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 Post subject: Advice please
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 514
My son has been tutored since the end of April/beg of May once a week for an hour, mostly to help with maths as he thinks he can't do it (but he can if he just thinks about it). He hasn't been every single week for differing reasons.

I have been trying to encourage him to do a little practice at home as well and his tutor sets him homework too, which he always did.

Just before the kids broke up for the summer holidays my father had a serious accident which resulted in a broken pelvis and he is still in hospital some 8 weeks later, hence a great deal of the summer holidays were spent visiting him in various hospitals including one in London.

As I said my son hasn't been to his tutor every week and didn't go for 5 weeks during July/Aug due to the fact that the tutor was away and my father's accident. He then went for 3 weeks in a row.

This morning he went to his tutor - having not been last week as we grabbed 3 days away last week as we needed a break after the stressful summer we had had - and when I returned to collect him was told by his tutor that he (the tutor) was harrassed because my son hadn't been doing enough work and had forgotten things he could do in June/July and that my son didn't seem to be bothered!

Yes, my son is fed up with the whole 11+ having to do practice etc. and I have had a few "heated debates" with him over the last few weeks as well but the reason I got him a tutor in the first place was to help his confidence with maths not for the tutor to moan at my son.

He then went on to say that he should be doing 2 hours a day going over and over things! There is no way that my son would do that and it's just not possible anyway. My son does after school activities 2 days a week when we don't get home till gone 5 and then obv. needs to eat and do his normal school homework so doing 11+ stuff on top of that just won't happen.

Does anyone else have a 10 year old that would sit down for 2 hours a day to revise for their 11+? No I didn't think so! I think that's just a stupid, unrealistic thing to expect a 10 year old to do.

He told my son "it's all down to you and I know you've had problems at home but there are no excuses". I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing at this point. I'm sure there aren't many 10 year olds that would willingly sit down and do revision without being asked, are there? Unfortunately, my son had to spend a great deal of his holidays visiting my father in hospital and this did disrupt his 11+ preparation but it's not my son's fault.

The last time my son went to his tutor two weeks ago he was given a maths paper to do which he did and got 82% and his tutor told him this wasn't good enough and he should have scored higher.

My son is due to go to him again for the last time next Saturday and has been given another maths paper to do - which I believe to be set 11A, as we have done 11B,C and D, which is thought to be hard - his tutor said "this is the hardest 11+ paper i know and it's better he does it now and then finds the actual test easier". I'm not sure that would actually do my son any good to get a really low mark just before taking the actual test when he thinks he can't do maths anyway!

So I would be grateful for any comments and whether you would bother doing the 11A paper or go back next Saturday, surprisingly my son doesn't want to go! I spoke to my dad about it and he says he thinks the tutor is just saying that to cover himself in case my son doesn't pass. I'm not sure, he might be but he has always come across as expecting a lot from his students so I don't know!

Sorry for such a long post.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
Posts: 851
Location: Bexley
This is completely ridiculous. Don't send him back to the tutor. If he's doing the 11+ in a couple of weeks the most important thing for your son is confidence.

If I were you I would give him a few things to do at home to keep him ticking over and make sure he understands all his maths terminology (mode, mean, median, range, properties of different types of triangle, shape names, how to calculate area, volume etc). If you want him to do Nfer paper A, then get him to do it at home. Mark it (without telling him his score) then give him a list of questions he's got wrong and ask him to have another look at them. Then you can focus on explaining the ones that he genuinely doesn't understand rather than the ones where he hasn't read the question properly or has made a silly mistake.

It's impossible to tell if a child's practice scores reflect their actual ability or if they are so bored with the whole thing that they aren't putting any effort in. That aside, 82% is a very respectable score in a maths Nfer paper. My DS, who is also doing the Kent test in a couple of weeks, usually gets around 84% and it didn't occur to me that there was a problem with that. I've kept his older brother's scores on the Maths Nfer practice papers - 72%, 65%, 84% and 64%. His comment after each one was, "but it's only practice mum, I'll try harder in the real thing". He got a very high score in his real maths 11+ paper.

My 10 year old was going to a tutorial centre weekly, during term time until the end of June. He hasn't been since and we've probably managed to do the equivalent of 4 or 5 full test papers since then. I feel a bit bad that we didn't manage more but there's no point in worrying about it now. But two hours a day is just completely barmy!!

The 11+ isn't like cramming the day before a school test where you can memorise all sorts of facts and figures for regurgitation the following day. I firmly believe that, this close to the exam, there isn't much you can do and there's no point in worrying over what you could or should have done in the previous months. Focus on the things you can do something about - building confidence, keeping them relaxed and, as I said above, making sure that your child understands maths terminology.

Soon be over!


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