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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
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Just wondered how others are faring in the run up to the exams. My DS has had two meltdowns this week. The first ever. And has said he's worried that he won't pass. I don't know how to respond. I'm a bit worried too. His marks veer from very strong to pretty weak. He gets stressed about exams and I don't know how to advise him, as, geek that I was, I always enjoyed exams.

I'd really welcome advice from other parents on how to keep life calm and happy while doing enough prep not to fall behind over Christmas.

We have lots of fun things planned in the run-up to Christmas: panto, West End show, circus, frost fair etc. But it seems I have to keep pointing out that it's not all work. He only does a couple of practise papers a week, plus a bit of extra writing and the very basic homework school sets him, but it seems to weigh heavily on him. I struggle with finding the balance between encouraging and pressuring. I want him to work hard at what he's asked to do, as it's not exactly a strain - 30-40 mins a night max versus three to four hours of leisure time. But I don't want the exams to loom as some huge future pressure as this won't help on the day.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:29 pm
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Same here. We did have a short break betweek sitting the early autumn state selective exams, then went to the seaside for the half-term, on the understanding that we come back and plug back into the same rigorous routine until Indies are done mid-January. To say it was hard to get him back into "a paper a day" routine is....er.... an understatement :) However he clearly understands that that's his only option to get into a decent school (where we live primaries are good but secondaries are abysmal, and the only decent comprehensive is a commute away and massively oversubscribed). So we did visit the Indies he wanted a couple of times, and he is very excited and has the goal clearly in his mind. Having said that he's still moaning that he has to do lots of math which he hates (he's more on the literacy/arts side naturally) so it's tough. I'm also exhausted as have to keep a track of his studies, liaise with tutors and generally help him stay upbeat and motivated... it's just 8 weeks until he sits the last Indies exam and then I feel we'll just completely collapse :)

But at least we'll both know we made every effort, and the rest is God's will.

Hold on there, it's tough but your DS is not alone (neither are you), it will soon be over!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:16 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:57 pm
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Maybe...
Not saying you are but if... don't mention anything about work, school, exams other than that 30 min slot. Set it aside and say nothing at other times. It's amazing how things like 'not long to go now', just a few more weeks' etc, meant well, in the car, before bed, at dinner... can drive a child insane.
What will be will be. Tell him there are more important things in life. Eventually he'll believe it - and so will you. Maybe. :wink: :D :D

ps. Not long to go now. :wink: It'll soon be over. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
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Bestichka, glad we're not alone!

Belinda, that is brilliant advice. And I've been guilty of all that and more! :oops: Haven't mentioned it at all today and didn't do any work either as DS clearly needed a night off to be silly and see friends. I am going to hold my tongue.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:59 am
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Location: N London
I think DD is now just bored by the same old format - another comprehension, grrh a ratio question again etc. So apart from an hour a week paper practice and school homework she is doing very little. I have managed to find some other things in books etc to keep her mind ticking over - I have found that just using something that doesn't look like a paper is quite helpful. The one thing we have done none of (DD is at a state primary) is interview practice :( Suppose I should start thinking about that.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:29 am 
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You sound very much on top of things fairy. We have some catching up to do. However, I followed Belinda's advice and have stopped yacking on about exams, and told DH to keep quiet too. It's really helped. We've done interview techniques very informally over the tea table, just asking the kind of questions that might come up.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:40 pm
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We have reached final meltdown, with a point-blank refusal to do any work. It's not as if we can afford it - there is still some serious catching up on maths before tackling the papers. I feel like the world's worst mother. Despite my best intentions, every attempt to get work done now ends up in sulking or tears or tantrums. (And yes, I have tried all the positive approaches as well - including not talking about it all the time!) Maybe some children are just not driven enough even if they have the potential? If that is the case, should one not accept that this is probably not going to happen? At what point do you decide not do sit the tests? Or do you forge ahead and give it a bash even if you know DS's chances are really slim?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:42 pm
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Location: Birmingham
It is tempting to say that maybe you ought to give up if the child is not motivated but actually having the guts to walk away at this late stage is another matter. In some cases walking away might even be the best thing to do, but you never know do you? Some children start to get bored with repetitive activity and seem disinterested, then pull out all the stops on the day of the exam; whereas other well-prepared and bright children just don't make the mark on the day.

I had this problem with DS1 last year after the grammars but before the Indies. The best thing we did was put pens down for a few days, stop any even subtle reference to exams, go out at the weekend, watch a movie and let off some steam. He was ready for work the following week :D .

UmSusu

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:25 pm
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nothing-yummy-mum wrote:
We have reached final meltdown, with a point-blank refusal to do any work. It's not as if we can afford it - there is still some serious catching up on maths before tackling the papers. I feel like the world's worst mother. Despite my best intentions, every attempt to get work done now ends up in sulking or tears or tantrums. (And yes, I have tried all the positive approaches as well - including not talking about it all the time!) Maybe some children are just not driven enough even if they have the potential? If that is the case, should one not accept that this is probably not going to happen? At what point do you decide not do sit the tests? Or do you forge ahead and give it a bash even if you know DS's chances are really slim?


I think um has a good point. Your DS will be much able to handle the work if they are given a break as they seem tired of the whole thing.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:40 pm
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Thank you UmSusu and Thins (and Belinda too for earlier good advice to menagerie, which I've promptly implemented).

It's good to know others have had similar experiences - even though I know logically that DS could not possibly be the only 10-year-old in all of the UK getting fed-up with his mother's constant nagging, it is so frustrating when he wastes valuable time that one probably loses perspective!

It has been hard to get him going again after the grammars and it seems as if he's faring worse in the Bond books than before the summer holidays! For us, too, this is really a crucial time as we are in a dire situation with secondary schools and it feels as if the January exams are our last chance. I certainly can't imagine trying for 13+ and putting him through this again!

I'll ease off for a few days and try again next week and see how it goes (while chewing through my cheeks :) )


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