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 Post subject: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:41 am
Posts: 434
Dear All,

Before I resume lurking again I thought I'd add a post about our experience.

Comprehension
I can honestly say that in hindsight I think we should have focused on reading a lot earlier on. I don't mean just asking DD to read but ensuring that she understood the texts, questioned her about characters, how the protagnoist/antagnoist was feeling, what was happening, trying to predict what might happen next. Working on high mark questions. Exam technique and speed is critical here.


Stories
A DC can be taught to learn how to write creatively. DD kept a notebook of character descritions and settings. If she saw an odd character (aka Mr Stink) she'd write a few lines about it. She used to write down her story ideas too and this became a fun thing to do. Timing came together in year 6 - DD was writing a page and a paragraph in 30 minutes. So it is do able but requires practice.

Maths
We started with Bond and worked 1 year ahead of the curriculum from about year 4. DD excelled at school and found all the maths exams very doable.

In summary I think comprehension was the hardest component to teach - and this is where I would urge other parents to focus. Certainly reading level, inference and speed of reading all need to be developed. The passages are challenging and getting more so each
year.

Good luck to everyone in year 5
BW
Sleepyhead

BTW please could others add on to this thread for future parents.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:25 am
Posts: 60
Thanks Sleepyhead.

Please can you let me know which papers did you use?


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:41 am
Posts: 434
For London indie schools

Dulwich college
Kings College School
Merchant Taylors (maths only)
North London Girls Consortium group 1
North London Girls Consortium group 2
Habs boys (nearer the time)

Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:01 pm
Posts: 55
Things I'd do differently next time (son is our oldest and it's been a steep learning curve).

1. As Sleepyhead says, make sure they understand that they read. My son was a good reader from y1 and because we had two younger children we let him get on with it, feeling smug that he was ploughing his way through Narnia on his own. However, I realised much later that he was reading way too quickly and not absorbing what he read. My middle child reads almost nothing on her own but insists everything is read to her. It's astounding how little she reads to herself. And yet, she writes really well and has a much better grasp of the musicality of language. She uses alliteration, description and various oratorical flourishes very instinctively because she's used to hearing them.

2. A tutor is great but not a magic bullet. Our one had a very set way of doing things which she didn't vary according to the child/schools applied to. The one out of the three that we didn't get to has very different style of papers (longer questions on both maths and English, more explanations required). I only realised this the day before...

3. Because we have younger children we don't eat together every night. I think more adult conversation will help the younger ones (we now eat supper together more frequently as their bedtime has got later).

4. Timing is important. First timed paper my son did was DAO and he finished the English paper in about 25 minutes. Generally he did everything too fast, which is as much of an issue as doing it too slow.

What I haven't worked out is how to manage the whole psychology of it. There's a central paradox whereby you're constantly telling them that it doesn't matter and you're proud of them whatever, but at the same time you're trying to crack the whip and get them to do bimming extra English comprehensions. My son really called us out on this and I've yet to resolve it. He got very very stressed to the extent that he couldn't sleep the day he got the results (which were good) as he was crying with the over emotion of it.

If anyone's got any tips on that...


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:50 am
Posts: 23
DD's grade 5 cello was not enough to ensure a music scholarship - although we don't know if the fact that she will contribute to the orchestra was a decisive factor in her getting an offer at one school and a waiting list place at another. We are visiting the school where we hold the offer and I will try to find out a bit more about why she didn't get it.

With DS in Yr2 learning the viola (a little more in demand I hope) I will probably start piano lessons so that he can be at grade 3 or 4 for that by the time he auditions.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:19 am
Posts: 9
Get out of London if you can :)


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:06 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:41 am
Posts: 434
:lol: :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:37 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:35 am
Posts: 296
1. Don't apply to too many schools, 3-4 is enough and focus on them :roll:

2. Vocab - probably the one area that DS was lacking as he is not a great reader, so build up the vocab as the VR exams depend on it (once you have the techniques nailed). In hindsight I would have pushed him on his reading much more (from 2 years ago) as it obviously helps comprehension too.

3. Maths - DSs strongest area and as mentioned above you need to take them way beyond what they are doing at state primary, something that I did with him. I taught him stuff that was probably unnecessary but it made the easier stuff for exams seem very easy for him - though he did complain afterwards that factorials never actually came up. As well as the above we used MGS papers.


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
SleepyHead wrote:
:lol: :lol: :lol:


+1


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 Post subject: Re: Lessons learnt 2015
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:50 am
Posts: 23
J50 wrote:
1. Don't apply to too many schools, 3-4 is enough and focus on them :roll:


That is correct if you have a realistic idea of where the DC is likely to get a place. If DC is at a prep school the headteacher (who holds a relationship with many of the senior schools) will be able to advise.

With our DD we were not in this position so we applied for a wider range of schools to cover all possibilities.


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