Parents spend a lot of time trying to cater to the interests of their children. The family are off to swimming, then dance, then photography, and onto drama, cricket and football. Some parents will even provide the transport and the time to take their children cycling and to pony club.
The idea that the eleven plus can be included in the interests of children does not need to stretch belief. There must be many children bursting with enthusiasm at the idea of being offered the opportunity of being stretched and invigorated by puzzles and problems. These will be children who know that they are expected to work on papers and exercises. Some may even attend a tutor or have a tutor to the house. What would be very sad, however, if the welcome drive to succeed and do well academically was as a result of social pressure.
Parents can set educational objectives. Parents can be advised by colleagues, playground friends, relations, teachers, tutors and forums on the internet – and this will help to build a picture of which books and papers to buy. These materials will help to develop the objectives. Parents, however, will make their own judgement about which objectives to follow.
What is not so certain for some parents is how they build detailed yet purposeful objectives for their own children. “I will use papers, books, lessons, courses and advice to try to help my children to pass the eleven plus.”
But parents will need to try to classify the objectives. Some objectives could be short term. “If I can encourage my child to complete the paper I will reward myself with a glass of two of that nice white wine we didn’t drink at the New Year.” Other objectives could be longer term. “We will develop a timetable that will take into account all the family’s interests, work out where and when the eleven plus fits into the timetable, and put the plan into execution before the end of the month.”
But the eleven plus is not simply about learning facts – it is also to do with attitudes towards work, learning to balance leisure and study and developing positive habits of working for oneself. If the focus of the family only concentrates on books and papers then there could possibly be a danger that the objectives would become too narrow.
If we are to work with our eleven plus child on analogies – it may be useful to give some background of thoughts, ideas and theories on analogies. Would it help an eleven plus child to know that some of the ancient Greeks became involved and debating different types of analogies? Some children may be fascinated to learn how a study of analogies can help to develop thought and ideas. Some children, and their parents, may learn to understand just why analogies are included in a range of eleven plus questions. Parents could suggest to their eleven plus candidate: “Our objective today is to try to isolate, then understand, some of the different types of analogies found in eleven plus questions.” Some may try to complete this analogy:
The Eleven Plus is to children as …………………. are (is) to parents.