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 Post subject: Maintaining perspective
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:20 pm
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From the posts on this Forum and Mumsnet as well as enquiries we have received from parents of DD’s younger classmates, there appears to be rising concern and anxiety amongst parents in the midst of preparing their DCs for 11+ exams this autumn/winter. This is quite understandable as the 11+ is unfamiliar terrain for many/most parents and we all want to do our best for our DCs.

To the extent it is helpful, I thought I would share how we sought to maintain perspective a year ago when we were in the same situation:

1. We did not believe that not passing 11+ exams would doom our DD, and prepared ourselves and our DD for the possibility of such an outcome. Growing up (outside the UK), I was taught that children develop at different speeds and saw first-hand friends and others who blossomed toward the end of secondary school (I attended a comprehensive-equivalent state school) or at university.

2. A British friend of mine told me the story of her parents (for philosophical reasons) sending her older sister to a state secondary school and later realising that the school was quite poor. Her father then took it upon himself to supplement her sister’s preparation for (I believe) O- and A-levels and she went on to become a doctor. Takeaway - parents can compensate for a poor educational experience.

3. Having reached mid-life, I have been thinking a lot about the meaning of success and the purpose of striving. As many of you are aware, a sizable proportion of people in so-called high-powered professions are unhappy and unfulfilled, even though they have high incomes and social status. So, we have tried to be careful to not define success narrowly or have DD chase it blindly (we do, however, believe in instilling in DD a strong work ethic).

Rather, we have sought to encourage DD to explore areas that genuinely interest her and which give her meaning, and emphasise the importance of living a simple life (so that, if she were to pursue a career that was not highly remunerative, she could still achieve financial security) and building/maintaining close relationships with family and friends (which according to Harvard Professor Clay Christensen "are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness").

Anyway, I hope the above can help lessen the pressure that (many) 11+ parents are now feeling. Have a good weekend.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:38 pm 
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Here, here!
The 11+ is not the end of the world, friends son missed by 1 mark years ago, she never told him! He went to the local comp instead, she told him that was closer and more convenient. 2014 he started at Bristol doing Medicine. To this day he doesn't Know he "failed" .


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:26 pm 
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Great post lostinshuffle, totally agree. :D The 11 plus should not define who you are or what you become. It can seem from reading posts that all it takes is hard work, when that can't be possible with so many sitting for so few places. Someone has to not make the grade. There are many other ways of excelling and finding your potential.

Look at people such as Robert Preston, went to a local comp and managed tomgetbinto Oxfford and is now economics editor at the bbc. Comprehensive education did not hold him back.

Thanks for writing this. I hope others will read it over the next few months when the pressure mounts.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:40 pm 
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diamondgirl wrote:
Here, here!
The 11+ is not the end of the world, friends son missed by 1 mark years ago, she never told him! He went to the local comp instead, she told him that was closer and more convenient. 2014 he started at Bristol doing Medicine. To this day he doesn't Know he "failed" .


Love that one and so wish I was the sort of person who could successfully carry it off :)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:48 am 
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It's so tough. In my head agree almost entirely with the first post....but! If that is so why are we all here stressing? In my heart I want DS and DD's desperately to succeed and get into a grammar. It makes me mixed up and confused.

I was brought up in an culture that basically valued a god school and good grades above all else. I was fortunate that I was smart and a 'good girl' so I was carried along happily with the tide, GCSE's, A'levels at top grades then medical school, then on and on and on. Now I am 41, I am a senior consultant and still work ****** hard ( I am still also too good for my own good!). I am exhausted, burnt out and depressed. I wish someone had told me there was more to life than academic success!

Anyway, here I am repeating the same cycle and I can't seem to get off the wheel for my own children.
Help!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:20 pm
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Thanks, everyone, for contributing your thoughtful views.

Hornetgirl - I think it is really hard to achieve the right balance both for ourselves and our children, particularly in London because so many people are talented and ambitious and focus intensely on climbing the academic and career ladders. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this provided that achieving success along these lines will make you happy and contented.

I grew up in a small town (outside the UK) and keeping in touch via social media with my childhood friends, many of whom live simpler lives (by London standards) and are rather happy, has been helpful in reminding me that there is more to life than career success (I still work quite hard, though).

As for my DD, I hope she will learn to define success on broader terms. In this regard, I am not without worry about the outlook she might develop when she moves on to an academic secondary school this September.


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