What would you do? Year 2 DS attitude to learning

(22 Posts)
ballroompink Fri 21-Sep-18 13:58:03

Looking for advice or what has worked from anyone else who has been through similar! DS 6 has just started Year 2. He's a May birthday so not one of the very youngest but among the youngest handful as there aren't many summer borns in his year. In Reception his teacher was thrilled with him; he was well-behaved, tried hard with his work, ended the year exceeding in reading and science and where he should be for his age in writing and maths. He's a bright little boy, fascinated by the world (in particular the natural world, anything science, geography or animal related), articulate, has a brilliant imagination etc. He is also a real livewire, very active and outdoorsy and can be very loud.

In Year One we saw a real change in his behaviour. We started to hear a lot of moans about schoolwork being 'boring' and about how he 'hates' writing, maths, reading etc. I do get it - I was a reading scheme hater at primary school and only happy once I was a free reader! But things started to descend into him messing around in class, constantly talking, being silly, having to be moved away from certain friends because of their behaviour together. He also became pretty challenging at home - rude, argumentative, physically violent, constantly answering back, incredibly loud and shouty. Should add here that all this came at the same time as his baby brother so there may be some correlation. There was also a handful of incidents where he was unkind to other children at school.

We worked with his teacher all last year on this and did eventually see an improvement. She told us last winter that she was concerned that his attainment was going to start slipping because he was putting zero effort into his work and messing around all the time. By the end of the year we had seen a lot of improvement - he was mostly working hard and while still very chatty and occssionally silly, had stopped with the outright misbehaviour. She had a lot of positive things to say about how he had come on. His behaviour at home also improved although he does of course have his off days.

Fast forward and we're back to square one again with the moaning about work now he's in Year 2 - he 'hates' it, it's 'boring' and 'pointless', etc. He doesn't struggle with the work as such, he just doesn't want to do it and so it can be like getting blood out of a stone. We had our first parent's evening of the year this week and his teacher said that she knows he is very capable but that he stalls and chats and puts off doing his work because he simply doesn't want to do it, then ends up completing it in a rush at the end of a lesson just to get it done. He has also been very chatty and distractable although not 'naughty' - so far. We talked about engaging him and to him about the importance of trying his best but I left feeling a bit disheartened. I know he is not even six and a half yet but just seems so grumpy and bored about anything to do with learning! I don't want to make him feel like we're harassing him about it but I also don't want him to be that child who sits messing around in class then does the bare minimum of work required to get by. Anyone have any advice?

OP’s posts: |
Naty1 Fri 21-Sep-18 14:42:29

I think this is the issue with kids starting so young. It's hard to motivate them. They cant see the point in trying really hard.
(We have similar and dd puts the wrong answers in maths for amusement.)

FullOfJellyBeans Fri 21-Sep-18 14:54:52

It's hard to know what will work because it's so individual but often for younger boys their reward system has to be more immediate than it often is in schools. Golden time at the end of the week has no impact because it's too distant to be connected to their behaviour now. Short term positive reinforcement works better. Visuals can help too - for example if he can see an egg timer showing how long he has to concentrate for then he can do XYZ. Is he getting plenty of opportunity to run around and play? Does he/could he walk to school or run around elsewhere before school? Is he getting enough sleep? (You've probably thought of those but just in case). Does he find it harder to concentrate in certain environments e.g. noisy classrooms? Could he work better on a desk on his own them move once he's finished his work?

Seniorschoolmum Fri 21-Sep-18 14:56:58

It’s reward time. His teacher should be awarding class points, and a certain number of points get reported home, which then earns a treat, a cake or an outing.

I found ds changed his attitude to reading when the right books came along - thank god for Harry Potter.

Roomba Fri 21-Sep-18 15:53:05

often for younger boys their reward system has to be more immediate than it often is in schools

Agreed. DS2 just started Y2 and was born end of July. he's doing well academically but has days where he doesn't sit still, messes about, talks non stop and distracts the others. Not fussed about losing golden time/break times. Last year they introduced a behaviour system where there are several paper plates on the wall with pictures of a thunderstorm, rain cloud, sunshine, rainbow and a pot of gold on them. Each child has a peg with their name on attached to the outside of whichever level they are on - everyone starts the day on the sunshine. You can move up/down throughout the day but the thundercloud means missing 5 mins of break and parents being spoken to. Pot of gold gets a sticker, big fuss in assembly etc. It worked instantly for DS as he can see immediate consequences for behaviour. Will never forget his beaming face when he ran out yelling 'I GOT THE POT OF GOLD!!!'.

This year's teacher has scrapped it which is a real shame as I suspect DS will backslide again.

Mijkl Fri 21-Sep-18 17:42:44

This sounds a lot like my son. June birthday, year 2. Teacher regularly complains that he is given 45 minutes to complete a worksheet but does nothing for half an hour, then when he is threatened with losing his break, he hurries up and completes it in the last 15. According to the teacher, he is 'able' but isn't doing enough work. From my point of view as his parent, he is an intelligent, empathetic, affectionate, active child (his reading is very good) with a wide range of interests - so I think the problem must be motivation, or some kind of anxiety around writing. It's not that he doesn't like learning- he can read for ages, even fairly difficult stuff like Horrible Histories. It is very hard to see how to motivate him when I am not in the classroom. I feel really stuck and frustrated, so if yu come up with a magic solution, let me know! smile

Mijkl Fri 21-Sep-18 17:50:22

I think fullofjellybeans 's questions are all really on point. Unfortunately I don't think my son's teachers are asking those questions!


babbscrabbs Tue 25-Sep-18 14:56:28

The problem is not your son, of course. It's the way schools are expected to operate. Hence so many children having similar problems. Unfortunately I don't know the solution.

ShawshanksRedemption Wed 26-Sep-18 22:02:49

Interesting that the parents on here that have responded and have similar issues are ones with kids who can do the work in 15mins rather than the 45mins - I would ask are they being stretched enough?

Tomorrowillbeachicken Thu 27-Sep-18 11:08:01

My son is one of the oldest in the year and bored and unchallenged by the work. After warning them for two years that he is getting increasingly bored he has now started to play up with low level disruption or just switches off. Keep being told he can’t have harder work as they won’t teach out of year and now they are reaping what they sow at his school.
As you can tell I have little to no sympathy with the school.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Thu 27-Sep-18 11:09:44

In our case I am waiting to be brought into the school about behaviour as gonna give it both barrels to them.

ballroompink Thu 27-Sep-18 16:01:20

Thanks all! Yes we have put a lot of consideration into how his behaviour is affected by being tired, opportunities to be physically active etc. Last year I was on mat leave therefore walking him home from school every day and it amazed me how much energy he was releasing in contrast to some children who would walk along quietly chatting with a parent. Totally agree re: short term rewards. At parents' evening he agreed with his teacher that he would like to return to last year's tactic of having a sticker chart as he seems quite motivated by this. This week we have agreed with him that if he gets 10 out of a maximum of 15 stickers he can do a particular fun activity at the weekend and it's interesting; he is being quite calculating about how many stickers he can afford to get/not get on each day. I think in this respect he is very much making choices about his behaviour and whether or not he is 'good'!! What's fascinating is that this week he has chosen to sit at a desk on his own for independent work as it helps him to concentrate. His teacher confirmed that this is his choice and she didn't suggest it. He has been pleased with himself for working hard at his individual desk. When faced with distractions of any sort he doesn't do as well.

OP’s posts: |
Bluewidow Thu 27-Sep-18 16:08:40

My son is 9 and every time he goes
Back after the summer he is like this. Hates school, it's boring but actually when I pick
Him up he always has a
Smile on his face so he does have fun with mates so defo a work issue. He's always hated school
Doesn't like being away from me.
In an ideal world he would just like to ride his bike all day. I do think it is to do with that schools follow one way of learning. Even at this age I think there would be benefits of more vicational topics being taught to those children that perhaps struggle with the academic.

HolesinTheSoles Thu 27-Sep-18 16:21:12

Keep being told he can’t have harder work as they won’t teach out of year and now they are reaping what they sow at his school.

I would complain endlessly about this. The range of ability and knowledge is huge within a year group. You would expect a child who was struggling to be helped whether or not they fell within the expected year group level and the same should be true of a child who is ahead.

For what it's worth he shouldn't be accelerated outside of the year group but he should be given work which is at a greater depth than the standard work.

HolesinTheSoles Thu 27-Sep-18 16:23:15

To OP. Sounds great! Maybe he's turned a corner! I do think we sometimes over estimate how long term a child can possibly think. They definitely need to be able to see immediate results for their efforts at this age.

user789653241 Thu 27-Sep-18 16:23:28

I think yr2 is still young. You may see the difference in attitude once he is in ks2.

ballroompink Thu 27-Sep-18 16:28:13

Yes I think he may change in KS2 as well. At the moment he will happily admit that his problem is 'getting distracted' but will usually try to pin the blame on others - 'He was distracting me!' 'He was making me talk to him!'

One other thing I discovered this week is that there are no summer born children in his class. The children with May birthdays are the youngest!

OP’s posts: |
Tomorrowillbeachicken Thu 27-Sep-18 17:33:15

Have complained a lot of times and now I am tired and supplementing at home.

babbscrabbs Fri 28-Sep-18 14:12:36

he is being quite calculating about how many stickers he can afford to get/not get on each day

And this sums up the problem with extrinsic motivation.

All these types of systems do is teach children how to play the game and cultivate a "what's in it for me?" attitude, instead of helping them to understand the benefits of behaving, listening, being kind etc

ballroompink Fri 28-Sep-18 19:17:18

Well we've been trying to explain the benefits for about a year now and he seems incapable of taking it on board.

He got none of his stickers today and had a horrendous screaming meltdown about it at home in which it is apparently everyone else's fault that he struggles to behave sad

OP’s posts: |
Tomorrowillbeachicken Sat 29-Sep-18 15:55:39

My son gets distracted easily but has Sen.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Sat 29-Sep-18 15:56:13

Have they tried anything like fidget toys to get him to be less distracted.

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