Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

An Eleven Plus Rock

When parents are working with their eleven plus children do they sometimes wonder if the eleven plus is simply a metaphor for Sisyphus?

You have explained how analogies work in a verbal reasoning exercise. You have listened to your child complaining that he or she has never seen an analogy question before. You have carefully gone through the instructions at least twice. You have looked back and found a similar exercise. Not the same but remarkably like one managed easily the previous day.

You mutter under your breath: “I hate Sisyphus.”

Your eleven plus candidate mutters: “Not that nutter again.”

Your youngest, with but three years to the examination, gives the explanation: “Sisyphus rolled a big rock to the top of a mountain. The big rock was then rolled down the hill. Sisyphus had to return to push the rock up the hill – again.

The candidate, who is inclined to show off sometimes, asks for the spelling of the word. The word is written down. You are then told that there are lots of three letter words in Sisyphus. You know that this is just a technique to stop you from blowing your top – but you go along. After all, some work on words is better than none at all.

`Hip, his, shy, spy and yup’ are offered.

An intense argument then breaks out. Is `yup’ a real word?

Little know-all argues that yup is not a word. The older candidate says that yup is a real word.

You try to get out while the going is good. There are some rocks that don’t need to be pushed.

Your spouse enters the argument explaining definitively that yup can mean yes, and that some people are called yuppies. You wonder if you should point out that a `yuppies’ is not a little yes, and that you think it is funny that yuppie should rhyme with puppy.

Little know-all wants to know why yuppie does not end in a `y’ like puppy.

You declare defeat and retire gracefully.