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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?

mumslife Tue 24-Sep-13 19:23:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KittiesInsane Tue 24-Sep-13 14:22:18

Scatter, DD loves her new school but we had tears yesterday that ended in wails of 'I wish we had a climbing frame to play on like at primary schoo-ool!'

i think tiredness really hits them a few weeks into term.

minidipper Tue 24-Sep-13 14:16:00

Scatter - that tip is great. I did that (someone else recommended it somewhere) and it really has helped DS get organised.

As to your lovely son not being settled, he could be emotional because he's tired. DS is so tired he's crying a bit at times.

On making friends - are they allowed ot bring in a football? If so, could he ask around and see who wants to play at break, then bring one in next day?

If not, chat to him about the boys in his class. Ask if anyone else likes his favourite TV show/game/music/hobby etc and listen to see if the same name crops up more than once. If it does suggest that he might want to spend time with that person at lunch or break. (Or invite them over after school one night?) Try and set him some very simple targets of spending lunch time with one new person a day until he finds someone he wants to spend time with. (I'm copying advice maybe from upthread, which I passed onto DS and it helped him a bit.) Also reassure him that it takes time and to give himself at least until half term to figure out what other people are like, and then another half term to work out who he;d like to invite over.

Scatter Mon 23-Sep-13 10:13:24

A tip from me - buy a dozen zip-lock folders and give him one per subject to keep exercise books, text books, loose sheets of homework etc. in. Keep these at home and each night, encourage him to pack the ones he'll need for tomorrow's lessons into his school bag. Anything that goes to school with him then comes home each evening.

This way, everything is kept at home (less chance of being lost). Piles of books at home look more manageable as you only get out one folder at a time for homework. And it's quick and easy to pack his own school bag with the ziplock folders.

Hope this helps with the organisation side of things.

And now can you all tell me how to cope with a Year 7 boy who was golden child at primary school, involved in everything with a really strong friendship group, who is coping fine with the organisation, work, finding his way round etc of secondary school and has joined lots of groups but is still unhappy about being there and doesn't seem to have made any close new friends yet?! He cried this morning before school and I am taking plenty of time to listen to his worries but they are very non-specific. It just isn't his old school and they just aren't his old friends and he just doesn't like 'hanging around' at breaktimes instead of playing football like he used to. Any tips for settling him in socially?

Thanks guys.

minidipper Mon 16-Sep-13 17:34:16

DS just came home from school, really proud of himself. He spent 10 mins at his locker after school, sorting all his books out and working out what needed to come home and what didn't. He's now tucked up in front of his favourite TV programme with a cheese toastie, before doing his homework. He just told me being organised is one of the best feelings he's ever had. smile

minidipper Sun 15-Sep-13 23:10:18

Isla that's so sad. Hope her back is better now. Can you get her a more padded bag?
manky we ditched some old clubs this term as it's clear he's just too knackered for them. Felt a bit sad saying goodbye to clubs he's been in since he was five and grown up through all the different stages, but he needs some down time too.

All pretty good here until a late evening melt down from me blush when I found out he'd gone up stairs to do homework and spent 1 1/2 hours on you tube instead, then casually announced he needs speedos not shorts for swimming tomorrow. (Could he have mentioned that when we were shopping earlier?) But it is getting easier.

mankyscotslass Fri 13-Sep-13 16:15:51

DS has come home today in a good mood -apart from more homework! He has just signed up to another after school club - so now he has football, rugby and cross country after school - as well as everything else he does.

I am hopnig he will drop a few activities along the way!

IslaValargeone Fri 13-Sep-13 12:24:28

I had tears from my dd this morning about going in, she had to be piggy backed home on Wednesday night she was so exhausted and has a patch of raw skin on her back from where her bag has been rubbing. She is so tiny too, I feel awful, had a cry myself after I dropped her off.

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.

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!

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!

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

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

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 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.

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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 ;)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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