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 Post subject: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:34 am
Posts: 56
I have spent 2 years lurking on this forum, preparing myself for my son's 11+ this September. I thought it would be easy, I had no trouble at school. Academic success came easily to me and I remember doing my 11+ but there was no stress or preparation that I can recall (1984).

But...it is so tough. My DS is a smart boy but he is not up to scratch on his comprehension/english. He doesn't find it easy, he hates doing test papers. We found him crying on Tuesday doing a CEM test at home. I don't know what to do?

Our local comp is poor, the local grammar is one of the best in the country, it seems such a stark choice...all or nothing. I am so afraid that he is going to end up at the poor school and do poorly.

I have asked him to do 1 hour of study a day in the summer holidays (not weekends). This can be reading 2/3 days and test papers the other days. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me. I could have signed him up for tutoring and homework or a summer school.

Now I feel that I am failing on both counts. 1. I haven't given him paid tutoring 2. I am making him miserable. I am very confused and sad. I know I am not tough enough, but this means I am letting my DS down for potentially the rest of his life.

No real worries if no-one replies, I just wanted to get it off my chest.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
There's a lot can be done over the summer if you don't let him get despondent. He's not going to learn much doing test papers on his own. Have you got time to spend the hour working with him each day and then maybe give him 30 mins of independent working on something he can definitely do?

What test at what school are you preparing for?


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:34 am
Posts: 56
It's tough because I am out of the house by 7:30 each morning and not home till late. I will have to go through the papers with him at the weekend.

St Olaves and Bexley 11+.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:00 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:30 am
Posts: 505
Location: Warwickshire
Firstly, you're definitely not failing - you love your son and really want the best for him. Unfortunately feeling you're a failure comes as part of the package! Nevertheless, it doesn't mean it's true.

Secondly - is it worth having a complete break for a while? Perhaps taking a couple of weeks off completely? Legally employers are obliged to give their workers holiday so I'm sure it's right for kids too!


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
Yes, that is difficult. Is he on his own during that time or is there a different adult could work with him? Or an older child who has done it? You could pay them!

Do you live in Bexley?


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:34 am
Posts: 56
We are in Bromley, so unless DS does very well in the Bexley test we won't even put C&S on the CAF form. Just hedging my bets. Where we live is sort of in the middle of Bex/Brom and Croydon but public transprt to the Croydon Schools put me off putting DS through the Croydon tests too. Getting to C&S would be a reasonable journey - about the same as getting to Olaves.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
OK, so he needs a good score.

Is there anyone can help him somehow on a daily basis with the work he is doing - even if over the phone at a specific time of day? e.g. if he's doing a comprehension that day someone who can help him with the ones he got wrong?

Is there a friend in the same situation?


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:19 pm
Posts: 6257
Please don't beat yourself up. They've still got a few weeks of the holiday left and its amazing what you can achieve in that time.

I agree another adult, grandparent, sibling, babysitter on board would help as they could work with him for the hour a day, highlight what he's finding tough and then you could cover this at the weekend. Are you able to take dome leave from work so that you could do some work in the morning and then have some fun and treats in the afternoon?

Just a though are you in the right area for Ravenswood? My son has friends there who love it and are doing very well. If I'm right I don't think it's selective - but you would need to check as I'm not 100% sure.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:07 pm
Posts: 109
hornetgirl, no shilly shallying around, with time slipping through your fingers you really can't afford to give DS a complete break.

It is glaringly obvious that you need outside help and you need it fast if you are to "save" DS! I don't know the totality of your circumstances but you do, and so you must sit down with your DH/DP/? and DS and swiftly draw up an action plan (AP) to get the best outside help available to you. Then, go for it but make sure that DS is on-board and make sure that the AP isn't counter-productive because the workload is too heavy for DS; you must make a judgement on this, knowing your DS as you do.

Forgive me for playing the dictator but you are in a 2PA situation, passive acceptance or positive action, and you must opt for the latter. Yes, it's tough and most of us have been there one way or another but chin up and don't let it beat you ~:-).


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 Post subject: Re: I'm not tough enough
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
Posts: 2248
Forgive me, but if you found him crying he is clearly stressed, and to me, a clearly stressed child needs the option of 1. A complete break for some time 2. The opportunity to pull out completely 3. Carry on but with some kind of action to make him less stressed.

I know you only have his best interests at heart, but if he is this stressed, is it really worth it? Have you talked to him? Is it something he wants to do?

Please don't feel quilty, you naturally want the best for him, but in this pressure to reach the GS, its easy to lose perspective on what really matters, and what you clearly know, which is for him to be content.

It may be you decide between you that the extra work is worth it (is his comprehension meaning he is well below expected qualifying rate, or just not 'safely' over it?) - if the stretch is a big one, AND he is stressed, if it were me I'd be actively asking him to give it up and to BIG UP the alternative. Is there only 1 school you can try as an alternative? Is it awful really? Are there not others you could try for in other towns?

Further beyond that, and real blue sky ideas, but is moving an option? Is an indie possible? Lots of lovely small indies around that don't charge an arm and a leg. - Advance on the house mortgage - £50k? Not saying any of this is possible, but my overwheleming feeling is that you see your son unhappy but (with the absolute kindest and best will in the world) you are feeling you must carry on as you have no other choice, but it doesn't make him any more likely to qualify if its not right for him.

If he is upset by the pressure now, it is sensible to consider how he will cope in an academically pressurised environment at school.

Just being really honest and I don't mean in any way to suggest what you have done is bad - you clearly care and want the best for him, I just think you might benefit from really facing the alternatives and trying to find a way to spin them better, and also by talking to him.


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