Parents sometimes seem to have difficulty in following the thought processes of their children. To try to throw some light on this statement we could take a topic that is unlikely to be taught in the Eleven Plus. If we looked at Quadratic Equations with your child, for example, it is likely that you would be covering ground not yet taught at school, or covered in any detail by your child’s conscientious tutor.
Solve the equation:
X2 – 7x = 60.
You would then explain it something like this:
X2 – 7x - 60. = 0
(x-12)(x = 5) = 0
X = 12
X = 5
Since this is a new equation your child can not solve this from memory. As you explained the process there would be some new and some familiar elements. You could explain the processes in such a way that your child could learn the steps by heart.
Your child may see fairly easily that x times x = X2.
You may or may not need to point out that 12 times 5 = 60.
If you have working with your child using a problem solving approach then you child may arrive at an understanding – and may be able to apply the method the two of you worked out on other problems.
If you simply recite the lines – and then expect your child to know what to do when faced by a similar problem – you, and you child, may or may not achieve the desired result.
Why did you expect your child to see that 12 times 5 = 60 or that 12 and 5 both go into 60?
How do you expect your child to remember that x times x = X2. and not 2x? After all x plus x = 2x and 60 + 7 = 67!