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How do you get a 9 year old boy to apply himself?

(17 Posts)
MamaMaiasaura Sat 18-Jul-09 22:18:47

My ds1 is 9 and since starting school teachers feedback often includes that he works slowly and reluctantly often making reasons for not attempting tasks. He is a fantastic reader, but when it comes to writing out answers to anything he writes the minimum, reluctantly and slowly. At home when he has homework he often completes this and does so well alhough at times with nagging!

I have tried to talk to him and wondered if it was his fear of failing. Have reassured that as long as he tries his best thats ok, but not trying isnt. At the point of considering a home tutor during summer break to help.. any tips?

Umlellala Sun 19-Jul-09 09:05:45

What about learning a new skill together and modelling/showing him how you make mistakes but try again?

I personally wouldn't hire a home tutor except one that would specifically build his confidence. A drama or football class might be better.

amateurmum Sun 19-Jul-09 09:13:38

My ds was very similar at 9 but seemed to go through a transformation in Y6 and became relatively motivated.

So it might just come with maturity. Does your ds dislike school literacy activities? We did a fair amount of sympathising with how boring they were while explaining the need to do them.

TheProfiteroleThief Sun 19-Jul-09 09:20:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cornsillk Sun 19-Jul-09 09:22:40

Some children do work slowly at school. Their writing speed may be slow, they may have slow processing skills, they may find it hard to concentrate in class...lots of reasons really. Be sure that there isn't a cause for his apparent slow work rate before you put too much pressure on him.

AppleandMosesMummy Sun 19-Jul-09 10:46:05

Are you anywhere near these people ?
They run a summer course, if not could you get hold of their books from the library or even give them a ring, Jean is fantastic for specific advice.

MamaMaiasaura Sun 19-Jul-09 22:33:51

Thanks for feedback. He does have out of school things, like rugby (starting again in sept), swimming and cubs. He really enjoys all of these and has a sense of acheivement from them all.

He does specify that he particularly dislikes literacy as in handwriting and has always been slow enough for every teacher to have issue.

Unfortunately the successful learning place isnt by us, we are in the new forest, hampshire.

Cornsilk - i have wondered if there is an element of processing problem going on and his father has dyslexia, and there was queries over myself.

I found school quite hard as was always told i was probably the most intelligent child etc etc and i really should apply myself. I listened to what the teacher said but it went over my head because i didnt really believe them and also thought that even if they did mean it i wouldnt be able to do i, thus letting them all down and them seeing how stupid i was. Also if the work was harder I couldnt ask for help as i was meant to be so intelligent. I became disruptive in classs and blaming boredom as the cause. When i look at ds1 I worry that there is a bit of history repeating itself and i so want to help him before he gets himself in a pickle.

MamaMaiasaura Sun 19-Jul-09 22:35:20

Theprofiteroletheif - how has your dd felt about home tutor and how often does she have tutor? Also is it hugely expensive? blush

AppleandMosesMummy Sun 19-Jul-09 23:20:31

I'd throughly recommend the books from Jean Robb and Hilary Letts, sounds like all the major components are there he just needs firing up.

ABitWrong Sun 19-Jul-09 23:34:58

Oh, he sounds a bit like my ds1.

Don't make him work over the summer!!

LotsOfOtters Mon 20-Jul-09 14:00:17

How does your son find handwriting? My ds’s teacher thinks he is mildly dyspraxic, and I’m inclined to agree. One of the ways this manifests itself with him is that he has godawfal handwriting, simply because he finds it so hard. It’s painful enough to watch but also painful for him to actually do as he really struggles to hold a pencil comfortably and to not use too much pressure. Needless to say it takes him a tortuous amount of time to write anything at all. Subsequently unless he’s told that a particular piece of work is really, really important (say for an assesment) then his answers are one-worded (at best!) and even then they don’t even begin to fully demonstrate what he actually understands. His reading is above average, and his spelling is too (when he actually bothers to write anything at all that is). His teachers are particularly on the ball about this kind of thing – which is good because otherwise I’d have just thought he was being a lazy so-and-so!

LotsOfOtters Mon 20-Jul-09 14:02:53

Just as an aside - I've though about home tutors but all the ones near us seem geared towards getting kids through entrance exams, which really isn't what our ds needs.

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 20-Jul-09 21:10:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MamaMaiasaura Mon 20-Jul-09 21:57:46

lotsofotters - his handwriting isnt great tbh and was mentioned in report. He only started cursive script at end of year 3 and been in 3 different junior schools and 2 different infant schools so not the most settled start (due to moving and school places).

His current teacher has severely dyslexic daughter and said that it may be worth assessing him but despite lots of reminders this hasnt happened. Can you tell me a bit more about dyspraxia. I am very as he has had a tremendous amount of pressure from teachers in terms of 'laziness' and the report said they have tried everything.

This is what general comment said 'He gfenerally listens well to class inputs and discussions but can sometimes be easily distracted or dstracting. He has a very good general knowledge and is very articulate but his work in all areas doesnt reflect his ability. X finds it difficult to settle to written tasks and rarely completes tasks set in the time. He will find a variety of reasons to avoid tasks and yet he is well able, as on questioning he understands what to do and will explain in great detail. Various methods have been tried to build up his concetration and output but it is still well below expectations. He has a good understanding of the work covered but again his works doesnt reflect this and he needs to work on his presentation taking care to stick work in order. X is a polite boy and can be sensible and reliable on most occassions. I would like to see X settle to taks and show his true potential for his own benefit as he will meet greater expectations through his school life and this is the time to put the ground work in'.

Headteachers comment is 'HAving taught x in maths sinces christmas it is plain to see why X is frustrating to teach and why his attainments could be so much better. He avoids tasks the minute they are set and takes ages to get going. A shame because we think he is potentially very intelligent. Come on X.'

Sorry this is such a monster post, just feel very lost as to how to handle this

MamaMaiasaura Tue 21-Jul-09 09:34:00


LotsOfOtters Tue 21-Jul-09 11:32:22

Hi Awen,

Firstly I have to say that I am absolutely not an expert – the dyspraxia thing is new to me, too. My DS (now at end of Year 3) had an assessment with an occupational therapist a year ago, which was pretty useless to be honest. At this point the D word hadn’t been mentioned. His Y2 teacher, who was the one who had pushed for it, wasn’t impressed either as it (the assessment report) was so flimsy. Then a few months ago he was invited to attend some OT sessions which he really enjoyed. When those finished the OTs who’d been leading the sessions made it perfectly clear to me that (I quote) “there is still a lot of work to do”…

Shortly before his Y3 teacher had mentioned dyspraxia as she recognised a lot of DS’s characteristics from teaching another boy with more severe problems a few years before so by now (and having read around the issue a little) I started to think that maybe he wasn’t just being lazy (and also started to feel terribly guilty for not having realised this earlier). At the moment however we’re still pushing for another assessment - we still don’t have a formal diagnosis and although ds has been having one-to-one sessions at school for a while a formal diagnosis would make it a lot easier for them direct some resources his way, and might allow him to use a lap top (although of course he’ll still need to improve his handwriting).

Anyway! I’d suggest having a read through the resources on the Dyspraxia Foundation website:

I know I was a little upset at first thinking that there was nothing wrong with my ds – he was just being a bit lazy. He isn’t noticeably “clumsy” - he learnt to ride a bike when he was four for example. But a few other things (he overreacts big time to the slightest upset for example) have also got me thinking… I cetainly think it’s worth looking into – let me know what you think.

MamaMaiasaura Wed 22-Jul-09 09:18:16

lotsofotters - thanks for giving me your experiences. I feel guilty as ds1 has been told not to be lazy etc and my gut instinct is that it isnt laziness bu perhaps i am in denial. As school now finished i am leaving this till september but will look at the site you linked and really get myself a list of things to discuss with school. Might it be worth a visit to the gp?

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