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How do they self-motivate to do their bloody homework?

(17 Posts)
lizzieoak Thu 26-Oct-17 19:25:43

Ds is a wonderful person. He’s smart and kind and polite. He’s also completely lacking in work ethic when it comes to school. Anything done outside of school hours is like pulling teeth. He’s hopefully off to uni next year but is not working hard enough to get into his first choices, nor enough to get scholarships (he’s totally capable of both).

He blames this on being rejected by some great love, but his work habits have been like this for years. I ask him “what’s your homework today” and he’ll lie, honestly forget he’s got umpteen things to do, put it off till he’s “too tired”.

He is quite stressed and it’s partly anxiety but I have anxiety and still have to bloody go to work (well, when I’m working, got laid off recently). He does some work, but not enough.

Anyone found ways of motivating the buggers or helping them locate their own motivation?

His teachers keep saying “he needs to see the result of his lack of work”, but that approach has not worked yet!

IhaveChillyToes Thu 26-Oct-17 20:31:52

IME I would just do what we did.........

Just say to him. I know you can do really well with your Uni application and getting your school work and exams

So I will stop asking you and trust you to do the work

We did this with DS and he got A*AA (so much better than DH and I were expecting) and got into his 1st choice Uni then did his degree and graduated with a 1st

But he was like your DS, we never seemed to see him working at home, although he had his own room with space to study etc he did essays etc at school during free periods

IMHO Just relax and leave him be because he will have to learn to work alone at Uni


lizzieoak Thu 26-Oct-17 21:54:53

Thanks smile He used to work in his spare block but changed his schedule around so that he can sleep later. So he now only has about 35 minutes at lunch to get anything done.

I went to the all-parents meeting w teachers and he was getting a C in Physics because he hadn’t handed in two pieces of work. His other work sat at 92%.

For sure I am not following what he does when he gets to uni! But I do want him to get there and not reminding him so far has not worked. He gets high B’s and the occasional A because he hands stuff in late and can’t be arsed to revise for exams. His marks this term will be what his uni offers and scholarships are based on. He’s aiming high, but without the habits to back it up.

He’s very good at remembering loads of facts, but not always stuff that’s pertinent to exams. He relies on that too much. He’s also very quick on his feet in so far as class discussions go, so teachers like him as he likes participating. But that’s only a portion of his marks. The teachers are a bit crap on making the kids footnote properly and do primary source material research etc. A friend of mine teaches at university and he says the students arrive shockingly ill-prepared in that way.

It’s just tiring doing it on my own (as a divorced parent). He sees his dad once a week, but his dad never talks to him about school, has never had any idea what classes the kids were in, who their teachers are/were etc.

I’m ready for graduation and stepping back and handing the responsibility to ds!

lizzieoak Thu 26-Oct-17 21:55:37

Other work in Physics I meant.

IhaveChillyToes Thu 26-Oct-17 23:46:07

Ok I get what you are saying

Is there anyone in any of your social circle or family that have already graduated or DC of friends that are in their early 20s or at Uni now that can help him understand how to study alone?

It seems that he has the talent and ability but not how to show he has it or get himself into gear and hand work in on time

Does he have a pastoral tutor at school or his UCAS supervisor that can help him by getting him to realise that it is his responsibility to do the work and hand it in?

Does he have a career goal that he really wants or is he still in the "shrugging shoulders stage" when asked what he wants to be when leaves Uni

If he is perhaps still shrugging get him to write down ideas of what he wants to learn about or enjoys about the subject he wants to do at Uni - that might focus him a bit

Hopefully someone else will come along with ideas

NoCryLilSoftSoft Thu 26-Oct-17 23:48:44

Does he actually want to go to university?

lizzieoak Fri 27-Oct-17 00:43:17

He certainly wants the kind of work you can only do by going to uni (medicine is one of his ideas). He’s not certain what he wants to study and gets really stressed about that. We’re in Canada, where the undergraduate degrees are 4 years and you can faff about in 1st year figuring out what you want to do. But he’s convinced he needs to know now.

He knows some young adults through a summer activity so I could encourage him to talk to them about it (they’re all at uni). He’s be deeply unimpressed if I did it!

We don’t have pastoral supervisors, unless that’s what we call guidance counsellors? His guidance counsellors is quite good, but she’s very overloaded w students. He can go to her but she won’t come to him. And it takes a week or more to get to see her. Our equivalent to a UCAS supervisor is very new and a bit happy clappy at present (that is, not terribly practical), so I’m not sure she’d be much help.

JustDanceAddict Fri 27-Oct-17 11:37:32

It’s hard at this age. I’ve said to dd (15, year 11) that if she wants to go to her chosen sixth form & do her chosen A levels then she has to work, basically. It’s got to be up to her now in the main. The more I nag the less she’s more likely to work as that’s her personality.

Oddsocks15 Sat 28-Oct-17 08:31:43

In exactly same boat with DD, she has GCSE mocks in a couple of weeks time. I’m not convinced she has revised adequately enough, i get that she needs a break, but I’m not convinced by her relaxation/study balance!! Anytime I mention revision it is met with eye roll and/or “leave me alone”.

She is fiercely independent (much like me at her age blush) not wanting help in any area of her life, I’ve learnt to not interfere and I’m really not on her back 24/7, just the occasional check, but even that seems like it is too much. thlshock

Before half term we’ve had two phone calls from school about missing homework which DD is adamant was a misunderstanding between the class and the teachers. confused

Too early in the day for wine ?

BeyondThePage Sat 28-Oct-17 08:48:05

Another one here - don't know how to get through to her that the choices she is making will follow her through life. Too much social life, not enough study - a familiar picture...

We have simply had to step back.

We tried the lot at GCSE level, she could have done so much better - she did well, but not what she should have - simply because she spent much less time studying than she should.

The same is happening this year and her solution is to drop a subject rather than wise up and buckle down. She is 17, her future is hers to command. No matter what we do, it is she who must put the effort in, so stepping back has improved the atmosphere for everyone in the house, if not improving the effort - you can't make someone study - if we get her to stay in she will "read" her books - but she won't really.

If someone has a magic solution, please share... or sell it, you'd make a fortune!

lizzieoak Sat 28-Oct-17 15:13:45

I got an email from one of his teachers (sent to all the parents) saying that if they answer one poll question on her website they’d get a participation credit. He looked really sad and said “ya, I’ll do that this weekend”. Everything will be done later, it’s just so frustrating. He is so smart and while he can recoup this once he gets to uni, it’s seriously impacting on which university he goes to. I think it extremely doubtful he’ll get the scholarships required to go to university out of our city (which is what he wanted to do).

I’m going to have to step back though, as I’m the only person doing it and it’s exhausting and it’s affecting our relationship.

It makes me sad, though, as he’s so smart he could do so much with it. Last year he said he wants to do work that benefits people (epidemiology was one of his interests) and now it’s all minimal efforts. I’m hoping he’ll locate his own motivation soon.

MedSchoolRat Sat 28-Oct-17 15:32:48

Being in Canada is a huge plus for you & him.
I very much believe in late bloomers. He has a lifetime to develop.

My kids = stubborn underachiever, very ambitious hyper-overachiever, a yoyo achiever, and a steady steady plodder. I did Nothing to make them each like that. I don't understand people who tear their hair out trying to make their kids work harder.

I think I helped stop my underachiever being even lower achieving, I suppose.

ps: I work in epidemiology smile

Oddsocks15 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:54:07

Feel your pain BeyondThePage and lizzieoak

MedSchoolRat, hear what you are saying but it hard to step back though when you have the benefit of life experience and your DC are underachieving

lizzieoak Sat 28-Oct-17 17:12:43

I think it adds to his stress not doing the work though. He knows it’s not going to go away and so he’s having a metaphorical Wimpy burger today but not having one later (if you see what I mean). Most of his friends are overachievers so he knows what he could be doing and feels badly about himself due to the girls (the over achievers all seem to be girls) all doing so much work - including paid work (& despite his plans, he’s now declining to get a part time job - & having a part time job is very common here for kids his age).

I just feel that if he’d force himself to do it it would build and he’d feel better about things. The more he avoids it the deeper the hole gets and the more stress he feels about trying to climb out of it.

I said to him last night that if it’s all too much he can take that weight off his back and maybe just do a couple of classes at college level (here he can start at college then transfer to university half way through). But he said he doesn’t want to think about it, just wants to get through. I think he’s got to man up* to thinking about it though as he’s got to do applications soonish.

While I’d like him to be successful and make lots of money, at the end of the day I want him to feel happy. And I’m not sure barely passing classes is going to do that. On the work he hands in he almost always gets above 90% with the occasional mark above 80. He got 96% on a physics exam this week (due to easily grasping the material and a very strong memory). But as so much gets handed in late or forgotten, his overall marks will suffer.

*i use that phrase with regard to myself and other women too, I’ve degendered it in my mind in case it sounds as if I’m putting excessive masculine expectations on him.

lizzieoak Sat 28-Oct-17 17:15:18

Medschool, do you mean because the first year or so at uni you can take electives outside your field or because it’s easier to change programs? I’m not entirely clued up on the UK system as while I lived in England for years it was Post-uni and so not something my friends there discussed.

MedSchoolRat Sat 28-Oct-17 19:10:25

I think OP is saying that medicine is a postgrad course in Canada? So they are much older when they have to aim at that (after a Bachelor's degree) Maybe I misunderstood. In England, the decision about studying medicine may have to be made when someone is 16 or it's much harder to get back on that path. Along with being able to produce the evidence that you're competent enough for it -- gets harder to do that if not done by age 16.

lizzieoak Sun 29-Oct-17 01:18:46

That’s so young to make such a big decision - though clearly that works out for loads of people.

Yes, here people aiming for medicine generally do a BSc in biology or Health Sciences and then go on towards an MD after that. I think the training is as long, it’s just not specialized as early (& our health outcomes are good so this different route isn’t killing us all off).

However, medical school spaces are very limited here and so a fair number are going to Ireland to study.

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