Welcome to the Forum!
Firstly, you are not "woefully unprepared". A lot of parents are far more in the dark than you are at this stage. Keep reading the Bucks Forum posts and you will be quite well-prepared fairly soon.
If you would like to send me a PM (click on "PM" at the bottom of this post) telling me which area you are in I will try to suggest someone who you might contact for a tutor. If it isn't in my area I can contact some long-standing Forum members who may be able to make suggestions.
As a very, very young child for his year he has the process of Age-Standardisation very much on his side, and that will help enormously with scoring. In the event that he missed the pass mark by 4-5 points it would probably help quite a lot at an Appeal too.
The evidence is that he is bright enough to get through the 11+, so it is all down to strategy. You have a lot of time to play with, so plan ahead, and be stealthy.
he is bright, but finds it incredibly hard to focus and get on with the task in hand.
I think I could write the book on that one! It comes with practice.
We are considering a tutor, but have found that most are fully booked. One that was recommended has offered to spend 3 hours with me to teach me how to home tutor.
You can find an extraordinary amount of advice here on home-tutoring, but that is also an interesting offer. If this is a reputable tutor, you could learn a lot about "mental technique" from him/her, and then take the practical advice from this Forum. I would put that one in the bank for now.
However, I agree that boys are more problematic to deal with than girls for home-tutoring. I have always recommended bribery as a successful strategy, and it got my son through the 12+ and is helping DS2 to focus very clearly on his 11+ this year.
I would never bribe a child to pass the 11+, but I would bribe them to do the work required to attempt it. I haven't needed to use much bribery with DS2 until recently, and now the bribe is one thing that he has wanted for a long time. If he does all his practice and tutoring and stays cool
, he will get that "something special" straight after the second test.
... and said he didn't want to pass, and that he would deliberatly make mistakes so he failed! Up until now he has been keen to go to a grammar school.
I did that (many years ago!), along with two friends, for a very posh private girls school. I was frightened by the big buildings and the fierce teachers, out of my depth socially, I had not been prepared in any way for the entrance test - those were the days! - scared about the possible journey there (very convoluted) and I had also picked up on my parents' worries about money. My friends had similar worries, so we all agreed to fail and go to the local GS instead. The 11+ had just been abolished, and admission was on Head's recommendation only. We thought we would make it through that route, and we did.
That may give you some insight into how your son is feeling at the moment?
Guest55 gives sound advice. Your son needs to see the schools on offer. Open evenings are coming up in the next couple of weeks. Make sure that you go round them this year
. He needs to see what the differences are for himself, and he will be too tired to go round them for the first time next year. On this link, click on "Open Evenings - 2009 entry":
I also agree with Guest55 that you should get one of the Demo CDs on Verbal Reasoning (The Tutors CDs are appropriate for Bucks) and let him play with it. Boys being boys, they just love computer games. If he likes that, order the full CD and let him play with that. They are fractionally less difficult than the real thing for some question types, so they should give him confidence.
The only other thing at this stage is to gently probe as to where all his friends are going. That may be upsetting him.
Do keep looking for Tutor recommendations, and sign up provisionally if you get a good one, but start to do your research on other aspects of this in case that doesn't work out.
We are here when you need us.