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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:31 pm
Posts: 8
Hello all,

I'm new on this site and everyone seems incredibly supportive, how lovely you all are. If I might just cast myself on your mercy, I'm having kittens about how to handle this one:
I have lived in the US with three DCs, 6, 10 and 13, for the past three years. It seems that they are woefully behind the UK curriculum, and despite being bright, stand no chance at the moment of succeeding in the 11+ and 13+ exams for the schools I'm looking at.
We will be moving to Oxford at some point in the next 12 months and I am going to be taking them out of school at Easter, to teach them at home, to try to get them ready for the application process for 2014.
Does ANYONE have any suggestions as to what materials/resources might be helpful to
a) catch them up, primarily in Mathematics and English, and to
b) prepare them for the exams for...at the moment MCS and Headington/Oxford High? I say that because I am frankly clueless about any other good schools in the area.
If any of you kind, merciful forum users has any advice for me I would be very grateful.
I must say its a bit daunting....


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8119
mommachubba - welcome!

i'll move this thread to the indie section as well as there may be some people with knowledge of the schools you are looking at .. also there are some threads from people whose kids took 11 plus after coming back from the states - some to do with vocab etc (and IIRC the discovery that there is an american version of Harry Potter :roll: ). I'll have a hunt for those.

You also might want to get in touch with some people on here doing Home Ed - there was a thread for that too... (herman goes for a hunt)... back in a mo


... ETA Back again - here is a home ed thread viewtopic.php?f=38&t=25609 there are some people who did HE in primary and you could contact them by private message (bottom left of any messages they have posted ) and ask them about resources etc

... bit more here - viewtopic.php?f=12&t=518&hilit=usa


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
Posts: 577
Hi momma,

Sorry, can't help on the older DC, as haven't been through that yet, but suggest Galore Park for English, as well as Usborne book of English Grammar - lots of cartoon pictures, and most UK grammar clearly explained (not all- some glaring omissions.) Also get a good UK school dictionary (e.g. Oxford School Dictionary or Concise OED) and get them all reading UK children's novels so they get used to our spelling especially and pick up on UK vocab and differences in syntax.

Bond maths papers are good, as is their 'How To' collection of supplementary guides. Get some good KS1, 2 & 3 revision guides too. they go over all the material the state covers in class. Even if they are going into independent schools, these are still really strong groundings in the basics. I use Collins or Letts and refer to them often for maths as it is taught differently now from when I was at school.

If your schools require VR and NVR tests you need to find out from them which formats they use and which would be the best familiarisation papers.

You can also pick up Sats papers from Amazon UK.

Good luck.

There are lots of good schools in Oxford. Don't know them personally but have heard of the Dragon School and Magdalen school. Others might have advice on them.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:21 pm
Posts: 77
Location: London
we swear by the Schofield & Sims mental maths series which are worth looking at.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11956
KS2 and KS3 test papers are FREE on www.emaths.co.uk the answer schemes are there too.

This will help you find gaps in what they've been taught.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:31 pm
Posts: 8
Gosh everyone thanks so very much..once I've read through all of this terrifically helpful advice three times I will come back to you! :D yeay! there is hope then!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:31 pm
Posts: 8
Ok..phew! This is harder than my day job!

Guest55 - thanks for that what a great help! I'll wander over there and use those I think, a good idea to use revision guides, I think I'll bring those into his maths teacher and ask her to just point at the things he hasn't covered and try to focus on those for the first bit, aswell as launch into the VR schedule that patricia 'the angel in glowing white light with fanfares attached' posted..is it just me or is that woman glorious?

simon- thanks for the tip, it is incredibly helpful to have unbiased recommendations (you didn't write those mental maths series did you? :wink: )

menagerie- yes to all of that, but I have a question about the Bond stuff, I'm not sure about the Oxford schools but I know that Guidlford use the GL papers, is there a lot of difference in the type of questions between the publishers? Or is it safe to just use any decent 11+ publisher for Maths and English?
Great idea about the English novels, they pretty much read those anyway, apart from Mark Twain, although they are getting pretty settled into American English spelling (shudder!)

herman munster (great username! :lol: I loved him) that was a great link to the USA mum who was doing exactly what I am...sigh of relief that it can be done..thanks :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:35 am
Posts: 131
Location: reading
Hi

If you google 13+ sample papers you will find a whole host of schools who provide them for free to download, covering a range of subjects but not the VR. There might also be the odd 14+ paper available. For the maths and science certainly, doing these papers will help to identify weaknesses. English is not so easy but practice will help.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
Posts: 577
Hi momma, my knowledge is a bit patchy, as it only covers schools relevant to my DS.

Main differences are: in some comprehension and maths tests, the answers are multiple choice. In many they are write in full sentences/show your workings. So it's worth finding out which method your chosen schools ask for and using the right type for familiarisation.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5923
Is there a particular reason why you are only looking at (if you are) independent selective schools? If you move here and they can go to state school then you won't need to worry about any of this as Oxfordshire doesn't have selection in the state sector. My older 2 children both have American friends who were not in any way behind when joining the UK system - in fact in both cases they have been some of the brightest, most applied and high-achieving children in their respective school years. Lovely children too, without some of the precocious traits of some of their UK peers. Good luck. :D


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