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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:29 pm
Posts: 14
Hi all,

I have been using this forum for the past few months, although I have not posted much, I have read and received some great advice from quite a few regulars. I am home tutoring my ds1 in preparation for exams later this year.

I think I am going through the roller coaster of emotions that people have described in the past, and I think I have now hit a low, I am seriously doubting myself! I thought it was going well, with some sessions going better than others but today my ds told me he wanted a professional tutor! It (nearly) broke my heart and when I asked why ds said all his friends had a tutor and were learning 'special techniques'! He is (I would like to believe) naturally talented and would imagine he stands a good chance to get in the school. But am I robbing him of a chance by doing it myself? What techniques are tutors using that I would not be able to teach him myself?

Please share your experiences as I need reassuring! Thanks

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:11 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:22 pm
Posts: 710
I had to check the name on this post as I thought that I'd written it!

I feel exactly the same and I'm absolutely sure that we aren't alone! My DS is my eldest so I have no real experience with this. I went to grammar school, but in the days where it was 'easy' to get in and tutoring was unheard of yet my DS is the only person I know of (out of a lot of Y5s!) who hasn't got a private tutor and I do have regular wobbles. I feel quite strongly that I don't want to get a tutor (for various reasons) but when I did idly discuss it with DH-we looked at what we would want from a tutor and decided that they would definitely have to be a qualified teacher and as DH pointed out-I *AM* a qualified teacher, so should just shut up and get on with it! The techniques your son is talking about are nothing that you can't learn (if you don't know them already!) Is it VR? Which books are you using?

I have followed the advice on here about the orders of papers (we're not in the Midlands, so I don't know which exams you have) for VR and we're working through Bond for English and Maths-as well as brushing up mental maths and looking at past papers, but I feel vocab is an issue as I can't teach him every word I know in the next six months!

Don't worry-you aren't alone! What are you currently doing with him? It sounds like he is keen which is half the battle :)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:45 pm
Posts: 390
I DIYed my older 2 DC and both passed for their first choice grammar. I had exactly the same doubts as you though, and at around the same time. It was first time round for me, all my DC's friends had private tutors and I wasn't sure whether I was missing out something vital in my DC's preparation. As it turned out my DC got places where some of the tutored DC didn't, so there is no magic involved with a tutor.

There is so much really valuable info on this site. Make sure you read up on what the Birmingham exam may contain because it can't all be covered by the standard Bond(etc) books. I made up a lot of my own resources, particularly for vocab and cloze. I also found the Manchester Grammar papers really useful for practice closer to the exam.

More than anything though, the advantage you have if you DIY is that you know your DC and their strengths and weaknesses. This is something it could take a tutor valuable weeks to work out.

You will have lots of wobbles between now and September I'm sure, but if your instinct is telling you to DIY carry on and don't worry about what others are doing. :D

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:01 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:29 pm
Posts: 14

Thanks Manana and Dende for your replies, it has put my mind at rest , I realised I am not alone and that's what is great about this forum. I have also found (and keep finding) lots of useful info on here. I had a chat with my ds too and I think he just needed reassuring.

The prep I am doing at the moment is as follow:
-Bond, how to books and 10 min tests for maths and nvr
-Multiplication table a few times a week
-Free rice
-AE vocabulary book
- encourage lots of reading and search for new words
_ Sim and Schofield for comprehension

Plus I just found those useful revision aids on this website + free past exam papers etc

I also had a look at what Dende recommended, the Manchester Grammar paper, and OMG I did panic a bit as I am not sure I could do them myself within the time limit, so I'll definitely keep them for closer to the date!

Please let me know it looks like i am missing something

Thanks again

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:36 pm 
I'd reiterate the prior posts. My daughter scored in top 10 children in both the King Edwards exam and the Warks 11 plus having sat the tests in Oct / Nov 2010. She is now at her first choice grammar. Home tutored by me (and I am not a teacher!!)

The worst thing was the regular sniping from the kids in her class who were also going for grammar schools and were all, with one exception, being privately tutored. There was a lot of "we know what is going to be in the exam but you don't and we are not going to tell you" along with a lot of rubbish like "you have to know Pi" and "you have to know roman numerals, my tutor says that always comes up" (all nonsense oneupmanship). Oh and of course "no-one gets in without tutoring", also untrue. Most of them failed to get in.

Look at the posts from fm. She doesn't post any more, but her old posts were my "bible" about what to do with my DD, and I'd imagine would still hold true.

I do think that as long as a parent is reasonably intelligent and can spare the time to do stuff with their child (tricky with annoying younger siblings around, we had to go to Grandmas on a Saturday morning to get some peace), home tutoring may well be better. As previous posters have said, you know your child better than a tutor ever will. DD didn't really need any help with English type stuff, always had her head stuck in a book from about the age of 5. But needed more practice with maths and non verbal.

You must to algebra with them, it certainly comes up in the KE and Warks 11 plus exams, and if my DD's state primary is anything to go by, your child will not have covered it at all at school by the time the exam comes around.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:22 am
Posts: 3664
I'm in Kent..so a different area, but the emotional turmoil will be the same ! I've just come out of a low...DS2 ( Ds1 at Grammar already...added pressure ) was scoring 30 - 40 % in his maths Bond papers and coupled with all the anxiety on here I was feeling incredibly low and DS was getting all huffy and stressed out too. I gave him a little break , which I found very difficult , but it was needed and he's now back up, scoring well, actually asking to do the work and feeling positive. He has told me he feels bad for his friends who didn't get a grammar place and I think that is spurring him on..he's even getting out his own work and marking it ! Something I wouldn't have thought possible a couple of weeks ago. So, I think try and ensure they have a say in it all ..keep that bottle of wine chilled ..and try and enjoy the journey. It brings you closer to your children although it doesn't always seem so at the time. :)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:12 pm
Posts: 20
IMHO, DIY tutoring is absolutely fine, as long as you have the time and the determination,and why not admit it, the know-how and patience to do it.

It is not easy, which is why lots of people choose to get someone else to do it, and there is no shame about it... But do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it alone. There are no "special techniques", or magic tricks to gain unfair advantage.

A slow, gradual, but constant effort is what is required. Build up practice on all the different subjects at regular sessions, and once you approach the actual exams dates, the only "technique" you could help your DC with is timing. By the end of both my DC's tutoring ( which was done at home), they were both doing regular timed test, so they would get used to, not only answering the questions correctly, but to be able to do them on a limited time. The idea was that by the time they got to the real thing they were so used to doing mock exams, that they were not faced by them.

Both my boys now have a grammar school place, and I will be honest, I'm glad for me is over. Would I do it again? Absolutely!!!

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:26 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Birmingham
We did successful DIY tutoring about 7-9 years ago for our 2 children. Worked well, the key thing for the B/Ham consortium Univ of Durham CEM exam is lots and lots of variety. Particularly synonymns, antonyms and home made cloze

I can honestly say that after working through many 11+ papers on a 1 to 1 with my children that I think I might even pass the exam myself now :)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:09 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:44 pm
Posts: 357
I did a lot myself (as we were running out of time) - but the few sessions my DS had with a tutor meant that instead of JUST finishing the VR in time, he finished with 20 minutes to spare and was able to use the time for checking. The techniques that she taught him were way more advanced than my methods! But if you are sure you are teaching those techniques then there is no problem. If you are not sure, then why don't YOU have a session with the tutor, check you are doing what is needed, then continue with the good work! :D

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