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 Post subject: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:39 pm
Posts: 29
Is it just my daughter or are you having trouble keeping your child's attention? DD was a complete nightmare today and didn't want to do any work, even though we have a lot to get through... She was completely against any form of learning and now we are behind (she has tutoring homework to finish). We spent the whole day and evening arguing and now nothing is done... I am totally stressed...I have been up until gone midnight reading exam papers and preparing lessons and yesterday I spent all day making prompt cards. I'm starting to think its all me...! I know she wants to go to Grammar School but I am exhausted! Any advice would be appreciated and please say that I'm not alone!? :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
Posts: 1706
Location: Warwickshire
We certainly had days like that. And to be honest the quality of the practice when it did eventually get done tended not to be worth all the arguments.

So what I did was produce a few "wild card days" joker cards (metaphorically - we didn't have actual cards, but you could do if you wanted) which ds could play on days he really felt he needed a break. Thus you could schedule what you want to do (leave the odd "to be decided slot" to allow for rearranging deferred sessions, or things it turns out you need to repeat) but give limited flexibility - which importantly SHE is in control of - about when you could split from the schedule. Knowing there are only a certain number and once they're gone there's no more allowed for "I can't face it today" days without going through all the arguments made it a much less fraught process.

Also look at being able to vary the type of practice - do online tests instead of paper ones, or vocabulary using something like freerice, or the apps you can get for iphones/Android (or anything else you can think of which is relevant) so that it doesn't have to be the same format every time. There's long enough to go for you to not need to be worrying about timings or doing anything in a "whole paper" format at this stage, so just take a Martini style approach (any time, any place, any where - and any type of practice too) when appropriate.


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 4024
Location: Reading
I'm assuming that your DC will be taking the exam autumn 2013 and not sometime in the next few weeks.
If so, then don't stress.
My DD was complaining about being really tired just before Christmas. I thought it was just end of termitis and that Christmas break would sort her out. She was still tired when she went back to school, to the extent I was considering taking her to the docs. (Bear in mind, The last time I took her to the doctors was just before she started school as she had what I thought was chicken pox. She is now in year 6)
Taking to her friends' mums, the others have been really out of sorts as well. I'm now suspecting a low level viral infection or something, and this weekend she has really picked up.
January is a diffcult time for all of us, post Christmas malaise and all that. Kids are no different really. Its dark, it's cold, they don't get enough daylight, the excitment of Christmas has been and gone, etc.

You have a while to go before the exams. Some of DDs friends didn't start doing any work for the exams until Summer holidays and were still successful, and this was for a superselective GS.

If you are using a tutor, do you need to be doing extra work on top of that they are doing, other than homework the tutor sets? It might be worth agreeing to a week or so off the work you are doing in return for her working homework set by the tutor. At this stage it might be worth it just so you both have chance to relax again.

My DD sometimes didn't want to do work, but she did want to get into the GS. It was her decision to apply rather than ours tbh. If she worked with the right attitude then we did less work. In addition I always tried to give her what she thought was a 'choice' of work. Something along the lines of 'do you want to do a NVR assessment paper or go through some VR types today' or 'today we are doing VR, we are doing two types, I choose one you can choose the other'. This way I always got her to do what I wanted her to do, but she usually felt it was what she wanted to do.

I also found that chocolate helped. :lol:

If of course you have exams in the very near future this doesn't apply.


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8206
Location: Buckinghamshire
Great suggestions from Okanagan, especially this one:

Okanagan wrote:
So what I did was produce a few "wild card days" joker cards (metaphorically - we didn't have actual cards, but you could do if you wanted) which ds could play on days he really felt he needed a break.

I would produce real cards!

Other suggestions:

:: Chocolate - the universal panacea for 11+ woes
:: Mix it up, as Okanagan says - paper, online, relevant games, etc
:: "Race Mum" - for more chocolate
:: "Do the questions you like first". Not a long term strategy, but it establishes that she does enjoy certain types of question
:: Keep records that demonstrate to her visually how she has improved over time and, if necessary, be economical with the truth. :wink:

X-post with Tinkers - more choc!


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
I will third that ... chocolate is the answer to everything.


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:39 pm
Posts: 29
Thanks everyone!! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 4024
Location: Reading
And wine, obviously for you, not DD.

We also did a mix of on line stuff, phone apps for vocab and mental maths, compound word card games (courtesy of Patricia's excellent word list http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/free-1 ... -reasoning ). DD loved the compound word game as it was something very different to everything else we had done at that point, a change is as good as a rest.

Play scrabble one evening. If she wins, no work that evening/next day/time scale of your choosing. If you win, she has to do x amount of work the day after. Could adapt that if she wins by various margins, she has more time off, if she loses by various margins that dictates the work she has to do. Scrabble in itself is good prep and probably more fun. I'm sure some card games can be used to practise mental maths in the same way.


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:41 am
Posts: 434
Hi.. yes can second that this is completely normal and expected!

DD too has days where she just doesn't want to do the work and does argue loads about it. In this situation I have in the past persisted and lost my temper :cry: , and it's true that the quality of her work suffers. The subsequent day, I did absolutely no 11+ work at all, not a peep, and I kept to it! DD was mortified :lol: She thought I had a really bad attitude at giving up so easily :lol:

Needless to say, I resumed work the following day (little and often!)

My next plan is to take DD to all the open days, so that the whole 11+ world becomes more real. I think that will help too in getting her cooperation. - that and a sweet treat if she works quickly and finishes in the allocated time.


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:39 pm
Posts: 29
Aw thanks.. I feel a lot better now! She calmed down and knuckled down with a few percentages tonight. I think she had a mental breakdown :shock: lol... It must be hard to take it all in and its a lot of pressure for them... I am going to relax a little now and certainly incorporate your fabulous ideas! Lots of chocolates, regular breaks, getting her to choose the tasks and definitely the wild cards! :D
I have asked the school for the date of their next open evening and we are going to go, i completely agree that this will help her visualise the dream and hopefully motivate her :)
Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: Stressed!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 pm
Posts: 32
A good one that seemed to work for us was a huge whiteboard (2mx1m) that I installed on DS wall. His whole week is in front of him in 30 min slots. I know - sounds a bit OTT BUT worked a treat, as he had a clear understanding of his day + I had evidence in case of the next argument a la "I have no free time and endless tests, homeworks etc". Also, I think half an hour slots worked better than an hour slots would've worked as visually 2hrs of free time will result in 4 free slots, so looks like it's quite a lot...
And the other plus side was that I had the chance to analyze his days/extracurriculars/dinnertimes/bed-time reading and the realistic amount of extra, that could be scheduled in, in between all of that.
On the downside, DH took a picture of the whiteboard and now enetertains his friends with it at the office and on nights out:))


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