Lockdown and the Kent Test: How to keep calm and help your child thrive

Written by Helena Sait, Sharp Student Tuition

Firstly, I’m going to skip past the bit about keeping calm as that has NOT been my forte during this long and rather emotional lockdown. Some days are soooo hard aren’t they? You’d think that, being a teacher, it’d all be books open, backs straight and beautiful handwriting in this house- yes, I thought that too, in my happy little fairyland – but no, far from it. Somehow my sweet little darlings (one primary, one secondary aged) have been driving me to distraction and I’ll be honest, I’ve definitely had more tantrums than the pair of them combined!

What a weird situation this is for our children! We’ve definitely had a lot more ‘emotion’ in our house and like I said, I’m not just talking about the children. I think the most important thing to remember is that we are in an Emergency Situation, not normal times. The plan should be to try to get through the next few months with both our children’s mental wellbeing intact as well as our own.

It is with my wonderful students who are continuing with their Kent Test prep with me online that I am calm and actually in my element. I am so proud of each and every one of them. Their perseverance with their lessons, when they’re probably feeling fed up with homeschool, is a quality which no exam grades can measure.

If you’re struggling with trying to do 11+ prep on top of all the school work, please stop struggling! Take a breather and figure out how your child learns best. Ask your child what they enjoy doing and incorporate their Kent test learning objectives into that.  Get creative! Cooking and baking is my favourite one – and not just because you end up with tasty food at the end of it! Weighing ingredients is great for ‘measures’ questions, adapting a recipe can improve your proportion skills and dividing the food into portions is all about fractions.  At the shops, work out the total cost in advance and for an extra challenge, figure out how much change you should get too.  Watch a film and write a review – that’s a lesson in comprehension, storytelling and critical analysis right there. Crosswords are great for increasing vocabulary, puzzle books (Spot the Difference is a big deal in Non-Verbal Reasoning) and 3D puzzles will develop their problem-solving and spatial awareness skills and teach them reasoning as well as patience – all essential skills for 11+ success!

The patience, courage and determination of our children during this period of quarantine will help them to overcome hurdles and to achieve success. They will be masters of resilience and they will be ready.

Don’t be afraid to mix up your practice to avoid boredom setting in. There is a lot you can do in your day-to-day life that will help with your 11+ preparation. Write stories, read, keep a diary, write letters to friends or how about a short article for the local newspaper!

Just. Keep. Going.

Many tutors have moved their session online so there is support from qualified teachers available. If you’d prefer to take on the challenge yourself start with buying practice books and check Youtube for tips on how to solve test-style questions. You can also find links to loads of fab free resources/websites on my Sharp Student Tuition Facebook page – make use of them too!

Little. And. Often.

If you can, revise with them and have them talk about that they’ve learnt that day. Get them to be ‘teacher’ and show you how it’s done, – boosting your child’s confidence is key right now.

Give your child the security they need during this time, be safe, be happy, keep learning and have a little fun.

Helena Sait, Sharp Student Tuition

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