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Last chance saloon - DS won't revise

(36 Posts)
BlueGazebo Tue 31-May-16 06:42:29

DS won't/can't revise. I've tried everything... timetables, hands on, hands off, revision guides, bribes, threats, DVDs, nagging, not nagging, removing PS4, giving back PS4. We are nearly at the end of the road now. I asked him yesterday if he wanted me to stop trying to get him to revise and he said "no". Yet, earlier on in the day he got very angry and told me to go away (so that he could play with toys and pretend to revise). He is a very bright kid with a really good memory. He could get As and Bs if he would just do some revision but he won't/can't. He has dyslexia and a sprinkling of ADHD which may have something to do with it. DP has suggested that today I don't say anything at all in the hope that it will kick start him. I don't think anything is going to work and if it was anything other than his GCSEs, I would totally give up on it.

Keithyoustink Tue 31-May-16 06:54:38

flowers it's hard when you see them messing up.

Would he let you actually sit with him and get him started? Problems with organisational skills and time management are features of dyslexia and he may not know where to begin.

Icouldbeknitting Tue 31-May-16 07:59:08

How badly does it matter? Will he get the post 16 placement he wants with the grades he's likely to get if he carries on as he does? I know we want them to be the best they can be and it's so frustrating when you know that they are capable of better but is it actually going to close any doors for him? If he has a good memory he may be able to get by with winging it and then you can go through this all again at 18.

The knotty issue is your first sentence - whether it's can't or won't revise. DS didn't have a clue how to set about "revision" and his solution was total avoidance. He wouldn't talk about holidays, the summer or anything that hinted at time passing. Will your DS talk about how he feels about the exams (I find car journeys are good because they can't get away) because if he feels bad then being prepared would make him feel less bad.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 31-May-16 08:17:56

Most dyslexics myself included find that the most useful revision happens a long while before the exams, as our short term memories are not great.
I didn't discover this till A-levels and university. I found I needed to do the vast majority of study up to three months prior to the exams to commit it to long term memory. Certain things like maths I needed to practice over and over so calculations happened by muscle memory.
This could be why he feels it pointless revising now as he knows it won't stay in.

LineyReborn Tue 31-May-16 08:24:18

If you can focus on just one thing it might help. My DS who is 17 advises doing past papers. He sets himself a target of so many past papers (and specimen papers) per day.

Your DS will benefit from pretty much any target, so even just one past paper per day would be a good deal. You could read it through with him to get him started, perhaps.

Does he need / get a reader and scribe or use of a laptop for exams?

BlueGazebo Tue 31-May-16 08:49:50

Thank you so much... I am fighting feelings of despair.

I had him trapped in the car for a while yesterday and so asked him questions from the revision book so that will get him a few extra marks here and there on the comp science paper.

He will reluctantly sometimes do past papers with me. He said yesterday he was going to finish one we started but he didn't.

Very interesting point about the long term memory.... he has an excellent memory and this will definitely see him through some of the way. There could be something in the fact that he knows quite a lot already and doesn't see the point in topping up. He has great difficulty conforming to exam technique but this is something we've been working on.

He should get what he needs to stay on and already has the B in English which will keep doors open. He should scrape a C in Maths - but is doing nothing to secure this. I cannot see him being able to do A Levels because of this inability to work.

He gets extra time and laptop for exams. His reading is good but he does make silly mistakes - he got an easy map reading question in the Geog paper wrong but it was only one mark.

TeenAndTween Tue 31-May-16 09:11:06

I cannot see him being able to do A Levels because of this inability to work.

Do you have Plan B in place?

BTECs are good for kids who will work steadily on assigned work but can't do the revision-exam thing. I think achieving highly (or even not so highly) in a BTEC is better than A levels with D/E/U).

The great thing about where I live, Hampshire, is we generally do not have 6th forms in schools so everyone has to make a positive choice about what they are doing next and where. There is no falling in to just 'staying on' by default.

Have a look at the BTEC Thread if you haven't yet looked in to them.

Other option of course is Apprenticeships where they earn whilst gaining a qualification.

Coconutty Tue 31-May-16 09:13:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeenAndTween Tue 31-May-16 09:18:17

With my dyspraxic DD we picked an aim for a 45 minute session and often did them together, especially science. So not just 'physics' but 'properties of metals'. I also did a lot of explaining verbally too.

But she let me help, which makes all the difference I suspect.

Badbadbunny Tue 31-May-16 09:23:30

Maybe too late now, but can you actually sit with him and do revision "together", i.e. you have his text book and ask him questions, get into discussions, etc.

Our son has mild aspergers and we've done revision "together" for the last three years. At first, there was no way he'd even do homework on his own. His mind is all over the place and he wouldn't even touch it - he'd just waste an hour or two daydreaming (not even anything useful like playing computer games!!). We took the bull by the horns and sat with him and turned it into an inter-active session. Once he got into the "habit" we started to let go, and after a few months, he'd manage his own homework himself without our input. Then came the end-of-topic progress tests - same scenario, he hadn't a clue how to revise, so we sat with him and did question/answer sessions together. Same with year end tests. First year, he hadn't a clue where to start or what to do to try to revise so much, so we took over again and planned it all for him, sat with him, etc. Second year was slightly better. This year, happening now (tests next week), he's doing most subjects himself, we're just sitting with him to revise the harder ones (3 sciences), but it's been pleasing to note that he's deciding when and when to do the others (languages in bed at night), maths during the day, etc. Our aim is that by GCSE time, he'll be in the habit, so will do it all himself.

As you say, you made some progress when you were locked in the car together. That may be what he needs, i.e. "together time" with you! He may well just be some over-awed by the scale of the task, he just doesn't know where/how to start. If he's not been in the habit of revising for progress tests and end of year tests in earlier years, it's all very stressful, especially so late in the day.

chocolateworshipper Tue 31-May-16 09:27:03

If DS has dyslexia, I assume that the essay subjects are more daunting? Would it help to start off with maths - tell him that if he completes a past paper during the day, you'll take him to McDonalds this evening for example? Otherwise you could cut up a past paper and every time he wants you to fetch him a drink / wash his football kit etc he has to complete one question first? With dyslexia, little and often is probably better anyway. My DD has dyslexia and finds watching revision videos on Youtube useful - would this work with your DS? I think the multimedia element of a video can help people with dyslexia. Good luck to you!

BlueGazebo Tue 31-May-16 09:27:23

Thanks again.

We have plan A, B, C and D. Two sixth form options (2nd choice 6th form do retake Maths) and accepted on two college courses. He has no clue about what he wants to do. Even if he does do A Levels, he doesn't know which subjects apart from Drama which is the only definite. A Levels make more sense because they will keep more doors open but every subject brings with it problems - History (essays), Biology (maths), English (reading a lot and writing), etc.

Thanks Coconutty. I do similar with DS and will make that my first port of call tomorrow. I have every revision book ever published.

Doinmummy Tue 31-May-16 09:34:05

Having been through hell with DD and school (expelled just before exams -don't ask) I have a different view now (hindsight and all that ).

Leave them to it, don't keep nagging about revision, they will do as well as they will do. There are loads of different options if they don't get the grades they need . I think there's way too much pressure on kids . Once GCSE's are over , they're forgotten and looking back all the grief and angst will seem daft. Trust me , things all work out in the end .

ExpandingRoundTheMiddle Tue 31-May-16 09:36:02

The Khan Academy is good fir maths. It's online and free. He can replay the videos as man times as he needs. The local tuition outfit were great too. It caused too much angst and bad feeling to tutor our own kids even though I'm a teacher and DH is a massive science clever clogs. It was pricey but worth it. DS2 has ASD and quite a few of the difficulties and strengths
overlap with dyslexia.

goodbyestranger Tue 31-May-16 09:48:36

I agree with Doinmummy. Nagging (apart from very, very occasional low level nagging type outbursts) must be extremely irritating for a DC taking exams. Seven of my DC have done GCSEs (I only say that so that you know this isn't just theory) and the half term break has always been fairly relaxed on the revision front. By then they really either know it or they don't. The one DS who needed prodding has an amazing memory like your DS and did absolutely fine, got his predictions etc. I genuinely believe that nagging can just cause stress, for everyone and that it ultimately does no good. To revise productively they need to feel like revising - or at least not feel like they really don't feel like revising. I'd follow your DHs suggestion, honestly I would.

BlueGazebo Tue 31-May-16 09:57:42

Thanks again

I do agree Doinmummy. I just want him to do his best and not underachieve. I did nothing at school and am now annoyed with my teacher parents for not doing anything about it. This may be where some of my zeal is coming from. DP also underachieved and his parents also did nothing. I don't mind what grades he gets as long as he has done his best.

The computer science is bothering me the most at the moment because he doesn't need to do much to secure a pass. He's got a B and C in the coursework so all he needs to do is a bit of revision on the topics in the revision guide. There are massive gaps in his knowledge but these can be filled easily. There's quite a bit on You Tube which is going to have to be the way forward.

TeenAndTween Tue 31-May-16 09:59:08

A levels only keep doors open if you succeed at them though.

If looking for a job at 18, then someone with a related BTEC might be far more employable than someone with poor A level grades.

BlueGazebo Tue 31-May-16 10:03:19

googbyestranger Today I will not nag and will not say anything about revision. I'm going to try the strategy. He'll be on his own most of the day so it's up to him what he does with his day. He may well end up achieving Level 35 on Destiny (PS4 game).

Doinmummy Tue 31-May-16 10:06:29

You cannot make someone achieve more than they want to at the time. There are always other ways to get where you want to be. I went to uni aged 39!

Doinmummy Tue 31-May-16 10:08:10

Don't blame your parents for not pushing g you when you were younger. You wouldn't have listened even if they did.

Badbadbunny Tue 31-May-16 10:16:55

Don't blame your parents for not pushing g you when you were younger. You wouldn't have listened even if they did.

Well I would have listened and so would my OH. We both say the same. Had parents who just didn't engage with our education at all. Never even asked us if we had any homework. Never went to parent's evenings. In my case, my reports were sometimes so bad I never even showed them to my parents - they never even noticed they hadn't seen them. Just didn't give a shit about my education. If someone had shown some interest, then I'd have put more effort in, especially in the earlier years before the rot set in. I wasn't a rebellious child, never in trouble with anyone, but no-one around me (at home nor school) seemed to think education was important so I didn't either!

BlueGazebo Tue 31-May-16 10:19:11

I think you can help them achieve more than what they would achieve if they were left to their own devices. Hence private education, tutors and the like. I think I have already helped DS enormously with things like exam technique. I guess he must therefore have been willing to engage but he would never have come to me and asked me to help him with exam technique. I think there needs to be a balance and every DC is different. I will try reigning in my zeal for a couple of days.

BlueGazebo Tue 31-May-16 10:22:30

Same here Badbadbunny. I never did a day's work at school. What's I don't get is that my parents were both teachers. Many of the kids at my school left with 1 or 2 CSEs which is shocking.

goodbyestranger Tue 31-May-16 10:28:43

BlueGazebo believe me I know from my DSs just how crucial these levels can be (PS not GCSE) smile

Doinmummy Tue 31-May-16 10:29:45

It's so difficult as all you want is for them to do their best and often see them 'throwing away' this chance. It's a fine line between encouraging and being too pushy. I do feel for kids and parents going through all this. If they don't do well it might give them the kick up the bum they need to put more effort in . My DD said she didn't care about her results but they do deep down.

Give them lots of love and maybe say you're happy to help with revision if they would like you to. They will get there .

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