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Help! DS is really struggling with the move up to secondary school

(20 Posts)
OlennasWimple Mon 25-Sep-17 18:29:58

DS started secondary school this year and is really really struggling. I think it is mostly the non-academic side of things (he has never been particularly well organised), but the step up in requirements has been a shock to him. He cannot coast any more...

I'm working my way through "Smart But Scattered", but would be really grateful for other advice, recommendations and resources to help him. He wants to be more independent, but given that I have just received a third request to go and see a teacher about work not being completed, I fear I am going to have to become a complete helicopter mother... sad

Trb17 Mon 25-Sep-17 19:12:15

DD has just started year 7 and struggled at first. It utterly overwhelmed her. So I decided to step back in for a little while to help her get used to the massive level of organisation she needs to get a handle on.

So for the short term I’m helping with bag packing and homework planning. She knows it’s temporary to give her time to adapt but she was so relieved and it’s boosted her confidence that I’m double checking she’s organised.

Once she fully settles I’ll back off but by bit.

That’s my experience so far. Many say let them fail so that they learn but DD has a lot of anxiety so for now she needs support.

Astronotus Mon 25-Sep-17 19:15:42

Have you tried making a running list of homework with him? You can do it together each evening and eventually (like my DS) he will fill it in on his own. Just add each new homework to it everyday. Have a column for date due and cross the tasks off as they are completed (always a nice feeling!). It's not so much helicopter parenting as just showing your DC a simple way to be organised. That's assuming he wants to do the homework in the first place, of course.

OlennasWimple Mon 25-Sep-17 19:15:54

Thanks, Trb. I've been trying (but obviously failing) to get the right balance between letting him do it his way and overseeing everything. Not least because he gets incredibly defensive and we end up having an argument along the lines of "why don't you trust me to get stuff done myself?" / "because I got another email from school telling me that you hadn't done the stuff....."

Traalaa Mon 25-Sep-17 19:19:02

Does he have a homework diary? Is he filling it in properly? If so, go through it with him each evening and check his work/ that he's done whatever's due. Also help him pack his bag for the next day. Always do it the night before and way before bedtime. You don't need to do it for him, but once he says it's done check it for him/ with him. Have a copy of his timetable stuck on the fridge, or somewhere so that you know what he's got coming up. Have a box where all school books go, so they're easy to find.. Good luck! flowers

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 25-Sep-17 19:19:19

Olennas Wimple - sorry to tell you this but ^ your last conversation I still have with my Yr11 DS!!

TheHamptons Mon 25-Sep-17 19:22:36

They get there eventually. Promise.

One tip: if allowed, write the days of each class on top of books

Use a box to put them in, right way up.

DC should easily be able to locate Tuesday books etc quickly.

Check their homework diary

Ask form tutor to check it too

OlennasWimple Mon 25-Sep-17 19:24:17

His timetable is on the fridge (and TBF he's pretty good at remembering things like PE kit on the right days)

He has a homework diary that he didn't use, but had promised faithfully to start using it only last week - and was telling us that he was putting everything in it... Obviously something has gone astray...

The bag is usually where the conflict arises. Perhaps he has illicit goods in there that he doesn't want me to see, but he is very very protective of it and doesn't want me going into it hmm

Allthebest - oh no... <weeps>

OlennasWimple Mon 25-Sep-17 19:25:23

TheHamptons - he has a locker at school. Should I suggest he doesn't use it for the moment, but bring everything home instead?

Acopyofacopy Mon 25-Sep-17 19:35:07

DS struggled massively and is still not the best organised Y10...

We had to ignore the whole "you are at secondary now and responsible for yourself" thing in Y7.

We packed his bag together in the evening, one of us "dictating" from the timetable and him putting it all together in his own.

Our school uses Show My Homework, so it was easy to check up on what was due etc. We did that every day.

If he has to use a diary for homework that must be the one thing he needs to take responsibility for... can he liaise with any better organised friends to double check?

You have my sympathy, it's tough for everybody.

oldcrownie Mon 25-Sep-17 19:54:22

I checked bags and homework diaries every day for the first half term then started to back off.
We had a box in the kitchen to keep all books and equipment in so in theory they knew where everything was. Homework was done at the kitchen table to start with and then once they were settled in and getting independent a desk was set up in the bedroom. This approach was recommended by school in the welcome pack and worked well for us.
Definitely make sure he understands how to use the homework diary/planner.

Lily2007 Mon 25-Sep-17 20:34:58

DD just uses her locker for PE kit, aprons etc and brings all books home, maybe do something like that.

DD has just started y7 and manages fine but DS is in y6 and struggles to manage getting dressed, so how he's going to cope next year I really don't know!

Notcontent Mon 25-Sep-17 21:57:17

Yes, it is tough, but like some of the posters above, for the time being I am helping did to get organised. The message I got from her school is that while year 7 is all about learning to be independent, parents should be on hand to help their kids get organised. It's such a huge change from primary school.

OlennasWimple Mon 25-Sep-17 22:12:51

It is tough, isn't it, Notcontent - especially when DS is trying to be independent and do it all himself

LiveLifeWithPassion Tue 26-Sep-17 12:08:36

ds1 had problems with filling his hw diary too and was often surprised by an assessment here and there. He's learnt (hopefully!) to write everything down now with the correct due date.
We also have a box where all his books go so it's just a matter of loading and unloading between his bag and the box.
We have 3 copies of his timetable. One in his organiser, one in his box and one by the calendar. He also has a picture of it in his phone in case he forgets his organiser (learned from experience)

Foxyloxy1plus1 Tue 26-Sep-17 12:29:42

Could you get some filing trays for the days of the week? Match them up with subjects and homework and he can keep each day's books in them, so you can cross check without feeling like the helicopter parent.

It's what we used to suggest for students having difficulty with organisation. Colour code them perhaps and you can see at a glance whether he has the right things for the right days. If he doesn't want you to look in his bag, perhaps you could get him to put his books in a pile so you can check before he puts them n the bag.

Purplemeddler Tue 26-Sep-17 12:37:44

given that I have just received a third request to go and see a teacher about work not being completed

Why on earth are they asking to see you? This is secondary school. He does the work or there are consequences. In ds' school you get a detention if you don't do your homework on time. An email is sent to the parent but you're not called in. On the one hand the school says it's secondary school and they have to grow up, and on the other hand they're asking to have a meeting with you? How on earth do they have time? At this stage there must be lots of kids falling by the wayside on homework.

I guess if there is a huge issue they would want to talk to the parent, but my goodness the kids have only been back 3/4 weeks!

Show my homework is great, otherwise there is generally a homework diary. I used to look at it on occasion. But to be honest, my mother left me to do it and if I got into trouble I got into trouble, she took the view I'd learn soon enough. I am more hands on than she was but I still think the kids have to work it out for themselves, within reason.

TansyVioletta Tue 26-Sep-17 15:44:34

Dd is year 9 now, but in the beginning of year 7 i helped as much as i could with bag packing, checking homework etc and then gradually let her take over once she'd settled in happily. In dd's school they get kept in at break if you don't sign their planner each week, so i assume they want parents to check up on homework done. Dd has been kept in for this in year 8 but I probably saved her getting detentions in year 7 by checking bag packing and homework done, so i felt no guilt as it all evened out. grin
Do you have the timetable displayed on fridge/list of thing needed and a box for all school books as i find that helps.

OlennasWimple Tue 26-Sep-17 21:28:25

Purple - we aren't in the UK, so have been back at school for about 7 weeks now. But I have been really surprised at being called in so much: none of the meetings have been ones where I thought I really needed to be there, I don't know why the teachers aren't discussing this with him 1:1. Perhaps the lack of detention process means that if they want to discuss after school they need to involve parents? I should ask someone...

Tansy - yup, timetable on the fridge (with colour coded highlighting for specific things like PE!). It's homework in particular he's struggling with. I found out today that some teachers set homework that has multiple parts (eg three different work sheets), which is definitely causing part of the confusion (so he will do two of them but not realise / forget about the third, for eg)

JungleExplorer Wed 27-Sep-17 21:10:11

Our policy is empty the school bag out every night,.

Then transfer homework info from the homework diary (they have to fill this in, school insists.) Each piece of homework gets written onto a slip of paper along with the date it is due and attached to a notice board in their room. They pin it against the day it is due in.

That way they have a visual reminder of what is due when and I can see at a glance the amount of homework they have.

They have a written tick list of things to do every morning (laminated) and another one for night. The bag is repacked every evening ready to go.

Books are stored in magazine files until needed, so books out of the bag get sorted into the next day they are needed, then they can just grab all the books in "Tuesday" for example.

This system has worked successfully for 3 years for Ds1.

Our school makes it very clear that you need to encourage independence but hover over them until they are doing it effectively.

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