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Year 7 Homework Struggles and adapting to Secondary Life

(7 Posts)
gandalf456 Thu 21-Jan-16 14:47:08

My daughter is a happy-go-lucky year 7. Socially, she is wonderful and has lots of friends. She is not strictly SEN as she has not been diagnosed with anything but is under the SENCO radar for being very far behind. In her primary school, she was assessed but discharged from the Educational Psychologist. At Infant School, the same happened. In both cases, attention was a strong feature. She also had Speech Therapy at 3 and was discharged after 6 sessions. At 5, she had a tentative diagnosis of Sensory Difficulty, which would resolve itself and so she was discharged. She was also not properly toilet trained for number 2s til 6.

So, back to the point, she is finding the demands of Secondary School very difficult. The school has a very good reputation (ex grammar school with good results) and is being as supportive as it can. She is on a special programme called Achievement for All, which basically helps disadvantaged pupils (including those with low attainment). We have a special coach, who organises termly meetings and is free to talk any time and very approachable.

She seems to manage to hold everything in at school but the stress comes out at home. The main problem we have is that she just cannot do her homework independently. I literally have to stand over her and coach her for every answer. With a younger brother, a part time job and a house to run, I am finding this very difficult. If I don't do this, she has massive, disruptive tantrums and has been known to break things in frustration, too.

The other night, the homework took 3-4 hours and I was exhausted. Last night was fine but I never know what I am going to get. I am constantly on tenterhooks over it. The coach said it was OK to just spend 20 minutes on the homework and write a note in the planner but, when I tried to do this, she scrubbed it out and had a massive paddy and carried on but I simply could not sit with her any longer and had to leave her to it. She was calling out to us while we were trying to get her brother in bed.

I don't know what it is. Whether she can't do it, lack of confidence, poor attention span or just dependent on the TA support she has had.

Has anyone got any tips on how to resolve this? If it's like this now, I am dreading GCSEs. I have thought about a different school but this one is one of the best ones and she doesn't really want to move anyway at this stage.

BackforGood Fri 22-Jan-16 00:15:50

I would get another referral to a Paediatrician, tbh.
She has / has had speech and language difficulties
Sensory difficulties
Toileting difficulties
Considerable anxiety (for example about not doing some homework she's already been told not to spend more than 20mins on)

Obviously I don't know your dd, and, even if I did, I'm not medically qualified but if it were my dd, I would be asking for them to look deeper and investigate further to see if she is on the autistic spectrum. It can present very differently in girls, who are often not diagnosed until they are in their teens, as they are often very good at the social skills side of things.

gandalf456 Fri 22-Jan-16 13:16:10

Thanks for your reply. There may be some issue. I don't know what but I don't suspect asd . I know some with it - girls too - and it's v obvious. I am wondering if it's more of an anxiety issue combined with developmental delay. She's very behind physically. She looks more like an eight year old and is small for her age.

She's at a self conscious stage now.and I'm not 100% sure if a diagnosis would help or not

Wolfiefan Fri 22-Jan-16 13:19:03

Are the school differentiating the homework? They shouldn't be sending home work she can't do unaided.
Get coach to agree strategies. Eg agreed time on each homework and a timer to tell her when to stop

gandalf456 Fri 22-Jan-16 13:25:20

At the moment she's being taught Mixed Ability for most subjects but not Maths and English. I think some of the problem is due to the fact that she is either not listening in class because she's daydreaming or because she doesn't get it and switches off. Then she comes home and I'm having to do the teacher's job and I am not a teacher so I'm not actually the best person to do it because I know I have to look it up and work out what we have to do and then the best way to explain it. I will bring this up the coach and make sure that the teachers check that she is listening and understands.

With the twenty minute thing, she won't stick to it so I'm going to have to somehow find a way of getting her to stop before she totally has a meltdown . How I'm going to do that I don't know. She's very wilful when she gets an idea into her head. Seems ironic really doesn't it

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 22-Jan-16 13:27:59

Are there penalties for not doing homework? (DD gets stamps, so many equal detention)

Are there any homework clubs?

Any catch up sessions in school? (If homework not done teacher does a session lunch time)

Any teacher to email for help? (DD has til 5pm)

gandalf456 Fri 22-Jan-16 13:59:28

Yes. Detention but I did ok with her teacher that if she was going nuts, we could stop.

Homework club is on Monday but she's refused so far saying she just wants to come home. Fair seeing as she has two after school English and Maths sessions.

I'm not sure about emailing the teacher. I'll ask

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