If you work with your child every evening on eleven plus work, and you child then goes on to pass the eleven plus, is it your child’s eleven plus pass or a combination of your child’s work and yours? We hear of parents who pour every effort into helping their child do as well as possible in the eleven plus. Help, support and encouragement are essential because this is an important moment in their children’s lives.
Somehow, however, you are going to have to let your child know that it is his or her responsibility to do the work. We particularly see this on eleven plus courses where we meet child who have not been tutored by us. Naturally a number of children feel challenged as they struggle to cope with the demands of time and the complexity of some of the exercises. If work on a course is not finished then some of the children take the work home to do with their parents or with their personal tutor.
On the first day of the course the child will have attended an intensive workout lasting four hours. Mother or Father then go over the work and sometimes even complete the work before the next day. We know of one child last year who took her course file home. The mother looked at what had been accomplished. She then telephoned her daughter’s tutor – who then spent two and a half hours going over the contents of the course. By the end of the day the poor girl had had a course, a mother on the war path and an understanding tutor.
On the same course we had a wonder boy. We had never met him before. He arrived unsmiling and did not look around. He simply sat down, opened the file and started work – without any prompting or instruction.
He completed the contents of the three day course on the first day. We then gave him course two on the second morning. He whizzed though that and finished the work with about ten minutes to spare. We then saw his first smile. Day three witnessed him flying through a third course. Course Three is a demanding and intensive exercise – based around definitions and rules. The majority of the children do not mange to complete this exercise in the three days allowed. We tested this bright boy before he went home and he had learnt most of the definitions words for word.
He asked his mother if could please come for another course!
Once the children were in the examination both of children discussed above will have had an equal opportunity of passing. If parents, however, have spent all their time showing children how to do the work, they will have denied their children the opportunity making mistakes and building their own methods of approaching problems.
Three areas where parents really can make a difference are through Practice, drill, retention.
Go over topics to revise and re-explain. (Practice)
Test children on what they have learnt. (Drill)
Help your child to retain and understand key material. (Learn)
So as you work peacefully together towards the eleven plus try to remember that you have time. You do not need to rush everything.
What you can do together is: