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ok. my so-called brilliant son doesn't know how to do any work

(63 Posts)
KerryMumbles Thu 18-Nov-10 17:33:22

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FreudianSlimmery Thu 18-Nov-10 17:42:36

I don't have any advice but in a way he's quite lucky that the school are picking up on this problem. My DSS was a bright child, and despite years of slacking his teachers still predicted him As FFS. Needless to say he didn't get them.

justaboutanotherbirthdaycoming Thu 18-Nov-10 17:44:48

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KerryMumbles Thu 18-Nov-10 17:52:17

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Ragwort Thu 18-Nov-10 17:56:35

I guess its a bit difficult to get him into studying 'mode' if you both have been laissez faire up to now (I am not criticising - just commenting on what you have said). Very, very hard to motivate young men - perhaps he has his father's approach to work/study? Can the teacher suggest anything - they're meant to be the experts.

Would bribing him work?

(goes off to make own DS do his spelling homework grin).

FreudianSlimmery Thu 18-Nov-10 17:57:05

For fucks sake

justaboutanotherbirthdaycoming Thu 18-Nov-10 18:02:02

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WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 18-Nov-10 18:06:34

This book has been highly praised by my DD's grammar school; it's all about encouraging a growth mindset, where you explore and work regardless of how 'clever' you are, rather than a fixed mindset where you rely on your natural abilities to get by but never reach your true potential.

The head teachers went on a presentation about it and praised it really highly at a recent parents' evening.

Haven't read it but this thread has reminded me of it so will now order!

KerryMumbles Thu 18-Nov-10 20:25:43

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KerryMumbles Thu 18-Nov-10 20:26:17

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LIZS Fri 19-Nov-10 08:38:46

Has he ever been assessed by an Ed Psych ? Lots of very bright children have issues around organisation, concentration, lsitenign and processing and it is when they suddenly have ot start applying themselevs after finding it easy for a few years that it can become evident. Chances are the teaching style and timetable differ to his primary school and he will need to adapt and perhaps finds this hard.

Litchick Fri 19-Nov-10 08:57:14

Kerry, I think you're right to be concerned.

There is no doubt that intelligence per se is no indicator of later success in life. In fact, there is a long history of gifted children ending up doing fuck all, as you've seen with your ex.

For those who are seriously gifted,as I understand your son is, as opposed to just very bright, I suspect main stream school is always going to be unsatisfactory.

I think you need to make an app with the HT and lay it on the line. Your son has a special educational need. Can they deal with it? How?
If not, perhaps it's time to consider other avenues.

I have a friend whose eldest is also gifted. It has been a great sadness to her as she wants to him to be happy and ordinary. She managed to keep him in MS school untill secondary, when the wheels really did come off.
He is now on a scholarship at one of the most academic private schools in the country. They have an individual plan for him and he sits in on many A level classes and also has a day release to a university.

It has been a difficult road tbh.

KerryMumbles Fri 19-Nov-10 09:42:07

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cory Fri 19-Nov-10 09:43:31

It may well be that the school has failed your ds. (the task you mention certainly sound a bit dull). Otoh no amount of stimulating will help a youngster who is not prepared to take responsibility. There is a risk that if you think too much about how he has been failed that you get locked into a mindset where failure is inevitable.

My niece and my dd are both very bright people: I'd go as far as saying they are gifted. Both were/are educated at reasonable but not outstanding state schools.

When my niece was at secondary I remember her telling me that "if the teachers can't make things interesting, they can't expect us to do any work". I shook my head and thought to myself, "well let's see how far that attitude gets you in life". She left school after Sixth Form and ended up working in a call centre.

Dd otoh has struggled all her life with ill health and depression, but is very aware that the responsibility for dealing with this rests with her and not with anyone else. There is no guarantee she will achieve her dreams, but I can't see her blaming anyone else if she doesn't.

I appreciate that it's shit if your ds has been bored and unhappy at school and got into the habit of thinking of himself as shortchanged, and I do foresee trouble with my own youngest, who is not particularly brilliant, but who has the young lad attitude of "why bother unless they can make me?"

I think as a parent, my job is not necessarily to nag him about homework all the time (though that has been known!), but to keep showing him what an exciting place life is when you get to work at something really interesting: to model enthusiasm about work and about learning new things and about doing my best to overcome any difficulties. I try to talk to him about things he might find interesting, rather than just the nitty gritty of his homework: we discuss current affairs, the news and sometimes we end up discussing school work in relation to this. I end up doing a lot of googling as I really know very little of these things- but that's good too, that's the attitude I want to model to him, that if you don't know something you go and find it out, you don't wait for other people to tell you to find it out. His school is perfectly ok (again not outstanding), but there's no way they can have the longlasting influence on his attitude that I can.

I myself went to a state school where there was virtually no provision for gifted children, indeed virtually no setting according to ability- the reason I didn't give up and slump was that I had a living reminder in my parents of the big world out there that I could reach if I prepared myself for it- they were people who were just constantly interested in things.

In fact, I think what is needed is a three-pronged approach:

*a chat with your ds' school about what they can do to motivate him (try to come across as positive and optimistic rather than "it is too late, the system has failed my son")

*a general relationship with your son where you talk a lot, where you show a positive interest in what he's learning that is not strictly related to his marks, but more to the curriculum as interesting food for thought

*a (discreet) mission find things (inside or outside school) that enthuse him and that could lead to possible later career choices- the best thing he could have at his age is a dream, that is the foundation on which any nagging about work can be based- if he genuinely doesn't want to get anything out of it, it is understandable that he isn't putting anything in. Make him realise that there are truly exciting jobs out there- and don't just mention this when you are nagging about homework, make it a part of how he thinks. (I'm trying with ds, it's a long hard slog).

KerryMumbles Fri 19-Nov-10 09:44:53

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TheProvincialLady Fri 19-Nov-10 09:47:28

I don't really blame your son for not wanting to regurgitate lists of mountains etc...I though that sort of thing was long out of fashion?

As well as kicking the arse of the school, I think you are going to have to keep on top of this with your son, every day. Checking his homework planner, speaking to teachers to find out if he has been paying attention, working a little bit on study skills.

cory Fri 19-Nov-10 09:48:50

Ah, just read your latest post, and saw what you said about not wanting to appear a nerd. I can relate to that, as I went to the kind of school where you certainly got bullied for appearing a nerd. Poor lad, that is so hard! sad

What young people don't understand is that hard work is the only way of ever getting away from the kind of people who would bully you for being a nerd. And what they certainly don't understand is that the whole world does not look like their own little corner.

I wish I could have understood at his age how quickly I would forget the people who made my life a misery- and how exactly those nerdlike qualities are what enables me to spend my life in the company of other people like me, how ever since the age of 18 it's my nerdishness that has been my greatest asset. Tell him that it will pass, that those people simply will not get into university, that he will find a haven- if he is prepared to stick it and do his best. If he does not work otoh, he is stuck with those people for life.

FranSanDisco Fri 19-Nov-10 09:48:56

Do you think that's the problem - he doesn't want to look like a nerd so makes it look like he is making little effort or just enough to get by. It is a problem for clever boys not to look too clever or they get the piss ripped out of them.

KerryMumbles Fri 19-Nov-10 09:49:46

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Litchick Fri 19-Nov-10 09:50:26

Kerry - you're not letting him down. Giftedness is a difficult road - certainly as difficult as any learning disability.

Your DS has the intellect of a super intelligent adult, yet the emotional capacity of an eleven year old boy. That is a dichotomy.

BTW, what health issues does he have? Most schools can deal with almost owt these days...says the uber cautious mother of a peanut allergic child.

sethstarkaddersmum Fri 19-Nov-10 09:54:33

if he's only 1st year of secondary is there a possibility you can let him fail for a bit to frighten him?
In the end he needs to find the motivation from within himself, you bribing him or shouting at him or whatever will only work as long as he is at home.
Thinking about very bright people I have known who have messed around for a while, there has been something that has switched them on - something as simple as someone saying 'Oh he's not really that bright after all you know' which make them want to prove 'Yes I fucking am!'
In my dh's case it was when he did fairly averagely at a subject at school one year and the teacher awarded him an A for effort - he was hugely insulted and thought 'You think that was the best I can do? Ha - just wait till you see what I can do when I do try.'
In my dad's case it was the realisation that if he didn't pull his socks up he wasn't going to get to university no matter how bright everyone had been saying he was.
<thinks some more>
One friend of mine had a guardian who showed him Cambridge and then drove him round the grottiest, most depressing university campus he could find.

KerryMumbles Fri 19-Nov-10 09:55:27

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KerryMumbles Fri 19-Nov-10 09:59:08

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KerryMumbles Fri 19-Nov-10 10:01:03

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cory Fri 19-Nov-10 10:02:05

Maybe try to probe a little if there is bullying on at his school or if his unwillingness to stand out is just ordinary pre-teen caution
(my ds is convinced that his social standing would be ruined forever if I turned up at the school in my new black coat- I am equally convinced that his mates wouldn't even notice ds' boring old middle aged mum).

If there is bullying, something needs to be done. If he feels generalkly insecure, then I don't know how much pastoral support there is in his school, but they might be able to do something: we got a very pleasant surprise when dd moved to secondary as provision was just so much better and professional than in (useless) junior school.

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