Support thread for those self tutoring for the 11+

(39 Posts)
Retropear Sat 19-Oct-13 07:30:04

As suggested on other thread.grin

Will be back later.......

I have managed to get my first two children through the 11+ by preparing them myself, so am offering my advice & support if required.

CaptainSweatPants Sat 19-Oct-13 07:44:10

If anyone has a load of practice papers I'd love to buy them smile pm me xx

Oh jumping on board. Would like recommendations for materials to start with - oldest is yr4.

Retropear Sat 19-Oct-13 08:07:18

Oh Three that's really encouraging.

Right my worries so far are the essay,maths topics/methods they haven't done/do in school and time(how much and when).

Re the essay just how do you assess that?confusedAlso mine don't seem to have been taught how to summarise in persuasive writing.Any tips or book suggestions.Also do they have to finish it?

Re the maths they do the laborious gridding/chunking at ours and we were told specifically not to teach other quicker methods but the Bond How to do 11+ Maths has the old fashioned methods. Thankfully mine are pretty good at maths so thinking of going over the 11+ stuff and say you do the school methods at school and the other stuff at home.Yay/nay?

Re time,find it so hard to fit anything in.How much is reasonable and any time tabling suggestions would be gratefully received.

I think all of the above is doable but it's hard to find info when you are on your own.

Retropear Sat 19-Oct-13 08:09:07

Captain one tip I read somewhere was to save papers until nearer the end as they are limited.

CPG and Bond look good but not sure what opinion is from those more experienced.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 19-Oct-13 08:23:44

I'm not worried about the maths or reasoning but English is another matter entirely.
Does anybody know of any good (hopefully not too expensive) resources for helping with English other than bond?

Retropear Sat 19-Oct-13 08:28:24

Yes strangely the reasoning doesn't bother us either, you hear so much hype but when you look at it it's pretty innocuous.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 19-Oct-13 08:35:42

Retro pear - my sons school use the gridding and chunking methods but I taught him the old fashioned methods at home and he could do them with ease long before he started doing sums which required chunking and gridding at school. He can now use all the different methods and it doesn't cause him any confusion. Given the choice he will always choose the old fashioned column type methods as he finds them quicker (he actually says the other methods are long winded and not necessary).
Fortunately he has a great teacher who understands that he can use a variety of methods and sometimes asks him to come and show the rest of the class on the whiteboard and explain what he is doing.

If you think that the school will be unhappy about your son knowing different methods then just tell him to keep the traditional methods for doing sums at home.

wearingatinhat Sat 19-Oct-13 11:42:26

I am starting on this journey, so it is very early days.

Another one who is not as freaked out by the NVR/VR, so will leave that until later. OTOH DS is not always a speed merchant (depends on his mood), so he might need a rocket up him at some point. I may have to do some work on speed v accuracy nearer the time.

The best resource I have found so far for creative writing is: Alan Peat's Writing Exciting Sentences. It was recommended on another website. I managed to get it for under £20, but some retailers are charging ridiculous sums. It does not tell you how to sum up persuasive writing but it shows you how to showcase higher levels of punctuation and to use literary techniques to make the writing more interesting, eg use of repetition, alliteration, dramatic effects etc.

DS appears to use both methods of calculations at school (I think they can choose preferred method) and he prefers column methods so I am not too worried about this at the moment.

I would have thought that most schools will be using APP type assessment for writing in the 11+, but assessment does seem to be very subjective.

Maths: he revised his times tables, then we went through Bond's 'How to do 11+ Maths' topic by topic. 27 topics, one per week. This highlighted a couple of areas that DS1 hadn't covered at school, so we did some work on those. Then Bond ten minute tests in his own time, building up from one a week to two a week to full length papers by the end of Y5. He started with Bond 9-10y and worked his way up to 11-12 years, then in the summer holidays we introduced some GLA papers for variety.

Verbal reasoning: we are in an area that uses standard format and a wide variety of question types (more than 21). I went through the Susan Daughtrey books with them, one question type per week. Then Bond ten minute tests in their own time, working up to one full length paper per week by the end of Y5. Started with Bond 9-10y, worked up to 11-12y plus Athey, Alpha & Bright Sparks papers.

We also did a lot of work on vocabulary. Chuckra card games and looking up words they came across while reading the rather archaic children's literature I gave them.

They also made lists of vocabulary: names for baby animals, collective nouns etc.

SueVeneer Sat 19-Oct-13 13:02:41

Thanks for this thread. Phew! Im just starting on this long journey and am nervous as so much is at stake. It seems. My ds is in y5 and does well in school however 11+ content seems to add another layer onto whats taught at school. There seems so much to do in such short time!!

Perhaps im one of the few actually quite worried about the VR tests as ds doesn't read enough and doesn't enjoy reading that much. He will read if prompted but the meaning of the words don't seem to stick. That means his vocabulary range is quite limited. We are compiling a word book and play word games in car etc. Does anyone have any other suggestions please? am really encouraged my ThreeBeeOneGees successes - huge well done you and your dc!!

Do you mind me asking what age your dc are and what you are aiming for? Dd1 is in yr 4 so 2yrs to go, kent exam so don't know what the format will be when she does it. It's just selective, not wanting a super selective (don't think it will be right place for her). Also have other options so not entirely committed to 11+ but it is the school she wants to go to so want to give her the best chance. About half the class usually pass in her school, would say she is in top half, but not right at top. Maths is her strength, not tried reasoning but she is good at logic problems etc. She will need to work on literacy, spelling particularly. I do need to find a good assessment tool though to get a bench mark, have done no preparation yet.

wearingatinhat Sat 19-Oct-13 14:41:35

We're yr4- aiming for a superselective eek! We are in a superselective only area. Also considering some of the highly selective London indies.

Freerice.com is recommended for vocab on other sites, but we have not used it ourselves. We just tend to read classics and older books for the language as threebeegees said. Am thinking of buying DS an electronic dictionary, so he can check words without too much effort, he would really then have no excuse!

Yes, they both have electronic dictionaries, DS1 has the kind that is also a bookmark. Also useful beyond the 11+ for reading challenging texts in secondary school.

Once I realised how archaic some of the VR vocabulary seemed from my boys' point of view, I found my old copies of The Water Babies, Swallows & Amazons, Peter Pan etc.

I have no experience of coaching my children in English or NVR as those aren't included in our exam, but would have thought that VCOP might help as a prompt.

Google level 5 VCOP pyramids, make one (or get your child to make it herself to practise her nets of 3D shapes) stick it on her desk and praise her when she uses it in her work.

Also research "big writing" as this seems to feature strategies to improve composition.

missinglalaland Sat 19-Oct-13 23:27:51

My dd is in year 5. She attends a good state primary, and we will sit her for some indies and a super selective grammar next year.

I'm mostly concerned about her maths. Last year was a bit of a mess. Her class had 4 different teachers. She managed to progress in reading and writing, probably because she reads a lot for pleasure, but her maths progress suffered.

I started doing some Bond books with her, and was alarmed by the math gaps. Now, I am ploughing through the level 4 curriculum with her making sure she has actually learned all the topics. She is an easy pupil, and I hope the "clean up operation" will be done by Xmas. No point doing practise exams etc. when one hasn't learnt the curriculum!

loopsngeorge Sat 19-Oct-13 23:35:16

Can I join you? DS is in year 5, in a super selective area. We've been doing Bond books for a while but still feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to cover! Vocab is the main problem for us with the VR and English comprehension.
Missinglalaland - so am I! Did you live there??

Any recommendations for apps? There seem to be a few 11+ ones around.

Talked to dd1 last night and she wants to start with English - had a look at a few free papers last night including a scary extract from twelfth night - not going to show her that one yet! I think we will start with vocab building and spellings which will help her in school anyway.

threebeeonegee is the bookmark electronic dictionary good- the amazon reviews were a bit mixed.

Retropear Sun 20-Oct-13 08:16:08

Not if it's that white thin one.

My son bought it with his pocket moneyhmm and a lot of the words aren't in it.

He was considering the Kindle paperwhite and during my investigations I found out it has a dictionary in it and some kind of flash card thing I think which would be ideal.

Problem is all 3 of mine are avid readers and I realised unless I got them all one so they could swop books it would cost me a fortune as at the mo they swap books.If one had a Kindle I'd have to buy hard copies and e copies.

Retropear Sun 20-Oct-13 08:33:41

Three which electric dictionary do they have?

missinglalaland Sun 20-Oct-13 08:37:18

Hi loopsngeorge! smile

Did I live where?

They both had the Collins one from Y4. In primary school they could enter their spelling words and then do a little test on them.

In Y6 DS1 was given one from here by a grandparent:
www.thatcompanycalledif.com

Since he got a smartphone for his 13th birthday he tends to use the dictionary app on that.

kilmuir Sun 20-Oct-13 08:41:36

I found the elevenplusexam site useful. Gives info on exams in each area. I had to help my DD with 11+ as we were posted abroad.

missinglalaland Sun 20-Oct-13 08:42:54

BTW ThreeBeeOneGee, thanks for the VCOP suggestion.

I googled as you suggested and my dd1 is delighted and cutting and gluing a pyramid as we speak. I'd had no awareness of "VCOP" or what was on the level 5 agenda until last night. So thank you again for bringing me up to speed. She enjoys reading and writing, and she sees this as some sort of "fun dt project" for her own pleasure, use and enjoyment. If only math would take care of itself in the same carefree manner!

The Collins dictionary they have is the Franklin DMQ221 model.

Missinglalaland: at least she now knows the net of a pyramid. smile I'm sure she'll cover the rest of the gaps in the Maths before long.

Retropear Sun 20-Oct-13 08:50:50

Looks good,wonder how it compares to the Seiko Thesaurus(has anagram solver etc)

Hmmmm

Missing I think she means lala land. I must say after looking at some sample papers I agree. Ignorance was bliss! Dd1 enjoyed freerice.com and is telling anyone who will listen that she has given 580g to people who have no rice.

missinglalaland Sun 20-Oct-13 09:21:20

Doh! Of course 3birthdaybunnies. I made up the name a decade ago and disappeared from this site until realising I needed a broader view about education as the children are growing. Must check out FreeRice, as this is new to me too.

SueVeneer Mon 21-Oct-13 10:17:34

Thanks for all the suggestions here. Have to say though that the electronic dictionaries are a bit too pricey for me; do you think a conventional one will do?

Have looked at the 11plus forum and was scared witless. Using that as a guide I think I may as well give up now as I cant dedicate my whole life and sacrifice my other childs life just to focus on these exams. Feeling a little in despair. Is it representative of the size of this 11+ diy challenge do you think? Huuuuuge gulp!!

How much should I be doing each day/week?
I have drawn up a reading list and ds will be working through that. Lets see how that goes. Lastly, I don't have money to spend on loads of materials etc, any suggestions? Ds does stuff online, is that ok? Will also take look at freerice. Thanks.

3bunnies Mon 21-Oct-13 10:54:58

Abreviated my name! I think that the way I look at it Sue is that if I were to get someone to tutor my dd then it would probably only be for an hour a week, that is the amount of time I am planning to do in 121, however I will be able to divide that into two half hour sessions (harder to do if paying tutor) which will probably be more beneficial for their attention. The rest of the time we are in same position as all other state educated candidates.

I am planning to buy some materials but again justifying a small spend on maths and english specifically as if I were to pay for tutoring again it would cost more, and anyway these topics will help her at school wherever she goes. The reasoning I will tackle nearer the time. I am also planning to make use of free resources on the net.

For us too it isn't the only school option so I guess if she doesn't pass despite putting in the effort then maybe not meant to be, also the other school options are streamed so should at least start her off in a higher stream. I might reconsider my answer though when she is in yr 5!

SueVeneer Mon 21-Oct-13 11:11:34

Thanks or your reply 3B, as ds will be doing the exams in September, im going to aim for a couple of hours a week initially and adjust that time according to how receptive ds is to such dedicated time. Yes, youre right about the streaming thing, also there's only so much one can do and ultimately whatever will be will be. I guess.

I hope that the journey is going well for everyone. I have found the information given here to be useful and encouraging. thanks.

Retropear Mon 21-Oct-13 12:34:44

Sue try the CPG range.

They have a study book explaining everything for the 3 areas and then work books to extend from that.Quite well set out.

They do 20% discount if you spend over a certain amount.

Norudeshitrequired Mon 21-Oct-13 12:52:21

I have bought some materials in order to help my son as we have decided against a tutor. We are currently doing one hour a week during the school term and then we increase that during the holidays to 3 hours per week. It doesn't sound a lot but because there is only one child (as opposed to a class of 30) a surprising amount can be done.
I figure that I don't want my son to spend his whole life doing academic work just to get into a grammar school because then he will be excessively worried when exam time comes around and feel an enormous amount of pressure. I also think if he needs to spend 5 hours every single week studying for the exam then he perhaps doesn't have the natural talent required to really enjoy a grammar school education.

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