Daughter is no longer doing so well academically. Lazy/distracted/not trying!

(35 Posts)
whyisthishappening Mon 10-Mar-14 13:29:40

My daughter is 6.
Everyone has always commented on her intelligence.
Initially her vocabulary scored at a very high level and her maths ability also was very advanced. Her reading age is high. She did very well in reception.

This last year we've seen a huge dip. She is now average/below average except in her reading.

She comes from a family of high achievers but I don't believe we've been putting high levels of pressure on her. We just know what she's capable of and when she doesn't even try it is really frustrating. I want her to enjoy school but she seems to be developing a very lazy attitude. She wants to play and she's resistant to lessons. She interrupts and won't sit still.

I don't think it would bother me so much if she wasn't bright - it is the attitude that bothers me - I want her to work hard at school, to do her best. I would like her to show her true potential.

I'm not sure what I should be doing. I feel like I'm failing her.

The school has advised various things to practice with her. I am dyslexic but initial tests suggest she isn't. Socially and physically she was behind but she is now doing fine in these areas.

Her behavior is brilliant although when she does occasionally get upset it is very intense and over the top. She will then take a long time to calm down.

School have moved her up and down groups quite a bit this year but now she's mostly in the bottom groups. Her school books show she is capable of good work.

Any advice?

Mygoldfishrocks Mon 10-Mar-14 13:32:48

Well my advice would be to stop all pressure and just let her get on with her stuff at school. She's 6. I opened the thread expecting you to be describing a teenager but no. A child in , what, year 1?

However I would suspect that's not what you're after.

Artandco Mon 10-Mar-14 13:35:59

Are you working with her at home? I'm assuming you worked with her to some point before she started school. On speech, reading etc as you do with 3-4 year olds. Have you decreased since she started school? Or continued on same level.

My eldest is 4. Each day we get him to read x2 small books to us as well as his reading book. We read x2 longer books to him after.
We also get him to practice and write 5 new words a day. Started with on/ the/ cat etc and now progressing to today's taken/ shaken/ wake/ walk/ people.
He also does a page of basic maths ie addition 11+3=
Have only been doing this since January but its made a huge difference.

ELR Mon 10-Mar-14 13:36:04

She is 6 for goodness sake cut the girl some slack and let her play!

I also expected this to be about a teenager...

Take the pressure off, stop worrying about levels. Concentrate on spending time together after school. Read books, chat, go to the park, have fun.

6 is very little still, many children that age don't want to sit still and be 'taught'.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 10-Mar-14 13:43:50

Art WTAF? He is 4 FFS, he should be playing, not sitting down to do worksheets and writing. hmm

OP has the school actually said that she is G&T, or is that only your opinion?

ReallyTired Mon 10-Mar-14 13:43:58

I think you need to have a chat with your child's teacher to see if there is anything wrong. Are there friendship issues? Is your daughter struggling to adapt to the different learning style of year 1?

I don't think you can assess "giftedness" in reception. The quality of pre school education, the date of the child's birthday makes a huge difference in reception. Later on raw intelligence and work attitude make a bigger difference. I think you have have to accept that some of the children in her class have caught up and even over taken her. Prehaps this has dented her confidence. Prehaps being moved down tables has demoralised her.

Artandco you sound scarily pushy. I don't think its necessary to push a four year old that hard. I agree with you that daily reading practice is a must.

Artandco Mon 10-Mar-14 14:01:32

I don't see it as pushy at all. He takes about 5 mins to do some maths, and looks the the words throughout the day ie they are on table so he can just look at breakfast or in eve for a few mins. We read before bed

He has to read daily anyway and we have always read to them. So it's only an extra 2 books and few words more. He has always read loads himself anyway so hardly a chore. He still has hours a day to play outside/ dig in mud/ climb trees.

Artandco Mon 10-Mar-14 14:03:40

And unfortunately whether they like it or not most 6 year olds do have to sit and work at some point. Surely it's just making it natural. Here in London at 3 many are taking exams to even get in a school, then again at 7 to move to juniors. At 7 they will be fully expected to sit, listen and write

ClownsLeftJokersRight Mon 10-Mar-14 14:09:28

Exams at 3??grin

Artandco Mon 10-Mar-14 14:12:24

Clowns - yes seriously. Luckily the school mine attend/ well attend don't have this system, but all of their friends at neighbouring schools have had to spend several days at different school to see whether they will be accepted. Most nurseries will be training the children from 2/3 to pass the exams

whyisthishappening Mon 10-Mar-14 14:13:17

I really don't think we've been putting pressure on her. I wondered if we have been a bit lax and maybe needed to have done more at home. I want her to enjoy school and have friends - but I also want her to do well.

We do her reading most nights (sometimes she is tired or we don't have time), she does her homework and spellings every week.
I've never done that much with her academically at home although she writes mini-books. She writes pages of stories about fairies and unicorns. Her literacy work at school is occasionally up the the same standard but mostly very messy and just a few sentences . She does lots of craft activities, she loves the library. She goes to dance class (recommended to help her physical development). She goes to the park, she loves lego.

She struggled with the other children and was mostly playing with older children; she is now getting more friends in her age group. She was bullied last year by an older child.

Her creativity and imagination are always being mentioned by the school.

GooseyLoosey Mon 10-Mar-14 14:14:39

OP - could there be something else going on with her at school? Is she unhappy with some aspect of it? Do the school have an explanation for her behaviour?

Artandco - Have you thought what outcome you want from your approach? Your ds may learn more than the other children, but the school are likely to teach all of them the same. I could read and write etc at 4 and spent my early school years bored to tears.

iseenodust Mon 10-Mar-14 14:16:31

IME learning goes in spurts as they do with height. You say school has given you some ideas so give them some time to work. Age 6 is a bit early to say she is not showing her potential. It may lie in foreign languages or engineering. If there is movement up and down tables this is good as the teacher is monitoring/adapting and it can mean upwards too.

There is a gap perhaps though in you saying her behaviour is brilliant and school reporting she will not sit still and interrupts.

GooseyLoosey Mon 10-Mar-14 14:16:46

I have just seen the bullied bit. Don't underestimate the impact that this can have on a child even if it has now been stopped. What form did the bullying take?

Ds was the victim of some low level bullying for years. By the time we moved him, it came as a surprise to us to learn he had virtually stopped speaking in class because he had been singled out as being geeky and a bit mouthy/

NurseyWursey Mon 10-Mar-14 14:17:16

She is 6.

6.

Dear god.

Also you cannot assess gifted and talented at such a young age IMO. reallytired has touched on reasons why.

I absolutely hated being classed as 'gifted and talented' because people always expect some super human level of knowledge, expecting me to come out and write a symphony or something. There's nothing wrong with sometimes being average.

And some children aren't gifted, but are just simply clever for their age. It catches up on them when they start settling and become on the same level as everyone else but then parents and teachers end up disappointed as their little genius isn't as astounding anymore.

ClownsLeftJokersRight Mon 10-Mar-14 14:18:53

why Teachers do actually say that many children are creative and imaginative when describing this age-group. Because they often are..

Exams at 3 sounds depressing Artsad

ReallyTired Mon 10-Mar-14 14:23:02

Artandco even in London the majority of four year olds attend state primaries which are non selective. In fact London has the best state schools in the UK.

Children do have to sit down and work, but not at four!
At four learning social skills is more important than reading. Children develop academic work skills in their own time and the majority of seven year olds in mainstream UK state schools can sit down and work independently. Children's concentration improves as they get older.

Children's development and progress goes in fits and spurts.

Beastofburden Mon 10-Mar-14 14:24:21

I think it is very difficult to assess if a six year old is gifted and talented.

Much more likely that she had a spurt of development slightly ahead of her peer group and now she is consolidating.

Leave the poor child alone. Make sure she gets enough exercise, fresh air and fun. If she is genuinely bright she will motivate herself; if she isn't, you will make her miserable.

Artandco Mon 10-Mar-14 14:26:05

Goosey - everyone at ds's school can read. Very advanced reading tbh at the age of 4/5.
Hence we started the extra at home as although he can read we felt he was going to be left behind otherwise. I don't think he is learning more than the others at all, I think he is now at around the same level.
Many children at his school already have tutors/ governesses and its a very privalidged area so I think the schools expect higher than usual.

I hope our approach means he doesn't find the work too hard as he gets older, and that when he gets lots more homework it doesn't come as a huge shock

Marne Mon 10-Mar-14 14:26:37

I think it's ok to do work at home but only if the child enjoys it, dd1 has always done work through her own choice and mainly using the computer but we have never pushed her to do anything, she has always thrived at school. Your dd is only 6, a lot of kids may seem bright before they start school and in the early years compared to other children their age but a lot of the others do catch up and others slow down. If she enjoys reading then I would just let her read, she can learn a lot from reading ( my dd is a book worm and it has given her excellent vocabulary, great story righting skills and great general knowledge), if you push too much you will just make learning less fun for her.

KatnipEvergreen Mon 10-Mar-14 14:32:36

^I really don't think we've been putting pressure on her. I wondered if we have been a bit lax and maybe needed to have done more at home. I want her to enjoy school and have friends - but I also want her to do well.

We do her reading most nights (sometimes she is tired or we don't have time), she does her homework and spellings every week.
I've never done that much with her academically at home although she writes mini-books. She writes pages of stories about fairies and unicorns. Her literacy work at school is occasionally up the the same standard but mostly very messy and just a few sentences . She does lots of craft activities, she loves the library. She goes to dance class (recommended to help her physical development). She goes to the park, she loves lego.

She struggled with the other children and was mostly playing with older children; she is now getting more friends in her age group. She was bullied last year by an older child.

Her creativity and imagination are always being mentioned by the school.^

It sounds like there is absolutely nothing to worry about, in that case.

whyisthishappening Mon 10-Mar-14 14:57:36

Goosey Loosey

The bullying in reception was quite severe. It has been sorted out although there was some low level bullying from her best friend at school at the beginning of this school year. This does seem to be ongoing but they are no longer best friends and they have been moved to different tables.

There didn't really seem to be much impact on her from the severe bullying, she was upset for a week and then it settled down. She was most upset about getting the bully in trouble with the head teacher.

She isn't as confident as she used to be - so we are probably underestimating the effects of the bullying.

GooseyLoosey Mon 10-Mar-14 15:44:53

You may or may not be. We thought the bullying had had no effect on ds - it was only when he changed school that the profound impact it had had was observable. Ds himself was not even aware of it but his new teachers started asking what was wrong straight away.

Your dd may not be affected at all but it is something worth considering.

Art - wow, that sounds quite high pressure.

MrsRuffdiamond Mon 10-Mar-14 18:03:45

Imo 6 year olds should not even be in formal education.

You do know that studies have been done showing that countries which start formally educating their children later (6/7) invariably have better outcomes in numeracy and literacy at age 12?

Hothousing 4-6 year olds is ludicrously pushy, and potentially damaging for the child.

My 9 yr old was put on the G and T list at his school, and I take it with a pinch of salt. All it means is that he was in the top 10 per cent when they were tested. Depending on the cohort, therefore, he could be Einstein. or just quite good at maths. My guess is - quite good at maths.

I would support him in whatever he wanted to do, but when given the choice of going on a day maths course or training with his football club, he chose the latter. And that's fine. Let them be children. They're far more likely to reach their potential in a relaxed atmosphere, and they've got a whole lifetime to be on the treadmill. sad

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