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GUEST BLOG - Juggling a lot of balls!

Hear from a very special lady who was a teaching assistant to one of our children for a few years and made such an impact on our lives.

So parenthood is a constant act of juggling a lot of balls in my opinion – we spend our days keeping them all in the air, and one day inevitably one will drop and that’s ok because we are all human.

I am a full time working Mum – I work as an HLTA in a Prep School and am a mother of a 13 year old and an 8 year old. On the side I’m nearing the end of year two of my teaching degree. We are all busy whether you work full time, part time or stay at home – we all juggle aspects of our life and it’s a battle of what gets done on that to-do list first. This blog aims to give you some tips on how to keep the ball rolling in regards to homework (predominantly in primary school) as my son’s homework in Year Nine may just make your head explode!

Top Tips:
Reading: Get it done straight away! My daughter reads in the car on the way home from school, I make her read aloud so I can spot any errors. If that isn’t feasible – it’s done when I’m cooking the dinner – no later in our house as she is too tired. We do however share a bedtime story - her choice.

Spellings: We have spellings displayed around our house on post-it notes. Play a game of ‘find the word.’ We try to practice these daily in order to nail the test come Monday, however life may just get in the way so the constant reminder of them around the house helps. Also let them write their words in varying different ways – bubble writing, chop the words up into sounds, create a pyramid or the good old ‘look, cover, write, check’ sheet helps.

Times Tables: We have one of those lovely CDs in the car that chants the times tables to us on repeat, in all honesty I would rather listen to The Greatest Showman soundtrack but needs must! You can also find some brilliant YouTube songs that sing the times tables to you – any way to make them stick helps. My daughter has also got to watch one of the times tables videos before she watches another child unwrap a Kinder Surprise Egg – still a mystery to me – but that’s the deal! If they have access to an ipad, laptop or phone if you search ‘Hit the Button’ it’s a great game for times tables but also number bonds, addition/subtraction and division.

Phonics: If you have little ones and they are at the phonics stage – (which was a total minefield to me when I first had children starting school) – there are so many things you can do at home to help this! Jolly Phonics is on YouTube and your children can learn the sounds to a catchy song just like a nursery rhyme. Teach yourself the sounds because when they begin to read knowing the sound for ‘M’ is Mmmmm not Muh is so important – I promise you! Yes back in your day you didn’t have phonics but you still learnt to read so why these silly sounds?? – they truly work – I have worked in Early Years and have seen their benefit but also both my children have learnt this way. If you want to take it a step further sign yourself up to Twinkl a resource website – it is a treasure trove of anything you need in regards to your child’s education in primary school.

Generally: Let your children learn as they go along, my two have always manned the shopping list, reading what we need, let them total up your shopping bill or add up what you are purchasing. Let them weigh out the ingredients when baking cakes, and get their hands sticky. Let them dig holes in the garden, make mud cakes, explore the bugs in the ground. Let them drag out all the art equipment and paint you pictures, create playdoh models or cut out various creations. All of these activities are helping them grow and become independent thinkers and learners. Let them learn about the world around them but also the bigger picture – kindness and humility is a life skill that if nurtured from an early age can guide them in life.

You may be saying to yourself ‘well I do all this’ or ‘my day is so busy how can I fit anymore into it’ I totally get that and this isn’t how things ‘should’ be done, it’s just some guidance on the early days of your child’s education. They say it takes approximately 21 days to change a habit – my suggestion is making your life a little bit easier and helping your child along the way. My house is one big manic mess but I can honestly say that my children are at the centre of all the happy carnage and I wouldn’t change it at all. Embrace these days – they will whizz by in a flash and if you can be there to guide them and contribute to their growing up, brilliant! - enjoy it all because they will remember you being there helping them on their journey!

Thank you for reading – Kelly Taylor xx