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Help! Lazy 14 year old won't revise... Any tips?

(25 Posts)
SlummyMummy65 Sat 11-May-13 17:14:16

We are at our wits' end with our 14 year old son. He has summer exams in just over a week and just won't get on with revision. School says these are an important lead up to GCSEs. We've tried bribery and outright threats and he's already had his TV and iPad confiscated but nothing works. Even when we think he's working we later find that he's just been surfing YouTube or mucking about looking up weird images.

Has anyone else had this problem? Any tips or advice very welcome please! smile

LadySlatternlysHoover Sat 11-May-13 17:18:22

There comes a point where you just have to let them get on with it - or not as the case may be!

You can only do so much. smile

With my two DS's, I sat with them and worked out a revision plan which gave time for gaming and chilling. I'm not saying they always stuck to it - but I think it did help that they saw they had relaxing as well as study time.

LynetteScavo Sat 11-May-13 17:21:23

You can lead a horse to water......

My DS knows he needs to do well in his GCSE's (we have make that very clear) and swears blind he will put some effort in in Y10.

We will see.

Bowlersarm Sat 11-May-13 17:25:11

I've got one of those. I've run out of ideas. He's a lovely boy but just won't work outside of school. Very frustrating and baffling. Shall keep an eye on this thread for inspiration, if you don't mind OP!

LadySlatternlysHoover Sat 11-May-13 17:27:56

When DS1 was 14, I got fed up of listening to myself telling him to revise. I just backed off completely and he ended up cramming for exams at the last minute.

I think he hated that experience because, when he was doing his GCSEs he asked me to make sure he worked out a revision plan shock. I told him I would help him plan it out but I wasn't going to be responsible for making sure he stuck to it. That was up to him.

SirChenjin Sat 11-May-13 17:29:37

14 year old boys up and down the country seem to be like this - everyone I know with one is tearing their hair out.

Our 14 year old currently has the following in place after a less than illustrious school career to date -
* Only has access to certain sites on his PC eg BBC bitesize (DH is the techie one, not sure how he did this)
* No phone or ipod in his room when revising
* Financial bribe of a certain amount of money for every band 1 he gets in his standard grades (equiv. or thereabouts to your gcses)
* An agreed period of both revision time and down time
* A clear understanding of what he needs to get into the uni course he wants - after we sat down with him and went through all the perspectuses and pointed out that no, his university of choice wasn't just keeping a seat for him
* We hammered home that we will not (and cannot, more to the point - this might not be so easy for you if you are in a stronger financial position) support him financially if he choses to waste his time and not get the grades he needs. We sat down with him, showed him how much he would get on the dole/on a minimum wage job, how much rent/utilities/food/etc costs and how much he would have left at the end of the month.

Don't know if any of the above will actually work though! DH has taken a conscious decision to stop worrying, and told DS that he cannot make him study and he cannot make him want to do well - hard for me to hear, but probably the best approach.

If it's any consolation I have a friend who is a maths teacher with 20 years experience, and she assures me this is very common amongst 14 year old boys. It's not until they get into their Higher/Advanced Higher years that they suddenly seem to get their act together.

Good luck - I feel your pain grin

ThreeBeeOneGee Sat 11-May-13 17:29:45

Sometimes at this age they don't actually know how to start revising.

Help him break down each subject into topics and make a list of them. Then count the topics and work out how many he needs to revise each week in order to cover the material before the exams.

Give him some ideas of effective revision methods: mindmaps, flashcards, self-testing etc and see how he gets on with the first few topics. Maybe a couple of topics each evening, half an hour on each.

crazynanna Sat 11-May-13 17:30:53

With mine..the bribery actually works, so dd is obviously as shallow as her mother blush She is now, as we type, at the library for £20

LadySlatternlysHoover Sat 11-May-13 17:32:08

Oh, I did (and am still doing) financial bribes as well crazynanna grin

ThreeBeeOneGee Sat 11-May-13 17:34:57

I say this from experience. Until I stepped in last summer, DS1's idea of 'revision' was to skim-read his exercise books, which didn't really contain many actual notes, mostly just cryptic lists and one-word answers to quizzes for which he had forgotten the questions!

mindfulmum Sat 11-May-13 17:35:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FreddieMisaGREATshag Sat 11-May-13 17:38:07

3rd year at secondary school is the worst year for this. Just before they start their GCSE's when they have to do a ton of subjects they really have no interest in and know they won't be carrying on come Sept.

Not that that helps mind you grin

SlummyMummy65 Sat 11-May-13 18:06:41

Thank you for all the tips and advice so far - good to hear we're not alone! Like the idea of blocking sites on the laptop but a bit of a technophobe so not sure how to do that... Also toying with idea of wake-up call/grim reality check if fail GCSEs! wink

SirChenjin Sat 11-May-13 18:58:52

I've just realised I said DS was 14 - he is in fact 15! Not with it these days blush We've only recently seen a upping of his revision and are now in the middle of his standard grades. Last year was a nightmare.

Lawgirl Sat 11-May-13 19:14:22

My DS is 16 and his GCSEs start on Monday. He was actually doing quite well (finished biology last year and got an A after v little revision) but something has gone wrong.

He forgot an important history exam at the beginning of the year despite us having diarised the exams and helped him prepare a revision timetable. The exam accounted for something like 40% of his overall mark.

I may be making excuses for him but I feel maybe this has caused a crisis of confidence and he has now totally opted out of history, also opted out of Spanish which he wasn't confident in, smoked weed to the extent that he and his clothes, room everything stank of it and he came home high, and disastrously now refuses to do any revision at all for his exams over the next month.

He stays out til late, deprives himself of sleep deliberately, and point blank refuses to even open a book at home. He is on self destruct and I feel impotent. He was a late onset with puberty and we thought we'd got away with him having his "Kevin" time but boy are we paying for it now!

What to do?

UnderwaterBasketWeaving Sat 11-May-13 19:20:38

Here's a link to some good GCSE science revision videos

They're aimed at aqa but probably have a lot of transferrable content. See if you can get them to make notes (or even better a mind map) as they watch the vids. By handling the info in their mind they're more likely to remember.

And videos feel less like revision than studying from books (NB: copying from books is absolutely useless, as there's no active thought going on).

I reckon, if there's this kind of youtube resource for science (and there are several out there), surely there must be similar for other subjects?

Hope that helps sorry you've got to unblock youtube!

JollyOrangeGiant Sat 11-May-13 19:22:57

I did no revision for my highers until it was too late. I was terrified of failing and so didn't know how to start. I can look back now and know I was depressed. But although I've grown up a bit since then I am still not great at dealing with big issues and situations and once I start procrastinating I find it very difficult to stop.

I honestly don't know what my parents could have done to help me.

Maybe your children are not as lazy as you think, just completely overwhelmed with the enormity of what they're expected to deal with age 14 and the consequences failure could have on the rest of their lives?

hilary2012 Sat 11-May-13 19:33:47

Maybe being naive but what 'exams' do 14 years olds have to revise for? I've come from abroad and am not aware of any exams my daughters are sitting????? Are they hiding something from me?

FreddieMisaGREATshag Sat 11-May-13 19:36:32

In my DCs case they are "set" for maths/english/french/science according to those exams for their gcse's hilary

SirChenjin Sat 11-May-13 19:38:07

In Scotland they sit their prelims at 14/15 (S3) and then the actual exam at 15/16 (S4)

SlummyMummy65 Sat 11-May-13 19:55:23

Many thanks underwaterbasketweaving - just checked out that YouTube resource and it's fantastic! DS even likes it, said some looked worth watching just for fun! He definitely learns better visually so this is spot on for him.

Does anyone else know of other mini lectures like this for other subjects? Guess easier to do for topics like geography but not so easy for history?

Think may have spotted small light at end of tunnel... smile

FreddieMisaGREATshag Sat 11-May-13 20:00:04

Oh thank you for those vids! DD is a visual learner that will be so useful.

UnderwaterBasketWeaving Sat 11-May-13 21:35:12

grin at "watching just for fun"!

Don't let him get sucked into then!

And if you've got someone doing higher tier or A level, is just incredible.

chocoluvva Sat 11-May-13 23:23:24

SirChenjin - they sit 'prelims' every year of major exams. English parents call them 'mocks'.

Your DS will have prelims before his highers and advanced highers too.

OP - there are often threads on the 'Secondary Education' forum about reluctant revisers.

If he doesn't get down to much studying and doesn't do well in his GCSE's then he'll realise he needs to do more for his AS levels. I sympathise - my 16YO is sitting the Scottish equivalent of AS levels at the moment and just won't/can't get down to much studying. I've tried everything; bribery, encouragement, withdrawal of x/y/z all to no avail. It's so frustrating. At her request we got her tutors for two subjects and she still doesn't do all the work they set her. She said she was beginning to panic about one of the exams, but she still isn't doing much for it. She rejects my offers of help and my advice about leaving her phone in a different room while she studies. I've suggested she does a bit before she gets up/studies in the garden/reads things in bed instead of waiting till the afternoon to get started and always sitting on her bed, but she rejects all advice. She won't use revision aids like Bitesize either. Sometimes it is a case of you can lead a horse to water but.... unfortunately.

My advice is not to stress about it at this stage. Hopefully he will mature. Plenty of boys (and girls do become more focused when they're a bit older). Try to get him to tell you how he's feeling about his exams so you know what might work for him then you can support him in the way that's best for him. That might be taking a step back.

SirChenjin Sun 12-May-13 20:11:59

I know they do Choco - I was answering a question from Hilary upthread who was asking what exams 14 year olds sit smile

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