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Clashes with daughter over 11+ test

(51 Posts)
monkeytree Tue 16-Aug-16 14:45:25

I'm struggling with my (only just) 10 year old daughter and preparing for the 11+ exam.We have 3 or 4 grammar schools in this area that potentially girls can get into so roughly 430 spaces for girls. I was told that my 10 year old dd does stand a chance of passing the 11+ if she does some prep work for it. DD is one of the youngest in the class and is borderline so we decided to follow advice, get some practice papers (dd has a tutor for maths) and do some work towards it. I know it is a controversial subject preparing for the 11+ test and some people don't believe in it but I think it would be difficult for any child to sit it straight off without seeing a practice paper first. So I have asked dd to do 20 mins to 30 mins in the morning maths/english/grammar etc and another 20 mins in the evening (lighter more fun stuff) but still working on increasing word knowledge etc.

Apparently dd says she hates me for putting pressure on her to pass the 11+. I have reassured her several times that my love for her won't change whatever the outcome but I might as well be the devil. The thing is, I know that if I didn't try and support dd, I would have big regrets - what if we'd just done this or that kind of thoughts and I don't want any regrets on my part. Then I feel guilty because she creates such a fuss - delays doing the work (she is steadily improving all the time), generally messes about and would rather stare at her tablet, tv etc. I know it's a lot to ask but my thoughts are along the lines of this is just for a few weeks (4 now) and is it really such a big deal in the long run. I get frustrated with dd's lack of maturity about all of this but can understand she would rather play etc. I have made sure she has done lot's of lovely things too over the holidays - she's out now playing with friends. In amongst all of this I have had to deal with occupying my nearly 3 year old (dh works during the day) and it has been a real juggling act trying to satisfy both of them and give dd1 quality time etc. DD's attitude has just not helped - despite being promised something she very much wants if she shows the right attitude and effort (not based on performance) but I can't help but think her attitude has been awful at times and I am questioning whether she lacks maturity or whether I'm asking too much of her. I would not be putting her through this if she did not stand a chance and the spin off from this will be that her grammar and maths will have improved anyway in time for the year 6 sats. I can honestly say this has been an awful experience although I have enjoyed working with dd very much when she is willing to learn and I have learnt a lot too. Anyone else had similar experiences?

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 16-Aug-16 14:58:35

Did you ask her if she wants to sit the 11+, or told her she would be without her input? It reads like you've pushed her into it, when she really rather wouldn't.

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 16-Aug-16 15:01:47

And why are you forcing her to do so much school work over the summer holidays, I'd not be happy at 10 to be doing Maths and English, for up to an hour a day for weeks either.

ClarkL Tue 16-Aug-16 15:07:08

My daughter sits her 11+ in about a month, originally she was all for it. We spent a fortune on her tutor plus books, then about 2 months ago she suddenly didnt want to do it, then it became she didnt like the tutor (although she didnt like the second tutor either!)
The problem for us is her best friend is also sitting it and we really want to keep the girls together plus the alternative schools arent in my opinion great so we are now at a stale mate where she wont study but wants to sit the exam and has said she loves the school (seriously explain the logic, wants to go loves the school, best friend going...not willing to work for it?! argh!)
I have found some flash cards though which appear to have perked her up a bit, I hope its because she's got a 'different' way of learning it seems new again. I have no advice, but I feel your pain

theknackster Tue 16-Aug-16 15:07:33

As per Edmund - I wouldn't bother making her prepare or sit for the 11+ unless she actually wants to. You'll just end up with another 4 weeks of stress and she may 'throw' the exam anyway (as a friend of DS1 did!).

ghostyslovesheep Tue 16-Aug-16 15:07:47

My dd got stressed out just sitting test papers (no tuition - CHAMS had suggested she consider a GS out of area ) she passed them with high 90%'s but hated the stress

so she didn;t sit it - her life her choice - she's happy at the local comp and doing well

theknackster Tue 16-Aug-16 15:11:18

Whoops - just saw your update. If it was her idea in the first place you just keep reminding her that she's the one who wants to do it, and if she doesn't want to practice then that's her won't bother taking her to the exam on the day, no skin off your nose, etc.

That worked wonders with DS1, and is currently working wonders with DS2 ;)

Lemoncurd Tue 16-Aug-16 15:13:21

Mine is sitting the test, keen to go to grammar (with his older sibling) but I just can't bring myself to go through the stress of trying to make him do the work. I'm worried it will be making too make of a big deal of it and increasing the pressure. He has done a few pages off his own back a few times this week though.

We too think he is borderline but just don't want him to feel he has failed if he doesn't qualify and I'm worried he will feel worse if he has worked hard and then doesn't. At least if he doesn't qualify he'll be able to save face with his friends by saying he didn't prepare. His friends have had tutoring all year, mocks and some are doing holiday courses as well. I'm sure I'll regret it in a few months time but it feels the best approach for us at the moment.

My eldest is very self sufficient, I never have to get involved with homework etc, it just gets done. I worry that if we do battle with son to get him into grammar it will also be a constant battle to get him to do the work needed and keep up with everything. Much as I desperately want him to go, maybe the test will just be the decider for where is best for him.

SanityClause Tue 16-Aug-16 15:14:09

Has she seen the schools? DD1 really wanted to go to one of the grammars near us, in particular, so worked hard to get in.

If your DD isn't really interested in going, then maybe she shouldn't be sitting the tests. If she has seen the school, and does like it, she will know she needs to do the work to get in.

(We didn't have proper tutoring, though. She worked through some workbooks and tests we got online.)

AyOhRiver Tue 16-Aug-16 15:14:33

Could it be a friendships issue? I remember a lot of angst in Year 6 about who was going to which secondary school with which friends, are her friends doing the 11+?

Or do you think she can't see connection between putting in the work now and performing well further down the line. Is the test in four weeks' time? That's nothing to an adult but at ten it might as well be four years away. Maybe you could watch some Olympic events together and look into the successful athletes' training schedules etc. to undeline the importance of preparation.

Or maybe she's just not all that academic? What are her favourite subjects? Does she have any ambitions for a future career that doesn't require a lot of studying? (not that comprehensive students aren't academic/don't go on to further study) Why are you so keen for her to go to a grammar? Is it really going to be the best environment for her?

MapleandPear Tue 16-Aug-16 15:19:04

Maybe cut back on the work a bit, they also need a break from school work too. I'd say the main thing to practise now is timing and exam technique as that's about the most difficult thing to get right.

Break it down more, maybe a couple of the ten minute tests here and there?

I asked DD1 how much she thought she ought to practise a day and let her get on with it though did ask how much she had done from time to time. Some days she did an hour or more, other days she did nothing (quite a lot!) and other days she probably only did ten minutes. I had also enrolled her in the summer school though so she had about 8 days of 3 hour sessions over the six/seven weeks, and one that was a few days before the exam.

She did very well in the exam and (just!) got into the super selective grammar she wanted to go to, even though she didn't finish two of the papers - she still found the timing tricky with all the practising, but I guess she must have got most of the questions right that she did answer. DD1 is also one of the youngest - there is some weighting for that of course.

Most of all make sure she has plenty of fun and time to relax this holiday. As I say, I don't think much more content will go in at this stage but it's good to practice the tests .

monkeytree Tue 16-Aug-16 15:19:36

Thank you for your replies. The school that dd most wanted to go to is slightly over subscribed and marginally out of catchment - so she may or may not get a place. We agreed that whatever the outcome if dd wanted to go to this school I would back her all the way (instead of the grammar school). However, dd's second choice was one of the grammar schools and yes one of her good friends may be going there. DD agreed that she would sit the 11+ test on the basis that there was no pressure to go should she pass. Her preferred choice, I am more than happy with and I have spoken to the head teacher at this school and really hope she gets in. However, the other local comp does not have such a good reputation. So the girls grammar would be a great second choice.

I thought I might come across as being a bit of a demon but I guess like most parents you just want to give your dc's the best opportunity and if she hadn't entered the 11+ on the basis that she could pass with a little effort, I think I would have felt guilty about this too. So, guilt either way. After various outbursts from dd and the situation becoming more inflamed, we discussed pulling out of the 11+ because the pressure was getting too much - dd then told me I didn't believe in her for suggesting this! I feel I am in a no win situation. Chances are she will not pass, I will be glad when this ordeal is over. Some of her friends are going to the local comp - I just want her to be happy and if this is the right school so be it but as parents, we felt she should make the most of the opportunity.

StackladysMorphicResonator Tue 16-Aug-16 15:25:00

At least if he doesn't qualify he'll be able to save face with his friends by saying he didn't prepare. shock

Are you for real?? What kind of parent allows a child to throw away the opportunity to massively increase their life changes (and whatever people feel about them, grammar schools do provide a superior education and start in life) because an 11-year-old needs to save face? WTF?

You are supposed to be the adult here - yes, some things are annoying and not fun (tidying up, doing homework, eating vegetables) but that's the whole point of parenting, making sure your child makes good choices that they lack the maturity to make on their own.

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 16-Aug-16 15:26:46

Seriously op, read back through your posts and see how many times you've said 'I'. It really seems it's all about your wants and your daughter has picked up on it big time. Are you saying if she got a place at both get chosen school, and passed the 11+, you'd rwalky just let her go to the nine-grammar without a fuss?

I suggest sitting down and having a real conversation about what she wants, without adding your opinion - I wouldn't be surprised at all she only agreed to sit the exam for your benefit.

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 16-Aug-16 15:28:39

That should be 'really' not rwakly hmm. Not easy typing with a baby on you....

Fuckingmoles Tue 16-Aug-16 15:33:31

Article from the Guardian on the 11+ that makes interesting reading.

monkeytree Tue 16-Aug-16 15:42:00

Hi Ay

I'd say yes to all three questions. Although she preferred the school that most of her friends aren't going to (the comp slightly outside of catchment) - she felt most at home there, lovely art department etc.

I would say dd is not particularly academic but does excel when she puts her mind to it. She just had the lead role in the school play and stood up in front of 250 parents to perform and did well, not something I could do! She has some confidence but I think the whole grammar school thing unnerves her. She is also not keen on going to an all girls school which is what would happen at grammar (the mixed grammar is super selective). Drama and Art are her thing. She also likes English and is way above her age for reading (very keen reader). Maths has significantly improved over the last year. She is above average in most subjects but not in the top set. I'm thinking grammar is not the way to go for dd but we felt that she should at least give herself the opportunity and potentially the choice. Parenting can be difficult sometimes can't it.

augustwashout Tue 16-Aug-16 15:46:56

Op I feel for you your between rock and a hard place.

maybe the time was too much, the incentive not enough?

I get my dd to work - very short ten mins here and there ( not regular) with promise of more computer time, or money for something or just plain chocolate grin. If she moans I back off immediately.
Mine is younger than yours and I want her to go for exam so I have started two years ahead of time, with a very stealth, little but often approach.

You are in a dead lock at the moment and if you have time I would back right off. Do something fun and try and have a relaxed convo about it.
Personally I think its perfectly ok for a parent to have wants and wishes for their small dc who has no idea about the world yet! My goodness, 30 mins a day is nothing, some DC are hot housed from the moment they wake up till the moment they go to bed.

30 mins in a day filled with relaxing is nothing!!

BertrandRussell Tue 16-Aug-16 15:51:28

Are you for real?? What kind of parent allows a child to throw away the opportunity to massively increase their life changes (and whatever people feel about them, grammar schools do provide a superior education and start in life) because an 11-year-old needs to save face? WTF?"

Why dos a grammar school education increase life chances for a well supported, clever child?

gillybeanz Tue 16-Aug-16 15:57:41

I'm not against the 11+ for children who want to do it, but this sounds more about you tbh. e.g YOU would never forgive YOURSELF if you didn't support her. Well you aren't supporting her, You are putting pressure on your dd and she doesn't want to do it.
She isn't doubting your love, so your comment about loving her just as much whatever the outcome is irrelevant.
You say she isn't academic, well aren't most kids academic who go to grammar schools.
Listen to what she wants because if you pressurise her into doing something she doesn't want to do, it may be her never forgiving you.

I'm not holier than thou and have been in a similar position, in the end we had to go with dd wishes, irrespective of our own selfish belief.

AlwaysTimeForWine Tue 16-Aug-16 16:00:28

We're in a grammar area and my DD also takes the test in Sep. They all take it automatically in a grammar area unless you specifically write in to withdraw them from the test, so some preparation is good.

DD is unlikely to pass but we want her to feel confident going into the test (as she had very low confidence in herself) so have done some practice. And she does fight having to do it in the holidays. So we agreed a set time every week day - 20 minutes - after breakfast at 9am, or before dinner at 5pm when it has to be done. She seems to prefer the predictability of an agreed time. And she gets to choose whether she does a practice test for VR, NVR or maths.

SquidgyRedBall Tue 16-Aug-16 16:00:53

If she has to struggle to pass the exam, will she not struggle throughout her school life?

I was borderline and was lucky to have the choice between a grammar school or not. I chose not to go to grammar school and I think my mum was glad. I think it would have killed my confidence if I was in the bottom ability classes rather than the top.

Only you know your daughter.

I don't agree with a PP comments about having a superior education. Grammars may be faster paced due to the average intelligence level of the pupils but the overall outcome is purely down to the individual. It is possible for non-grammar school pupils to get As and go to top Universities, likewise it is possible for grammar school pupils to completely fail their exams.

I went to the same University as numerous ex-grammar school pupils as well as ex private school pupils. We all came out with the same degree and of my friends the ones doing best in life are those from non-grammar schools. In fact the most successful one doesn't even have A levels

Personally, pushing kids at 11+ age when they don't want to is just setting them up to generally hate education.

augustwashout Tue 16-Aug-16 16:13:05

Why does the child have to be well supported Bertrand?

Is that intrinsic do you think to success in a comp?

What if the parents fall out, go bankrupt, get terminal illness? What then?

augustwashout Tue 16-Aug-16 16:15:32

I dont think half an hour a day is pushing it in the grand scheme of things.

Op I think your doing the right thing, its one of those things that when she is older the last thing you want is her to not do as well as she could have done and when she is older and realises how valuable education is, she turns round and says " but I knew nothing at 10 why the hell didnt you push me!!"

we have had this in our family and its not nice and there is little you can do about it, but the adult child who is perhaps failing at life, blames the parent.

tibbawyrots Tue 16-Aug-16 16:18:47

Not the 11+ but an entry exam for a private school we really really wanted my daughter to go to.

She wrote her name and one sentence then sat back in her chair with her arms folded.

"I do not want to go to this school."

She didn't. 😆

You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink...

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