A number of factors affect children when they are working towards the eleven plus. Even at the mature age of ten children like to play. The games the children play are not the same as they played when they first went to school – and are not the same as their parents enjoy. We still hear stories, however, of children who perform wonderful physical feats when they are with their parents.
Many years ago the Roman Centurions showed themselves as leaders of the infantry. The Centurion did not actually command one hundred men – but was often in charge of around eighty. Centurions lead their men marching from one point to another. The men would march then rest and then march a bit more. The troop would cover incredible distances in a day.
On a one to one basis the child, as well as the parents, can prescribe the pace of a lesson – and the direction of eleven plus work. If the parents and the children were given the opportunity of working together in a competitive environment it is likely, however, that the family would have the opportunity of covering far more work.
It is possible that it is the cadence of the men marching together that enables then to feel that they are a unit. The word `cadence’, when applied to marching, implies a rhythm or a beat. The word `cadence’ when applied to a child working through an eleven plus paper could describe the rhythm the child builds up as he or she works through a mixture of easy and complex questions.
Parents are not expected to play games with their children during eleven plus work. They could, however, consider the rhythm of regular breaks. After all’ an hour of intensive work, after a full day at school, is quite demanding. Parents will naturally hope that the break does not include `just five minutes of T.V., please’. The five could easily become ten and then twenty minutes. The rhythm of the lesson would be broken.
Other parents will naturally worry if the break includes an unhealthy snack. Obesity and passing the eleven plus seems to be an oxymoron. Bribes to engage in eleven plus work should only occasionally encompass chocolate – unless shared with parents!
What the break could be used for is to open a window of opportunity to all concerned to be able to chat about the examination. Possible fears could be dealt with. Pertinent plans could be discussed – and even modified if necessary.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.