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 Post subject: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:31 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:13 am
Posts: 112
Hi all,
I've been lurking around the board for awhile now and thought it was time to join in!
My ds will be sitting his exam in September, he will be 10 and 2 weeks old. That is my first concern.
Second is the tutored/ not tutored dilemma. He goes to a mediocre primary school where he has always done well often working two years head of his year group but they offer no help, advice or extra work with regards to working towards the 11 plus. I know there will be some elements to the exam that would be simply alien to him that he has not covered in yr 5, especially in maths. We've done practice papers, he flies through vr and non vr as he does seem 'wired' that way but he is very slow with his maths, he gets there in the end but takes his time. I'm doing my best with explaining and working through papers/ questions etc but I 'm probably not the best teacher for him.
Any help or advice would be most appreciated

 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:10 am 

Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2086
Location: Birmingham
I would suggest looking at the sticky on the exam content.

"He flies through VR".

That is good, but traditional VR is not actually covered in the CEM exams.
It is for Handsworth Grammar and the Indies though.

 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:13 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:42 pm
Posts: 984
Location: Birmingham
Hi Lottie, welcome to the forum!

I am on my way out, but thought I would just give you a quick reply just to say that there are plenty of people on here in a similar situation. State primary schools generally barely acknowledge the 11 plus and the onus of any preparation is on you as the parent to prepare the child for the exams. After I get DS1's gloomy news next week, I will have to pick myself up to prepare DS2 for this September too.

With regards to your concern about you DS's age, they do take take this into account to a certain extent when they standardise the scores. I am not an expert on this bit, but as far as I understand they do check whether the ages of the candidates in the cohort shows a pattern of scores and adjust the standardised score they are given accordingly (you are probably only talking about a few marks though, not huge amounts).

Professional tutor vs parental tuition? This is a personal choice. Look at the sticky at the top of Brum forum for the exam content and think about whether you are able to DIY. Many people, including me, have opted for this and you can ask here about relevant material although you will find plenty of info if you search through previous posts. You will probably have to brush up a little yourself on some areas but it is possible.

On the other, some parents prefer to avoid all the extra drama of tutoring themselves, lack confidence / knowledge or do not have the time, so seek an outside tutor. It depends on your situation and whether you can find a tutor you can have confidence in. Either way, parental input/involvement is still vital to the whole process.

As for the maths, I would suggest that this is the area where often (but not always) perseverance and repeat practice of question types can show the biggest and relatively quickest improvement. Work through topic by topic to ensure that you have covered everything. At this stage, the Bond Assessment papers are a good choice but try to mix it with other question types too.

You have time, believe me he will get quicker with practice. My DS was always a bookish type of boy and ssssoooooo slow at maths, we just had our Indie school results and although he didn't get a place, both schools said that his maths mark was good (but his writing let him down).



 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:13 am
Posts: 112
Thank you both, I 'll have a good read through of previous posts.
Tbh, I 'm finding all abit daunting so god knows how my ds is feeling!


 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:40 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:37 pm
Posts: 87
Hi lottie,

To add to the excellent advice already given above, one recommendation we followed which if not already doing so, was to use a notebook and fill it new words that DS encountered whilst reading, tv etc. I cannot underestimate the benefits of early preparation with regards to english as in our case with DS being a ‘very logical male’ found it developed over a period of time, rather than using a wham bam approach, and only really realised its value towards the end. This helped in a number of areas such as VR, synonyms/antonyms, eng comprehension, eng writing etc.

We noticed that his ability to express himself improved which in turn led to more compelling pieces of work, to the point where he would often bring both us and teachers to tears with some of his writing. Recently in his exam he had to compose himself because he brought himself to tears! – bless him :D

I remember a piece of practice work at the start of the year, where I asked him to “describe his last 5 minutes of last day at his current school, whilst sitting in his chair waiting for the bell.” At the beginning, he was using the ‘sky is blue like the ocean’ and ‘the grass is green like emeralds’, a year of talks about writing from the heart combined with general maturity led him to redo the piece at which point he wrote the following, of which I have extracted a few words:

“....as I glanced at the clock the minutes edged closer to 3:30, and looking across the empty playing fields I could see ghosts of my former self playing with my friends, I could see where I scored my first goal, my first fall, first injury, meeting my best friend, so many memories etched in my heart. It is time for us to move on and let new children make fresh memories, I whispered goodbye as I knew this was the last time I will see though a child’s eyes these fields, these fields of dreams.”

In terms of maths, we developed basic arithmetic and then only once these were hardcoded did we bring speed into the equation, as already mentioned above, repetition will help to achieve this. One thing that I would highly recommend that helped us immensely, was to make sure that DS could actually apply his maths skills.

In summer we repaired some garden fence panels and I tasked DS with calculating fence panels, posts, sand, cement DS also researched the best value shed to house his bikes and he helped in the whole process form finding the site, ordering, building and finishing. Things such as working out surface areas of shed and panels to calculate how much paint to buy, number of blocks to use for the base etc.

Maths is integrated in our everyday lives and even in the supermarket which of two products is better value challenge would take place, using weight and cost. He has spotted a few ‘mistakes’ where the multipack is more expensive than 2 single items, so saved a few pennies :lol: Other things to try are theoretical holiday planning including excursions, and days out to adventure theme parks where the journey is car versus train – which is better value etc, the limits are endless.

All this was in aid of developing DS applied maths skills, the best analogy I can think of is building a wall which I used to help explain to DS.

Most children are given a problem and can extract the necessary bits of info (blocks) and then begin to build a perfect gap free wall, and many including us focused on building the perfect tallest wall as a measure of progress. If you take away some blocks then some children can only build to a certain height as they hit a stumbling block (pardon the pun), and some can only build the wall if all the blocks are present and laid out neatly. What worked for us was to focus on the skill to build a wall with some missing blocks. So is DS able to build a wall using limited resources as opposed to building a skyscraper with full resources.

I stress that each child is different and the methods that worked for us may differ to someone else, so exposure to variety is the key.

Oh nearly forgot - It may sound like a cliché but one very important often underrated and easily overlooked preparation is reading. I don’t think I am qualified to express the benefits you can gain from reading, it enriches many facets and for a logical boy to go from hating english to churning through books is probably the most satisfying and rewarding feeling we have witnessed to date. I promised myself that there would be no more poems but under the circumstance the master Roald Dahl can help convey in a far superior way that I could possibly even attempt, this is rather long but I savour every word, it is one of my fav, and promise this is the last one!

Bets of luck

"Mike Teavee..."

The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Roald Dahl

 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:45 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:44 pm
Posts: 357
Your son wrote that!!! I would be happy with the grass is green like emeralds! You must be very proud of him.

I think mine has a way to go yet :lol:

 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:37 pm
Posts: 87
faitaccompli wrote:
Your son wrote that!!! I would be happy with the grass is green like emeralds! You must be very proud of him.

I think mine has a way to go yet :lol:

:D :D .. that made me smile, having been in those shoes – yes and he still manages to surprise us, I have asked for more to read but very hard to pry the xbox controller from his hands. :D

I would like to put this down to my inspirational thought provoking one-to-one sessions, but truth be told, we did notice the changes as he matured and got nearer to the exams which was probably the main driver. We slowly noticed things started to click and fall into place and all the effort we had invested had not been in vain, so perseverance was key.

Taking into account DS age, any depth and meaning in his writing I think are as a direct result of his reading material, which enables him to delve into characters and emotions in greater detail.

Keep up the reading and practice and it will all hopefully slot into place. If we had to sum up the english element it would be “the most frustrating but most rewarding.”

Good luck.

 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:15 pm
Posts: 196
Location: Birmingham
Wow! wow! wow! I just loved that piece of creative writing from your son, it just blew me away. No wonder he did so well in the exams.

 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:14 am
Posts: 530
Me too! I quickly read it first thinking it was some famous extract :shock:

Your DS def deserves that place at KES... that sent a shiver down my spine!

 Post subject: Re: Newbie!!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:30 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:43 pm
Posts: 187

That write-up of your son is awesome! You have a highly talented author on your hands!

Note to self : Should try and get an autograph from this child prodigy.

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