Staying Ahead of the Curriculum

One of the most useful ways to help your child at school is to get ahead of the curriculum. This means identifying what’s coming up at school next week and spending time preparing for it.

For example, if your child is going to start percentages next week, it is MASSIVELY useful to spend some time ahead of that week learning about percentages.

This way, once the child is learning percentages in class, they are not scared by it and in fact already know the basics, such as 50%, 25% and how to work out 10% of anything.

Get in Contact

If you’re interested in helping your child stay ahead of the curriculum for as little as 30 mins a week, please get in contact:

Practice Often and for a Short Period of Time

A child has to learn they best way to learn for themselves. A great place to start is with short but frequent and short study periods.

Many studies have shown that this approach works better then less frequent and longer sessions.

In addition to this, I suggest that frequent switching between subjects also helps with retention and has the side effect of keeping the child in question awake!

For example during a weekend or holiday, a great place to start would be something like this agenda:

EACH SESSION 45 MINS

9AM: Maths

10AM: English

11AM: History

1PM: Science

2PM: Modern Languages (e.g. German / Spanish)

3PM: Geography or ICT

Get in Contact

If you need help identifying specific maths topics which need help, or if you need further help or advice with study planning please get in contact:

The Year Long Intensive Preparation for the 11+ Starts Here

Time of Writing: August 2020.

Planning, discipline, strategy and tactics are all required to make the most of Year 5 and the summer holiday leading up to the 11+ exams which usually take place each September in the first or second week back to school.

My top advice is to combine past papers you can download, papers you can buy, and short one-page or ten-minute tests.

Doing exam paper practice is useful to help a child learn how long they have and how to pace themselves during the exam.

Doing papers you can buy is useful, but I would advise to photocopy them for your own use so your child can practice papers more than once.

Short one-page or ten-minute tests are useful to target specific areas that need help – e.g. ratio & proportion.

Finally, there’s online tuition which can help fix any gaps and give the child more confidence going into the exam.

Get in Contact

If your child needs help in general or with specific topics please get in contact:

Highly Recommended Key Stage Maths Book

Highly recommended is this workbook on offer from KeyStageMaths.com for only £1. You can download and print it after buying.

Click here for details

There are 640 questions & answers over 54 pages in the workbook which is divided into three parts plus the answers.

A simple A4 poster to help remind a child what to do

Don’t Panic! Here are three simple sentences which I have found to have positive impact on a child’s mind-set

Don’t Guess

Sometimes when a child reads a question in a SAT test or 11+ entrance exam, they panic. Then their brain starts to close down. Then they start to guess, which is just about the worst possible thing to do.

It is hugely important to not panic and the first thing to remember to help stay cool in an exam is to not guess.

Break it Down

Often on first reading, a question is difficult to understand. That’s why it is very important to break it down. That’s exactly what the examiners want the child to do – to extract the numbers and relationships from the text of the question. If there are ten red apples and fifteen green, the child should write down 10R and 15G – in part to engage their brains in breaking down the question.

Often there’s an “Ah-ha!” moment, when after breaking the question down, a child suddenly realises what the question is asking. By the “Ah-ha!” often doesn’t happen unless the break-down comes first.

Work it Out

Once a child has all the required information they can begin to work out the answer. But this short sentence isn’t just about working it out, it’s about SHOWING that you’re working it out.

Remember that if a question in a paper is worth 3 marks, you can bet that at least one of those and possibly two is for showing your working out.

Free A4 Poster

Ok, I’m not a professional poster designer, but click on this link for a simple A4 poster to print at home (opens a PDF). Stick it to the wall next to where your child does their homework:

Contact

Please contact the Tutor Dragon for your free introductory tutorial:

Melbourne Online Maths Tutor Times

Online maths tutorial times for Melbourne are 15:00 to 22:00 seven days a week (depending on availability)

The Tutor Dragon is based in London and with is team able to deliver online maths tutorials in Melbourne from 15:00 to 22:00 seven days a week.

For a free introductory session please contact us using the form below.

Reminder: You’ll need an iPad or touch-screen and a stylus – free Tutor Dragon notepad and Dragon stylus when you sign up for your first paid tutorial.

Tokyo Online Maths Tutor Times

Online maths tutorial times for Tokyo are 15:00 to 22:00 seven days a week (depending on availability)

The Tutor Dragon is based in London and with is team able to deliver online maths tutorials in Tokyo from 15:00 to 22:00 seven days a week.

For a free introductory session please contact us using the form below.

Reminder: You’ll need an iPad or touch-screen and a stylus – free Tutor Dragon notepad and Dragon stylus when you sign up for your first paid tutorial.

What’s the best way to keep up with Maths over the holidays?

Whether you’re staying at home or heading off somewhere on holiday, there are easy ways to keep up with Maths

It’s never easy persuading a child to get on with some maths whether you’re at home or away on holiday or with relatives.

The first and most important thing to do is manage expectation. Don’t spring a ten-minute maths paper on your child unexpectedly. Instead, agree and plan up front what will be done and when.

It is FAR BETTER to do a little each day than a lot once a week.

In that respect the ten-minute maths books are very useful – as are freely available maths worksheets such as Ninja Maths and Maths is Fun.

TRY THIS: Have a chat with your child making it clear that a reward such as screen-time can only happen once they’ve shown you a completed worksheet (e.g. from Ninja Maths).

Make it clear that they should do this every day – maybe with the exception of Sunday 😉

If you plan to have a mock exam at home, it is vitally important that you discuss this in advance with your child and agree a date and time in advance.

It is also important to make it clear that the marking process will take place after the mock-exam at which point the child is expected to re-try any questions which they did not answer correctly.

Also worth noting that bribery really works, so relating screen-time or some other reward works well up to a certain age.

If all this seems tough – remember this quote:

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Attributed to Eppie Lederer, the woman who wrote under the “Ann Landers” pseudonym in 1975.

Need Help?

Contact the Tutor Dragon for an initial free online tutorial:

How frequently should my child attend tutorials during the long summer holiday?

It is important for a child to continue maths work throughout long holidays with a combination of workbooks and tutorials

During the long summer holidays (and other such as Easter and Christmas) it is very important for a child to;

A) Work their way through workbooks, and;

B) Have regular tutorials to tackle any questions which could not be solved

The advantage of online tutoring is that a child can have a tutorial no matter where in the world they are, including on holiday. One a week is typically fine, or twice a week for children in UK Year 5 who will return to school and start their 11+ exams in the first week or so of Y6 as they also ramp-up for the Independent School Entrance Exams.

Summer maths camps are of use, but are typically focused on getting as many children to attend as possible which diminishes the value delivered to each child. In addition the homework is generic, whereas the homework from a tutor is targeted.

Workbooks are also of importance, assuming the parents have time to mark all the work and can offer advice on how to solve questions which the child cannot. This becomes more difficult in the first year or so of Secondary School when teenagers are tackling algebra and more advanced trigonometry.

Summary

Keep up the workbooks while on holiday and if you are interested please contact me for a free no-commitment tutorial session anywhere in the world:

Check the Marks and Plan the Answer

It is vitally important to know how many marks a question is worth and to think how to pick up all those marks

Some questions on an exam paper are worth one mark. For example an 11+ paper that might be a questions such as 1.5 x 3. For such questions it is fine to write down the answer.

If a question has two marks available that normally means the person doing the marking wants to see some working out or articulation of an intermediate result. For example if the question is how much change would you get from £10 when buying two pens at £2 each.

Most exam papers progress to longer and more complex questions as they go along. If a question has four marks available it is worth a child checking that first and then spending literally ten seconds working out what they need to articulate on the paper to secure all four marks.

Think of it as a game.

You’re driving Super Mario along the road and you want to drive over the coins as you go picking up as many points as you can.

I’ve seen very clever children lose marks on mock tests I’ve run because they’re sometimes “too” clever. They can work out the answer to a four step question (see the example below) in their head and just write down the answer. Unfortunately the answer is only worth one mark. It’s all the working out and sub-totals which score the other three marks.

As part of my tutoring I focus strongly on exam technique, including making sure you’re picking up all the points as you go.

Contact me using the form below for a free introductory online maths tutorial: