Education Blog

Question: My son is bright and intelligent but lacks motivation at school – what can we do? 

The Telegraph, 6 October 2016 – Read the article in full here.

Vivienne Durham: ‘Homework before screen time’ is a useful parent mantra

One of the wisest things I heard a prep school head teacher say is that, “lots of really bright boys love learning, but hate studying. The trick is to get them to understand that hard work pays off.”   

It’s possible that your son falls squarely into the category of “bright boy” referred to by this sage, old head. 

The first step is to discuss your concerns with your son’s prep school; his teachers are obviously well aware of his patterns of learning and will be able to offer practical advice about how to strengthen your son’s concentration and increase his application.

Do trust your instincts – if you don’t see any improvement in the coming weeks then you can also discuss the possibility of seeking an assessment by an educational psychologist, who will be able to offer an expert diagnosis and ensure that there are no unacknowledged learning needs.

Homework completed before supper time enables the evening to be enjoyable and happy for all members of the family.

Every parent is rightly keen to avoid homework being a battle-ground. Do consider whether you can add in more structure and calm to the routine when your son comes home from school.

A quick snack, followed by an agreed, non-negotiable homework start time, in a quiet place with no access to any phone or tablet device would be ideal. ‘Homework before screen time’ is a useful parent mantra. Homework completed before supper time enables the evening to be enjoyable and happy for all members of the family. 

Lastly, do remember you are not alone in your frustrations so do seek out other parents and professionals to talk to because different people will offer different solutions which could work wonders for your son. 

Vivienne Durham, schools advisory director at Enjoy Education and former head at Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park

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