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What do you do when they jus don't like school ??

(11 Posts)
MrsMorgan Mon 19-Oct-09 18:56:17

Ds is nearly 7 and just gone into yr2. He struggles generally with the concept of school and only likes the social aspect. He has been like this right from the start but obviously in reception it wasnt such a problem because it was more play structured.

In yr1 he struggled alot, got upset most mornings going into school because he just wanted to play with his friends. He was disruptive at carpet time and behind in every area. I worked on things with him at home and the school put him in smaller groups. His reading started to improve but his handwriting and concentration were still appaling.
Towards the end of yr1 I requested that the senco got invloved. She assessed ds and said that although they didn't feel that he had any sn, they did think he needed a bit of help. He was given an IEP stating that he should have 5 min handwriting practice per day, work towards better behaviour at carpet time, and to go out in a small group once a week for help with story work.

For the rest of yr1 he had all of this help and he did start to improve a little. His teacher noted that he struggled when doing work as a class and worked alot better in a small group and so when it was possible this is what they did.

Anyway, fast forward to tonight and I have just had ds's parents meeting with his yr2 teacher. She is impressed with his reading, as am I, but she said they have noticed that he doesn't seem to like being at school. I said that this was nothing new. His teacher said that when it comes to work that he doesn't like (ie writing) he sulks and moans and says he doesn't like it/can't do it. His teacher was worried that there might be something in particular that was stopping him enjoying school, but ds said that he just finds it boring. By boring he means that it's not all star wars and playing with his friends. I have major problems getting him to do homework, we have tears and tantrums every single time, but I do make him do it.
She said his concentration is still quite poor and this is holding his handwriting back. She said he can have a good day with writing but then the next day it is ilegible again. She again has noticed that he works alot better in smaller groups. She also said that he seems to need constant monitering otherwise he comes to a complete standstill.

I mentioned his handwriting help and she said she thought it was 15 min a week. I told her it should be 5 min a day and it was obvious that she hadn't really taken much notice of his iep at all. She said she is going to look at it and see what else can be done with it because it is up for review this month.

I just don't know what else i can do with ds. I have explained to him that he has to go to school and he has to do what he is asked even if it something he isn't keen on. I explained that sometimes in order to do things that you like, you first have to do some harder work. He is even getting upset this week because they are putting on a circus performance on wednesday and he doesn't want to do it and is refusing to have his face painted. I asked him why he doesn't want to do it as i'd imagine it is fun and he said it is rubbish.

As always his teacher said that ds is fab and they love having him in the class as he is such a character, and I know that is good but as I have been saying to them since reception, what is going to happen when he moves higher up the school and the workload gets bigger, will they think he is such a character then when he won't do the work.

What else can I do ??

whippet Mon 19-Oct-09 19:41:08

Difficult one, and I sympathise. It sounds like you have ruled out any SN-type issues and this just comes down to personality and preferences.

I do think some boys just find school very dull for the first few years - allthat being quiet and sitting still etc.

FWIW I had very similar issues with my DS2 who has just gone into Year3 (but is youngest in class - August born). Reception was fine - all playing & art, but then he positively hated Year 1 and we had tears and moaning. It was almost as if he just didn't see the point of it all. His fine motor skills were terrible, and his writing appalling!

I have no magic solutions I'm afraid, but we just tried to tailor things to what he seemed to enjoy (at least at home) and tried not to worry too much. I read lots and lots of similar stories on Mumsnet and came to the conclusion that he (and lots of boys this age) simply aren't ready for formal school.

Well... He's been in Year 3 for half a term and there's suddenly been a marked turnaround. He suddenly seems more interested in things. It's as if he's realised that reading opens the door to lots of other things, and he seems genuinely happy in his class.

Hang on in there - it may just be a developmental/ maturity thing.

AMumInScotland Mon 19-Oct-09 19:53:35

This may not be a helpful suggestion, and feel free to ignore, but are you aware that he doesn't actually have to go to school? Home education is also a legal option. For some children, the school environment just really doesn't work, and it can sometimes be better to apporach education in a completely different way at home.

But if that's not something you can/want to pursue, I think you'd best focus on getting the IEP updated, and the teacher on board, to get him more small group work, since that seems to suit him much better, and hope that as Whippet says, he finds it works better as he gets older.

MrsMorgan Mon 19-Oct-09 20:30:28

Thank you both smile

Whippet, your ds sounds just like mine. His current teacher said that normally it clicks at some point during yr 1 that school isn't just all about play, and that ds just doesn't seem to have got that yet and she is right.

I know that he finds the work hard and I am pretty sure that this is mostly because of his poor concentration and not because he can't do it. I think you are right in that hopefully as he matures this will get better.

His reading did suddenly click into place, so there is hope for the rest.

AMumInScotland - I was actually expecting someone to say that smile. It isn't really an option though. I am a single mum, and currently job hunting, plus I don't think I have the patience tbh.

The school has a new senco since ds got his iep and it is actually his old reception teacher so she knows him well which will help i think.

AMumInScotland Mon 19-Oct-09 20:38:43

That sounds helpful at least - if she knows him well, and what has worked well, she should be able to express that better than someone coming to it fresh.

CarGirl Mon 19-Oct-09 20:43:50

I wonder if there is a possibility that he has neuro developmental delay which makes it difficult for him to "enjoy" school here is a questionnaire that may rule it out or not

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 19-Oct-09 20:46:36

It is agony,what you are describing.

My son loves school, for the social side, having lunch with your mates etc, but cannot be arsed bothered to do anything involving a pen. He reads like a dream and has immense stamina for it, enjoys maths because it is quick, but writing is pure agony.

I read somewhere that the nerve endings in boys fingers don't develop at the same rate as girls, so fine motor skills are always going to be more challenging. Also the cursive writing is bloody hard and demotivating too. Why would you enjoy doing something that is physically difficult and unsatisfying?

My son has really only been ready for school in the last year, and he is currently in Year 6. He can write perfectly well now although his handwriting is a little hmm but he cannot abide the drive to add adjectives and wow words. I often think that writing topics are more geared to the interests of girls, there has been criticism of SATS being too geared in this way, and I can see why.

For him it was certainly a developmental/ maturity thing. if only he could have stayed in his lovely nursery school until Year 5 we would have been laughing!

MrsMorgan Mon 19-Oct-09 20:53:03

I just did the questionnaire and scored 8. Will look into that further, haven't heard of it before.

Ds did see a pediatrician in June this year and she asked me and him lots of questions and her her diagnosis was that ds has a very individual personality, which is so true lol.

MrsMorgan Mon 19-Oct-09 20:58:07

It certainly is agony Onthepiste, I just cannot work out what else I can do to help him.
I want him to enjoy school, but at the moment he lives for playtime and lunchtime.

RatherBeOnThePiste Mon 19-Oct-09 21:04:19

You know, he may always feel like that - just learn how to cope with it better as he gets older.

Maybe when he physically finds writing easier, it will be a happier experience for him maybe?

Have you ever read
Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph or
Making It Better for Boys in Schools, Families and Communities by Ali McClure

Both good, especially the first.

MrsMorgan Mon 19-Oct-09 21:12:06

I haven't read either of those no, will look them up.

I feel that he lacks confidence in himself, and thinks that he is rubbish at anything that they ask him to do at school. After half term he is hopefully going to be starting a drama group that has just started up round here. It is run by a man who is the head of drama at a private school. Ds really comes out of his shell in the company of men, and as he only has me and his sisters at home i think he'd really benefit from some positive male interaction.

I am hoping that if he can generally feel more confident in himself he will feel more confident at school, hopefully anyway.

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