When we think of a child preparing for the eleven plus we need to wonder if some children appear to need to enter a form of a bubble where he or she is protected from the outside world. It is almost as if an eleven plus candidate needs to acquires some form of prestige simply by declaring that passing the eleven plus is a worthwhile target. In a family positions are commonly based on sex and age – but parents can try, at times, to be an eleven plus tutor as well as an eleven plus mother or father. The mother and father can learn to acquire the status of being the `parents of an eleven plus candidate’.
The family can be drawn together by ties – but open conflict can erupt in a family if the candidate is perceived to be favoured more than other siblings. The eleven plus child can change appearance, clothes and the amount of money in the piggy bank. The candidate cannot, however, alter sex, age and a desire for recognition. So does the eleven plus child need to be pushy, demanding and focused or can the family revel in the eleven plus year – proud that they have a star in the making?
It must be hard for some eleven plus children to understand that they have a duty to the rest of the family. It means that sometimes the candidate has to give up free time to vacuum the floor and clear up. It means that the candidate has to be diligent – and respectful. If a reward is sought or even offered then the nature of the reward must be commensurate. The reward simply needs to be enough to ensure that it is in proportion to the effort. If however, the reward is too hard to achieve then every self-respecting candidate will simply turn away and reject all that is on offer.
An eleven plus pass is usually achieved by children who have a combination of inherent capability and the necessary preparation. There may surely be some children, however, who sadly have the intellect to be able to pass the eleven plus but do are not successful because they do not have the opportunity.
The eleven plus year is to do with duty, responsibility, effort and ability – but it is also to do with parents who recognise that it is not enough to rely on the school, the tutor, the internet and working through papers. It seems to be more to do with parents who give their children time. This means time for their child to grow and develop. Some parents may need to try to create time to listen to their children. Ideally parents will offer time to help where they can. Some parents may even need to give a little time to try to help their child to create the necessary eleven plus bubble.