Son is slacking - FamilyEducation
Son is slacking
10/11/2007 at 13:44 PM

Hi, I am new to the boards and I have a question. My son is in 5th grade and has been classified as gifted. He doesn't know to what extent (from what I see he is on the line between HG and EG) . He is in a pull out Enrichment program and Math program.

He has always been an exceptional writer. His stories are creative and very different from the other kids in his class. He has been singled out for his writing in the past. He has recently told me he is sick of being the only kid in his class who writes the way he does and has been "dumbing down" his writing. The teacher still praises him, because even his mediocre effort is pretty good.

Should I talk to her about what he told me?

Do you think it's his age or do most "gifted" kids do this to fit in at some point? He is pretty popular and his interests are not limited to scholastics.

He has also been not letting me know when he has tests or projects due, then scrambling at the last minute when I find out about it. He thinks he doesn't have to study, but I want him to develop at least some study habits because he's not always going to coast.

I have been nagging a lot.

I am kind of lost. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks.

Hey Farawyn,


Welcome to the boards.  It is hard when kids just do what they have to do to get by and you are right, your son will have some hard classes in the next few years and if he doesn't learn now how to manage his time and study he will have a hard time.  We have faced some of that here with my daughter, she always made great grades with very little work and when she went into middle school and now high school it became hard and she didn't really know what to do.  We still struggle with studying hard and for a long time because she just wants it to come to her like it did when she was younger.


I would make a certain period of time for study, even if he says he has no homework, he still has to study for an hour, two hours whatever you feel is necessary.  We do that here now, our daughter must study every night no matter what the teachers have assigned.  And talk to him about dumbing himself down---talk to him about giving your all even when you can get by with giving a lot less.  About wasting gifts he has been given.


Anyone else have any ideas?




Boy does this sound familar. Sounds like my son and even my husband admits that was his approach in school. Maybe it would help for him to know that when he gets to middle school he is going to really need some solid study skills. They taught note taking and organization in fifth grade and he thought ... not for me. He'd always been able to just listen and absorb and felt like he must be stupid if he needed to take notes. But with multiple classes to keep track of, he never knows where his notes are (usually crumpled at the bottom of his backpack). We start out the year with a notebook for each topic and all the tools to be organized (even letting him pick things himself in hopes to excite him -- yeah right). I have to do backpack checks periodically (and should regularly) just to keep him on track. He feels that being organized is something his creative brain can not and should not attempt. Like it will somehow hinder his creativity. I know a lot of it is personality, but I'm not going to let him use it as an excuse because he is only making more work for himself when he has to redo something. I have to remind him that we all have things we need to work on that don't come naturally and organization is his thing. So accountability seems to be the best lesson for him. It's funny because his sister's personality seems to be quite the opposite. She is neat and orderly by nature. She is very sequential whereas he is very random. As far as the dumbing down, that's pretty common. I think it has to be hard growing up when they are constantly hearing from others how smart they are. They end up either tying too much of their identity to their intelligence and either rebelling against it or freaking out when things finally becoming challenging. When they know they didn't put much effort into a project and still get high praise, they begin to wonder why they should bother with all the effort. Good luck. I sure haven't figured it all out yet.



I did call his teacher about the assignments and she will be checking his agenda every day to make sure he has written everything down. This is "not cool" to him, but as long as he is not being responsible with his schoolwork this is the path I have decided to take with him.

I like the idea of setting time apart to study even if there is no homework. I do that already with reading time, but that is usually books of their choice- maybe I will set aside an hour for schoolwork study.

As for the writing, I think I will mention the comment during our Parent/Teacher conference in a few weeks, but I think maybe to push it may make it worse....?

I appreciate the feedback!


The emphasis on "grades" is what I think makes gifted children coast along.  I have 6 children, and they have different levels of ability in different subjects.  I don't know that I have any EG, but I have some HG and some AVG, and my HGs are AVG in some things.  I have one that is STRG (struggling.)  I knew this early on, so I have always asked my children, before the SEP or at the grading period, the following questions. 

1.  Did you put in effort?

2.  Did your schoolwork reflect what you know?

3.  Did you turn in schoolwork complete and on time?

4.  Did you learn something?

I don't care what the grades are, I care about the effort.  Perhaps direct teaching and objectives about time management would be useful for your boy.