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 Post subject: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:50 pm
Posts: 22
My apologies in advance for such a long post!
My DD is 10 years old and currently in Y5 at school. She goes to a state primary and has always enjoyed school. According to her teacher, she is one of the top pupils in her class and is even on the gifted and talented register for Maths and English. With all this in mind, my DH and I thought that she had a shot at getting into the local grammar school or an indie.

My DH and I have invested a lot of time and money into the 11 plus process so far. She's had a tutor for some time now who comes twice a week, we've bought all the suggested materials and we take it in turns to sit down with her and go over old things and new.

Being that we've been preparing since September, I feel as though we're getting absolutely nowhere. In Maths, if it's not simple addition/subtraction/multiplication/division she can't do it. Her average score in a maths paper is 45%. The same goes for English; if a question isn't worded in very simple terms, she can't do it. She's good at verbal and non-verbal but obviously that's not enough :(

At one point, we thought that our teaching/revision technique wasn't very good so tried spider diagrams, flashcards, making things into a game but we're still not really progressing. It's as though the information goes in one ear and out the other.

The first lot of exams are in November and she's nowhere near ready. Yesterday she came home from school telling me how badly she wants to go to Henrietta Barnett (the grammar school) because two of her friends are applying and it'd be 'really cool' if they all got in. How do I tell her that I don't even think we'll be applying there anymore?

I feel absolutely awful saying it, but I'm just being realistic. I'm very unsure as to whether or not she's up for these exams.
Has anybody had any similar experiences?Doubts about their child's ability?

Thanks in advance,
Dobby's Sock.


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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
Posts: 4605
Maybe she's just a bit stale and fed up with it? Maybe have a bit of a break until the summer holidays? Or how about sitting her down and explaining that she really needs to concentrate and make an effort if she is going to be put in for the exams. No pressure - just, this is your choice, you are a bright girl, but unfortunately in this day and age, you have to put in the effort if there is a particular shool you want to go to. what do her current teachers think? Or her tutor?

I had this conversation with DS last night who is very bright but away with the fairies most of the time. I explained to him that if he wanted to go to the same school as his brother he would have to put in the work. I also told him that he absolutely didn't have to put in the work and do the tests if he didn't want to, but doing it was the only way to go to the school he wants to. I was also careful to say that there was nothing wrong with the other schools (just n case :roll: , and also because of friends who might go there), but that we felt that the grammar school was the best option for him. We'll see if it's had any effect...


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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:03 pm
Posts: 1413
There's clearly some disconnect between her performance at school and at home. How does she do with her tutor? Have you asked the tutor for their impressions/ forecasts? Or her teacher(s)?

Would another visit to the school (or at least a drive past!) refocus her energies?

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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:03 pm
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Sorry, just realised I overlapped with Scary Mum!

Also, just thought, am I right in remembering that HB does VR and NVR first and then if your DD passes those, they then go on to sit English and Maths papers? So, given that she's doing well on the VR and NVR with you and is G&T with English and Maths, it might come together?

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Seize the day ... before it seizes you.


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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:50 pm
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Her teacher's not much help if I'm honest. She's newly qualified and this is her first teaching position so she doesn't really know much about the 11 plus process (she even said so herself)

Her tutor is just as concerned as we are when it comes to Maths and English. He said that he has no doubt in his mind that she'll pass the verbal and non verbal but she needs to work like the clappers to get the other subjects up to scratch.


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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:55 pm
Posts: 247
It must be a difficult time wrestling with what to do but my advice is don't give up yet. You have, as a family, invested alot of time and effort and you never know, things might just click. My DD is like this; suddenly a maths concept might just click for no apparent reason. :roll: Having said that a break every now and again is good for refreshing the brain and enthusiasm.

Could it also be a confidence thing? Sometimes my DDs believe they absolutely can't do something when I know full well they are perfectly capable..... Another little thing I found useful is, once they do understand something from a practice lesson, to explain it back as if you don't know what to do....there is nothing more my eldest DD likes then to show me how to do something I can't do!

Wishing you lots of luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
OK, well you need to get to the bottom of whether it's a difference between home and school in maths performance, or whether G and T at your school (top10%) is a high standard or not.

So things to look at would be her national curriculum levels in maths over the last few years at school, her schoolbooks to see if her problem solving at school is vastly different from at home, any other ability tests that have been carried out at school.

If you feel your daughter is putting all her eggs in one basket but you still want to give HB a shot (but deep down you know she probably has no chance ) then you need to start telling her now that it's a very hard school to get into and there are some top top children who do not get in - blind her with the entrance stats. And busily find some alternatives that you and she are happy with - noone can go along with just HB being their heart's desire it so hard to get into.

Don't demoralise her over the maths even if it turns out that her ability in it is not what the school makes it out to be; people change over the years. You and the tutor might be trying to cover with her a load of stuff that her school has never taught her - this is a hard job in the run up to 11+ - with more teaching and maturity she might go on to be really good at maths at her high school and whatever you are doing now will help in this.

It sounds like you are taking the right approach trying to make it fun etc - but if she really doesn't get it then you need to take down the level you are aiming at so she does not get maths panic - probably a much harder thing to solve.

The other thing to bear in mind is what time of day you are bombarding her with all of this? Is she very different at a fresh well rested time at the weekend - is she a morning or evening person? Children can vary enormously in maths depending on whether they are tired or not. I used to help one to one with some kids at school and the difference between them tired and not tired was huge.

You could try separating out the task of doing the question from interpreting the question. So in a cosy moment - in bed with some biscuits for example - look through some papers together and ask her to say in steps what she would do to solve a particular problem - without actually doing it. Then if necessary discuss the method together. Then on another day get her to sit down and answer those questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
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It's very odd that there's such a discrepancy. Have you had a thorough discussion with the tutor about what work they're covering with her and how it's being taught? Sounds like certain concepts haven't kicked in yet, which is why scores are so low. When my DS did his first NVR tests he scored very low in anything to do with rotation and mirror patterning. Not covered at school yet and it didn't click automatically for him. So we went through it and now he scores better on these. Have you identified if there are certain aspects of Maths and English she's consistently failing in? Spelling? Grammar? Punctuation? Maybe give test papers a break for a while and do some on line maths and literacy games and freer learning.


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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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Oh and I forgot to add that it would be cool if all three friends got in, but just how likely is that? Maybe they all need to understand the reality of applying to these superselective schools and understand that they are extremely hard to get into even if you are doing fabulously well. It might pay off in terms of developing some viable alternatives now and avoiding undue disappointment later.

Your area sounds like Kent - you can't count on going to secondary school - grammar or not - with your primary school friends. Everyone disperses.


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 Post subject: Re: Giving up hope
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 9:21 pm
Posts: 56
Hi,

Sorry to hear your so down with all the 11+ prep, think it gets to us all sometimes.
try woodland primary schools website they have some really great material that helps improve maths and english.
I took my DD out of school and she is now being homeschooled by a tutor and me, due to the fact she didnt even know her times tables which is one of the most fundimental parts of maths. She is in year 5 and now knows all her times tables all the way up to 24's Im totally amaized and that was achieved though woodland primarys website. she is now tackling equations algebra and other mad mad crazy level maths! this is a girl back in Febuary, hated maths and really didnot understand it! The peter robson books are great too. we also have a program called mathswatch and it explains everything so well. It shows a clip how to do it then gives them some questions to try! I got it through her tutor and a platform but I know you can get maths watch on the net too!
My DD vocab and english has always been high but it was no way good enough for 11+. Although reading and firstaid in english her undertanding of the english language and vocab has much improved. On this site there is a list of words thats reccomended I used them for spelling and games. there is 5 months left and if my DD can improve this much in this time im sure yours can to! The times not up yet and the way I see it worse case senario is if they dont get in god forbid it and I cant see my DD failing but compitition is very high and she knows im proud enough off her just for trying! All this learning will set them in good stead for the school they go to.

Good Luck to you and your DD hope this helps and makes you feel a bit more at ease.

Sarah..x


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