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parent year 7 wobble - join in here

(58 Posts)
minidipper Mon 09-Sep-13 14:36:10

Anyone else having a mega wobble about Yr7? I can't believe how stressed I feel. Watching DS set off for school all trussed up in his tie (which he hates) and absolutely bent double by the massive weight of books he has to lug around because there isn't actually time for him to get to his locker between lessons.

I thought he'd be excited by his new school but he's just very subdued. It's heart breaking. Today I had a fantasy about homeschooling him, but sadly that can't work for us, as I am sole breadwinner, since DH was made redundant and hasn't found work for over 5 years.

Sorry to offload but I can't believe how emotional I feel. Found a picture of him in the sunshine on a mini dipper at the fair when he was small and got a lump in my throat.

Is anyone else feeling the same? Or has anyone felt this and can now report that all is well?

Tiggles Tue 10-Sep-13 21:51:43

Mumslife - glad to hear they have sorted the bullying smile

perspective Tue 10-Sep-13 22:11:10

Joining as I'm feeling all over the place too! Ds mostly ok but subdued and learning fast that not everyone is nice. Nothing serious like your ds mumslife just general stuff.

I think it's because for the first time we are watching our dc negotiate things for themselves, no sorting out from us. Sadly I drove past ds walking on his own today, without his friends, head down. It was all I could do not to bundle him in the car and take off to the Hebredies!

And I'm learning not to ask who he had lunch with....

minidipper Tue 10-Sep-13 22:22:55

mumslife, good to hear the new school is onto the bullying straightaway.

Poor DS today. Literally from the minute he walked in the door, it was dinner then homework until 8.45pm, at which point I let him have 15 mins on the computer. He's pretty overwhelmed. Not quite sure how or why it was taking so long. A lot of it is organisation. As he brings home every single book (kit bag like a soldier's) we had to unpack it and sort through what homework needs to be done for tomorrow, what books need to stay home, which ones need to go back in - and half the time he doesn't know. Or he thinks a piece of homework is tiny, then texts a friend to be sure and discovers it's three times more complex than he'd written down in his homework diary.

He managed to bring home all his books again today, and has eight different subjects tomorrow, so 8 different files, text books and exercise books. he's lumbered again. I'll be honest: I'm hating it so far. Which probably doesn't help.

Tonight he said, I have seven years of this. I tried to explain it would get easier, but he didn't seem convinced.

minidipper Tue 10-Sep-13 22:26:14

Sorry. Right old whinge again. But DH is unwell with some manly 'feeling a bit off colour' disease (handy hmm ) so has done a lot of lying down this week while I label and sort and colour code and try to work out what timetables written entirely in code actually blummin mean. (Who knew that STG means music?)

I think it really is time for wine now.

JenaiMorris Wed 11-Sep-13 08:37:59

He really shouldn't be spending so long on homework, OP. Maybe drop his form tutor a line?

MadeOfStarDust Wed 11-Sep-13 09:06:56

I agree - homework should not be taking that long in Y7 (I have a Y7 and a Y8) and <soft ahem> sorry, but you really need to step back....

Y7 is the time of doing it for yourself, working out what needs to be done when, getting it done - either at home - or at school during lunchtime. You do not need to know his timetable codes - he does....

I ask mine if they have homework when they get in - if it is for any time next 2 days, they get it done, if for after the weekend, they leave it for Sat morning..

They let me know if they need anything (50p for vocab book, sticky back plastic for their French book cover, clean PE kit, hockey socks for games etc). But THEY sort themselves out....

minidipper Wed 11-Sep-13 09:52:55

I can't quite work out why it was taking so long either. It was pretty straightforward and he could do it fairly easily, he was just all flummoxed and exhausted and it was all too much (which is why I helicoptered a bit, but your polite ahem has been noted, Stardust grin )

He has some mild learning difficulties, so he needs more help than some other yr 7s at working out things like timetables etc and how to organise himself.

Blimey though, I really hope it gets easier soon.

dramaqueen Wed 11-Sep-13 10:09:50

Mini dipper, he sounds very much like my DS last year. We ended up talking to his tutor and agreed he would do 30 min on each homework then hand it in with my initials on the bottom.

It will get easier and as another poster said, by half term you will have worked out which days are heavy homework days and which days you have to catch up. We pretty much had to work with DS to make sure he didn't get behind which wasn't ideal but you sound as if you are doing a great job.

Bear with it, it will get easier.keep in contact with his tutor and let them know he is struggling.

spanglystarfish Wed 11-Sep-13 10:14:19

I'm not aiming this at you personally MadeOfStarDust but your post has made me realise something. This reminds me a bit of babies and sleep.

There are always parents who believe that their babies sleep well because they leave them to it, leave them to a short grizzle and then they drop off, and who think that if only every other parent did the same then their babies would sleep in the same way. But of course some of them may only be able to leave their babies and put them down in that way successfully because that's the way the baby would have slept anyway. Without a control baby you can't assume cause and effect goes one way round or the other.

Parental support with some of the everyday school stuff seems very similar. The parents of the kids with good natural organisation and planning skills who don't need much help tend to look down on the parents who give help and assume that those children would all do much better if only the parents would step back and leave them to it.

I've read some posts (not all on MN) in the last couple of weeks that to me frankly sound smug (I realise they wouldn't to everyone and that the posters probably don't mean them that way), talking about children who manage perfectly well by themselves to do things that other children struggle and need help with, and blaming the parents of the strugglers for having the wrong attitude. But if the skill involved was reading or maths rather than organisation and planning people just wouldn't write like that.

In reality some children, left to do all their new organising entirely by themselves from day 1 of secondary school, would just fail. It may be a bit longer before they can do what other kids can do from the start. It's not a big deal. Organisation is both a learned and practised skill (so practice is important) but also to some extent a talent - some people will always have to work harder than others and make good use of any extra help offered. There really isn't a one size fits all approach that will work for every child.

dramaqueen Wed 11-Sep-13 10:24:36

Completely agree with spanglystarfish. I felt that my job was to support DS with the organisation while he concentrated on the general almost overwhelming task of settling in and surviving each day. It took most of the year to inch our way towards him becoming self sufficient and if I'm honest he is not there yet, but is taking responsibility for it (now year 8).

He would have failed if we hadn't supported him and that would not have been in anyone's bet interests. Do it your way and at your pace.

tiredaftertwo Wed 11-Sep-13 10:50:14

I completely agree with spanglystarfish too - great post - and I have noticed some comments on other threads that are quite hurtful. Saying someone "should" be able to do something is not helpful and one of our jobs as parents is to help and support our children acquire the skills they need - whatever their baselines. With organisation, if you get behind at first it can be very difficult and stressful trying to catch up.

Minidipper, I feel your pain. One thing I think is really important is to decide WHERE they are keeping all their books: at home or at school. Having some in each place is the worst of all worlds. You could get a big box in the kitchen, put everything in it, then help him pack each night. Or he keeps everything in his locker (if he has one), and then at the end of the day he must go there and drop off everything he does not need for homework. Then in the morning, he drops off last night's homework books and collects the books he needs for that day.

If you can't decode the timetable, I would email the school today, explain the problem and ask for one in plain English with homeworks on it too. This is a really vital tool and also a security blanket - by half term he probably won't need it but it will help him now, and using it will help him practise the organisational skills he needs to develop and gain independence (so he could talk you through the following day, when he will go to his locker, what he has to remember at break). My dc get one full of gobblidigook and then their tutor decodes it and they write that one down in their planners.

It sounds like homework is taking too long. Are you around when he is doing it? If so, just for now, I would ask him what each piece is and check he is not going over the top (eg spending ages producing a lovely poster on the computer with loads of fiddling around). Just talking through what to do in what order, and what if anything to save for the weekend can really help. And I agree, it should be fine to put a note on saying he was exhausted and has spent 30 mins trying hard at this. I'd be really wary of hw spilling very into lots of the weekend - if this is an issue, I'd help him decide what time he will do it and then maybe try to do some childish stuff - whatever he's into - as I think going back a year or two can help give them that bit of extra security they need.

Sorry this is such a long post. You are doing all the right things and it does get so much better, and you will be so proud and happy when you see him in year 9 sorting everything out, making plans, seeing them through. Do not feel bad if he needs a little help now to set him on the right path. I also have known children who appeared to manage fine alone, but when the going got tough in yr 11 or whatever, it turned out they had not really been organised - just clever and fast readers - which isn' t quite enough to organise your own revision etc.

Swanhilda Wed 11-Sep-13 11:49:08

Brilliant posts Tired and Spangly and Drama.
I have twins. The daughter has required very little help with organising (although a tiny bit of tlc when she lost her locker key had hysterics, and I managed to locate it --in her bag--) has a long bus journey, very early start etc. Ds2 and Ds1 both needed loads of help to even turn up at school with the right clothes on.
Ds1 is very independent now in every other way, but he still gets help with his homework. He needs input from us. Last night he did science, and he has been getting the questions wrong for the last two years and bad marks in tests. So I've given up leaving him to it, and started intervening. He's already dropped to set 3, which is where "leaving him to it" placed him.

newgirl Wed 11-Sep-13 12:39:08

my dd is VERY tired and I am sure that is the same for all, which can't help with positive thinking - she's doing well I think but is knackered!

its so much to think about - new teachers, new classmates, tall people everywhere - I am just being over-positive, cooking favourite hearty food, and we've got out some cheerful films to watch all together which I think is helping me too ;)

tiredaftertwo Wed 11-Sep-13 12:44:44

Ds2 and Ds1 both needed loads of help to even turn up at school with the right clothes on.

Please do tell smile

mankyscotslass Wed 11-Sep-13 13:00:29

DS1 has really enjoyed school so far - apart from the homework. He is getting between 45 -60 minutes a night at the moment, and is struggling with the homework that is given a later return date. He keeps wanting to leave it til later, even when I explain that they gave him 10 days to do it in because they want more than 1 paragraph!

He is probably staying for after school football tonight, so he is getting normal public transport home instead of the school bus, which I know he is worried about. But I think that when he has done it once he will be OK with it.

He is also very tired, I am not sure he will make Chess Club tonight.

InMySpareTime Wed 11-Sep-13 18:24:06

DS seems to have very little homework so far despite being in the top set.
I ask him each day after school what his homework is, and he says he hasn't got any. I don't know whether he's not writing it down, or if he's doing it in class, or if they're not setting any homework.
Short of letting him get in trouble I'm not sure what to do.

mankyscotslass Wed 11-Sep-13 20:01:40

They haven't set them at all yet in DS year - they have just done Maths tests and will set for that, but they will stay in forms for the rest of the lessons.

DS says maths the last two weeks is boring and is going over what he did in year 4/5/6 - he is getting fed up with it and is desperate to do more interesting stuff - he is a maths geek.

They should hear by the end of the week what Maths class they will be in.

minidipper Wed 11-Sep-13 20:04:05

Some brilliant posts, spangly, tired and everyone else. Really helpful. What spangly says is true: Ds2 just can't sort himself out. He just doesn't have the faculties. He'll need help for a while. DS1 on the other hand barely needed anything more than a nudge to pack his bag the night before.

DS 2 was so sad and sleepy this morning but came home laughing. He'd had a great day and although he'd forgotten to write his homework down in his homework diary hmm he said he remembered what it was, and finished it all within half an hour, so has had some free time and is much happier. (Just hope that was the homework. We'll see.)

Tired we have a box in the kitchen for all his books (great idea from another MNer) and I've told (and told and told) him to leave all books in his locker except for his homework, but he still lugs them about. DS1 went to meet him tonight though, to help him carry stuff home, and they phoned me from the train, giggling away.

I've also decoded his timetable and redone it in easier to read format, with homework, swimming etc all added to it.

We're getting there. All much happier tonight. Hope things are looking brighter for others too.

Julezboo Wed 11-Sep-13 22:25:04

first night with a wobble from D's. easy homework that should have taken 30-40 mins dragged on for almost 3 hours. he was pissing about a lot. I lost it sad to e fair to me I am full of flu n just needed to be in bed. he has special needs and major struggles with organisational skills.

I am in the process of getting a big A3 timetable printed for his bedroom wall. also realised he needs a bigger desk and will be getting a laptop for Xmas.

I do like the thought of a homework time table though. I can't just leave him to it sad don't think I will be ever able to leave him to it grin

tiredaftertwo Wed 11-Sep-13 22:37:17

Glad mini-minidipper is happier and you are getting things sorted.

My dc got really tired in year 7. I agree with someone earlier that the big build up over the summer, with everyone telling them how big and independent and hard-working they have to be, is not always helpful. Actually they may need a bit more in the way of tlc, early nights and pizza and dvds at the weekends for a while.

minidipper Thu 12-Sep-13 15:42:44

Thanks tired. Definitely agree about pizzas and dvds. Lots of weekend treats and down time.

He's invited a new friend over for tea tomorrow to do some retro gaming (his words) which I thought was an almightily impressive and positive spin on the fact our most up to date gadget is a PS2. Vintage status already grin

tiredaftertwo Thu 12-Sep-13 16:04:17

Retro gaming, fantastic smile, very impressive indeed. I think he's sorted now....

NotSoSmugMarried Thu 12-Sep-13 23:31:30

Relieved to hear that my year 7 DD is not the only one struggling a bit - she's exhausted, and swings between being positive/enthusiastic, and really panicking about minor details (especially about not knowing her way round) and she's also terrified of doing anything wrong or not having the right kit. I've been shocked at what I've heard about the language that's used by older kids at break times/lunchtime and on the way to and from school - just gratuitous swearing really, but some of it quite aggressive (eg." get your f**king ar*e off that seat; I'm sitting there")......not sure whether it's just the norm in every secondary school though.
Hoping things get easier by half term!

Everhopeful Fri 13-Sep-13 10:06:49

I'm having more of a wobble than DD in some ways. I was hoping she could cope with the journey by now (goes on the train, but isn't really picking up where she has to change if she isn't on a direct service. She should normally be on one, but we keep missing them...sad) and she is def getting tired. Also a bit disappointed that the only kid at the same school that goes from our station doesn't seem to want to talk to us, but I guess DD is too young for her. DD not really complaining much, even though she has always found it hard to get up in the morning, so quite proud in a way that she's being fairly grown up about it. Just worried that I can't accompany her all the time, so she's got to get with it soon. I can't figure out her homework most of the time, but it seems pretty lightweight so far (phew!). Have brew want wine right now!

Hassled Fri 13-Sep-13 10:13:36

Another one with an exhausted Yr 7 DS3 - and no homework whatsoever yet, which is worrying me because I know that sooner or later he will be hit by a tonne of stuff to do at once.

My biggest worry though are the constant comparisons with his older brother (further up the school). DS2 is very academically able and universally loved by staff, and at the open evenings etc we've had an awful lot of "Oh - you're DS2's brother! Let me tell your parents all about how much we love DS2!", which is not helpful. DS3 needs to be allowed to make his own mark - and he's very different to his brother.

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