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Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tidy Little Eleven Plus Earner

The Eleven Plus is important. Your child will not be able to enter grammar school in Year 7 without a pass. You will, no doubt, be urging your child to attend the necessary lessons, do the revision, sit `mock’ examinations and make the best use of time available. Your child, however, is your child and may want to prepare in a manner that seems to be completely foreign to you. You may have found, for example, that a terrified but organised cramming session the night before an examination helped you to settle your nerves. Equally, you may have discovered that taking the family dog for a walk was much more useful.

You will probably by now repeating to your child endlessly that every piece of work needs to be executed at examination pitch. It is pointless being sloppy and inattentive. Your child’s work – and your marking of the work – needs to be neat and tidy.

This is the point where you may care to digress. The word tidy means `in tide’ in season. We have the words `spring tide’. There are also sayings like “If the weather be fair and tidy.” Sailors sometimes pray for a tidy wind. Tidy means that things that are done punctually, in the correct season, and will be executed in an orderly, neat and well arranged manner. All parents, or nearly all parents, will hope for a tidy fortune. A few days before the examination you may want to pray that it is all coming along tidily.

While your nine and ten year old child may hang on your every word with loving attention you may find that you need to develop some sort of a system.

Work needs to be done on time.

It is no good your child falling behind – because he or she will only need to catch it up at some time.

Try to help your child to understand that any attempts to fool you will only end in tears. You are the mother and father in all eleven plus discussions. In the final analysis what you say goes. (Or else?)

Try to build revision into every exercise you do with your child. “Do you remember? Can you remember?”

Allocate revision time to each subject your child is attempting. If your child is writing more than one examination you may need to help your child work out a study schedule or timetable.

Then comes the crunch. Do you allow eleven plus study time to be fairly flexible or should you insist on a regime?

Parents can always console themselves – there is a lot of luck associated with examinations. We all hope for the right question at the right time. It may be difficult for some nine and ten year old children to understand that the harder you work the luckier you become.

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