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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Impact of the Eleven Plus

Would visits to museums be more interesting that working through eleven plus papers? Some eleven plus students may groan at the idea of a visit with the family to a museum. The same child would naturally cheer at the idea of a museum visit with the class. Some children would look at a visit to a museum as being akin to having yet more education stuffed into their minds. Others, however, may continue to relish the opportunity for stimulation and brushes with the past.

Museum Visit Rule One

On the way out do not linger by yet one more exhibit – say you are leaving. Find the museum shop. Spend money and leave.

Museum Visit Rule Two

Do not suggest that your child should only purchase educational artefacts – allow freedom of choice. Remember your shopping taste, and that of your child, may not be the same. Simply acknowledge the perspicacity of your child, pay the bill and move on.

There are many hundreds of museums. I can remember a fascinating visit to the Museum of Costume in the Assembly Rooms in Bath. The range of changing fashions was absorbing. Some children may be interested in the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh with its collection of toys, games and costumes. The British Museum in London has the Egyptian mummy room. This room alone should quieten a rebellious ten year old. There are many wonderful museums in London with the Science Museum a family favourite along with the Horniman and the National Army Museum. The list goes on.

Museum Visit Rule Three

Go with a strict budget. Museum shops are designed to stimulate and extend the mind. They are also set out in a way where money simply has to be spent. Education is not cheap. Before walking into the museum agree on a budget.

Museum Visit Rule Four

Add the transport, the food and drink and all the incidental but necessary purchases and balance this against a free down load of an eleven plus paper and the prospect of thirty minutes of uninterrupted peace. Which activity will be likely to have the greatest impact on your candidate? Should your child be a little more cultured and involved with the past or just an eleven plus question cruncher?

I remember Graham Hill, the famous English racing driver, who won the world championship, talking about being a racing driver:

“It is like balancing an egg on a spoon while shooting the rapids.”

Being the parents of an eleven plus candidate may sometimes evoke similar emotions.

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