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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:41 am 
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DS seems to be suffering a little in terms of motivation and to be honest so are we. We seem to be constantly either marking, asking him to get some work done or thinking about the 11 plus.

Does everyone have the experiences of the same cycle?

Just wondering what can be done to encourage a more focused approach to the material wor?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:32 am 
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Is it your ds who wants him to go to the grammar, or you? If the former, reminding him that it is so he attains his goal, and gets to go to his preferred school, and that it is only for a short time more, should help. If the latter, you need to discuss your choice and the rationale behind it with your ds - if the motivation is not coming from him, then you will be really up against it.

Plus - bribery - I paid my dd cold hard cash when she got over certain marks, where I knew she could do it, but was being lazy and there were too many careless errors creeping in. Or bribing with treats, chocs, computer time, days out - whatever would work for your ds. Plus competing against you or a friend or their previous score or a sibling might work for a robust, competitive child - obviously a less robust one might feel downhearted if they 'lose' so it depends on the child.

Motivate by keeping a tab or even graph of results, so they can see how they have improved and that progress is being made!

Use progress made at school to motivate eg if they are getting higher levels at school or moving up a table etc - my dd was v pleased to get 5As after a few months with me.

Above all else - don't overdo it! If your ds is bored, maybe you need to back off - 1 paper a week in each subject they'll be doing in tests is more than ample. Maybe leaving test papers altogether and focusing on a few areas your ds finds hard? Or ASK your ds why he's bored and what he'd like to do - his answers may surprise you!

As a teacher, I'm a great believer in 'you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink' - all the teaching in the world will be worthless if your son is resistent. So focus on following his interests and needs. And - as you are clearly motivated - explain the reasons for that to him, so you are working as a team, not you dragging him forward, kicking and screaming, by the metaphorical hair... :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:43 pm 
I agree with Herty - an hour or two a week is enough to expect a child to do on top of days at school.

Your child's health (emotional as well as physical) is important, and giving him a week off to rest or perhaps enjoy a non-11plus-related treat would probably do both him and you the world of good. Why don't you take him out somewhere, spend some family time together, make a point of not mentioning the 11 plus at all this weekend. Or have one of his friends over. Allow him to be a child and enjoy himself. Then re-focus him next week. Above all, don't overwork him or yourself. Children cannot learn when they feel stressed and unhappy. It sounds as though you've all been working hard, so I hope that you will take this advice and give yourselves a well-earned break.

Good luck - have a nice weekend. RR


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:42 pm 
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Very true - don't think we ever got to the point of overkill, as we were both too busy - but yes, they're only little - if they want to do it, fantastic - encourage them. But if they want a break ands some fun - they're only kids.... You sound like you need a break too!


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:00 am 
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11Nuts,
understand your feeling... just keep on working but do not overstretch yourself and your DS.. you only can determine if you are overstreching your child or stressing him out. last year during june/july even i was going bonkers as had started the preperations quite late. in a few days realised I was getting more stressed and was unknowingly passing it on him. So just calm yourself and plan out what you want to do focusing on your DC's weakness.. and do give him time to let of steam...

hope this info helps
Apsh


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 7:07 pm 
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sometimes I too feel stressed out other times defeated and ready to throw in the towel. DD has had her moments when she opens up a practice paper and withing 2 mins says its too hard and that she can't do it - only to find that the ones she has completed are completely correct. We are focussing on her confidence and taking a couple of weeks off from the whole process :)


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 6:31 pm 
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yummycool wrote:
sometimes I too feel stressed out other times defeated and ready to throw in the towel. DD has had her moments when she opens up a practice paper and withing 2 mins says its too hard and that she can't do it - only to find that the ones she has completed are completely correct. We are focussing on her confidence and taking a couple of weeks off from the whole process :)


I think you are right to give your child a break. From what you have said it sounds as if your daughter has a good chance of getting her preferred school without having to do more than necessary. I firmly believe that there is an optimal amount of work a child can put into preparation for these exams. Once past the optimal point, there is - at best - nothing to gain; and - at worst - a child will become over-stressed and less able to perform on the day.

My oldest child started studying for the consortium exams in May of year six. I can remember the gasps of horror when I admitted at the school gate that my son had not had any tutoring at all six months before the exams and that I did not intend to send him to a professional tutor (although I was also warned that I would not be able to find one at that late stage anyway...). You would have thought I was guilty of child abuse! I was promised that no child could possibly be offered an academic place with so little preparation.

I tutored him at home, because I was unconvinced that a professional tutor would share my commitment. Using only Bond papers my son completed a 10-minute paper per day (one each of Maths and Verbal Reasoning) and a full paper of each per week for those six months.

He was offered a place at his first choice school (Watford Grammar School) on allocation day. I am quite horrified when I hear of children being relentlessly tutored for years and - in some cases - still not getting the school of their choice. I am firmly convinced that if a child has the ability to pass the exams that they will do so with a minimum of help. Those who lack that ability simply lose a year or more of their childhood trying to achieve something they were never destined to have.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:13 pm 
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Your ds was tutored baldpeg. He was tutored by you. Two ten minute papers a day plus two full papers a week for six months is certainly not securing a place with a small amount of help. If a dc was spending the time with a tutor that your ds spent preparing with you, that would be considered to be a lot of tutoring. Most tutor sessions are one hour a week and 14 ten minute papers and two hour ones a week is lot more than a tutor would be able to work with in one hourly session. Did your ds get a place last year or some years ago? The reason I ask is that the pass mark for some selectives went up quite considerably this year so I really think the message that "any child who has ability can get in with not much effort" is a dangerous one. If you want to get a place at one of these schools you have to knuckle down and spend time preparing. Many top table children miss out every year because they have been told they are bright and so they expect to get a place easily. The hard cold facts are that lots of children want places at these schools and there is not enough places for everyone. Therefore, on the whole, the places will go to those who have been best prepared. There will always be the odd exception but mostly those who work hard and smarter get the places. DG


Last edited by Daogroupie on Thu May 17, 2012 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 10:41 pm 
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It's also worth remembering that the minimum pass mark can go up or down depending on how hard the exam is (as well as other factors such as the economic climate, changes to the number of places available and the volume of work children do). If the school sets new papers each year it must be hard to get the exact same level of difficulty each time.

The Watford Consortium Schools' exam is also probably one of the more straightforward exams that someone of above average ability can do well in without years of extra help. The maths exam is based on what the children will have already covered in a state primary school and the VR is accessable to those who been familiarised with the different question types. A very high score is still required and preparation essential, but it is highly questionable that the mark needed could be obtained by sheer hard work alone over a period of more than 6 months to a year.

My view is that whilst many above average children don't get the school of their choice because they are seduced into thinking they don't need to put in the 'optimum' work requied, the converse is not true and those who are of average or lower ability won't get in no matter how many hours they put in year after year.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 8:23 pm 
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Daogroupie wrote:
Your ds was tutored baldpeg. He was tutored by you. Two ten minute papers a day plus two full papers a week for six months is certainly not securing a place with a small amount of help. If a dc was spending the time with a tutor that your ds spent preparing with you, that would be considered to be a lot of tutoring. Most tutor sessions are one hour a week and 14 ten minute papers and two hour ones a week is lot more than a tutor would be able to work with in one hourly session.


I understand that most children who have professional tutoring do additional work as well. I gathered from discussions that I had with other parents that most children do some practise every day, even if they saw their tutor only once a week.

BaldPeg wrote:
Did your ds get a place last year or some years ago? The reason I ask is that the pass mark for some selectives went up quite considerably this year


The lowest score to secure a place in March 2009 (when my son received his offer) was 247. The lowest score in March 2012 was 240. This is according to statistics on this site.

For those parents who are tutoring their children themselves, I recommend offering to help one of their friends at the same time. For my son this brought out a competitive streak that I did not realise he had! Both he and his friend found that they achieved much higher scores when they were tested together than when they were alone (and I made sure that they were not conferring!).

I intend to introduce a similar regime for my son's younger sister.


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