There is a wonderful book called `The Home Preparation Book’ from Artemis Press, ISBN 0854782257. The book was first published in 1958. The copy I have is the November 1989 Edition – but the Decimal and Metric Edition was in 1971 and the book was revised and retitled in 1975.
I looked on Amazon for copies of the book, and at the time of writing, there were seven copies at £0.01 each.
There are words of advice, and comfort, to parents in the forward. “The best help you can give your child at this important stage is to foster a habit of mental alertness. If you encourage your child to think clearly and express himself clearly during his everyday life it will help him more than any book. By teaching him to use his mind and his powers of reasoning you will stimulate his mind rather than tire it.”
A little further on Edgar Cox, B.A., who was a school master with many years of teaching and invigilating young children, maintained: “The most valuable lesson your child can learn from this book is how to recognise a common problem in a new and unexpected form.”
He included some questions which could capture the imagination of some of our present eleven plus children. The date used in the question is obvious – suggesting that the format of the question had not changed much between when he wrote the question in 1958 – and in the present reprint.
“A shoe manufacturer decides that during 1958 he will produce shoes of various types. Some are brown, some black and some suede. Some have straps and some buckles. Each type will be made in sizes from 6 to 10 (but not half sizes). How many different kinds of shoe will he make?”
I looked at the answer with interest – as Mr. Cox suggested 30 kinds of shoe.
It would be interesting to see how a sample of eleven plus children preparing for their 2012 examinations would answer the question. It would also be interesting to hear from any parents who used this book for their eleven plus preparations! Did they get the answer right all those years ago?