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Are BTECs better for disorganised teens?

(33 Posts)
lljkk Sat 20-Apr-13 14:56:33

Or maybe I should ask, which GCSEs involve the most in-class work vs. lots of home revision?

DS does decent/good standard of work in class but he hates nearly all forms of homework and does only the bare minimum (I know this is common). I have been browsing about books to transform lazy/disorganised teens but I am not the kind of person to make those strategies work (they seem to all involve me being closely involved with managing his homework load). Sorry if that makes me a crap parent, I just can't do it. So am considering other strategies if DS never decides to self-organise.

Do BTECs work differently from GCSEs dependent on homestudy, are BTECs more about standard of work produced in a working environment and less on pouring over books at home? I know DS could do quite well at that.

specialsubject Mon 22-Apr-13 09:55:01

I don't think 'stop wasting your education' is an unkind comment. There are places where children get shot for wanting to go to school.

while very few children know what they want to do as adults, and no-one has a career for life now anyway, there must be some subjects that interest him as well as those that everyone should have (English competence, mathematical skills, some knowledge of science). So what stops him doing the homework for those?

Maryz Mon 22-Apr-13 10:08:06

I agree with that sashh.

I'm in Ireland where it is even worse - they have just introduced a rule that every child has to stay in school until the age of 18. And they do acedamic subjects, with little choice.

They all do seven subjects for Leaving Cert, including English, Irish (a real challenge for those who struggle with languages), Maths, a modern European language and three others. There is little or no account taken of academic ability, and no option to leave school and go to college.

The only hands on college courses are post-leaving certificate courses, for which you have to pass your leaving cert (including passing English, Irish and Maths at least).

There is an option in a few schools to do some applied subjects. But these are few and far between, and there is very little money to provide kitchens/workrooms/equipment etc or to provide teachers for the small classes that practical courses need.

And then they wonder why so many kids drop out. And when they drop out they can't get any money or benefits of any kind if they are living at home, and there is no provision for them to live anywhere else.

So the boys turn to crime and drugs, and for many of the girls having a baby is still seen as a way out sad.

For children with ADHD/ASD/dyslexia/dyspraxia and general learning difficulties, as well as those who simply find it hard to engage and for whom sitting and learning is a chore, the traditional school system is a disaster.

mumeeee Mon 22-Apr-13 10:50:26

There is a lot of course work in BTECHs, DDi did a level 2 Btech in IT which is GCSE equivelent and she did quite a bit of work at home. She is now in the final year of a Btech extended diploma ( used to be called National Diploma) in ITand does a massive amount of work at home as well as in lessons at college. She is doing aBTECH as exams tend to throw her she is dyspraxic and also has another learning difficulty. She is disorganised about a lot of things but is very focused on homework and is determined to get good grades. She has 3 offers fron unis so it is not holding her back. However if your DS doesn't like homework I would say a BTECH is not for him.

lljkk Mon 22-Apr-13 14:19:03

In terms of telling apart harder from easier GCSE topics:

The data are almost 10 yrs old but somewhat useful, and fits with most of the anecdotal evidence (summary1, summary2).

Also, survey of students.

nickstmoritz Mon 22-Apr-13 23:01:14

lljkk, does your DS like sport? or drama? These might be good options. I am not saying they are easy but may require less sit down type homework. Art or textiles is loads of work at home. Music is a lot of work from what I have heard and better if you play an instrument to a fairly high level eg G5 or above.

DD has dyslexia and we have gone for 3 practical options to lessen the written workload. The new GCSE marking rules penalise dyslexic students with marks knocked off for spelling/grammar even in other subjects than English Language -5% I think.

Being very disorganised is often an indicator of dyslexia or a specific learning difficulty. You could make an appointment with the school SENCO to get advice and support for your DS. Some schools also run "organisation" clubs to help or offer a mentoring service for disorganised pupils.

Your DS could choose to do foundation rather than higher tier GCSE in weakest subjects but be aware that this means C is the highest possible grade. It might take some pressure off though.

BackforGood Mon 22-Apr-13 23:35:59

I think it's difficult to say which "involve the least homework" as so much of it depends on the way the school organise and teach the course and how much good ground work has already been done.

For example, when in Yr8, my dd was doing exactly the same piece of homework for MfL as ds was doing in Yr11, so by the time dd gets to GCSEs, I suspect she won't have to do anywhere near as much "homework" as ds did, because he hadn't had the grounding in KS3, and was playing 'catch up'. That said, it was easy 'catch up' for him because he finds it relatively easy to learn a chunk of text to regurgitate in the test without really ever being able to speak the language.
There is a lot of time needed to do art, but quite a few pupils don't see it as that as they love the drawing and don't see it as "work" in the same way an essay is.
If you just 'get' maths, then there's not a lot of homework needed, but if you don't understand maths readily, then it's going to take hours of going over things (tutors?) to unpick it and work things out.

sashh Tue 23-Apr-13 06:40:59


I didn't realise your school now go on to 18, it used to be 15 didn't it.

Over here, you can, technically, go to college full time from age 14 but more often a class is sent to college for one afternoon a week for vocational courses.

Maybe I should set up a sort of boarding house for Irish students wanting to take vocational qualifications in the UK, not sure how I would finance it, and once they have qualifications would they be recognised at home?

Ponders how this could be combined with the drive through shop.

Bunbaker Tue 23-Apr-13 06:51:41

You could try and do what MIL did with SIL when she didn't want to stay at school and sit O levels. In those days you could leave school at 15 without any form of academic qualification. MIL got SIL a job waiting tables. After a few days of this SIL said that she hated it. MIL told her that this was the only kind of job available to her if she didn't pull her finger out and stay at school.

It was a great motivator for SIL to knuckle down, get some O levels and get a better job.

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