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 Post subject: Coping with stress
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:23 am
Posts: 18
Hi all,

Hope someone can give some helpful advice. Ds has the 11 plus test this September. Although there's 8 months to go there's still a lot to cover. My Ds thinks I'm putting pressure on her, whereas I don't think I am. I want her to try her best, I do understand that it's very competitive And the demands for the grammar schools is fierce.

My Ds does attend private tuition afew times a week, she hardly does the homeworks, she tries to do work at home but most of the time is distracted by younger siblings. I sometimes feel bad that I can't sit with her and give her some additional quality time to go through some topics. By the time I'm free in the evening it her bedtime. I really am feeling stressed now, I don't know what to do, whether I should continue with tuition for the 11 plus for whether give up.

Someone help!!!!!

Mini Cooper

 Post subject: Re: Coping with stress
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:10 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8762
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Minicooper

I noticed that you posted a very similar question 3 months ago and I think it is time for you to take a realistic approach to this.

You said then that tuition was "benefiting her", and yet she feels under pressure; she can't manage to get the homework done and you are clearly very stressed. I don't think that I can see many benefits, 3 months down the line.

How many hours of tuition is your daughter receiving each week?

How many hours homework is she expected to do? (From both the tutor and from school.)

What is "Plan B" if she does not receive a grammar school place? Have you discussed that with her?

Have you discussed with her current teachers the level she is working at, what SATs level she is predicted to achieve at the end of Year 5 and whether they believe that she has the potential to achieve well at a grammar school?

If the answer to that is "she is achieving well and has great potential" (good Level 4s or even Level 5), she doesn't need the amount of tutoring she appears to be receiving at present. Alternatively, if the answer is "she is average or below average", then you are setting her up for either failure in the 11+ or a marginal pass and 7 years of struggle that will only create more stress for her and you.

I am sorry if I sound blunt, but it seems that the current tuition regime is wrong for her and you in many regards.


 Post subject: Re: Coping with stress
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:02 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:29 pm
Posts: 124

I'm sorry that you are feeling stressed but I agree with everything Sally-Anne has said. School teachers usually have a pretty good idea of how your child will perform and from my observations, they usually seem to be right. IMO, there is no need for excessive amounts of work: a session with a tutor and then one to two hrs a week on follow up work is ample in the short term, with an increase of practice papers in the last couple of weeks working on timings and exam technique.

 Post subject: Re: Coping with stress
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:02 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:45 pm
Posts: 110
Minicooper, my daughter will also be taking the 11 plus in September so I understand your worry and stress. However, I feel a lot more reassured after reading Sally-Anne’s post, and fully support her advice to meet with your daughter’s class teacher. I recently met with my daughter’s teacher and told him we were thinking of putting her in for the 11 plus, and asked whether he thought this was a good idea. He was very positive and supportive of our plans and told us her current levels and her predicted end of year levels. Maybe your daughter’s teacher could do the same.

Every child is different, so maybe a few hours of tuition and a few hours of homework each week is a bit too much for your daughter. I have decided that one hour’s tuition and two hours homework each week is more than enough for my daughter. I know this might put her at a major disadvantage when she comes up against children who have had many hours of tuition each week, but I feel that a higher level of intensity might have a negative effect on her, whereas at the moment she is really enthusiastic and motivated. My daughter also says she still wants time to do the 'fun stuff' (as she calls it) like gymnastics, swimming, violin, etc.

Also, although I would love my daughter to pass the 11 plus, I have convinced her that the local girl's school is a really good one. I just don’t want her to feel like a failure, or that she has let us down, if she doesn’t pass the exam.

 Post subject: Re: Coping with stress
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:59 am 

Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2239
Location: Birmingham
I would second what has already been said, but also advise you to discuss the situation with her tutor - or indeed tutors, if she is attending a number of classes.

If she hasn't been completing the homework, I would have assumed the tutor would have contacted you by now to discuss this issue, as this is presumably a crucial part of the tuition; if not completed, surely she must be struggling in class?
I'm also aware of some tutors giving two-inch thick piles of papers to children every single week, to complete, not all of it relevant. Few children can keep that up for any length of time. They are only 9 or 10 years old - they're still young. If this is the case, it may be time to work smarter, not harder.

The 11 Plus is a difficult process. If you're one of the 'lucky' ones at the end it is a process that is well worth going through. The majority of those who enter it will not gain an 11 Plus place. The posts above have mentioned the need to carefully weigh up a child's chances, based on their motivation and work ethic as well as their ability.
I have seen parents whose children either do not have the capacity or the industry to reach the level required, shell out huge sums of money and go through months and months of misery - only to have their hopes dashed in the end - after spending a year telling the child how terrible their local school is.
I know of children who are still upset years later at their 'failure', having been assured all the way by optimistic parents and tutors that they were definitely going to make it. Because of this, I actually have a great respect for parents who decide that the 11 Plus is not in their child's best interests, and don't pursue the rocky route to Grammar.

However, don't misunderstand me - I personally see Grammar Schools as offering truly brilliant provision for those children suited to them - and they are well worth working for. I have been through the process twice as a parent - happily successfully, and I am currently on my third child, in Year 5.
For each child, the 11 Plus had a pretty significant impact on us all, and each child, in turn, in a family of 5, had the lion's share of my attention during those final 8 months. There were times when they didn't want to complete homework, and it usually took/takes assurance and bribery to keep them on track. I don't think there's any child in the KE Grammar Schools who didn't work for their place. Many, if not most, will have had significant amounts of tuition and home support. However, your child herself does need to want to do it. For all their occasional intransigence, my children were 100% sure they wanted to go to a Grammar School. They did not waver in that once - although they liked different Grammars depending on their open day experiences! Without this motivation on their part, I admit I just could not have seen the process through, as I needed them 'on side' with our program to make their aim happen.

Your query is a good one as I believe it is one that a great many parents do have.
You will first need to assess not just the 'chances' of a place, but whether your child will thrive in the highly competitive, academic environment of a Grammar school. You also need to find out how your daughter really feels about her school choices, too - this isn't always easy to gauge - as we all know, some children are more complicated than others! Your child's teacher will be a good starting point for a conversation, but the tutor(s), with closer experience of the actual 11 Plus requirements, should be even more lucid and helpful in their feedback.

I should also note that every year, some very bright and capable children do not attain an Grammar School place due to 'burnout'. They are driven for many months on a schedule that most adults couldn't keep up, and with levels of pressure that most adults couldn't take, and this tends to lead ultimately to poor scores at the end. Each of us have to allow our children adequate rest, relaxation and fun, too.

Best wishes.

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