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Lack of Focus


montreseg January 21, 2009

Hi there,

I am new to the site and hoping to get some advice. 

My son is in second grad e and seems so very disinterested in school.  This disinterest has created a lack of consistent effort on his part.  He's very bright, funny, charismatic and a natural leader but has little interest in school.  He believes since he knows how to read, spell and count money there is nothing else to learn.  His teacher, dad and i are racking our brains trying to figure out how to help him stay motivated and focused.  We also find that he can study at home and master a concept, get to school for a test and not do well.  I can give him the exact same test at home and he'll score no less than a 95 on the exact same material.

My daughter is 20 and she was excited about school and absent her test taking anxiety and teenage laziness she was a fair student. 

I don't know what to do to help him.  Any ideas???

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vacekd1001 January 21, 2009

right off the top of my head i am wondering if he has a learning disability.
have you observed in his classroom. maybe the environment does not met his needs. are there distractions in the classroom? is the class relatively under control?
does your son have test anxiety?


RedFlame January 22, 2009

Hi Motreseg, I am new to the site also, and I am having similar issues with my son who is in 4th grade. There are some differences, but I think it boils down to motivation. Once you figure out what motivates your child, you can use that to help him do better in school. My son seems motivated by *things*. Some kids like recognition, some like rewards, some like projects, some like being part of a group etc etc. What is frustrating for me is that the school system seems so over burdened that they can't afford to take the time to help kids who aren't "mainstream" learners. The other thing I find frustrating is that individual personalities don't seem to come into play at all anymore either. I hope you get some great feedback and ideas here!


sherylem1 January 22, 2009

My son is in 4th grade, and is also very bright, but lacks the motivation to do well in school. Your son sounds just like mine. My son has aspergers syndrome, and learns things very quickly. He too does very bad on tests, it is not that he does not know the material, for him it has to do with the time restraints attatched to test taking. One of the things that his teachers have done for him is to incorporate his interests into his lessons. He also takes his tests away from the other kids so that he does not have the pressure that he feels like he has to do as well or as fast as the other kids do. My son is a perfectionist and competative. My son is in a special class and it is quite small so I am sure that it is easier to create this environment for him, but it sounds like your sons teacher is open to ideas. Good luck.


TeacherParent January 22, 2009

Has he ever enjoyed school or found it interesting? Preschool? Many children do enjoy preschool as the focus of preschool is usually just that - preschool wants children to leave school each day eager to come back the next day.
If he didn't enjoy preschool and has always seem disinterested in what's happening at school, I'd ask if he has interests outside of school and what are they? Some people seem to go through life without interests but your description of your son suggests to me a very bright child who would have interests of his own.
The right teacher can make a big difference for any child but finding that teacher can be a challenge. Put your ear to the ground about next year's teachers and if you hear of one you think would be good for your son, request that teacher and briefly tell them why you're making the request.
I'd also suggest going in to your son's classroom and observing. If you sit quietly in the back of the room, the normal routine will pick up again around you and maybe you can learn something. You might see if your son is as consistently disinterested as he says he is - see if he can focus. Some children who have trouble focusing and keeping their attention on their teacher, grow disinterested because they're often unsure of what's been said - they come to feel out of the loop and bored. You'd also want to see what exactly the teacher is doing with the class - are there interesting activities or is it worksheet after worksheet?
Of course there is more for him to learn - but a Very Boring approach to teaching may leave your son feeling bored and thinking there's nothing new under the sun. I'd particularly want to observe during a test to see what happens while your son is taking the test at school? Does he stick with it so he can put down those answers that you know he knows? Or does he drift from the test and hand it in with many blanks even though he knew the answers?

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