For many parents embarking on home tutoring their biggest worry is whether their child will cooperate with a parent as effectively as they might with a tutor or third party. It seems to be a particular problem with boys, but girls are by no means excluded from this problem either!
There is a certain amount of groundwork that you can do to try to avoid problems later on in the 11+ preparation process:
1.Show your child that you value their school work, that you have a real interest in their progress.
2.Make it clear that you place real value on application to work, rather than just good marks.
3.Take an interest in your child’s homework whenever you have time.
4.Check their schoolbooks whenever the opportunity arises and talk to them about what they enjoy doing and feel they are good at.
5.Praise them for effort, not just achievement!
6.Begin to spend a little time with them working on downloaded materials and sitting with them while they use online resources.
7.Try to find up to 20 minutes every day to hear your child read. This may already be a compulsory part of their homework, but try to find a little extra time – perhaps at the weekend – to read non-school books with your child that they really enjoy.
8.Teach your child to ask you the meaning of every single new word that they come across. Children become very adept at “skim reading”, whereby they get the general meaning of a paragraph and can conveniently “hop over” unfamiliar words.
9.Gradually build up the amount of time that you spend with your child doing more specific educational work, such as vocabulary and maths flash cards, so they become acclimatised to working with you.
10.Praise, praise and praise again!
11.Avoid telling your child how clever they are. Recent research shows that children who are told that they are clever under-perform those who are told that they have worked hard, because children who are repeatedly told that they are “clever” begin to believe that they do not have to try.
If you can demonstrate to your child that you take a real interest in their education and that you are always positive about their work you should have less trouble when the harder work starts in Year 5.