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Step up to Year 8. Is anyone else's child struggling? Would love reassurance!

(10 Posts)
RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 28-Sep-11 16:21:05

My DS is finding the whole step into Year 8 quite a trial. It's not so much the actual work, but the expectations, quantity of work and so on. It has come to a head today, he is home, fraught and tearful, says he has no time of his own anymore. He finds it difficult too because he is one of those helpful types teachers like and then get to do things for them, which he doesn't mind but suddenly he feels he has no break or lunchtime with his mates.

Just when I thought we'd got secondary school cracked! He found the beginning of Year 7 a shock to his system but in a way this seems harder sad I don't really think school will ever be his favourite thing, although he loves the social side with all his mates.

He is also so tired and can't seem to get enough sleep.

Is anyone else finding this? He is our second and DD breezed through so it is a whole new thing.

People have said Year 8 is a funny year. I think I'm seeing it.

Sorry a bit long but feeling rather despondent. I think I need reassurance that it will be ok!

roisin Wed 28-Sep-11 19:07:00

How much homework is he getting? Can he arrange to spend time with mates in the evenings/weekends instead?

ds2 (also yr8) wasn't in sets at all in yr7, but just in classes with his form group. Now that he's in different classes he's got a whole new group of pupils to get to know and doesn't see so much of his form. He's mega busy with extra-curric activities though, so wouldn't see them at lunchtimes anyway!

EvilTwins Wed 28-Sep-11 19:13:01

I don't have a Yr 8 DC myself, but I am a secondary teacher. Quite a few of our Yr 8s seem to be finding the move from Yr 7 quite a struggle. I think it's mostly because they were cosseted (spelling??) quite a lot last year, but now they're expected very much to fend for themselves. We're quite a small school, and very friendly, so the Yr 7s have a lot of people looking out for them, from teachers and sixth formers down, whereas in Yr 8, they're expected to be a lot more self-reliant. IME, it settles fairly quickly.

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 28-Sep-11 20:04:56

Thank you both - I got in a bit of a pickle with this earlier!

He doesn't get much more HW than last year, I think I maybe need to rethink the time he does it, as sometimes it feels like it has gone on too long, and he has to do it on the right night, rather than on the night before it's due in. He had a dreadful night last week when he ended up with 6 pieces and a test to revise for, because he'd hung some over, and then it was 11pm+ which is ridiculous. I have a copy of his HW planner and I know I need to just make sure this doesn't happen again.

It's weird, because this time last year I felt I had to jolly him along, make sure he had the right stuff on the right days etc, but by the summer term I had nothing really to do with any of it any more except talking to him about it in a more general way. I feel HW is something they really should be doing independently not like some of his mates where the parents do it for them hmm

He does see friends out of school, they are always doing something. I suspect he has just got rather fed up being asked to help with things in breaks and lunchtimes, and of course, it is very difficult to say no!

I think there is a lot in the fact that they now have to fend for themselves, they're not the youngest anymore, and that they don't get away with anything, and this certainly added to his decline today. And it's such a shame because he is an easy going boy who doesn't tend to be a worrier sad

I need to think on a bit, but thank you.

kritur Wed 28-Sep-11 20:56:06

As a teacher I would say that Y8 is a difficult year, no longer having all the support but hormones kick in and it's a kind of 'lost year' where they're not really aiming for anything in particular....
A few tips....
- Make sure he starts his homework when he gets in so it doesn't eat into his wind down time, remember what a routine you had when he was a baby, that is still useful now....
- If you can tear his mobile phone from his hand before he goes to bed, you'd be surprised the number of kids who don't turn theirs off at night and therefore their social life extends well into the night. I have had to speak to parents about this on a number of occasions.
- He needs some well primed excuses for not helping the teachers all the time, stuff like 'I need to get to the office to get some dinner money from my mum', I've been asked to see so and so, I've got homework to hand in....
- Get yourself some general KS3 books to keep in the house so he can use these to help with homework, kids tend to think the answers lie on the internet when in reality some books will be far more reliable. And of course once they get on the internet to look something up there are lots of distractions. CGP do some good books which are a reasonable price.

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 28-Sep-11 21:16:13

Kritur - much appreciated.

I know he needs to start HW earlier, he was having time off first.
I think I need to be really tight on Meal times and bedtime routines, like you say from when he was tiny. We've always been strict about bedtimes during term time, but these haven't been easy to maintain with HW. But I can sort that. But at the moment I can't seem to give him enough sleep to stop being tired. It's like when they start reception all over!

Yes - we insist on phones being left in the kitchen overnight. And you are right about Internet use and being easily distracted. Sometimes I might be doing some work on the computer with a FB/MN window open blush I know how distracting it is!

And hormones don't help!

We've had more tears about it all this evening. Him not me! He thinks some of his teachers are fierce and mean. It's all change and they've not been long back. But frustrating because I thought we'd cracked it.

Bloomin Year 8 sad

RatherBeOnThePiste Fri 30-Sep-11 15:19:23

Sorry Roisin - didn't reAlly think about setting. Yes they are also now in some sets for maths/ French, which is another new thing.

CrosswordAddict Fri 30-Sep-11 15:34:55

RatherBe I agree with you about sleep. My DDs are in Year 9 now (young in year). One was so tired I took her to the GP about six weeks ago. His attitude was "that's normal for a teenager" and I felt a fool blush
But I feel she does seem more tired than other kids. Her twin sister isn't as tired so what is it with some kids? Is it genetic? She is hopeless in the mornings and cannot get to bed at night because of fiddling around, tv, reading etc etc... Bag packing is a nightmare. Won't do it the night before!
You can take a horse to water ...

LaydeeC Tue 04-Oct-11 23:34:26

I have a yr8 dtr who is struggling. She always seems tired but any suggestion of her going to bed earlier than usual is met with utter disdain.
She seems to be finding the work harder, is struggling with a new form teacher (who seems quite stern), the journey to school is getting to her. I thought that we had it cracked but it feels much worse. I have very seriously considered changing her school but something tells me that this is not the best message to give to her nor would she fare better at another school I think. On the other hand, if she is really unhappy...
My dtr is a mid august baby so is youngest in her class. I really do feel that this is disadvantageous to her as she is struggling developmentally to keep up with girls in her class who are up to a year older than her.
So, bottom line is, no, you are not alone. It is blinking hard this secondary school malarky!

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Oct-11 23:43:51

My DD likes to have time off before HW - the way we manage it, which (on the whole) works reasonably is that I ask her how much homework she's got that evening before she goes off to see her friends - so she has to think about what time she'll need to start work.

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