DS1 has always been a very good student; self-motivated and hard-working.
Since the end of Y8, he seems to have become like two different people.
In subjects he likes, such as Maths, Science, History (yes, I know it sounds like a line from TBBT theme song), he is still really motivated and putting in a lot of effort, getting level 7s.
In other subjects, he seems to be trying to put in the minimum effort that he can get away with. In English, he was asked to redo an essay as the teacher knew he was capable of much more. Food Tech is similar.
In others, he seems to have just given up completely. I just had an email from his RS teacher explaining that he got a level 5 in his latest assessment. Six months ago he was getting level 7s in RS. Geography is similar.
I asked him about it, and he says that he just has very little motivation any more, especially in the subjects he knows he won't be doing for GCSE (WTF happened in English, then?). He wants to be a primary school teacher, so does have a possible career to aim for. I feel so frustrated with him, as he has the aptitude and the privilege of a good education.
Has anyone (teacher or parent) successfully dealt with this problem in a student? What worked?
I have told him that if he shows some progress in RS & Geography by January (I have quantified how much progress we expect to see on January's report) then we will see this as a demonstration of his maturity in the choices he makes about his education, and he can put his choices of options on the form that we submit in February.
If we do not see expected progress, then he will not have reached a satisfactory level in those subjects, which means that we will require him to continue studying them to GCSE.
I realise this could backfire horribly. Am I really going to make him do two GCSEs in subjects he doesn't enjoy? Knowing him, my instinct is that he will work hard as a means to be allowed to do the (interesting but non-essential) subjects he wants to study.
For English, some of his work has been of a high standard, so I plan to wait for this half term's report and then see.
(sucks teeth). Risky no matter what you do. We are going opposite way, more and more hands off. I have run out of energy & need to save it for next stroppy DS on the horizon. You & I can consider our contrasting plans an experiment....
One thing, DS has ambitious friends and he will be mortified if he actually fails to even get into college and they sail off without him. I am conniving how to bend teenage fear of embarrassment to my ends.
The hands off method would definitely work better for DS2 than the threat of over-ruled options, so we'll be doing that with him if (when?) the time comes. DS1 is a bit more malleable, so I'm hoping for the best!
Above all, don't panic. My DS1 also did the minimum he could get away with in lots of subjects in Year 9. It's a bit of a weird "nothing" year for them. When he started year 9 they were supposed to be taking sats which meant the year had a bit of a focus. However, after a few weeks the government scrapped year 9 sats, and the year just kind of drifted.
His attitude changed completely once he started year 10, and he has just got A*AC at A level. Secondary school is a long game. I would be inclined to ease off your DS for now.
He starts some of his GCSE courses in a couple of weeks (Chemistry, Biology & Physics) and others in January (Maths, English Language & English Literature). Then the rest in May. But it's the subjects he isn't planning to study for GCSE that are the problem.
Paradoxically, he seems a bit happier since I set out my expectations and the consequences earlier this evening. He says he feels as though there's something to work towards now.
Update: he worked quite hard for several weeks. I've been checking his books at random. In the last couple of weeks it's started dipping again.
Some subjects: excellent effort, top marks. Other subjects: handing in work that he should be embarrassed to submit. He's out at Scouts at the moment, but at some point this weekend we will have to have a serious talk.
hullo again!! We've been doing the options-choosing merry-go-round last few weeks. DS seems quite engaged with the process of choosing, at least, but whether that will translate into real work... who knows!? I will be grateful when he drops the items he really doesn't like (most of them).