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What You Need to Know about the 11 Plus Maths Exam

Is your child is taking the 11 Plus exam?

Their math skills need to be sharp as it is one of the main subjects that will be tested as part of the assessment process. 

That’s why knowing what to expect and how to prepare will give them the confidence they need to do well. 

The math section of the 11 Plus exam generally tests your child’s proficiency in numbers and other mathematical concepts that are covered within the Key Stage 2 Maths curriculum. 

General Format of the Maths Test

The maths test tends to vary across areas and schools. For instance, some schools set out a separate multiple-choice style maths test, while others set a single paper that combines both English and maths-based questions. 

The time varies as well, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. Some schools also set numerical reasoning tests as a way of making the exam more ‘tutor proof.’

 This simply means the questions are structured in such a way that requires critical thinking and analysis in order to break down the problems and solve for the right answers. 

Because the test format varies so much, it’s important to visit the individual websites of the school where your child will be taking the exam to find out more detailed information about the tests they set. This way, you know what to focus on during the preparation stage. 

What Types of Questions are Involved?

Most of the maths questions on the 11 Plus will require problem solving and detailed analysis, where candidates need to understand and apply mathematical concepts. 

This means that it is important for pupils to be well versed on the basic principles before they can use them for problem solving. 

There are several different types of questions but essentially cover the National Curriculum syllabus. These categories can be broadly broken down into 6 different areas:

1. Numbers – These questions are focused on elements such as:

  • Square roots
  • Negative numbers
  • Triangular numbers
  • Square and cube numbers
  • Money
  • Prime numbers
  • Numerals

2. Fractions and Decimals – These include questions on:

  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percentages
  • Ratios and proportions

3. Shapes and Space (geometry)- This type of questions can cover:

  • Symmetry and angles (obtuse, acute, right angles)
  • Transformations (rotation and reflection)
  • 2D shapes like triangles, circles, and polygons
  • 3D shapes like spheres, cubes and pyramids
  • Perimeter and Area (Squares, Rectangles, Compound Shapes)

4. Measurements – These questions can include:

  • Length and width
  • Height and depth
  • Addition, subtraction, division, multiplication
  • Mass and weight
  • Times tables
  • Volume
  • Time variables
  • Scales

5. Data Handling – This covers elements such as:

  • Tables
  • Grids
  • Charts
  • Coordinates
  • Simple Probability
  • Mean, median, mode
  • Frequency

6. Problem solving – This is the most difficult type of Maths question in the 11 Plus. It can include:

  • Story-based questions
  • Missing numbers in a pattern
  • Algebra, equations and formulae

How to Help Your Child Prepare

You should note that calculators are not allowed in the 11 Plus exams, so a lot is riding on not just your child’s math ability, but also their time management skills. 

It is crucial that your child’s mental maths is up to scratch, making sure that they are comfortable with their times tables and can add or subtract quickly.

As a starting point, you can work on Maths-focused questions with your child. This gives you a great opportunity to assess their current abilities so you know what areas need the most attention and then slowly progress to more complex units.

Early preparation is also key. If you know your child is going to take the 11 Plus, then you might want to start prepping them as early as Year 3 or 4. 

They can use this time to lay the groundwork and get familiar with key concepts. They can also do some practicing and using workbooks to hone their skills so that they become second nature. 

By Year 5, they are ready to apply their mathematical knowledge to problem solving and data handling. 

It also helps to familiarise them with the format and style of the exam beforehand. Tackling practice papers gives children valuable experience, especially in terms of managing their time effectively.

Developing their Critical Thinking Skills 

Regular practice and workbooks are a great way to help familiarise children with what to expect, but introducing interactive games, puzzles and activities can develop your child’s speed, accuracy and confidence. 

It’s also an excellent way for them to apply practical knowledge and sharpen their abilities to think deeply. You can do this through learning tools and platforms like KidSmart

This mobile app is designed to help your child practice their Maths, English, and reasoning skills in just 20 mins a day. 

It features various 11 plus practice tests and timed worksheets to help them hone their skills without feeling overwhelmed. 

KidSmart uses a mix of games, videos, and interactive lessons that are aimed at developing the cognitive skills of children aged 4 – 11, helping them become self learners. 

This is an important skill to have because it encourages them to try to figure things out using what they know, which in turn boosts their problem solving abilities.

 Lessons and tests are adjustable to suit your child’s current ability so you can stay up to date on their progress. 

The app also offers an on-demand  dedicated tutor support system which is available 24/7. 

Maths Eleven Plus Practice Questions 

KidSmart offers free 11 Plus exam papers which you can download and go through with your child. In the meantime, here are some examples of questions that you are likely to come across: 

1. Which of the following is the most likely weight of a bag of flour?

A. 2 g B. 2 litres C. 2000 kg D. 200 mm E. 2 kg

2. Forty-seven thousand, nine hundred and eighty-three people went to a football match. What is this number rounded to the nearest thousand?

A. 47 000 B. 50 000 C. 100 000 D. 47 900 E. 48 000

3. Ibrahim is trying to work out the volume of a swimming pool. What units should he measure the volume in?

A. mm³ B.C. cm² D.E. cm³

4. Sunita has 75 pens and she ties them into bundles of 8. How many pens does she have left over?

Answer:

5. What is 21.7 × 9.4?

A. 287.68 B. 532.42 C. 117.24 D. 203.98 E. 412.96

6. What is 3/5 of 60?

A. 30 B. 24 C. 40 D. 32 E. 36

7. What is the next number in this sequence? 23 35 47 59 ?

Answer: 

8. Rick has 15 cards. 3 of his cards are aces. Liz takes a card at random from Rick

What is the probability that Liz takes an ace?

A. 3/5 B. 1/3 C. 1/5 D. 1/4 E. 3/8

9. Becca has 3 pieces of wool to make a bracelet. One piece is 160 mm long, another piece is 26 cm long and the last piece is 0.45 m long. What is the total length of wool, in centimetres, that Shania has?

Answer: _________ cm

10. Conrad has 4 dogs. He has to buy each dog a collar (c) and six tins (t) of dog food. Which expression shows how many collars and tins of food he needs to buy?

A. 4tc B. c + 4t C. 4c + 4t D. 4(c + 6t) E. 4 + c + t

Answers 

  1. E
  2. E
  3. B
  4. 3 Pens
  5. D
  6. E
  7. 71
  8. C
  9. 87cm
  10. D
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What’s the difference between the GL and CEM Assessments?

GL and CEM assessments

As a parent, when researching 11 plus exams, you may have come across the terms ‘GL’ and ‘CEM’.

What are the GL and CEM?

GL and CEM are two different exam boards that are the examiners for the 11+ in the majority of regions where the 11+ is still used.

Both boards have a similar exam format and cover a large batch of 11+ topics — English, Maths, Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning or Spatial Awareness exercises.

However, GL and CEM assessments have significant differences that will ultimately affect how your child should prepare for the exam.

To better prepare your child for taking theirs 11 Plus exams, here is some information and significant differences that separate GL from CEM. Let’s take a look at the GL Assessment first:

The GL 11 Plus

GL or Granada Learning is a body that administers the test for the majority of the 11 Plus exams. It was popularly known as the National Education Foundation for Education Research (NEFR). Granada Learning later acquired it in 2007.

GL assessment provides papers on Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non Verbal Reasoning. The assessment is used by many grammar schools in the UK.

The CEM

The CEM paper is written by the University of Durham and the tests are designed for selective state schools, independent schools, and selective state schools. The exam aims to prevent certain students from having an advantage over each other and they claim that the test is resistant to teaching.

The test was created as some corners felt that the GL was too predictable in nature and too easy to ‘teach to the test’.

What subjects will be covered?

GL

The GL exam board covers several subjects at 11 Plus level. These subjects are the following:

  • English
  • Maths
  • NVR/ Spatial Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning

Schools typically will use a combination of the above when testing to suit their policies.

CEM

The CEM test includes up to five subjects at 11 Plus level. These subjects are the following:

  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-verbal Reasoning

The ‘verbal reasoning’ side requires many of the skills needed to be successful in the GL English examination. Additionally, numerical reasoning tests maths skills and ability.

The CEM largely follows a lot of similar concepts to the Key Stage 2 curriculum. However, different schools and regions may differ and can decide what subjects they want to test in their 11+ exam.

What is the exam format?

GL

Generally, it takes about 45 minutes for most GL exams to finish. The length of the test papers given to the examiners differs every year. The test is specific to subjects, including individual subjects only.

GL exams present questions in the following formats:

  1. Standard Format: Examinees jot down answers in spaces next to the question.
  1. Multiple Choice Examinees mark answers in a separate answer book.

The questions are usually in multiple-choice format, though a written answer scheme is used for verbal and math tests. 

Questions are sourced from a massive GL question bank that contains over 18,000 questions and is updated regularly.

Generally, students need to attempt around 40 questions per paper

The GL assessment stated that ‘As a result, test papers can be changed from year to year, making it extremely hard to predict what type of questions will appear in a specific test and therefore minimising greatly the effects of coaching in order to create a level playing field for all candidates – particularly those from less advantaged backgrounds. 

CEM

CEM doesn’t follow a set format and can change every year. Your child’s school may release information around the structure of the test, so it’s worth reaching out and finding out in advance.

One of the major differences between the CEM and GL is that exams are combined.

  • Maths and non-verbal reasoning
  • English and verbal reasoning

Multiple choice, standard format or a mix of the two may be used depending on how the school operates.

CEM exams are usually split into different sections. For example, a maths section, some puzzles and a problem-solving activity. Children are timed for each section so need to ensure that they spend adequate time on each part of the test.

In addition, CEM exams tend to be more content heavy, and there may be more questions than your child will be able to answer in the allotted time. In contrast, GL exams are not as long and the student should be able to complete the exam within the time.

CEM stated that ‘Our assessments are designed to enable all children to demonstrate their academic potential without the need for excessive preparation’.

Which 11+  assessment will my child be doing? 

which 11+ format

It’s important to note that schools have different preferences when it comes to the test. 

n up to date list of the 11+ boards in your region. Some schools have opted for a combination of both GL and CEM. 

This list is subject to change at the school’s discretion, so it’s always useful to consult with your child’s school in the run-up to the exams. Another important point to note is that not all schools will follow what the other schools in their area are doing.

CEM and GL: 

  • Yorkshire, 
  • Essex, 
  • Hertfordshire, 
  • Trafford, 
  • Devon,  

GL Assessment: 

  • Dorset, 
  • Kent, 
  • Lancashire & Cumbria, 
  • Lincolnshire, 
  • Medway,
  • Northern Ireland,
  • Wiltshire.

CEM: 

  • Berkshire, 
  • Bexley, 
  • Birmingham,
  • Buckinghamshire, 
  • Devon,
  • Gloucestershire, 
  • Shropshire, 
  • Walsall, 
  • Warwickshire,
  • Wirral, 
  • Wolverhampton.

Preparing for the CEM and GL Assessment 

Preparing for the 11 plus exam is a good platform for your children to develop the core concepts as a foundation for the next step in their education.

  1. Do your due diligence – The first part for any parent is to do your due diligence, as mentioned in the article every school is different. Spend some time consulting with the school to find out which exam board they will be following and also how your child will be tested
  1. Use past papers and apps – For the GL assessment, there are many GL assessment papers and past papers that you can use, KidSmart has put together a series of 100 free past papers for 11 plus. 

CEM is a little bit different in nature as it is supposedly ‘test proof’ and the questions are more difficult to predict. Regardless, children can refer to familiarisation papers and develop their core understanding of topics to help prepare for the exam. Exam prep is still useful for CEM but the questions on the exam will be tougher to predict.

  1. Develop your child’s vocabulary: In respect to the CEM, this test places more emphasis on developing a wider vocabulary. Here are some ways to develop your child’s vocabulary:
  • Encourage your child to read regularly around a wide variety of topics. This will broaden their vocabulary and help them learn new words.
  • Make learning fun through using apps like KidSmart, when gamification is used children don’t feel like they are learning.
  • Test different strategies on your child. No two people are the same and everybody learns from a different approach.
  1. Time Management: Helping your children understand the importance of managing time is a vital component of doing well with any exam, especially with the CEM exam.  In order to get your child ready for the exam, make sure to:
  • Ensure your child practices under timed conditions to get used to a test environment 
  • Utilise practice papers as ‘mock tests’ to help children get used to the conditions they will face in the exam. Practice makes perfect and it will give your child confidence for the actual exam.

What skills are needed?

Both tests cover different skills. The CEM assessment has a lot of crossover with the KS2 curriculum and requires a wider range of vocabulary. On the other hand, the GL assessment covers more verbal reasoning than the CEM exam.

Where can I find CEM and GL assessment papers?

As mentioned above, at KidSmart we have spent a lot of time compiling a free resource for 11+ past papers.

Simply go here, enter your e-mail and you’ll have access to over 100 past papers, completely free of charge.

Where can I learn more about 11 plus?

11 plus is a complex topic, there are so many different things to consider. That’s why we have put together a comprehensive 11 plus guide to go over any FAQ’s.

Summary

As parents, at times we can feel bombarded by all the information around the GL and CEM for 11 plus.

Whichever test your child does, it is important to encourage your children to start developing their english and maths skills from an early age.  

Regardless of the test, the core concepts will be useful for your child’s education and progression through the education system. 

We hope this guide helped and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the Kidsmart team!

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Non Verbal Reasoning Exam: What You Need to Know and How to Prepare

For most parents, the Non-Verbal Reasoning section of the 11 Plus Exam is the stuff of nightmares! This section is akin to intelligent tests and some of the questions presented to these 10-year-old pupils can sometimes be a challenge even to adults.

What is Non-Verbal Reasoning?

Non-verbal reasoning focuses on problem-solving through the use of diagrams and pictures. It tests a child’s ability to assess visual information and solve problems through the use of visual reasoning.

For example, children may have to look at sequences and find the next in the sequence or find the odd one out. An example of this is below:

NVR question

It is important to lay the foundations for your child’s learning at an early stage to give them the best chance of getting ahead.

Breaking Down the Non-Verbal Reasoning Test

Non-verbal reasoning test

Non-verbal reasoning covers a wide range of psychometric ability tests designed to determine how well your child can understand and visualise information to solve problems. 

These include tests related to inductive, logical, abstract, diagrammatic and spatial reasoning. For the most part, non-verbal reasoning is used to indicate where verbal competency is not the main objective of the test. For this reason, this type of test is seen as particularly effective for international assessments, since even students who speak other languages are able to access the same test material.

You would often hear about non-verbal reasoning exams in the same breath as abstract reasoning, inductive reasoning, spatial awareness, and diagrammatic reasoning tests. Although they are not fully interchangeable, they do share a common objective, which is to address your child’s ability to understand and analyse visual information.

 As such, the term “nonverbal reasoning” can be treated as the umbrella term for all of these tests and you can expect to see them in the non-verbal reasoning section of the 11 Plus Exam. 

Abstract Reasoning

This involves the ability to analyse and understand non-verbal or visual information and then figuring out how to solve the problems using non-verbal reasoning. 

Questions under abstract reasoning typically consist of patterns or sequences of shapes and figures, and then students need to be able to recognise the similarities and differences among them to arrive at the answer. 

Since they do not rely on any learned language or math knowledge, abstract reasoning tests are a very powerful tool for assessing a student’s general intelligence. 

People that do well on abstract reasoning tests tend to be critical thinkers who can  easily work out new concepts and clearly define abstract ideas. 

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning is a form of logical reasoning that involves making broad generalisations from specific observations and going from a series of specific cases to a general statement. 

Here, students are required to study provided data, make observations, identify a pattern and make a generalisation. 

Unlike deductive reasoning tests, the conclusion in an inductive argument is never guaranteed and can even be false. 

Here is an example, “Jason is an uncle. Jason has a beard, Therefore, all uncles have beards”. 

As you can see, this conclusion does not follow logically from the statements.

Spatial Awareness

Rather than test a student’s ability to understand a logical series of patterns or statements, spatial awareness tests their ability to mentally rotate images and three-dimensional shapes. By understanding shapes in different configurations and imagining them in 3D, students are better able to grasp concepts and analyse them accurately. 

Diagrammatic Reasoning

In diagrammatic reasoning tests, candidates are given a diagram or a flowchart with a set of rules, which have to be applied in solving the question. This tests their ability to extract information from a diagram and use it to arrive at the right answer. For example, a student can be shown a series of distinct shapes in a diagram and then asked what the next shape in the series should be. The candidate must then work out the rule contributed by each of the different elements, and then use it to answer the question.

Non-Verbal Reasoning Tests Outside of the 11 Plus Exam

Beyond the scope of the 11 Plus Exam, non-verbal reasoning tests are also administered by companies recruiting for positions that involve problem-solving or technical ability. 

Theoretically, high performance in a non-verbal reasoning test correlates with excellent problem-solving ability. 

That’s why it is a huge plus to kids of today that they are able to master this type of test now. 

By testing their ability to discern patterns, extract novel information, identify inconsistencies in data, non-verbal reasoning tests help children develop their critical thinking abilities faster, leading them to become more independent thinkers and doers down the line. 

How to Prepare for the Non-Verbal Reasoning Section in the 11 Plus Exam

The 11 Plus Exam is extremely competitive so in order to maximise your child’s chances of being successful in the non-verbal reasoning tests, it is important to prepare properly. Here are some useful preparation activities to consider: 

Assess Current Ability

By assessing your child’s current ability with regards to non-verbal reasoning, you are establishing a baseline and identifying key areas that need to be worked on. 

Non-verbal reasoning requires good visual acuity and quick thinking, which is a skill that comes more naturally to some people than to others. 

Nevertheless, this skill can be improved by being disciplined and systematic. You can then analyse their progress along the way.

Practice, practice, practice!

While non-verbal reasoning tests have more to do with generalised intelligence, your child will always perform better if they are familiar with the types of questions asked in the exam, along with some strategies for solving them. 

You also want to make sure your child is familiar with the given rules for each question type so that they find the answers more quickly and not panic. 

You can download our practice test packages for your child and work with them to complete as many of these as possible. 

Focus on solving one rule at a time, examining the different elements of the test as well as its overall configuration, and when they have mastered it, proceed to the next. 

Work on time management

During the early preparation stages, timing will not be as important as understanding and students can take as long as they need to solve the practice questions. 

As your child progresses down the line, it becomes increasingly important that they learn to manage their time properly.

 As the exam day approaches, start setting time limits for each question so that your child can get accustomed to the real-world exam settings and solve problems accordingly. 

Enhance their critical thinking and cognitive learning skills

Hard work and dedication are non-negotiables when it comes to preparing for any exam, but in today’s world of unlimited distractions and limited attention spans, it is more effective to study smart. 

This is especially true for the non-verbal reasoning tests, which are said to be tutor-proof. 

This simply means that even though  CEM and GL Assessment, the most widely used publishers of 11 Plus exam papers around the UK, include a fairly narrow selection of question types in their non-verbal reasoning test, they can also choose to add in new question types, such that it becomes even difficult for a tutor to prepare a child for the type of question they will be faced with. 

While it is important for your child to master the different question types, it is equally crucial that they enhance their core skills in critical thinking and adopt a self-learning approach. 

This way, they are more confident and can tackle anything that may come up on the big day.

Take advantage of learning tools 

11 plus learning tools

Today’s children spend a lot of time on their mobile devices, so why not use that medium to help them prepare for their exams?

One of the best learning tools for the 11 Plus exam preparations is the Kidsmart app. It features a series of problem-solving puzzles, games, videos, and interactive lessons designed for cognitive skills development. 

Through KidSmart’s gamification learning program, your child can improve on the skills necessary to pass the non-verbal reasoning segment of the 11 Plus. These include: 

  • Comprehension: This involves the ability to understand the facts and make sense out of the information provided.
  • Analysis: This skill helps your child break down objects or concepts into simpler parts, identify rules and find the right information for solving the problem.
  • Evaluation: This deals with the ability to make judgments based on internal or external criteria and defend said judgement with evidence.
  • Synthesis: By improving this skill, it becomes easier for your child to combine component ideas, form theories, and even propose alternative solutions
  • Application: This skill is crucial since the non-verbal reasoning test essentially requires candidates to apply learned knowledge to actual situations.
  • Increased Speed: Games typically require quick decision making and KidSmart’s games are no different. By applying this principle to learning and preparing for the 11 plus, children ultimately become faster at problem solving, which in turn boosts their confidence. 

KidSmart uses adaptive technology to identify the current ability of your child and features adjustable difficulty levels. 

This maintains the fun in learning as well as helps you monitor your child’s progress with regards to various attributes like speed, accuracy, and concentration. 

Non verbal reasoning for 11+ requires proactive parents and proactive teachers. The learning process should be gradual to help your child grasp all the necessary concepts.

Get started with KidSmart’s 11 plus guide today and help your child ace this prestigious promotional exam. 

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How to Choose the Right Primary School for Your Child

Choosing a suitable school for your child may well be one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make as a parent. Where do you even begin?  

From catchment areas and exam results to OFSTED reports and primary school league tables, there is just so much to get your head around. 

So much depends on individuality, such that it’s difficult to find a definitive guide to choosing the right school. 

Nevertheless, following these tips below can help you narrow down your options as you continue to sleuth for that perfect school: 

What are the different types of schools?

The first step to making an informed decision is to understand the different types of schools that your child can attend. This way, you can focus your research and arrive at a shortlist much faster. 

1. Single-Sex Schools

In the UK, it is not uncommon to find an all-girls school or an all-boys school. In fact, until the 1960s to 1970s, virtually all children went to single-sex schools. 

Today, however, only about 6% do as more schools have opted for co-ed, especially for students in their sixth forms (years 12 and 13).

 Still, a single-sex school can be a great idea, as supporters believe that it helps students become more focused on their studies and that it can also lead students to be less self-conscious about potentially gender-orientated decisions.

2. Specialist Schools

These are schools that focus on a particular subject area, such that they’ve become local centres of excellence in their chosen specialism.

 There are ten recognised specialities — arts, technology, language, humanities, sports, engineering, mathematics and computing, business and enterprise, music, and science. 

These specialist schools are still required to meet national curriculum requirements and provide a balanced education to all students. 

They are also obligated to follow the same admissions process as all maintained schools.

There are some schools specifically for children with special educational requirements. For example, there are specific autism schools and schools for pupils with moderate/severe learning difficulties and physical difficulties.

3. Arts Schools

Like the name suggests, art schools offer formal education in various aspects of art and design. These schools deliver structured lessons that are designed to take your child on an artistic journey from an early age. Lessons are usually age-specific and provide a holistic approach to exploring the nuances of drawing, painting, and art history. 

4. Boarding or Day Schools

Another decision you’ll have to make when choosing a school for your child is if it should be boarding or a day school. 

In boarding schools, pupils live and study within the school premises during the school year. The most attractive feature of this school type is that the learning never stops. 

Your child is immersed in an educational environment that delivers crucial lessons and skills to help them become more independent and ready for real life. Social skills, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving are just among the many learning experiences that await them through superb extra-curricular opportunities, as well as learning to cohabit with other students. 

If you prefer to send your child to a normal day to day school, you must be committed to their social life. You get to see your child every night and help them prepare for the next school day. The tuition is also much cheaper than boarding schools. 

Visit Schools and Check-Out Open Days

Open days for schools are a good way to get a ‘look-see’ visit to the school and learn more about their approach to education. 

This is important as it is a surefire way to quash doubts, answer niggling questions, and whittle down your options on the best primary schools out there. 

Sometimes, it’s a gut feeling and not based on anything that you’ve seen or heard about the school, that made you attend the open days for primary school or secondary school.

 Either way, once you and your child see the school for yourselves, meet the teachers, and gain insight into lesson plans and extra-curricular activities, you’ll be fairly sure if this is where your child should spend the next few years of their educational journey. 

Meeting the teachers and headteachers is important as it will give you an indication as to how friendly the staff are. It says a lot about the school if the staff are friendly.

What is the OFSTED rating and how should it impact your choice for your child’s school?

OFSTED is an abbreviation for the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. This independent department reports directly to Parliament.

Among its many functions, the members must perform the OFSTED inspection, scrutiny that is used to promote improvement and to hold staff and teachers to account.

After the inspection, parents and other stakeholders in the education sector receive the OFSTED School Reports and a rating system, which they can use to make informed decisions. The OFSTED rating system is how the department indicates the quality of an institution. There are four OFSTED ratings:

  • Grade 1 – Outstanding
  • Grade 2 – Good 
  • Grade 3 – Requires Improvement
  • Grade 4 – Inadequate

Needless to say, this report and rating system can quickly help you identify ideal school options for your child. 

Another important indicator is the school exam results. In order for your child to pass each class and be promoted to another class in the next academic year, they’ll have to pass promotional exams. 

So if a school reports quality CEM or 11 plus results or has good rankings in the primary school league tables, then chances are it’s a school worth considering. 

School reviews are not everything and you should factor in your personal feelings to the school when making your decision.

Where to find OFSTED school ratings?

OFSTED inspection reports and ratings can be found on their official website

The Importance of Location

When choosing the right school for your child, you’ll want to go for something that isn’t hundreds of miles away from where you live.

 It is only practical unless of course, you want to send your child to a boarding school. 

Location is one of the easiest ways to streamline your options with a simple Google search. Try some of these key phrases and start building your shortlist from there. 

  • schools near me
  • best primary schools near me
  • primary schools near me

Parent Feedback

To get a true picture of what it’s like to have your child at the school, what better way to get feedback than asking parents who already send their child to the school?

Parent school reviews are usually the most candid an account you can find. 

Schools are unlikely to flag any of the negative points about the school and you can gain useful feedback from other parents which will help guide your decisions.

 Ofsted has a useful resource called Parent View which acts as a survey about schools. 

This resource is compiled of Parents’ feedback and can give you some indication of what parents think of the school in question. Here you’ll be able to see the plus points, as well as any complaints about a school.

Does your child like the environment at the school?

You know your child better than anyone else, so this places you in the best position to decide on the next steps in their educational journey. It is important to be able to trust your gut on decisions like these instead of relying strictly on cold facts. 

Remember, you are looking for a school that will make your child’s educational experience as rewarding as possible, and for the most part, that involves listening to your child too and taking their feedback into account. 

Summary

Choosing the right school for your child need not be a daunting process. Simply follow the tips discussed above and Bob’s your uncle. 

Every school has a different environment and feel, and the most important aspect to consider is your child’s happiness. 

Can you imagine your child in school? Does your child seem happy at school? These are important questions to factor in when picking a school.

London Based Schools?

Are you based in London and thinking about sending your child to a grammar school?

We have made your life easier by compiling a list of London based grammar schools here. Here you’ll find a list of schools and some information around each school.

About KidSmart

At KidSmart, we cater to all things 11 plus, if you want to kickstart your child’s learning, you can get access to our free worksheets here.

KidSmart offers on-demand tutor support aimed at helping children with their exams. The app is useful for improving children’s spelling skills, maths skills and more.

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An Introduction to Spelling for Kids

During the hustle and the bustle of preparing for the exams, spelling is often forgotten as a vital part of successful exam prep. 

Good spelling skills are important as they are the foundation of your child’s development.

Schools are now making an extra effort to help kids improve on spelling— they introduce phonics, homophones and various strategies to encourage developing skills from a young age.

 Most schools regularly conduct spelling bees, spelling quizzes, and there are also various spelling tests online.

However, we can still do a  lot more and this is why we have put together this guide, to introduce the ideas and principles that go into the foundation of your child’s learning.

Spelling words correctly can take a long time to develop so whether the exam is closing in, or your child is starting our in reception, we suggest that you start doing some regular spelling work at home. There are now various spelling apps for kids that you can easily access at your fingertips.

Also, the preparation for the 11 Plus exams is a long-term and ongoing process which is a good thing as it means that your child can study and learn everything in small, bite-sized pieces. Especially when it comes to vocabulary and spelling as these two are something they’d have to understand fundamentally as memorising would only take them so far.

So we prepared this article to help you understand how your child will learn to spell and all the factors involved.

What is Phonics?

Phonics refers to the process of teaching children to read by linking sounds and symbols. Phonics is the primary way to teach children how to read in the UK. 

Phonics enables children to develop their literacy skills and improve reading comprehension skills.

How is Phonics taught?

In the English language, words are made up of 44 sounds. Here’s a quick explanation of some of the key concepts and overview of some key phonics terms.

  • Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound. Phonemes can be broke up into vowel phonemes and consonant phonemes.
  • Digraph – A combination of two letters that work together to make the same sound (ch, sh, ph, th)
  • Grapheme –  A letter/number that represents a sound (phoneme) that’s either one letter or sequential letters. An example of a two letter grapheme is ‘leaf’. The ‘ee’ sound is expressed through the letter’s ‘ea’.
  • Trigraph – Three letters that work together to make the same sound (ear, air, ure)
  • Split digraph –  Two letters that work together and make the exact same sound, but separated by another letter. This aids children to distinguish between vowel sounds. Examples of this are cub/cube, cap/cape, tap/tape. This is otherwise known as the ‘Magic E’.

Children are taught a code which helps work out and decipher how to read words. Instead of being taught every word individually children are equipped with the skills to work out words and what they mean.

Below is an example of some phonics sounds in a simple digestible chart. The KidSmart team has separated the phonics sounds list into four different categories, each showing a different sound. 

What to expect from ages 4-11 with phonics?

The foundation of teaching phonics starts from an early age, as early as reception.

Age 4-6: At this stage of your child’s development they will utilise phonics skills that will help them spell words that they are not familiar with, and to help facilitate the learning for common and difficult words. 

The Year 1 phonics screening check is introduced during this period. The test is not formal and is consisted of two sections and 40 words to check your child’s progress. The exam aims to monitor the progression from reception to year 1.

Busy parents should consider using the plethora of apps that are now available. KidSmart, for example helps children from an early stage of their development and is a great supplement for your children’s learning. It’s important to make year 1 phonics activities enjoyable to keep your child stimulated in the learning process.

Age 6–7 

Your child will be expected to have developed some of their phonic skills and should be able to deal with more complicated sentence structures, have improved reading skills and better literacy

At this point, your child should have a better grasp of many common, and difficult words.


 At this stage, schools may introduce spelling tests, and introduce more complex homework for your children. Efforts should be made to monitor your child’s progress and assist with homework help where necessary.

Overall parents should keep their eyes on the year 2 English curriculum to get a deeper idea of how to cater to their child’s development.

Age 7–9 

Phonic skills should be used at this age to learn new words and develop their vocabulary. From the ages of 7-9 teaching on spelling patterns and the rules around them are introduced to equip children with the skillset to use when they encounter problems and difficulty.

Age 9–11 

From the ages of 9-11 with your child’s development underway, your child should be able to read, write and spell words of a higher complexity using their knowledge of phonics and how words are constructed and structured.

What are Homophones?

Homophones definition: Words that have the same sound and pronunciation but have different spelling and meaning.

Homophones are usually included in the verbal reasoning tests— it’s important to grasp these concepts at an early age.

A lot of homophones are also quite complex than the others. These complex homophones are used to see which children have a more advanced vocabulary than others.

Homophones can be hard to learn and understand but you’ll find that once the child has understood how homophones work, they improve naturally.

The only other risk is that kids can hesitate and second guess themselves when they feel stressed and pressured on the day of the exam.

Here are some phonic words — many of these have come up in previous tests.

We suggest that you use each word in a sentence to show your kid the correct meaning of each word. In the below list we’ve outlined some homophones examples below:

Homophones List

Compliment, complement

Dissent, descent

Price, prize

Course, coarse

Whole, hole

Flair, flare

Due, dew

Stationary, stationery

Bale, bail

Roe, row

Loot, lute

Sheer, shear

Leek, leak

Hair, hare

Reading can be a lot of help as your child may encounter a lot of homophones through it.

So reading is highly recommended— as it should be.

How to Develop Vocabulary: 

Children aren’t born with vocabulary. It is something that develops and grows with them. And exams are just a small fraction for the reason why your kid should develop their vocabulary.

They need it to communicate well and be able to express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

And here’s how you can help your child to develop their vocabulary:

  • Don’t be afraid to use big words when talking to your child They are naturally curious and there is a high possibility that they would ask what the word you just used means. They might even start to use it!
  • When they start to ask what the word means, use words that they’re familiar with to explain the word. When they say they understand it, ask them to describe the word using their own words.
  • The best way to develop and build your child’s vocabulary is still by reading. Even just 30 minutes a day is already a lot of help. Just to give you an idea, you can have them read you their bedtime stories and when they get stuck on a word, help them break it down and encourage them to say the word themselves.
  • You can also have your child tell you imaginary stories and you can ask follow-up questions that introduce new words to them.
  • You can also make use of word games like Scrabble and crossword puzzles to build their spelling skills and vocabulary at the same time.
  • Be gentle in correcting their mistakes. Your child should feel safe expressing themselves and know that it’s okay to make mistakes. Praise their attempts and use phrases like, “Did you mean…” or “I’m not sure I get it. Can you explain that to me again?”
  • Use the new words they learned at your home as much as you can so it’s reinforced.
  • You can also give your child a vocabulary list the size of 20 words each. This list should include easy and difficult words, and commonly misspelled words. Ask them to spell and define each word before they move on to the next word.
  • Don’t forget to have your child practice synonyms and antonyms, too! A dictionary is a great tool but make sure that they explain it in their own words.

What are the best spelling strategies?

Rainbow Writing

Rainbow writing makes spelling practice more enjoyable. Through the use of crayons and coloured pencils, children can create a rainbow style effect to help improve spelling and help it stick in the mind.

Sounding Out Words

When sounding out words, you say each word as slowly as possible (c…a…t), and then you say the words faster (cat). This process is called blending, words are blended together to form a sound. 

Peer Testing Buddy Work

Getting pupils/friends to test each other and practice together rather than a teacher. This puts less pressure on them and makes it harder for them  to remember words.

Pyramid Writing.

Pyramid writing starts with a letter and for each step of the pyramid, an increase in length by one letter. The letters can be rearranged but one letter can be added each round. 

The training for exams doesn’t just start when the time to take it is closing in. It’s a long-term and ongoing preparation so the best way to approach vocabulary is in bite-sized chunks. This way, the learning is more natural and practical, not to mention easier.

Common Spelling Mistakes 

There are words all teachers know that children usually struggle with— difficult spelling words.

However good the spelling program and however good the kid is, they might still get the following words wrong:

Bicycle

Business

Colleague

Conscience

Conscious

Desperately

Exhilarate

Fluorescent

Guarantee

Leisure

Mischievous

Nuisance

Persevere

Phenomenon

Receive

Rhythm

Scissors

Surprise

Unfortunately

Weird

Yacht

There are a lot more but these are just some quick examples.

How KidSmart can help?

KidSmart aims to improve spellings from reception, all the way through to year 6 and the 11 plus exams. At KidSmart, you have access to many great resources, such as these free exam practice worksheets.

Summary

Developing literacy and spelling skills is not an overnight process. 

It’s important that you give your child all the support that your child needs while also letting them do the work. When teaching spelling for children, the foundation of spelling is very important and they should be encouraged to begin spelling practice from an early age.

The key to doing well is all in the preparation. Good luck!

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The Top 6 English Grammar Apps for Kids 4-11

Learning today is easier than ever. 

With access to tablets, phones, and computers at our fingertips and resources such as e-books, podcasts, and apps; almost all the information needed to ensure our kids hit the ground running is out there.

So when and where should you start? 

We can all be forgiven for getting distracted sometimes. With so much content available, it’s easy to suffer from information overload.

All it takes is one click of a recommended youtube video and you are down the rabbit hole…..

Similarly, kids often, distracted by the light and buzz of a notification on our phones.

But, don’t fret, here at Kidsmart, we’ve come up with an ingenious idea.

We’ve decided to create a weekly list of some of our favourite education apps for kids. Think of this as your one stop shop for 4-11 plus learning resources.

So let’s jump straight into it!

Taking the content spotlight this week is 6 of the best grammar apps for 11+. These apps help parents get the most out of the time kids spend in front of a screen. 

With grammar applications for almost everything nowadays from autocorrecting to sentence structure, built for different ages, abilities, and topics. We’ve narrowed down 6

 of the best apps that are all teaching English in a comprehensive yet enjoyable way.

1. KidSmart App 

20 minutes a day keeps the grammar police away.

Founded by Baljeet Dogra in 2017, KidSmart is an English and mathematics app that uses the principles of gaming to build up understanding around the fundamentals of punctuality and grammar. 

Inspired to make KidSmart as a learning tool for his children, the shared space, is now available for others to play and learn. 

The app challenges kids with problems aimed at developing critical thinking and written analysis skills; covering grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and spelling. KidSmart aims to reinforce grammatical learning through 20 minutes of practice a day.

Each lesson comprises of challenges such as quizzes to assess the child’s learning and uses a reward-based system to positively reinforce learning. Adopting the approach of many popular games, KidSmart includes gems, stickers, coins, and trophies as rewards. As well as offering a good level of progression with varying difficulty levels. 

In addition, the app offers access to on-demand tutor support. Where knowledge gaps exist on demand tutors are able to aid the development of a child’s understanding through lessons and in-app support at no extra cost.

Parents can also monitor the learning activity of their child and check the progress of each topic through the daily activity tab. 

KidSmart is particularly useful at helping children prepare for their exams. They have some excellent e-learning resources for free 11 plus english papers

KidSmart focuses on the gamification of education and believes that through Ks2 English games they can make learning enjoyable and improve 11 plus exam results.

Free Trial

KidSmart App offers a 14 day free trial where users can enjoy all the feature of the app without having to commit to a direct debit payment. 

KidSmarts Paid Plans

KidSmart offers 4 different learning plans aimed at different age groups and topic areas.

  • primary plan – £30/month
  • 11+ plan – £40/month
  • bundle plan comprised with a primary plan and 11+ – £50/month
  • vocabulary building plan – £20/month

The KidSmart plans vary in price from £20 per month up to £50 per month depending on the plan.

The KidSmart App can be downloaded from the Apple Store and is an application built primarily for the iPad. 

2. Grammaropolis 

A twist on traditional education, Grammaropolis uses storytelling to teach and develop a child’s understanding of grammar and its usage. Lessons target eight different areas of speech (noun, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections). 

What makes the Grammaropolis really stands out, however, is it’s story-based characters as they provide a hook for kids to engage with. 

Offering 8 unique personas assuming the identity of each area of speech, including Nelson the noun and Vinny the action verb, kids are able to develop an understanding of the correct usage of each word as a result of personification. 

Additional Features include

  • Books 
  • Videos 
  • Songs
  • Interactive games 

The App is aimed at both students, professors, as well as children ages 8 years old and up and has received several awards from SMART, National Publication, and parent’s choice for their approach to teaching. Overall the app is a great aid in developing English for kids. 

Grammaropolis Paid Plans 

Grammaropolis offers a 30-day trial account and after which they charge a $50 monthly subscription.

Grammaropolis is available on IOS and Android and can be found in the App Store and on Google Pay. Although it’s not solely a kids grammar app, it’s a really useful tool for increasing your child’s vocabulary. 

Overall grammar is such a dull topic that and the videos and characters make it more engaging.

3. Duolingo 

The world’s biggest education and learning app, Duolingo is predominantly a language learning app. However, for those looking to sharpen up their English language and grammar skills duolingo covers both. With over 320 million downloads duolingo has made learning a new language  accessible to all.

Through game-based learning Duolingo uses topic clusters and word association to develop understanding around common phrases. 

The app rewards users with badges, and in-game rewards known as lingots, which can be used as tokens in the game to upgrade the Duolingo owl. The game also offers a competitive edge, with leaderboards and continuous learning streaks.

Features include:

  • Free to use
  • Over 30 English language courses
  • Receive immediate grading – instant feedback on what you got wrong

In this case, children have fun playing games but also gain knowledge from lessons and constructed sentences. Duolingo improves reading comprehension and reading speed for children. 

Duolingo has been used by people all over the world to brush up their vocabulary skills and also learn new languages. This would be particularly useful to your child if you have recently moved to a country where the language is not your native tongue.

A study has shown that just 34 hours of Duolingo is equivalent to 1 term of university language courses.

4. Smashing Grammar App

Learning grammar is lots of fun with Smashing Grammar. Smashing Grammar has a variety of different games for children to play. 

The six smashing games are noun disco, verb garden, syllable spaghetti, spelling slumber party, tense in paradise, and plural piggies.  

The arcade-style gameplay makes it an appealing choice for children as the app is very user-friendly. 

Additionally as the app tracks high scores, children are motivated to do well and improve their score.

This app is great for practicing reading, sentence construction and improving spelling for children. Sentence construction allows the child to learn new words and their meanings, expand their vocabulary and improve their understanding of sentence formats.  

The Smashing Grammar App is available now on the App Store, it’s an exciting mobile game for kids aged 9 and up to refresh their grammar skills and learn plenty of new words.

Overall the app is useful as it aids the understanding of nouns for kids as well as improving spellings for kids who may have found it difficult previously. The app is great for increasing your child’s core vocabulary and developing their literacy skills.

5. Grammar Pop App

 Grammar Pop is a fun word game application aimed at both adults and kids. Grammar Girl was created by Mignon Fogarty, the founder of the ‘Quick and Dirty Tips’ network. 

Grammar Girl has been awarded the title of being one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 best websites and it is recognised by many people around the world, known for their excellent educational applications and recognised as a ‘grammar expert’. 

Grammar pop aims to help children improve their writing skills, to play this word game you must match words with parts-of-speech and pop clouds.

As the game progresses the speech gets more complex and difficulty levels increase. This game is timed, allowing children to monitor their times and try and beat their high scores. By using gamification the child won’t even know that they’re learning as they go. 

Grammar Pop is a good way to improve writing ability and speech for kids. The app can be purchased in the Apple store for £1.99.

6. Grow Grammar

The Grow Grammar app aims to help students in constructing sentences and improving their grammar skills. It can be downloaded in the Apple Store and is recognised as a certified educational app. 

The app allows children to create their own style of sentences and deconstruct them to identify the part of speech in each sentence. It is a fun and challenging app as the student analyses the deconstructed sentence to learn the correct grammar. 

This app was developed for students aged 4-11. The app is composed of four levels of challenges, each level of the app has different challenges. In level 1, the student can learn how to construct a sentence using noun, pronoun, and verb in the present tense. 

As the student masters the basic parts of speech, they will progress to level 2. In this level, the student expands their knowledge by learning the adjectives, past, and future verb tenses. 

The student then, later on, learns the prepositional phrases of the verb and noun phrases. Lastly, in level 4, the student will learn how to construct sentences with adverbs and progressive verb tenses. 

Grow Grammar teaches children the fundamentals of speech with a fun and rewarding approach. The app provides training around articles, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, verb phrase, noun phrase, prepositional phrase, and sentences.

How do apps help with learning?

Apps are now a mainstay in society and a large amount of all of our time is spent online, on mobile phones, laptops, iPads and more. With that being said, it makes sense to learn in places we are already spending our time.

The use of gamification in education is replacing the need for tutors in English. English games for kids are rapidly improving year on year and are a cost-effective way to measure your child’s performance. 

Whether your child is being taught by yourself at home or attends a local school, apps can supplement their current learning programs and reinforce their understanding of grammar.

Education apps for kids are revolutionising how children are taught. Nowadays parents no longer need to rely on schooling to ensure their child develops.

It raises the question, what will the education landscape look like in the future?

What are the benefits of grammar games for kids?

English games for kids make learning that little bit easier. In this fast-paced world, keeping attention spans is harder than ever. In fact, a 2018 study found that the average person has an attention span of fewer than 10 seconds.

If we apply this to education, it makes sense that efforts should be made to make online games for kids more interactive, fun and user-friendly.

Apps are ultimately beneficial as ultimately they are easy to track and measure. Through apps, you can track your child’s current performance, identify any areas they need work and reward them when they achieve.

Summary

The ages of 4-11 are crucial for a child’s development and It is important to take the education of your child seriously, technology is a useful tool to improve your child’s English skills and also keep them entertained.

When looking at online apps for kids to play, all the apps mentioned in this article will help form a strong foundation for your child to learn through technology at your convenience. 

English lessons for kids no longer need to be dull and monotonous, through these games you can improve your child’s vocabulary and entertain them simultaneously.

Whether your child is being taught by yourself at home or attends a local school, apps can supplement their current learning programs and reinforce their understanding of grammar.

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Homeschooling Vs Public School: The Pros and Cons of a Home Education

As parents, you understand the value of your child’s education.

You also know how important it is to select the right type of education for your child.

For most people, talking about homeschooling versus public school is like talking to a brick wall – it doesn’t matter how persuasive the argument is or how strong the points are; it’s still unlikely you are going to change pre-existing opinions.

However, homeschooling is on the rise and is becoming more and more popular for parents everywhere. Homeschooling has risen 40% in the UK over the last 4 years.

The main thing to remember is that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to education – whether you are a fan of traditional schooling, or you prefer to invest in home education resources, you should weigh up all of the options to see which is best suited to your child.

You may be considering this option for your child so here’s a quick breakdown of how it stacks up against public schooling. 

What is Homeschooling?

Simply put, homeschooling is schooling your child at home. It is also known as home education and is legal in several parts of the world, including the UK and the US. 

There are many reasons people choose homeschooling but some common things that drive this decision include:

  • Dissatisfaction over the curriculum or method of teaching
  • A desire to instil a specific worldview
  • Providing flexibility for a child to pursue his/her passion
  • Religious concerns
  • School safety concerns
  • A one to one approach
  • Spend quality time with your children
  • Regularly moving with work
  • Children with learning difficulties

How Much Does Homeschooling Cost in the UK?

The Department for Education has made it clear that choosing to teach your children at home means taking on the full financial responsibility for their education. 

As a parent, when deciding whether it’s a good match for you, you need to take into consideration the kind of budget and time you will need to put aside monthly for your child’s education.

There is no hard and fast rule around how expensive homeschooling will be but it’s still important to plan how much it will cost you to educate from home.

Thanks to the internet, the cost of homeschooling has drastically reduced with access to various educational apps, youtube, and online learning support.

For example, apps such as KidSmart promote self learning for kids but have access to on-demand tutors within the app should your child get stuck.

Many two-parent families have a simple setup where one of the parent’s works and the other is a stay at home parent who focuses on the education of the child. 

Some parents share responsibility but every person has a system that works for them.

Many people who go down the homeschooling route have flexible schedules when it comes to work with many people working from home, running their own business or working online. 

Planning to homeschool your child? Here are some basic things that you might need:

  • A computer with educational software
  • Higher home energy bills
  • Access to tutors in areas you are not comfortable in teaching.
  • Travel and entrance costs for educational visits to parks, museums, zoos, etc.
  • Stationery, workbooks, textbooks, craft materials
  • Curriculum course fees and tuition fees for specific subjects where necessary
  • Exam fees. If you decide to enter your child for certain promotional exams like the GCSE, IGCSE, and A/As, you’ll need to pay for each subject (about £140, each) and the exam centre (£40). 
  • Educational apps and e-learning resources for kids

While there are no government-backed statistics on the standard costs in the UK, seasoned homeschoolers will tell you that your expenses will depend on the standards you set for your homeschool. 

Homeschooling Pros and Cons

Homeschooling may be regarded by some as an innovative or a ‘hippy’ form of education, but in truth, it is one of the world’s oldest forms of education.

Homeschooling is a little bit like marmite, it’s not for everyone, it either works for you or it doesn’t. Just like any educational system it has advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some of the main benefits of homeschooling:

The Pros of Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling

1. Personalised Teaching and Learning 

Homeschooling allows parents to have more say in how they teach the syllabus. With no standard homeschooling in the UK curriculum, you can simply tailor the curriculum and teaching methods to suit the learning needs of your child. 

In the public school system, there’s a structured program for all students to follow without much thought to their unique learning needs.

In the UK, parents rely on parent’s evenings and end of year reports and exams to assess how their child is performing.

A teacher has to focus on a class of about 15 to 35 students, which means they cannot always give students the individual attention that they require. 

Just like in the real world, the louder voices dominate and if your child is introverted there’s a high chance they may get lost in the crowd.

It’s easy for a child to be lost in the classroom and not have individual attention on areas that need improvement. 

The result?

Your child’s weak points are not being focused on and it’s harder to measure their progress.

2. Flexible Schedules

Opting to homeschool your child means not having to deal with hectic morning routines, crazy rush hour traffic – waking up to alarms and racing through showers, dressing up, and breakfasts just to get your child to school in time. 

Instead, you and your child’s mornings will be more relaxed, and you can alter schedules as needed. 

3. Effective Learning

One of the greatest criticisms of public schooling is that students learn for assessments and do not actually gain deep subject knowledge. 

Everything revolves around grades. Grades promote them to the next class and do not always reflect your child’s ability. If gaps in your child’s knowledge were spotted earlier they could have been identified and fixed.

With one and one teaching, your child can actually focus on learning for the sake of knowledge and implementation.

By giving your child individual attention, you can pull them up on areas where they need work, reward them when they do well and measure their development in a streamlined effective way.

4. Advancements in Technology

Technology has changed the world – nowadays everything is a click away and we can access almost anything on-demand; food, clothes, books. You name it, it’s now possible.

Thanks to these advancements in technology, homeschooling has drastically changed over the years. Now we have a range of educational apps for kids and it’s never been easier to teach children from home.

Whether you want to sharpen your child’s verbal reasoning, mental maths or science skills you can rest assured that in 2019 there’s an app for that.

KidSmart has been created to put the fun back into education. Through gamification, you can teach your child in ways that our predecessors could never have even imagined. It is imperative to make learning a fun activity for kids as they will be more engaged

Due to the rise of apps, you can easily measure your child’s progress and where they need to improve. Technology underpins everything in modern society and that shows no signs of easing up.

Arguably by using technology in your education methods, you are getting them more equipped for the practicalities of the real world as tech is ever-ever-growing in the current landscape.

The Cons of Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling

1. Time 

Choosing to homeschool means you have to wear two hats, you are both a parent and teacher all day long.

 In today’s busy world, time is a luxury very few parents can afford, even if you are a stay-at-home parent.

On the other hand, schools have a fixed daily structure that allows parents to work outside of the home more efficiently.

2. No Independence/Lack of Socialisation

Learning to be more independent is a crucial aspect of any educational system. 

Public schools teach children a certain degree of independence, depending on the year. For instance, they learn how to find their way from one class to the next, keep track of their own class schedules, and make it to and from the bus every day.

Homeschooling means that your child may be spending a lot of time at home. Efforts need to be made to involve them with other kids or it may hinder your child’s development. Mixing socially with others and learning how to integrate with others need to also remain a focus for any homeschoolers. Eventually, your child will potentially go into further education or employment so it is pivotal that these skills are developed at an early stage.

3. Limited Access to Diversity

Homeschooling means that the only people your child encounters in a typical day are you and other family members. 

While this is nice, education should be holistic enough to expose children to the diversity of the world outside of their immediate surroundings. 

By attending public schools, they are more likely to come across people that don’t look, act, or think exactly like they do, and learn to relate with them. 

In turn, this broadens their minds, exposes them to different cultures, value sets, moral beliefs and gives them a more well-rounded outlook on the world.

4. Lifestyle Change

There’s no getting around the fact that homeschooling is a large time commitment and if you are taking your children out of conventional schooling it will be a massive change.

Education requires time, effort and consistency to get the best results. Moving to a homeschooling structure means that you have to act both as a parent and a teacher towards your children.

Parents must think about how it affects their work life, as well as any other commitments that they may have which could interfere with teaching their child.

If parents have limited time, you need to source all the relevant tutors to ensure that your child has a smooth transition into homeschooling. 

For example, you may need to study the assessment guidelines, create a detailed education plan, form plans and stick to a routine. Tutors for English, maths, and science may be required if you feel that teaching is not your strong suit.

As a parent, you can’t afford to be lazy or have off days, and you need to make sure that you have things in place if work commitments crop up.

What resources can I use for homeschooling?

For many parents, the largest reservation about homeschooling is understanding how to teach. 

Doubts creep in for most people, ‘Do I know enough to be a teacher’ ‘Is my child better off in school?’.

These are valid questions to ask but with the wide resources available today we are limited only by our imagination when considering homeschooling our children.

Here is a short list of resources that can be used.

  • YouTube
  • Educational apps
  • Past exam papers
  • Tutors
  • Workbooks 
  • Books
  • Videos
  • Audiobooks
  • Trips to local museums and historic landmarks

The Bottom Line

When it comes to learning, every child is unique and the option that might be right for another child might not necessarily be the best choice for yours. 

Learning should be fun, rewarding and equip them with the skills required for them to live a happy prosperous life.

Homeschooling in the UK offers an attractive flexible lifestyle where you can really be attentive towards your child and their specific needs.

Due to the rise in edtech, it has never been easier to teach from home.

The disadvantages are that your child will need extra care to integrate within society, and that homeschooling is a large time commitment.

 As such, even though you might have considered the pros and cons of home education, you should keep in mind that these benefits and drawbacks are not universal and should be analysed by each family on a case by case basis.

Only then can you know for sure which option is best for you and your child. 

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Learning through Interactive apps: 10 benefits to Visual and Kinesthetic Learners

The edtech space has blown up in recent years.

Hundreds of amazing apps tailored to different needs and wants have helped make learning more accessible for everyone. (You can read more about some of the educational apps available on the market on our blog.).

The likes of iPrompt are creating interactive lessons for autistic children, helping to teach the basics of organizational skills, while apps like Sololearn make self-learning code fun and easy. 

Even free and premium learning platforms like khan academy and Udemy have invested heavily in improving their apps; allowing kids and adults alike to learn on the go.

What’s more interesting is how quickly kids are interacting with learning technology today. The allure of having fun with tech and the personalisation of applications that engage and appeal to diverse learning styles has created a new and better way of learning.

The traditional approach of schools, where one size fits all, is a flawed way of thinking. The truth is that most of us enjoy learning but, it all depends on what we’re learning. This is truer of kids, who more openly express how they feel about a subject and spend endless hours on the things they enjoy. This is why modern day apps that not only engage but retain a child’s attention are amazing tools for building a foundational education.

Effective learning: different learning styles

The VAK learning style dictates that there are 3 main ways in which we all learn.

These are (VAK), Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic learning.

Visual: a visual learner thrives and absorbs information more effectively through observation and visual cues, including videos and diagrams.

Auditory: an auditory learner tends to sit back and listen. Formulating their own ideas and understanding through listening to others discuss thoughts. Auditory learners are likely to engage and benefit from debates, podcasts and lectures.

Kinesthetic: a kinesthetic learner develops understanding through motion. They like to get their hands dirty and are likely to respond well to the use of props and physical tasks that supplements learning. Kinesthetic learners are well suited to activity based games.

Visual vs Auditory vs Kinesthetic learning

That said, with today’s interactive apps, parents have more tools and resources than ever before to meet the diverse learning-style needs of their children, both inside and outside the classroom.

KidSmart, a leading English grammar learning app for kids breaks down just how parents can utilise educational apps to understand how best their child learns and how they can benefit:

1. Improves Engagement with learning material

Interactive apps provide myriads of opportunities to make learning more fun and enjoyable, especially when it comes to teaching the same things in new ways. For instance, they can deliver lessons through gamification, utilising other online learning resources and even taking students on virtual field trips. 

This stokes their interest and encourages a more active participation in the learning process, which visual and kinesthetic learners may struggle to achieve in a traditional classroom setting. 

2. Promotes Individual Learning

Today’s education apps allow kids to learn faster and more of what they enjoy. 

Students can learn at their own pace, while having access to a broad range of resources to conduct research and review difficult concepts. They can engage with material more than once as well as with material they most enjoy working with.

Auditory learners can listen to prompts while visual learners can rewatch videos.

What’s more, these apps can be the ideal learning platform for struggling or disabled students.

It’s not just the act of creating and doing on their own, which is pretty cool — but also the feeling of independence and personal accomplishment.

Even at a tender age, such a feeling can be astonishingly powerful; beyond what words can express.

3. Enhances Classroom Performance

Visual and kinesthetic learners are more suited to interesting learning atmospheres, which can easily be created by mobile applications.

By interacting with these apps in and out of the classroom, they strengthen their skills execute projects and assignments with precision, which in turn, helps them secure better grades.

For instance, a student working on a project that involves vocabulary building can simply turn to his or her app to better understand words, their pronunciation, and proper context use. 

4. Allows for More Creativity and Freedom of Expression

Children have big imaginations, oftentimes too big to be contained within the parameters of traditional schooling.

Where before they only had crayons and colored pencils to convey those ideas, they now have tablets and smartphones that they can use to express their creativity without limits.

More importantly, they can explore their imagination and can even turn such thoughts into reality.

For example, if they were able to create a 3D animation of their concept, you can send the design to a 3D printer to take on a physical form. What better way to inspire today’s young learners?

5. Access to Multicultural Education

Every day, kids interact with people, places, or items from other cultures. Mobile apps help deepen their understanding of these interactions, which results in them becoming more well rounded learners.

A good example is how learning about food from different cultures can help your children appreciate the value of diverse cultures. 

6. Interactive in Nature

Perfect for Visual and Kinesthetic learners! Interactive apps for kids incorporate a wide range of attractive, engaging activities that support the development of their cognitive skills.

Following specific directions and sequencing activities is an ideal way to expand the various faculties of kinesthetic learners.

For instance, pairing animations while having them read or listen to a story can help them understand and recall the events in the story better .

7. Easy to Use

Nowadays, children are practically inseparable from their smartphones and tablets. For these students, the learning curve for using educational apps is virtually nonexistent.

Tap, pinch, swipe, drag, and drop – navigating these apps is pretty much second nature for today’s students.

This not only familiarizes them with basic facets of mobile devices, but serves as a solid foundation for them to become more tech-savvy.

The skills learned from interacting with apps have an attached creative form of expression that has become increasingly needed in today’s digital age.

For example, coding is a skill, while programming a video game is the expression.

8. Entertaining

One of the main reasons we have categorized visual and kinesthetic learners as a distinct learning group today is because to these people, learning was more of a passive, boring activity that they simply couldn’t cope with. Not anymore with educational apps.

Lessons are now provided through games and other interactive activities, which makes learning an entertaining experience.

Scores, badges, and the prospect of getting real rewards excites students and instills in them a dogged determination to pass each level. 

9. 24/7 Availability

This benefit applies to all types of learners. Unlike in school where students have to follow schedules and a set curriculum, apps are available round the clock.

Anywhere can be a classroom and learning occurs without much effort.

These apps also help reduce the need for voluminous paperwork and save children the burden of lugging heavy textbooks, workbooks, and writing materials to and from school all week. 

10. Better Exam Preparation

With the research-based learning methodology of interactive apps, students can prepare better for promotional exams like the 11+ exam and CEM.

Practising questions and solving problems in a more interactive way has been known to result in faster learning and increased retention rate.

The games and activities also help children increase their problem-solving speed and improve accuracy, which will come in handy during timed examinations. 

What do we recommend?

Identifying the approach that works best for your child is the most important thing you can do.

As a parent this might take a bit of trial and error. Some children may thrive when using past papers, some may benefit from the use of apps, while others may learn from practical work.

About KidSmart App

KidSmart is more than just a grammar app. It is an interactive platform that students can use to foster self-learning and enhance their knowledge in math, English, and 11+ skills in as little as 20 minutes a day.

The app integrates effective educational activities geared towards multi-sensory learning and a“hands-on” approach to build understanding. In addition to the benefits listed above, KidSmart also offers on-demand tutor support available anytime and optional services to book one-to-one lessons. Get started with your FREE trial today!

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A Comprehensive List of Adjectives for Kids

Opposite adjective big and small illustration

Children start learning about people and their surroundings from an early age, which is why teaching them adjectives is the perfect way to give them a solid foundation from which they can experience the world and build their vocabulary. In addition, by learning how to use adjectives to describe these experiences, kids start to feel more in control of their own world. The value of an adjective comes from its ability to characterise a noun, giving more detailed and imaginative information about the object of discussion. 

By adding the ability to visualise something more clearly, a reader can learn to convey feelings with more emotion, and to describe exactly what you want. Do you want your child to expand their vocabulary by learning age-appropriate adjectives for just 20 minutes everyday? Then you should get the KidSmart app. KidSmart is more than just being one of those writing apps for kids, but a tried and tested educational tool geared towards critical thinking and self learning through games and interactive activities. 

Here’s a list of common adjectives for kids that you can start teaching based on their reading and interaction levels:

Year 1

Colors: blue, green, purple, orange, black, white, pink, red, yellow

Size: big, small, short, tall, fat, thin

Sounds: loud, quiet

Shapes: round, square, oval, triangular

Numbers: one, two, few, many

Touch/Texture: rough, smooth, soft, hard

Weather: sunny, rainy, windy, dark, light, cloudy

Year 2-3

Alphabetising the adjectives can help kids learn the words and their respective meanings more quickly and organise their learning process. This will also allow them to find adjectives that start with a specific letter more conveniently and explore other options more easily.

Letters A – C: angry, bumpy, busy, brave,  crispy, cruel, cheerful, chilly,

Letters D – H: dangerous, deep, dirty, dry, empty, equal, easy freezing, funny, fat, fluffy, furry, fuzzy, huge

Letters I – N: itchy, icy, juicy, kind, lazy, long, lumpy, left, large, mean, messy, naughty, new, nice

Letters O – R: oily, old, plump, pretty, proud, quick, ready, ripe, right

Letters S – Z: short, simple, slimy, sloppy, slow, spiky, spoiled, sticky, stiff, still, stinky, strong, swollen, thin, tiny, tricky, ugly, weak, wise, wrong, wet

Year 4 – 6

Letters A – C: able, adventurous, absurd,  apologetic, aware, alert, amusing, ancient, annoyed, anxious, bitter, brilliant, bashful, beautiful, bulky, capable, cautious, creative, creepy, cruel, curly, challenging, charming, clever, compassionate, cozy, cranky

Letters D – H: damp, daring, delicate, delicious, disrespectful, dreadful, dull, ecstatic, endless, enormous, entertaining, exhausted, fantastic, foolish, frightened, furious, fussy, gentle, gigantic, gorgeous, graceful

Letters I – N: innocent, icky, intelligent, infinite, jaded, joyful, jolly, jumpy, kind hearted, kindly, knowledgeable, likely, lousy, loyal, lucky, marvellous, naive, nervous, nimble

Letters O – S: optimistic, oval, petite, pleasant, polite, precise, prickly, salty, shocking, slick, slippery, sour, sparkling, straight, stubborn, stunning

Letters T – Z: temporary, terrified, timid, tricky, truthful, whimsical, young, yummy

Classifying Adjectives: Grammar for Kids

There are different kinds of adjectives, all of which will at some point or the other be a solid stepping stone towards improving grammar for kids as they get older and advance through the school system. After organising the words in alphabetical order, these adjectives have been further sorted into categories for greater understanding and can be quite useful when preparing for promotional exams, such as the CEM and 11+.  

Proper Adjectives 

These adjectives are derived from proper nouns and are used to describe something in terms of culture, nationality, or religious affiliation. 

Some examples of proper adjectives include: African, Asian, British, French, Japanese, Latino, American, Australian, Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish

Food Adjectives

There are many words that can be used to conjure tasteful images when discussing food choices. With the proper adjective definition for kids, they can understand the difference between a “ tasty, cheesy, homemade, spaghetti with meatballs” and a “regular mass-produced fast food pasta,” Some examples include: 

Sweets: sugary, chocolatey, syrupy, minty, 

Fruits: ripe, sour, juicy, tart, acidic

Dairy: Cheesy, buttery, creamy

Beef: Chewy, peppery, spicy, marinated, lean, dry

Cereal: crunchy, soggy, flakey, nutty

Adjectives for Describing a Person

There are many terms that can be used to describe a person in terms of their physical appearance and personalities. It is important for your child to have these words in their written and spoken vocabulary because as they grow older, they will at some point, face a situation that requires them to describe someone. Some examples include: 

Characteristics and Traits: clever, creative,kind, generous, considerate, flexible, mysterious

Personality: calm, humble, arrogant, proud, charismatic, mean

Physical Appearance: straight hair, cropped hair, blonde, brunette, lanky, dwarfish, plump, skinny 

Happy Adjectives

These words are great for describing jubilant situations, helping children create strong descriptions for a party or celebration scenes like their last birthday or playdate. 

Examples include: beaming, joyous, blissful, joyful, delightful, pleased, cheerful, jovial, jolly, glad, thrilled, elated, gleeful, sunny

Peaceful Adjectives

These words are used to describe a state of serenity. Some examples include: serene, calm, harmonious, peaceful, nonviolent, quiet, undisturbed, still, soothing, tranquil, relaxing, restful

Sporty Adjectives

Many school curricula include a variety of sporting events as part of their physical education activities, so your children have most likely come across this type of adjectives. 

Examples include: accurate, active, agile, athletic, frenetic, skilful, speedy, swift, slick, 

Adjectives to Describe a Place

These descriptive words can serve as a springboard for new territory that your child visits or reads about. By learning the right adjectives to describe a location, they become even more interested in learning more about the world outside of their immediate surroundings. 

Some examples include: gigantic, grassy, exotic near, far, tidy, spacious, spooky, smelly, lively

How KidSmart Can Help Writing for Kids

Because adjectives are so common in everyday conversations and learning materials, learning more about them is vital to creating and speaking grammatically correct sentences. KidSmart can help achieve this through its array of gamification strategies and activities that are designed for 

  • Progressive Grammar – The app follows progressive development methodology and introduces new concepts based on the level of understanding specific to your child.
  • Spelling – Since KidSmart is geared towards the UK curriculum, it presents words that are relevant for the child’s year and tests them multiple times to assess their confidence level. It then adjusts the difficulty level automatically based on the responses.
  • Vocabulary Building – As your kids progress, new words are introduced with meaning and usage examples. They also have access to the Oxford Dictionary at any time. 

For further learning resources check out KidSmart’s free 11 plus exam papers for kids by clicking here.

FREE 11 Plus Exam Papers

A collection of 100+ 11 plus exam papers for practicing every day. The pack includes practice papers from grammar and independent schools. Whether you are preparing for CEM, GL, CSSE or ISEB you will find sample papers in this pack.

FREE DOWNLOAD
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3 Techniques for effective 11 Plus Preparation

Poor studying habits is one of the major reason for the underperformance of most children preparing for 11 plus. Most parents do not put much thought upon the effectiveness of the techniques used. Imbibing correct studying habits can make a huge difference in the 11 plus preparation and the overall learning.

Let’s first look at the popular but not so effective habits that many children inherit from their parents.

Ineffective studying habits for 11 plus

Some of the habits that don’t work or are ineffective

  1. Long hours of study
  2. Memorising the material
  3. Studying the same material (or subject) for longer periods of time
  4. Reviewing one topic repeatedly before jumping on to the next one
  5. Reading and re-reading the text
  6. Highlighting the most important topics and then reviewing that
  7. Reviewing using the notes

Effective studying techniques for 11 plus

At KidSmart we are constantly looking at the researches published by various organisations in our quest for understanding how the learning works and how to make learning better. Let’s talk about the three most important learning strategies that KidSmart users follow.

Test before learning the content

The pre-test strategy involves answering the questions before learning the content. The pre-test method enhances the learning and improves retention even if the questions are answered incorrectly. The research show that “even failing a test or taking a test before learning new information, can lead to stronger memory for that information than spending the same amount of time studying”. KidSmart users benefit from this technique as the app tests the child with questions for new topics before presenting learning content.

Spaced practice learning

This practice is a bit difficult to start with, as our brain has a tendency to forget a lot. This technique is all about spacing the learning to multiple days instead of trying to learn all in one go. When you answer questions correctly you should park the questions and attempt again in 3-4 days to improve retention. KidSmart users do not need to manage this themselves as the app automatically space out the worksheet practices and repeats the question multiple times over a few days to re-enforce learning.

Interleaved worksheets

Interleaving is a practice technique where related topics are mixed such that the consecutive problems require different approaches. It enhances the ability to find and then apply the right approach to a problem. A contrasting practice is a method where a set of problems that require the same approach are practiced in a block until mastery is achieved. Research work has suggested that interleaved practice is a more effective method of learning subjects like Mathematics. KidSmart worksheets are interleaved where every other question requires a different approach.

Adopting the right methods of learning can make a massive difference in the learning and retention ability of a child. At KidSmart we develop content with the intention to enforce maximum learning and retention. By using the KidSmart app your child benefits from all of the effective learning methods without you having to do anything.

What is KidSmart?

KidSmart is the 11 plus preparation app for children in year 3 to 5.

We have created hundreds of free worksheets and exam papers for children to solve with hints and explanations. An in-built dictionary integrated with the Oxford dictionary and vocabulary building modules.

11 plus is a complex topic and in addition we have created a guide to 11 plus to make this easier for you.

Finding the right school can be tough, and that’s why we’ve put together a list of London based grammar schools.

Find out more about the app and the pricing plans.