11+ Tutoring, unhappy child, grammar or comp??(29 Posts)
Might waffle a bit but here goes.
My son has always been bright and confident, lives primary school, and is in "silver" for pretty much everything. He is also very sporty and plays football, karate and does a dance class.
We always planned for him to go to Grammar school and this was always considered "achievable" by the school.
He started his tutoring in Sep and has been a vile child ever since...
He argues back, is badly behaved when out and about, is mean to his siblings, hasn't finished some of his school homework to the standards required, he had a test with his tutor and only answered half of the questions and of those only got half right...
My question is do you think this is connected to the 11+ tutoring and homework or am I reading too far into things. I have asked him why he is difficult and he says he doesn't realise he is, he says he likes his tutor and is happy to go to whatever school I want him to go to and he will know children at both the grammar school and the local comp.
Is anyone else experiencing the same with their almost 10 years old boy?
Has anyone tried to do the grammar / 11+ without tutoring and been successful?
It could be his age...or the pressure. Is the grammar school a very competitive one? I was advised not to put my very bright DD through the tutoring unless she was predicted strong 6's in year 6. She wasn't...so I didn't.
The only child I know who got in with no tutoring was extremely bright...she flew through.
How much homework is his tutor giving him?
I know some people who got into our local grammar with no tutoring, just practised a few papers. They are bright, but not geniuses. Probably wouldn't work for a super-selective though.
It might be worth making sure that the tutor is only doing what is really needed (focusing on what he is not good at, rather than spending time on things he can already do), and is not giving too much homework. I would also keep an eye on the lessons, to ensure that there is not a problem with how the lessons are run. You could tutor your DC yourself, if necessary. It's not rocket science.
Well, my usual explanation for vile behaviour is either they're tired, or we're too preoccupied with something else (y'know, like sick parents 200 miles away, not FB!). So, I'd be bringing bed time forward by 15 mins. Not as a punishment, but until he can cope with being polite on less sleep...
The grammar thing depends on lots of things. My 2 have got into our grammar (which selects on highest marks if you're out of catchment, as we are) with me preparing/tutoring them. I'd worry about it less if they'd just needed to pass (if we were in catchment, or going for one of the other grammars). They say you only need 1 or 2 practices of a style of questions to know it, and to improve speed, only 5 or so to get to top speed. They also need guidance on techniques, e.g. if you don't know it move on, check you're half way through at half-time, etc. I'm capable of this and have done so with my kids. I'm working on the next, but probably won't really do much till after Christmas. To be honest, about May is early enough. Unless you're talking super-selective and English/Maths tests (ours are VR/NVR).
Friends have done a variety of things. A minority have tutors round here. Some get in, some don't.
In conclusion... I'd put him to bed earlier.
Could it perhaps be something going on at school?
Have a look at the elevenplus website. There are forums for each region where there are grammars and you will get some area specific info from there.
FWIW we've just been through it. We used a tutor which I wasn't entirely sure about beforehand (and I suppose it depends on the tutor) but I think it would have soured our relationship if I'd have tried to do it with him. Actually he probably felt less pressure with the tutor than with me (I knew what he was capable of and got frustrated when I didn't think he was trying). It also helped to have a slot that couldn't be moved.
If it's not that, I think school ramps things up in Yr 5, ours certainly did, and I think it might also be the very start of hormones. DS (just a really lovely boy) had tantrums and was mean to his siblings a couple
lots of times that I'd never seen previously. I think it's a tough year for them if you're in a grammar school area. I agree with a slightly earlier bedtime and being nonchalant (if you can) about schools / tutor so he doesn't feel under pressure (if failed miserably at this part!).
Well most people have tutoring... unless you are sure that they will achieve level 6 at SATS in yr 6 it is most advisable.
Boys can get a dollop of testosterone and just be more foul and shouty at that age anyway tbh. If its an hour of tutoring a week and 1 extra hour homework I wouldn't worry about it. If its more than that then perhaps it is a bit much. Mine pushed against doing the extra work (I also put them in for indi bursaries) but they were proud when successful and then didn't feel under pressure at all about SATS as they knew they had already done what they needed to and the rest didn't matter. One of the reasons we used a tutor was because they would point blank refuse to work for me - and would object to the tutor right up to the second the tutor arrived - then behave themselves until the tutor left - then they moaned and were foul again. I think Yr 6 is very boring because of the focus on tests etc it seems a lot of the fun goes out of the teaching so both mine found year 6 pretty tedious.
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DD went through the 11 plus - obviously not a boy but she did get very despondent at the outset. The main challenge was she is used to getting everything right and suddenly she wasn't. We changed tack and did some easier tests and worked on speed. We then talked about passing the test didn't mean 100 percent and the tests would get harder for a bit - then with practice easier. It was also her choice to do it. So when she didn't want to do any practice we reminded her it was her future and her choice and slew suddenly found her back practising. We didn't have a tutor but we did prepare and DD was very motivated. Visiting the schools and identifying with the children at the schools she was aiming for was the best motivation.
Is it a superselective 11+ or an "ordinary" grammar?
You certainly don't need tutoring for bucks or Kent which are fully selective counties.
Nor do you need to be level 6.
Do t listen to all the hype. Lots and lots of children aren't tutored.
Is it a choice between a grammar school and a comprehensive school or a grammar school and a high school?
It's hard just put his behaviour change down to the tutoring. I think you need to try to find out what the real reson.
Y5&6 can be a difficult year. As I remember DS1's Y5&6 class turned into a very disruptive class. The children were lovely till Y5, then teacher found it's hard to control the class. DS1's class oftern was kept inside for lunch break to catch up for the lesson.
Most grammar school tests are a year away, so you have time to back off a bit and see if things change.
Maybe have a break from it all until after Christmas. If he's still vile, it wasn't the tutoring.
Dd was bright, but couldn't cope the pressure of tutoring, so we decided it wasn't for her. She's now doing very well at the local High School.
Ds is coping much better and enjoying the tutoring, but tbh, I'm so impressed by the High School, I wont mind where he goes so he is under no pressure to achieve.
DD has passed the 11+ without tutoring and should get into the grammar of her choice, based on her mark - although not a forgone conclusion as depends on preferred schools of those who did better than her.
We chose to not tutor as concluded that, if she got in without tutoring, it meant that she would be at least in the middle of the class in terms of intelligence, as she was up against majority of people being tutored, whereas if tutored it might be that she would just scrape in, and we thought she'd do better at the top of a comprehensive than at the bottom of a grammar.
However, we did do get her to do practice questions 2-3 times a week (usually in 10-20 minute stints, gradually longer) and helped her as needed and then in the few months before the test got her to do full timed practice papers. Depends though on whether you feel you understand the questions enough yourself to be able to help (eg DH and I both good at maths, so either of us helped her with that, but DH's English not as good so I always helped her with that). So I suppose you could argue that she was tutored, just by us rather than a paid tutor. But we felt it was less pressure on her than a formal tutor.
We found we had quite a lot of tears and stomping around, as like a PP said, this was the first time she had ever really found any work hard. But it was only when we were doing the questions, not a general worsening in behaviour, and certainly not happening every time she did some practice questions.
What AliMonkey describes is exactly what we did - except I didn't have to source any of the practice tests or papers myself and our DS had a tutor for 45 mins per week.
I could have done it myself but I didn't want to - my DS adored his tutor - there was much laughing each session and he had a ball. It just would've been a fight if I'd done it. For me, it was worth every penny, DS did extremely well - the test result reflected his ability and potential IMO - of course he might have still done as well without the tutor, but the tutor saved my time and sanity, and preserved my relationship with my son!
Making your child do practice papers is tutoring, even if you do it yourself. Presumably you go through the answers/ methods with them. It's all tutoring! Someone once said to me, "oh we haven't gone the tutoring route, but she did practice papers for 18 months".
This is why you need to take the "my child got in without tutoring " line with a bucketful of salt.
"This is why you need to take the "my child got in without tutoring " line with a bucketful of salt."
I guess I didn't see what we did as tutoring as it was very relaxed and low key compared to those I know who tutored formally. I would expect a tutor to actually teach (as that is the definition of a tutor) but we simply left her to do the questions and only "taught" if there was the occasional bit she didn't understand.
Those we know who paid for tutors seemed to involve eg:
- paid tutor for 2-3 years for minimum of hour a week
- for year 5, two sessions after school each week plus a Saturday morning
- summer holiday intensive sessions
- work set to be done every day
- lots of input from tutor in actually teaching
It's all relative I guess and the fact that DD has always wanted to do maths "for fun" meant that our approach was not much different to what she had one previously.
If by not tutoring you mean "don't get my DC to do any preparation at all" then I think the answer is that it would very rarely work - I do know a couple of people who tried it and their DC didn't even get through the first stage (of two).
Blimey I only know of one person in my DSs class that did anything like what you describe as the "norm" tutoring wise AliMonkey.
The norm here is 45 mins once a week for Y5, with homework set by tutor involving completion of practice papers/tests. Autumn term that is a few Bond 10 minute tests a week, building up over the summer to practice papers. No wonder people think tutoring is a nightmare in your scenario! Totally OTT and totally unnecessary, and certainly not usual round here.
I think the relaxed/formal thing is a red herring as well. The tutor certainly made the experience a lot more relaxed than if I'd done it myself!
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