My 10 year old daughter ended the last school year with brilliant academic results. The first 6 months of this year at school, DD kept coming home saying she felt bored with a lot of the school work. Her mid year report was really not good... My daughter seems to not only have become stagnant with her learning, but slipped backwards. Her writing became perfunctory, and she went from getting 100% for Maths 'basic facts' (as is usual every year) to not doing well at it just weeks later.
This is pretty heartbreaking to me, to be honest. All these years I have worked with my daughter including doing correspondence work with her, to keep her motivated and happy with learning. This year I have been unable to help her due to illness. The saddest part is she is really in the worst state of her life academically and motivationally now, and an outstanding school report is required for her to get into a class for academically gifted children next year at a different school. This was our big hope for her, as she attended ODS up until the end of last year and I think she really misses it. Also, I am unable to keep up with doing most of her learning with her at home.
My daughter does still have motivation in some circumstances... I know this because the few times I can help her with Maths and problem solving etc, her eyes light up very bright and she gets so excited she can't be still.
Generally though, everything is becoming a hassle... She won't even practice her music which she proclaims to love. I am actually not pushing things as I literally don't have energy, and am unsure how forcing my daughter to do something is going to help her in the long run. I suspect she is missing having me as her teacher.
Should I try to 'make' my daughter perform better academically, do you think? Has anybody else been in this kind of situation - and if so, what helped your child? Recently she thinks she bombed out in the ICAS test after just missing out on a high distinction last year, and she came home crying because she also missed out on the school speech finals (she came 2nd last year and has been in the finals every year before this year). My concern is DD feels she is in a spiral if failure and thinks she is doing everything 'wrong' etc. I have spoken with her and she seems to be coping ok now, but I am aware that letting things slide is probably not going to help her in the long run. The chances of her getting into the gifted class next year are possibly dashed already (entry criteria are purely results based). This may mean more years not being catered for appropriately at school, without ODS and without me teaching her regularly either.
Mostly I don't really care about test results, but just about my daughter's happiness and motivation. I just hope she can keep motivation for anything, be it music or art or academics, or her fundraising project. Everything seems to be a drag this year though.
I'm finding this too - age just turned 14. Have just contacted the school today - i'm not sure if it's a case of being bored and lacking stimulation and challenges, or if it's more to dumb-down and fit in. I'm just trying to get a better handle on the cause. D says it's 'boring' 'stupid' work - but she does have a very narrow view of what she thinks is worthwhile learning and what she considers is a waste of time!!!! She's just started slacking off on homework for the first time ever which is not good. Up until now she's managed it herself and set a high standard and done really well.
I'm finding it frustrating too, she has so much potential but right at the moment it's just wasted. I'm hoping she'll get motivated again and actually want to make the most of things. Our college has been really approachable and makes a real effort when we have contacted them in the past re social issues so that's been good, and they thought carefully about how they placed her in college, but I'm also aware it's a small school and maybe just doesn't have the cross section and numbers to have extension groups on the go.
I too don't mind if she's not top in tests, but I do want her to put in a good effort, be motivated, and make the most of opportunities (whatever they end up being) when they come up, and be passionate about learning and life. And be happy!
It's like you can bring a horse to water but when it's stubborn you can't make it drink.
Just a suggestion... ask your DD what she would change about her work, classroom or the teaching method to make it more inspiring. If anything in the world were possible, how would your DD solve the situation? Are there subjects she would like to learn about that the school doesn't cover? If she gets her class work done can she spend the extra time online learning about something she's interested in? Can she take her own ipad to school and continue on a project there? Can you get a mentor into the class to extend her in a subject or introduce a new field of study? If not, can you get after school tuition in whatever her passion is? She may not have enough subject experience to know what she is passionate about. You could both explore possibilities at home. For a couple of weeks she may like to talk to your friends/neighbours/relatives about their jobs. Where there is a gap with people you know, she could book an appointment with local business owners/workers to discuss what their jobs entail and the challenging/mundane aspects of the job. This should give her some positive knowledge to draw on when choosing a direction of focus in her class.
If she is given responsibility over her own education she will be more likely to strive in her learning.
My son lost a bit of motivation too in year 6. I think he had basically outgrown primary school. He was frustrated that it appeared nobody in his class even wanted to learn. We managed to get him through as he was busy with afterschool activities and he too had One Day School. I think that was his real savour.
I think he may have only gotten participation in his ICAS in year 6..... but you can't let that bother you. They really are aimed at the top of the top, and if you haven't yet been taught it, you can't possibly know the answers.
We found intermediate school much more motivating for him. There are alot more subjects to choose from, new people to meet (my son made alot of new friends during this time), and he has gone on to high school and made it to the top stream.
Basically what I am trying to say is, I don't think it's unusual for them to lose a bit of the passion during that final year of primary. It does come a bit ho-hum there unless they have a teacher that really "gets them" and does extra for them. My suggestion would be, if you can, keep her going at One Day School and just try and keep her busy.
All the best. I hope things go well.
I think there are some great suggestions here and I am not sure what I would add. I have an 11 yr-old who struggled with all of the issues you mentioned above and it can be very frustrating. Primary school was a nightmare. However, as is the case with Tina's son, we found that things improved a lot at intermediate school. From what we observede, a lot of the kids get excited about the new opportunities, new schoolmates, perhaps being treated like they actually had brains and could think for themselves. Hopefully that may help your daughter somewhat. I can understand it's so difficult now but we had 4.5 years of boredom and lack of motivation and managed to move past that once intermediate started.
The other thing I would mention, and I don't know what options you have here, but it's a little off for entry into a gifted class to be purely results based. Is it possible to speak with the GATE coordinator and discuss the difficulties your daughter is having at the moment, show him/her some previous performances etc?
Thank you for the helpful responses :-) it seems this motivation issue might be partly related to her age/ stage at school then. I am very pleased to read that some of your children have found their motivation again at intermediate school, regardless of what primary school was like for them.
I have some good news. My daughter has returned to ODS thanks to a kind family member :-) amazing thing... The same time she returned to ODS, the motivation for her music is suddenly the best it has ever been and I am shocked by how well she is doing... making up her own music, practicing without being asked at all. she is super excited to play what she has been making up, for her music teacher.
Another thing I did was decide it's 'ok' to accept outside help. A kind young woman has emailed my daughter a bit and been talking about her own memories of school, and also asking my girl about her dreams for the future and ways she can reach goals. I think my daughter has really liked that.
I feel much more hopeful for my daughter now. There are some upcoming events with a couple of gifted groups she is involved with, and I am making sure she will go with her Dad to all of them. I think making sure things are interesting and varied for her during the remainder of the year is the way to go. Soon we have the open evening for the intermediate and I am going to try my best to attend, and speak with the teacher of the GATE class hopefully. I did send in the end of 2011 school report as well, with the admission forms because it was very different from the mid year report this year.
'A', I really hope things improve for your daughter too. It is so true, you can't force motivation in someone. Maybe just try to inspire it. Can be hard to know how to help sometimes!