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DS 13 (year 9) homework problems. Sorry long and probably dull

(8 Posts)
LesleyPumpshaft Tue 02-Oct-12 08:24:39

DS 13 (14 after xmas) has recently gone from being relatively mild mannered and laid back to becoming Kevin the teenager. Tbh this is to be expected, but he has lost all motivation in regards to school.

He is in the top sets for most things - apart from maths seems to run in the family. I know and his teachers know that he is more than capable of getting the work done.

Before the summer hols he asked if I would back off and let him get on with his homework in his own way. Now, both my parents were teachers, so I had a lot of pressure put on me to perform well at school, as they felt my academic success (or lack of it) was a reflection on them. The result was that I completely rebelled and went off the rails was a teenager from hell. So, I am very mindful of this, as DS is just as pigheaded as I am - probably more so.
This worked very well for a while and he got letters of achievement sent home etc.

However, he recently bunked off school with a couple of his mates because he had got behind on homework. Tbh I thought he was doing his homework, but he was just getting word docs open on his laptop when I had a nose. School have now contacted me and told me that he is on report. Have punished him by revoking Xbox and pocket money with it to be reviewed after 2 weeks depending on progress with homework.

The problem is that I am having to totally baby him now to get him to do anything at all. I work (from home) and tbh I need to do house work in the evenings. He has a massive geography project and is managing to do 200 words on it in about 3 hours at best. It's just laziness I'm sure. I have tried punishing, tried incentives but nothing works. I know he can do more than this as he writes his own stories and poems for fun.

Now I am completely losing patience after nearly 2 weeks. I have a chest infection, my own work, things to do round the house and I can't even see why he wouldn't just crack on with things to get me to get off his back. Apparently I have anger management issues, because after much effort on my part to deal with things in a positive and reasonable manner, with no progress I have resorted to being a nagging old harpy to see if that gives him a kick up the pants.

Ffs there should be a facepalm icon on here.

3boys1cat Tue 02-Oct-12 11:01:39

I think you should try to relax and let the school handle the issue of him not doing his homework. Your son will have to deal with the consequences. I would also say don't be too hard on yourself. Secondary school is a long game and the kids have to peak at the right time. Year 9 is a bit of purposeless year now that they don't do SATs.

My DS1 (now 17) got into the habit of doing the bare minimum with respect to homework in Year 9. He would hand in projects that he and I both knew were way below what he was capable of, but which were the minimum he could get away with. He found choosing options for Year 10 very empowering, and gradually got his act together over the next 18 months. He got great GCSEs and is well on the way to great A levels, university and all that!

Try stepping back from the issue of your son doing his homework and see what happens.

sweetfluffybunnies Tue 02-Oct-12 11:05:00

Not sure if this will be helpful, but maybe you should just back off and let him get on with it? Clearly you are very distressed by the situation at the moment, but maybe he just needs to learn the hard way that not doing homework just lands him in trouble at school.

Try not to worry too much, he still has plenty of time to turn things round before GCSEs kick in. He is being a typical teen at the moment, and it is very hard on you, but have faith in him. He is obviously intelligent, and will realise that he needs to work hard to achieve what he wants in life.

I found it helpful to do some research online with my dc about what A level grades they would need to get to do the uni courses they were interested in (they are 14, nearly 15). It certainly seemed to focus their minds a bit!!

HeathRobinson Tue 02-Oct-12 11:12:31

Does he have a career in mind? You could research what grades he needs at GCSE to get the A levels to get the uni place he'll need.

Tbh, I'd step right back and let the school deal with it. Also, remind him that his homework or lack thereof will impact on him and only him. This can be a revelation!

I read on a primary thread this week about someone's son not wanting to do his homework. They decided to give him the time and space to do it and if he decided not to do it, they'd write that in his home/school book. You could do similar.

LesleyPumpshaft Tue 02-Oct-12 11:21:00

Thanks for you replies.

I was taking the laid back approach, so maybe I should again. DP is also of the opinion that if he chooses not to do his homework, he needs to deal with the consequences.

I'm not sure what he wants to do. He is a 'lateral thinker' and pretty eccentric, even at the age of 13. I can sympathise with him, because school isn't exactly a great place for people like him. So far he is showing a real aptitude for ITC and recieved an end of year award for his programming skills before they broke up for the summer hols. I don't know if he sees himself going in that direction though.

He is also going great guns in cultural studies and has expressed an interest in studying something to do with human rights or doing that as career. I tried to get him to join Amnesty International, but like a typical teenager he couldn't be arsed. grin

I'm hoping that taking his options will rekindle his enthusiasm.

The idea about writing that he chose not to do his homework in his book is a great idea btw.

Thanks again all.

SecretSquirrels Tue 02-Oct-12 15:07:06

I disagree that Year 9 is purposeless. It's precisely the year when many children slack off and drop grades. Habits that start in year 9 will be harder to address and have more consequences in Y10 and 11.
If I thought that his school would tackle his lack of work properly I would try to work with them. Many don't.
Have you spoken to his form tutor?
However despite your efforts it's not working. You've tried backing off and you've tried intensive supervision. Have you tried bribery rewards?

I had a similar experience with DS1 and backed off as he asked but he continued to get behind with homework, resulting in rushed shoddy efforts. I decided it was too important to leave it to him so went back to nagging supervising.

LesleyPumpshaft Tue 02-Oct-12 16:29:39

Rewards aren't working as he wants them to be on his terms, which are frankly ridiculous. He wants admin access to his laptop and the net restrictions taken off. hmm

I basically told him that I would kit out his room after Xmas and get him a new laptop if he can consistently show effort with h/work. Apparently that's not good enough, it has to be full admin rights to his laptop and freedom to look at/download whatever he wants on t'interwebs.

Anyway, I have been talking to his head of year and the mentor for the year. Short of sitting with him and telling him what to do I'm genuinely flummoxed. Speaking of which, it's time to nag some more.

Thanks Ms Squirrel. thanks

GnomeDePlume Tue 02-Oct-12 18:34:13

DS is 14. I feel we are starting to if not turn a corner then at least see that there is a corner.

A few things we have changed - we are far more conscious of DSs calorie intake. He is growing like a weed so we are making sure that he is taking on board lots of calories and protein. This does help all aspects of his behaviour and attitude.

I'm afraid that we are using more toddler techniques with him than with his sisters. Lots of praise, lots of hugs and short sharp punishments for minor infringements. He was supposed to hoover and didnt get round to it so he lost his xbox rights for the afternoon.

He does need lots nagging and reminders to do things.

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