Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome to new parents for September 2012

The timetable is complete and I have contacted you with dates and times. Where changes were needed I have accomodated as best as I am able and again we have been in contact. So, if you were unable to come for a taster session with me, what do you need to provide for this coming year?

All of you will need a folder with a set of 5 dividers which we can sort out when we meet. For 11plus students I would advise one of the very large 'elephant' folders rather than a simple ring binder. You will need that extra filing room, and yes, they will fill it!

I would also ask that all children come with a memory stick of about 4GB so they have plenty of room for such things as Power Points, MP3 files and any worksheets that they may need to complete. It is also a good way of transering work from the computers here to the one they will have access to at home, and if they are part way through a piece of work they will be able to complete it or continue with it at home.

In terms of computers, what do they need? I run WindowsXP here, it is stable and is accessable by most computers including Apple as long as you are running the emulation package. They will require access to Windows Office, so they can use Word, Power Point and Excel; these are the 3 main programmes I will use. They will also require an MP3 player (either as an iPod or as a programme runing on the computer) so they can access any files I produce in that format. They will also require access to the internet as I do tend to use 2 closed sites for maths games; and

May I suggest you use this connection to bookmark both sites on your computer. Please keep abreast of things via this blog as information will be posted here at regular intervals as well as website connections and dates etc.

So to all of you, welcome aboard, let's get learning and having fun!

11+ tuition; specific information to this course

As part of the course I provide a full home work schedule of worksheets, test papers, games, and websites to explore. To take advantage of this, I ask that you bring along a memory stick so I am able to download it and you are able to start using it as soon as possible.
The work is split into home works, so it runs from homework 1 right way through to approximately homework 24; it is up to you how you monitor this, but I would suggest that you are looking at completing one every two weeks so that would be covering two a month. The worksheets written in Excel are designed to be downloaded into the program and become interactive; when students put their answers into the spaces provided it will then indicate to them yes or no whether or not they were doing things correctly. Copyright will not allow you to alter the worksheets by saving their answers, they will tell you they are ‘read only’, so print them off; this way your child can maintain a record of all of the worksheets that they have completed. Place them in the front of the folder for me to see and then I will file them in the correct area, once checked and any support given.
If they have struggled with something it is worth me knowing and seeing where in the worksheet they found things tough and I can work through these areas. If you notice a problem then let me know via a Post-it on the work sheet. It is always better done this way so you don't have to say anything out loud in front of the other child and perhaps knock your child's confidence, which will be tentative already.
When you get to start doing them, the test papers will have no answers,I have those. When they have finished just place them in the front of their folder and they will get marked and reviewed when I see them. I am not expecting youto work out the answers! So don't worry about them and leave it for me to do. That way I can go through the work with the children and become aware of strengths and weaknesses. 
Please do not do the test papers any earlier than they are laid out in the homework schedule.
Also, please do not help them with the tests either, as this will create a reliance on you which we have to deny them later. You won’t be able to go into the examination hall with them, so let’s start right at the beginning and get the lack of confidence out of the way early. They will try every trick in the book to get you to co-operate, but you must resist this and allow them to find their own way. This will be hard, and every parent has said they really wanted to help, but they quickly understood the wisdom of this, and saw their child blossom into independent thinkers and learners. I can hear the ‘yes, but... ’ and you must sit on this instinct to protect. I promise you, it will be rough to start and some will have tantrums and tears but they have to work through this and I have ways of teaching them to get through this themselves, so they will not be left defenceless and vulnerable for long. Promise.
When we start doing test papers, I do not expect any child to complete the whole test paper in one sitting, it is far too much to expect of a child who, as yet, does not have examinations techniques. So what I would suggest is that you print off the test paper, let them do 20 minutes, then stop them where-ever they have got to. The next day do another 20 minutes, and do the same, take the test paper away from them. That leaves 10 minutes which they can do the following day and that will be the last section. When they first start doing these test papers you will find they will not finish. 
I expect that. 
Eventually they will learn their own method of planning time, and I will teach them, so please do not stress if they seem to be doing things poorly, badly, getting things wrong, getting in a state, getting confused, getting in a complete and utter tears, to the point where they don't want to do it any more. This is normal, and this is as a direct result of something that is not only new but also frightening. By the time they reach the exam I promise you they will be calmer, happier, and they will enjoy the test. Yes, I know this sounds incredible, but I haven't as yet had a candidate who has worked with me, gone into the exam, and not coming out saying it was okay.
I would ask you not to share this work with other people outside of Jo Bell tutoring because obviously this is specifically designed for you with the input that I will be making during that time your child and I are together. Much of what I use is written by me and will eventually be published via Amazon for everyone to buy, so I would value your comments and suggestions on any products I get you to use over the course.

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