11plus pressure

(78 Posts)
beachhead Mon 05-May-14 18:31:51

Hi I'm trying not to get too stressed, living in a grammar school catchment.10 mins walk from the grammar got to try the 11+

It's hard getting a 10 yr old to do extra study, I'm using Bond sample test maths papers. Every day just trying about 30 mins work.

Anyone got ideas on how not to end up having ds hating me?

herdream1 Mon 05-May-14 21:24:49

How motivated is he/she? I would talk over what grammar means, the difference between grammar and comprehensive, while making clear that it is not the end of anything if did not pass, since there are always children who do just as well at GCSE at comprehensives, yet would not be wondering if did not even try, etc, etc. May be look at the test papers then draw a plan together from now to the exam of daily works to be ticked, so he/she can see the progress? If pushed to work without clear understanding on why, even an adult would be fed up..

WooWooOwl Tue 06-May-14 08:40:42

Bribery worked for me!

At the time we were going through it ds was collecting football stickers, so a good session would earn two packs of stickers, or the right to choose a restaurant or place to go at the weekend or whatever. It was an on going thing so the reward changed weekly, and I was always careful to reward effort rather than achievement. I was actually really cross when ex mil gave him money for getting a place, which was obviously months after he had finished putting in the effort because I felt that he deserved the praise for doing his best rather than the end result, especially as it was a super selective where his place was as dependent on the other candidates as it was on himself.

I also used to look at the schools website regularly to read their newsletters to show ds when they were doing something I knew he'd particularly enjoy to help motivate him.

It was really hard to get the balance right between motivating him enough to do the work but not making it so important that he'd be devastated not to get a place, and I'm not sure I ever cracked that one tbh!

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Tue 06-May-14 08:46:51

Go and have a look at the elevenplusexamsforum website for your area and get more specific papers for the exam in your area. Bond are generic, and good as a bit of general practice of to help with a particular area, but not cut to fit any one particular exam/publisher. You will also get lots more advice there on how to support your child.

Relax and try to find ways to help your ds which support him. Cut desk time down to a minimum and talk about language and maths problems on the hoof.

Martorana Tue 06-May-14 08:52:48

Take the elevenplus forum with a pinch of salt or ten. Lots of really scary, obsessive parents on there. Believe what the Mods say- be sceptical about everything else.

topbanana1 Tue 06-May-14 18:52:03

Good advice above. It needs to be his choice - you can't MAKE him work and even if you could, you can't make him try in the exam, as parents are banned! Plus a stressed child won't perform to their best level anyway.

So talk to him about which school he'd like to go to, and if he doesn't know, discuss the pros and cons, and visit if not done. If he does want to go to the grammar, and just needs motivation to do well, then I second bribery esp for success in spotting careless mistakes (not fair to penalise someone for simply not understanding the topic or not having been taught it). If he actively doesn't want to go to the grammar, you can try persuading him, but ultimately it needs to be his (informed) choice, or nothing you will do will succeed and your ds will hate you for it.

Re stress, I told my dd (who did want to get in) that all she could do was her best on the day and that the examiners didn't have a little camera to see inside her brain with; all they could measure was how she performed on one day in one exam - which wasn't necessarily a reflection of her real ability. So if she passed - great; but if she failed, it didn't 'say' anything about her actual overall ability in other, future exams or in life. No big deal.

And that she could and would do well whichever school she went to. In our case, I actually preferred her second choice, a comp - so could in all honesty make it clear I wasn't bothered whether she passed the 11+ or not - I really did let her make her own decision on this. As after all, she would be the one who goes there. It meant that when she slacked, I could remind her that she was working to achieve her own goal.

I'd also start by doing a practice paper in each subject to be sat. The results may be poor - that's fine as it allows you to do another one in a few weeks or months (or even the same one) so he can see clearly how much he's improved - very motivating. It also highlights what topics or areas he needs to work on.

I also wouldn't do it every day = overkill. Everyone needs a break sometimes. If you want to do 3 hrs a week, better to do 3 days of 1 hr or 2 of 1.5 hrs and the rest off.

Make sure you have a good second choice that you big up & say how great it is & even if you'd prefer the grammar make sure you never let your child know that.

Then all the stuff about anyone - even the braniest box in the land- can have a bad day in an exam etc etc (they can).

I think ds2 went into the 11 plus knowing that we were quite happy with the school that he would definitely go to if he didn't get into the grammar, and we might even have put that one first (as it is he got a qualifying mark & chose the grammar as first choice so went there).

Ds3 is in year 4 now, as of this summer we start 11 plus preparation by which I mean we start going to the open days of other schools to find one or two we really like as second/third choices..... The Bond books will start next year. In ds3's case he's more suited to the grammar than ds2 was really - but we will do exactly the same and find a second & third choice school that we can rave about to him.

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Wed 07-May-14 08:49:12

Yes, having a second and third choice, presented as equally good schools of different flavour, is really great.

Bann the words 'pass' and 'fail' and talk about the test preparation as making it easier for DCs to do well in whichever school they then go to. They are mainly working on basic literacy and maths skills, organisation, time management and all round general knowledge.

Children who don't get above the required marks for grammar school shouldn't be thinking they are failures, that will just hamper their progress, and it is a total lie. They can still do just as well, but will probably be in a less academic environment. They will need confidence that they can thrive and the ability to make the most out of comprehensive school is within them. So don't set them up for a fall, or, if they do get into grammar school, teach them that others are failures (or that it is easier or harder being in one school or the other).

Grammar schools do seem to set more homework, so being able to organise their own spare time and being motivated to put that first is a good thing to be encouraging DCs to do now. Also giving them opportunities to do extra reading, writing or maths problems for enjoyment (not just because it helps get ready for the test.)

Martorana Wed 07-May-14 08:57:40

"Bann the words 'pass' and 'fail' "

Good luck with that. sad

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Wed 07-May-14 09:11:31

I know, Mantorana. But it has to start somewhere.

Retropear Wed 07-May-14 09:17:53

I've banned the words pass or fail with mine.I've told them they'll pass(because they will) but won't necessarily get a place.

I'm bigging up the alternative,being with their mates etc.

We also took them for a visit.Not sure if it was the right thing to do as they're desperate to go now but at least they don't whine re doing extra work.I've told them I'm not badgering and if they cause me to nag we'll pull out.

It's very much their gig,but not sure if that's a good thing.If it was me wanting this and not them it wouldn't matter so much if they don't get places iykwim.

Little and often is working for a us.A friend of mine tries to do the lot on a Sunday with huge stress.We're lucky as my dc don't get much homework from school so we can do 20-30 mins a day 5 dayish a week ok.

Retropear Wed 07-May-14 09:18:41

I've also told them all extra won't be wasted and they'll have less to do when Sats come round.wink

IndridCold Wed 07-May-14 09:28:44

No advice, but I caught some of this programme on the radio on Monday. You might find it interesting. Here is the link to iplayer Tutor Proof.

BaBaSheep Wed 07-May-14 12:06:17

Your dc needs to like the grammar school or dislike all the other schools. Otherwise it is very hard to encourage them to practise. We moved house in the summer of year 5 to be closer to the comp that is of my dc's first choice above every other schools in the county. Before we moved dc would do at least a paper on sat and sun although she was not keen on the grammar schools but she really didn't like everything else. Since we had moved house I couldn't get her to do any practices at all. However many of her friends really like the gs or not as lucky as we are they continue to practise very hard. In my experience many bright kids don't care about getting into grammar schools. My dc did regret not trying harder. But I only said to her like many things in life it was only important at the time.

Xihha Wed 07-May-14 14:25:34

Are people seriously making their children sit and do half an hour extra work every day on top of school and any normal homework? The best way to stop him hating you is to let him have some time off! Ask questions on the way home from school, or over dinner or whenever fits in with your daily life but too much formal studying isn't going to help.

I'm not a tutor but thanks to being the eldest of a large family DS will be the 5th child I've helped through the 11+ (of the others, all have passed, 2 at super-selective and 2 at normal grammars) none of them have studied every day as time off is just as important as extra studying as a child who resents you won't work at it. Our routine is/was a couple of hours at the weekend, with treats provided and their choice of TV after, plus a paper during the week if they want to do it without me nagging too much.

With all of them we've never said pass or fail either as we are in West Kent and it is so competitive here that a lot of children who pass the exam still don't get a grammar place.

Retropear Wed 07-May-14 14:39:19

Your routine wouldn't work for us.

My dc prefer it split up instead of doing it in one go.Little and often we prefer,seems to be going just fine,no mummy hating here.

Schools,children and amounts of school homework set differs.

HercShipwright Wed 07-May-14 14:42:00

Half an hour every day does seem a huge amount though...

JeanSeberg Wed 07-May-14 14:45:10

More importantly, is this the right school for your child, OP? Have you looked at other non-grammar schools in the area?

I've had two children in grammar and the third went to a different school because that was the right one for him. (Also more impressed with the non-grammar.)

We didn't do half an hour a day but nor did we do 2 hours at the weekend (no chance!)

I like the Bond ten minute tests personally - with a few longer practice papers towards the end.

Retropear Wed 07-May-14 14:50:28

20-30 mins 5 days a week sounds extremely similar to the previous posters 2hours at a weekend(maybe less with her extra paper on top).

My dc get sfa homework from school are in a non pushy state primary school.

If my dc were in a pushy prep or primary school getting hours of homework on top I may well do things differently.

Seems to work for us.<shrugs>

HercShipwright Wed 07-May-14 14:58:31

I'm only commenting, retro, because my DD2 passed the 11+ for the school you're aiming at this time round, and DD1 a few years ago, that's all. If it's working for you then fine. smile But I genuinely believe that 30 mins a day 5 days a week is massive overkill. DD2 did a few 10 minute tests in the summer holidays last year, in what we call sudoku time (she normally does sudokus with me in the holidays, 'helping' me) and a couple of the organised practice sessions in a nearby town, and we thought that was plenty. She was getting extension work from school though in Y 4 and 5 which meant that her maths and literacy were above the required standard anyway.

Retropear Wed 07-May-14 15:06:51

Erm my 2 are boys so probably not exactly the same school.wink

My dc get hardly any homework and certainly not 11+ syllabus in content,not even sure they're covering all of the syllabus in school.

I don't want a last minute panic.

They doing fine and we're all chilled,just making sure all gaps are filled.A lot of what we're doing I suspect many kids do in school or for homework.

Retropear Wed 07-May-14 15:07:34

Your post is reassuring though and appreciated.smile

HercShipwright Wed 07-May-14 15:12:49

retro Well, if you do the exam for the boy's or the girl's school you are (it transpires - I didn't know beforehand) automatically considered by the other (mixed) grammar school in the 'consortium' (CF) and the grammar stream of another school (W) so there is some overlap...

We didn't even put either of the other two schools on our CAF though, just the girls school and the one in the other direction which was our first choice.

You might want to check out the organised practice sessions though. PM me if you want details.

Retropear Wed 07-May-14 15:14:36

Thank you,will do.

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