As a parent what can you do to help your child through the 11+?

As this year 6 parents breathe a sigh of relief as the 11+ comes to an end, the year 5 parents take in a sharp intake of breath as they realise what is dawning!

As a parent what can you do to help your child through the 11+?

These are some of the activities that we do at Starr Tutoring. I hope they offer you some inspiration.

Obviously encouraging your child to read is going to support them in all areas of their lives. It will boost their abilities in spellings, grammar and punctuation.

 


Confidence with the times tables will also help your child through life and help with the fundamentals of maths. I won’t go into the games we play here as I have talked about them previously in many other blogs, the most recently being:

learning-the-9-times-table

 

There is a long list of words (100+) that I have downloaded from the net

11-plus-important-word-list

What I have done is split this list into smaller lists. I have then split these into groups of about 12 words. Each sub set I have then made into pairs games. I have used definitions from the Oxford English dictionary to achieve this. The aim of the game is to create a fun way of expanding the child’s vocabulary. Many of these words are quite obscure and not used often in modern day English.

Children are normally more receptive to doing something more than once when it is fun. This repetition will help reinforce the child’s knowledge of these words.

 

Spot the difference is a great way to help your child easily spot the difference in patterns and sequences.Sudoku is another brilliant way to help your child spot number patters,
The brilliant thing about these is that they can be purchased for very little money or downloaded for free.
Taking a leap back in time Rubix cubes are also great at helping children solve problems and master the skills needed in non-verbal reasoning.

 

Rummikub

Rummikub was introduced to me a couple of years ago and along with being a truly addictive game, it is also a great way to practice simple number sequences.
There is a word version which is equally fun and a really a good way of looking at spellings and vocabulary. Bananagrams and scrabble are also great games for playing to assist in these areas.

To support spellings, I often take the list of words we are practising. We then choose one of the words from the list, take the letters needed to spell the words and mix them up. You then pass them to the other person who has to rearrange the letters and work out what the words is.

 

5 Minute Challenge.

 

I have also created a selection of 5 Minute Challenges (challenges NOT tests). It is simply a sheet of A4 split into 4 columns and approx.12 rows. In the first column on the left-hand side I will write a category:

Synonyms for xxx
Antonyms for xxx
Places beginning with xxx
Words ending with xxx
Things you would find in xxx

You then have 5 minutes to think of 3 words for each category. The aim here is to get the child used to working in timed conditions. If you both do it together you can compare answers at the end making it more enjoyable.

 

I hope these ideas get you started and offer some inspiration.

There is also a huge range of books that can be purchased and worksheets that can be downloaded on line.

Good luck and if you have any questions, please do comment below and I will do my best to answer. If you think these ideas would help someone else, please do share the link.

Best wishes

Supporting your child with maths for the 11+

As the summer holidays begin the 11+ will be forefront of many people’s minds.

How can they support their child and help them to pass the 11+?

You will know that the 11+ is broken in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, English and maths.

Supporting your child with maths for the 11+ blog banner

 

The benefit of additional support in maths is that regardless of which school the child goes to in year 7, this additional support will stand your child in good stead.

There are many worksheets that can be downloaded for free or text books that you can buy to support your child. These are great as they will prepare your child for the type of question and content they will encounter in the exam.

However, you may decide (and I would encourage you to consider) alternative revision techniques than just worksheets and text books. If you want to read more on the benefits of using varied learning styles you can download a section of the e-book I have written in supporting children with their times tables.

Download the chapter of the e-book here

* indicates required

Email Address *

Teachit maths is a fantastic website for presenting mathematical resources in alternative formats it traditional worksheets.

They use codes to break (also very valuable in the 11+), dominoes, etc. Many of the resources can be accessed on the free plan. All that is necessary is submitting your name and email address to register. (I’m not an affiliate, it’s just a website I’ve found that has some amazing resources and is well worth checking out).

Here are 3 of my favourite alternative games for supporting your child’s maths and helping them to pass the 11+

noughts and crosses

Noughts and crosses can be adapted in so many ways.

This game is so quick and easy to create.

Draw 2 lines vertically. Then draw another 2 lines crossing them horizontally.

In each square (where I have drawn a number in the illustration) write an example question. Before you can claim your square and head towards your row/ column of 3 you need to answer the question.

This is a very brief description but I hope it makes sense.

I will go into more ways of how to adapt it in future blogs.

Rummikub

I love this game. It is fantastic for encouraging your child to look for patterns and sequences.

Even beyond the 11+ I am confident you will receive hours of fun from it.

For the benefit of the 11+ I normally allow pairs and odd numbers to form a sequence as well as just as straight run of numbers.

Pairs

This is another fairly simple game to produce. Create a grid on a piece of paper which is approximately 6 squares by 4. (Leaving you with 24 squares).

On 12 of these squares write a maths problem/ question.

On the other 12 squares write the corresponding answers.

Now place all 12 squares face down on the table between you.

Take it in turns to turn over 2 squares. If you pick up a question and corresponding answer you win the pair and get another go.

If they don’t match place them back down and the other person gets a go.

The person with the most pairs at the end is the winner.

Regardless of how you choose to support your child with their maths for the 11+ I highly recommend that you ensure your child is confident with their times tables.

A thorough knowledge of the times tables is like providing a strong foundation when building a house.

It’s obligatory to progress on to higher more difficult levels.

I have recently put together the 11+ million times tables challenge.

I explain it in more detail in the following page if you are interested:

Twitter heading

The 1 Million Times Tables Challenge

Any trouble downloading the extract or if you are looking for a tutor this summer to help your child stand a better chance with the 11+, please do get in touch.

Speak soon

5 simple ways to boost a child’s confidence and improve learning

 

How can we help the reluctant learner become a confident learner and boost their abilities and enthusiasm at the same time?

When you’re good at something you attack it with enthusiasm and confidence.

The reverse is true when you doubt your own ability. You put it off as much as possible and when you do finally have to get on with it, it is done with trepidation and reluctance.

This has consequences on a person’s ability to learn. The learner, who is confident and willing to give things ago, is far more likely to make progress than the reluctant learner who implores that their turn will never arise:

Let’s start with the Chinese proverb

“I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand”.

Loosely translated this means, tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I will remember, but it’s not until I have ago that I will actually understand. This I think is the underlying philosophy for all the points to come.

 

Make learning fun.

Each week the child brings home a list of, shall we say 10 spellings? They dutifully sit at the table and strive to learn them using the read, cover, write, check method promoted by schools. They run through them the first time and much to their dismay, only a couple are right. They try again and maybe one or two more are right, but others might be wrong and the “Why am I doing this, I never get them all right anyway?” mentality sets in.

Let’s try a different approach.

Is there a method you could use to make the experience into a fun one? I will use a child’s weekly spellings here as an example, but this can be applied to almost anything.

The parent suggests to the child they have a game of hangman. I tell you what, how about we use your spellings as some inspiration?

Already, the mind-set is different. This sounds like fun and someone is going to be participating in the activity with me. I’m good at hangman and I might win!

Playing hangman helps the child look at the individual letters in the word and the order they go in. It is also creating a different form of memory, so when the child needs to recall the information on how to write a specific word, they are more likely to be able to do so. There is no time consuming preparation in this game, but it is one that can be enjoyed together. Now hopefully, when the child sits down to do the “read, cover, write, check” they are already familiar with the words and how they are spelt and suddenly it isn’t such an arduous task.

Hangman isn’t the only game that can be played, there are many, if you want some ideas of others, please get in touch and we will be more than happy to help.

Let them win.

Sometimes don’t be in such a hurry to be the best. Yes, you must feel on top of the world, but when someone is struggling and it is your place to try and support them, let them do as well or better than you once in a while.

To beat someone who is their teacher, their parent, or a role model, will boost confidence no end and in the process encourage that person to want to try again. Maybe I will win again, maybe I won’t but it doesn’t matter quite so much because I won last time.

This follows on from above in many respects. If you are the one at school who always gets the lowest results, comes last in every contest or struggles with most things think how low your moral must be.

Use praise and rewards

Praise people when they do well, even if it’s not a huge achievement in the eyes of others, for them this could be a huge milestone they’ve finally achieved.

Don’t be patronising though, that’s counterproductive…

When working with children use stickers, certificates and let them know you have commented on it to their parents, other teachers, etc. whatever it takes to help the child recognise how they have succeeded in making progress

We all love to hear when we’ve done well. Some people hear it all the time; others feel that they never hear it and what they do well it goes unrecognised.

 

Start on the ‘easy’ side of things and progress slowly

Maybe this is one of the most important considerations.

Start at a level that the child is already comfortable with. Ok, you may feel you are wasting time and time is important, but remember the aim here is to boost the child’s confidence and enthusiasm to learn.

Starting with something that is beyond them is simply going to make them feel more of a failure and if the foundations aren’t securely in place, what is to come in the future will only crumble.

If you start with something that you know the child is already fairly confident with you can reinforce their ability from the outset. Show them what they are capable of and build on this knowledge.

Then once each step is confidently secured, take a step forward. Move too quickly and the child will once again start to flounder as things become too daunting, but having said that, as confidence builds so will a child’s enthusiasm and their desire to progress will increase with it and before long this child will be as confident as the others in their group.

Remember, once the child’s confidence has increased, their willingness to have ago will dramatically improve as well.

These are just five of the techniques we use at Starr Tutoring Ltd to support confidence and willingness to have a go and learn for both the young and old.

 

I hope this has given you food for thought, but if you want more ideas or guidance as a parent or childcare professional, please do subscribe to our blog or get in touch and ask to receive the emails we send out each week offering techniques to support your child at home with their maths and English.

We would love to help. If you have any feedback, opinions or comments, please do comment below, we are always looking for new ideas and to hear about how you put these ideas into practice and the difference it made to your child.