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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:55 pm 
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Hi,

My DS will be beginning year 3 in September. I've read the v helpful 11 plus advice on this website for this age group but I wanted to hear some personal experiences. I've read lots of people who left their 11+ prep to the last minute, for various reasons. I've read about/ know some people who have been prepping their DC practically since reception. I wondered:

Have people generally just supported their kids during their standard (presumably, usually state school) primary years, making sure that what they've learned in the classroom is really embedded in their minds and helped with areas they've struggled with? Or have people tried to make sure their kids are technically ahead of their year group to make sure it wasn't all a great rush at the end (I understand the 11+ covers the last 2 terms of year 6, though DC won't have covered those topics yet). I heard from a friend of a friend, who is a tutor, that she is giving some of her year 2 children Bond 9-10 maths papers to do, which ALARMED me, on a number of levels :shock: ! ie, Was this the standard I was supposed to aspire to for my DS; what were these DC doing in their spare time?!!

Any personal experiences would be very helpful. My DS is an able boy but I don't want to put too much pressure on too early. However, it seems this whole area (Sutton and Kingston) seems particularly hot-housey!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:32 pm 
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fatbananas wrote:
Have people generally just supported their kids during their standard (presumably, usually state school) primary years, making sure that what they've learned in the classroom is really embedded in their minds and helped with areas they've struggled with?
In my case yes.
fatbananas wrote:
Or have people tried to make sure their kids are technically ahead of their year group to make sure it wasn't all a great rush at the end (I understand the 11+ covers the last 2 terms of year 6, though DC won't have covered those topics yet).
Personally I would not have considered the 11+ unless my DC were well ahead of their year group anyway.
fatbananas wrote:
I heard from a friend of a friend, who is a tutor, that she is giving some of her year 2 children Bond 9-10 maths papers to do, which ALARMED me, on a number of levels :shock: ! ie, Was this the standard I was supposed to aspire to for my DS; what were these DC doing in their spare time?!!
I would say no, and that Y2 children have better things to so, although some people seem to like to put fear into others....
fatbananas wrote:
Any personal experiences would be very helpful. My DS is an able boy but I don't want to put too much pressure on too early. However, it seems this whole area (Sutton and Kingston) seems particularly hot-housey!
You are right in this regard but be aware that when asking for personal experiences all of us are battle scarred (or not) by our own experiences. It has been mentioned before on this site that the definition of too much prep is 'any more than I did' from a parent whose DC have qualified for their school of choice. The definition of too little being 'what I did' from those whose have not qualified. Do bear in mind that somewhere it has to be the child's abilities and a bit of luck on the day that count as well, so whatever you do, do not make this the be all and end all of anything in Y6, let alone in Y3.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:51 pm 
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Fatbananas, I thought I would just share my plans for my DD2 with you, incase it's any help.

We are in Glos. so have only a VR exam for 11+ (although I am keeping in mind that by the time DD2 sits the test it could have changed). My DD2 is already year 3, and my DD1 is year 6 and going to her first choice grammar in Sept.

I started quite early with DD1, but have resolved not to do any actual VR prep with DD2 until year 5. What I am doing instead, which I think will be more valuable than the early work I did with DD1, is reading, and mental maths.

I am having DD2 read to me (something with reasonably challenging vocab - currently Michael Morpurgo's Butterfly Lion) at least 3 times a week and discussing the meaning of any vocab I think she might not know. I really wish I had done this better with DD1 as we had to resort to filling in vocab. books to up her level of understanding (I left her to it with reading rather too much as she was an avid reader - it's amazing how hazy their grasp of some words can be).

I am also going to make sure she is red hot on her timestables and mental maths before she gets to year 5. I am also going to get her working through the Schofield and Sims maths books to make sure she's covered everything necessary as her school are better at teaching literacy than maths :D

Finally I am going to get her playing some games that will encourage her to think logically - starting with Mastermind and Rummikub, and then I will have a look at some of the other games people have mentioned on this forum. Peasants (Pirates??) of Catalan, Risk etc.

If your DS's 11+ exam will also include writing it might be worth encouraging him to write stories at home to make sure he's at the right level when you come to prepare for the exam.

Hope that helps

Pixiequeen


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:56 pm 
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just spend the time playing games, doing jigsaws, having adventures ( which you can talk/write about) reading books and worry about the test nearer the time, the skills learned will give your child a head start and it won't even have seemed like work.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:19 pm 
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Yes, thank you Mad?: wise words. My DH and I want the best educational environment for our child - whatever, wherever that may be. I think that's what I'm trying to work out now. My DS is a lovely, happy boy, who I think will do well in life anyway because of his approach to it. I certainly don't want to sabotage that. There seems such fervour around the 11+ already in year2. I think there will be plenty of nervous breakdowns by the time year 5 comes along!

Pixie Queen: we are reading Butterfly lion at the moment! I know what you mean about vocab. My DS was reading his school book and enunciating the word "indigenous" beautifully but it was only when we were discussing the book, that I realized he hadn't a clue what it meant. Great advice about mental maths/ times tables. Mastermind: I used to love that :D

Thanks yoyo123 and everyone. Feel less neurotic now!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:26 pm 
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3 sons at grammar school-we started tutor in January year 5 for tests in November (although test actually brought forward to September in the last year :shock: )
I think this is plenty of time if your child is bright (and lucky) enough.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:51 pm 
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Yowsers, Surreymum! 3 children at Grammar School is a huge achievement - for all of you! After the initial shock, did you have a c'est la vie moment for the exam date change child?! I've been wondering about the Tiffin children preparing for this year, seeing that their exam has been brought forward from January to - is it? - November!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:58 pm 
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Basically trashed the end of the summer holidays, which had previously been fairly relaxed-was mostly cross as it dragged the whole process out over 4 months instead of 2 as we had Wallington in September, SGS in November and Wilsons in January :D


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:31 pm 
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We were succesful at WCGS and at SGS last year. We had a tutor for DS from the preceeding January, and when I say tutor I use the term loosly as the 'Tutor' has - I believe - no actual teaching experience. She's just very very methodical and calm. An hour a week of tutor and about an hour of homework each week using the bond papers is what we did. As tutors go she has quite an impressive hit rate and most of her pupils secure a grammar place.

I also know at least 4 friends who have likewise been successful but have had no tutoring, just a few papers done ad hoc a couple of weeks/month before the tests.

My personal view is that you can't actually tutor your child for the tests, which may seem in contradiction to having used a tutor (and we are in that happy process again at the moment for the next child) for DS. I suspect that the ability that the grammars are looking for is inate and therefore cannot be learnt - but what you can do is to head off as far as possible any risk of total panic in the exam room. I've heard plenty of stories of children who have crumpled under the time pressure, lost all notions of time contraints and got totally bogged down in the one question they can't answer. Those things can be a total killer, and that's what I hope the tutor will be able to head off at the pass.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:13 am 
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Our DD2 is in Year 3 and we intend zero preparation until Year 6 and then only if it seems appropriate as we may look for alternatives if 11+ not the best route.

Enjoy childhood... it only comes once.

Regards
SVE

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