and YouTube for timestable and reading practice.
I had this problem.
I had little confidence and was overshawed by my extremely clever younger sister, and my parents were crap at encouraging me in a genuine way.
threats are never going to work.
He's only 8. Keep trying to evoke curiosity, don't use punishments yet. He may be a lazy sort, so you may have to get tough later, but for now, just focus on things that interest him.
Would it be possible to take him to science activities so he gets a real buzz for science? Then the required learning from school might have some relevance. There are museums and science fairs for example. Maybe he could then find more things that engage him.
That’s great bubbles he loves museums and aquariums
Personally I would talk to his teacher and say that homework is not working for anyone in your family and you won’t be doing it. Take the pressure right off and have fun with him. If it’s not working, change it. Clearly you’ve tried every thing and still it’s not working. Be kind to yourself and to your little one.
My DS is exactly the same. Even the age and year group!
We introduced a rule around when he does his homework which makes it much better and I left him alone to do it. He got on much better without me checking on him.
I would never ever critique anything he does off his own steam otherwise it’s like he’s always at school. He likes writing and drawing his own stuff and I encourage that. When you said I’m nice in my approach! I don’t say it’s shit but will say it’s great and then point out where he needs a full stop for example, my heart sank a bit for your DS. Being nice in your criticism is still a criticism, no matter how you dress it up. Just let him be with his own stuff. He’ll learn at school and with his homework.
Has he always been this way? My DS has got worse with his year 3 teacher and after talking to her so many times and finally she seemed to get it - she made him feel like he was stupid. I told her this and she’s eventually made some changes. When she went off sick, DS was a changed child with the supply teacher.
My DS is incredibly brittle so requires kid gloves. He’s also very stubborn and doesn’t like to make mistakes. Better to give him the tools to identify his mistakes than point them out.
With DS we have homework before he can play on his games console but only 20 mins as per the homework guidance.
Since start of yr3, I stopped checking his homework. I have same approach as Believeitornot, I don't even look at his homework. I know if I started correcting his mistakes, ds would get annoyed and have the hump. Also the homework became compulsory from YR3 at our school, so if he doesn't do it at home, he will be made to do it during break time. I will ask and remind him if he has done his homework, but I don't make him do it. It's up to him. Seems to work very well.
Thanks. So i’ll help him with homework but not try to ‘mark’ it. That’s hard as I want him to do well!
I don’t think this is the route to his reluctance though, but hopefully it’ll help!
I have a 7yo DD who is very like this.
One thing which has made a difference for us - and I didn’t think it would - is changing the time we do homework. We used to do it as soon as home from school, with a snack, but she was so tired from school, so I started leaving it until later in the evening. Now we do it before bed - keep it strictly to 15-20mins, and then read together for 20mins. That way she’s had her TV chill out time, been fed and bathed and much more relaxed when we approach it. It’s also a quieter time as her little brothers are in their own rooms then.
I find her confidence is building in writing and maths the more we stick to doing the homework (she’s always been happy with topic and reading which she happily does by herself).
She still resists sometimes but does it without tears and rolling around on the floor most days nowadays!
My daughter can be like this sometimes. You have my sympathy because it's terribly hard, isn't it? "Brittle" just about sums it up.
He may be reluctant in part because he may be struggling with some of the basics. If you hire a tutor to take care of some of the donkey work and get him quicker and more fluent at things like tables and spelling, these tasks will start to feel less effort-ful and he will become less stroppy about doing work with you. I've invested in private tutoring and am finding that my daughter is starting to be more willing about working with me. Perhaps you could consider doing the same? It doesn't have to be forever, but it might help your son to get over the hump of mastering those basic skills.
You’re his mum not his teacher, and there may be times when you might get it wrong.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.