48 articles Articles posted in Education

Homeschooling and its Advantages

Some of you may know that since the pandemic started, we’ve been homeschooling both kids on a full-time basis. Sausage was realy unhappy at her school so it was an easy decision, and while BB is adamant that she’s going back to her school as soon as it’s safe to do so, for now, she’s attending Crammond College! Although homeschooling can be hard work (especially when Husband and I also both work from home) there have been a numbe rof advantages that we’ve noticed, so I thought I’d share some of them here, in case it’s something you’re considering:

Cheaper Holidays

Going on holiday isn’t something we’re ready for yet as we’re still pretty much living in lockdown conditions, but once we feel it’s safe, we’ll be able to take holidays during term time, which is SO MUCH cheaper! We’ve also said we’d love to buy a new motorhome when we can afford it, which means we’ll be able to pack all of us, including Maureen, up and go away whenever we feel like it, which sounds blissful to me.

Write Your Own Timetable

You don’t need to follow the national curriculum if you don’t want to. You definitely don’t need to follow a school day. This means you can be led by your child, which means more efficient learning. If your child is particularly interested in something after seeing a film or reading a book, you can learn about that, which will lead into lots of other things. If your child is more receptive from 3pm to 6pm, that’s when you can target lessons.

Individuality

If there’s one thing that can be said for my daughters its that they tend to plough their own furrow and avoid trends. BB has currently got one side of her head shaved and Sausage has had dip dyes in pink, blue and purple in recent years, none of which would be allowed at their respective schools. Wearing a uniform and following appearance rules doesn’t allow for individuality whereas they can look exactly how they want in homeschool.

Curriculum

While there are obvious parts of the curriculum which we will stick to, such as maths and science, there are certain parts of the National Curriculum which we feel are largely redundant (or severely lacking). The beauty of homeschooling is that we can pick our own curriculum, which means leaving out the parts we don’t find useful and including things that get left out at mainstream schools.

Emotional Wellbeing

Research into how homeschoolers turn out as adults was conducted by Dr. Ray in 2003. He found that 5,000 out of a group of 7,300 adults had been homeschooled for more than 7 years. They were much more active in community and social life than their public school counterparts. A much higher number also went on to higher education and they also scored higher on the happiness scale. In 1999, Stanford University accepted twice as many homeschoolers compared to publicly and privately educated students.

Things to Look for in a Childcare Centre

If you decide to put your child in a childcare center, you surely know how important it is to choose the right childcare center. Hopefully, this is where your child will spend the next few years – you certainly don’t want to confuse them by moving them to a new childcare too regularly. This is where they’ll make friends, learn skills, and start to develop their personalities. But how do you know when you’ve found the right childcare center? What should you look for? Keep reading as we discuss just this.

Location

It’s no help finding the perfect childcare center if it’s a few hours away. You need to find a childcare center close to where you live and work. Firstly, because it will save you many hours in traffic. Secondly, and most importantly, because it will allow you to reach the school quickly if there’s an emergency. Finally, this will allow you and your child to get used to the area and get to know people who live there. You should look at centers closest to you before searching for ones further out. For example, if you live in Sydney, start by looking at centers in Sydney.

Safety

Most parents agree that safety is the most important aspect of a childcare center. You might be wondering how exactly to know if a center is safe. Start by looking at the physical aspects: is there decent fencing? Are the playgrounds and classrooms child-proof? Then look at things like how they monitor who enters – do parents get keycards, or can anyone just walk in? Finally, if you know any parents whose kids are in that childcare center, talk to them about their experience. This is likely to get you the most accurate information.

Resources

Look, a childcare center doesn’t need a bunch of fancy, high-tech equipment and toys in order to teach your child. That being said, they should have a variety of methods of teaching, as children learn in different ways, and they require various methods of mental and physical stimulation. You can also ask them about field trips and what a normal daily schedule would look like so that you can ensure that your child is getting a well-rounded education. Also be sure to ask about what meals they serve each day – if possible, you should choose a center that offers nutritional meals.

The Teachers

Your child will spend a lot of time at their childcare center, meaning they will spend a lot of time with their teachers. It is therefore important to make sure that you trust them. Feel free to ask about their qualifications or experience. You can also ask them what they would do in a specific situation. The last thing you want is to reprimand your child for something, only to have them say, “But my teacher says it’s okay!”. A good teacher can make a huge, positive difference in your child’s life. Similarly, a bad teacher can have a severe negative impact.

How to Keep Your Kids Entertained and Educated at Home

The recent life-changing social distancing measures that have been introduced mean that for the first time, many of us are facing the challenge of home-schooling our kids. In addition, we are needing to support our kids, who will be unsettled by the disruption to their routine and upset by the events going on around them. However, there are simple steps that we can take to help keep kids education on track and ensure that they are entertained while at staying at home.

Providing a structured routine

Ensuring that your kids have a structure to their day is vital for keeping them motivated and productive. Continuing with your usual meal times and bedtime routine is also recommended to bring your kids some normality.

Plan the day using a timetable

The classic timetable is ideal for kids of all ages to use, as it provides predictability to the day and ensures they complete all of their school work. By also including meal and snack times it can help stop kids developing any unhealthy eating habits during their time at home. Get your kids involved with writing their timetable, as there are many excellent skills they can develop at the same time.

To do lists

If you are struggling to keep your kids entertained and motivated throughout the day, then try writing a to-do list filled with activities to keep any bored kids occupied. A to-do list is a perfect opportunity to get kids helping out around the house, as you could include daily chores or even get them involved with preparing meals.

Online exercise inspiration

It can be challenging to think of exercise ideas for kids outside of their regular sports and activity groups. However, to inspire you, there are many online activities for kids that will help keep them fit and active.

Try contacting your child’s current sports and activity groups, as many have created online fitness sessions that may also allow your family to join in. Otherwise, there are a great variety of exercise, yoga and dance videos on YouTube that kids can enjoy participating in. Online workouts make perfect fitness sessions for everyone who is at home with the kids that will get the whole family moving.

Online educational resources

When undertaking home teaching, the support from kids’ educational websites is invaluable. These resources ensure that any work you do with your kids follows their school curriculum and is at the correct level for your child’s learning ability

STEM Learning

The STEM Learning website provides many exciting and stimulating learning activities for kids of all ages, so if you are stuck for fun things to do then, this is a great website to visit. There are even wildlife spotter sheets and fun plant project ideas that are perfect for encouraging time in the garden. For more STEM play options, there are many suitable educational toys for 6 year olds and above that are ideal to use in combination with these projects.

Learning through craft

Staying at home is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some quality family time together and try some craft ideas. There is plenty of inspiration available on social media sites, and most activities only require items from around the home. Craft activities are a great way of recycling everyday household items such as cardboard tubes and plastic bottles. However, if you need to increase your craft range, then there are many great craft inspired educational toys for 7 year olds and below to enjoy.

Educational play

Providing kids with time to play with toys is an essential part of learning. There are many great educational toys available, so you will be able to find the perfect toys for occupying every child. For inspiration, take a look at https://www.starwalkkids.com where you can discover exciting toys for all ages.

30 days of Lego play

Lego sets come in a range of themes, making them perfect educational toys for 8 year olds and above that bring out every kid’s creativity. They are perfect for entertaining kids for hours and allow kids to design new and exciting masterpieces. If your child loves Lego, then they are sure to enjoy the 30 day Lego calendar, which sets a different Lego challenge every day for kids to complete.

Minecraft educational resources

Minecraft is the latest video game craze, which all kids love playing, and with many educational toys for 10-year-olds featuring this popular game, it can be challenging to get kids to think of anything else.

If you are struggling to get your kids to focus on their school work as they constantly want to be playing this game, then there is a compromise, as Minecraft has produced an excellent range of educational resources. Kids can choose a wide variety of lessons, including many science, history, and language topics, so you can be sure that your child will learn a lot while exploring the Minecraft website.

BrightMinds – Educational Gifts for Kids

Being a parent at Christmas can be a tough job. If Burrito Baby had her way, all of her gifts would be things that Husband and I consider cheap, plastic tat which will probably be chewed up by Maureen before New Year because it all gets left on the floor! Also, as you’ll know if you read this post, Sausage is getting  to that ‘hard to buy for’ age, which makes buying presents even tricker. We’ve always tried to find a balance between three things:

  1. Stuff they actually really want.
  2. Stuff which is good quality and will last longer than a few weeks.
  3. A combination of gifts which are fun but are also educational in some way.

Both of the girls are really fascinated by science. Just a few weeks ago, Sausage came home from school absolutely buzzing because she’d used a bunsen burner for the first time and she seems really engaged by things she’s learning in her lessons. BB isn’t quite at bunsen burner level yet, but she’s developing a deep love of all things science, mostly anatomy and nature.

A while ago, BrightMinds got in touch and asked if we’d like to pick some things from the website for the girls for Christmas, and I realised that it’s basically a whole site, dedicated to things my kids would LOVE! BrightMinds specialie in STEM toys (science, technology, engineering and maths), as well as wooden toys, role play & board games that are fun to use but also encourage learning and development.

BrightMinds - Learning Resources Anatomy Models: Set of heart, brain, body and skeleton

We opted for the Learning Resources Anatomy Models which consists of a set of heart, brain, body and skeleton models, giving children gain a deeper insight to the workings of the human body. Children learn as they build each of the models using the step by step photo illustrated assembly instructions. It’s a bit like a puzzle, but taking it to a whole new level!

I just know that both girls are going to love these and that it will hopefully help to continue to foster their love of science. At the moment, BB is adamant that she’s going to be a doctor AND a vet (hello, tuition fees!) and these models might be the thing that inspire her to make a choice. I haven’t opened the boxes yet, as I want to save them for Christmas, but you can see them through the window on the front and the quality and level of detail looks excellent.

I think these make such a great gift for the scientifically-minded kids in your life and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. The best part is, you can still place an order all the way up to 23rd December for next day delivery, which mean you’ve got plenty of time to get some things ordered before Christmas. Don’t forget to take a look around the WHOLE Brightminds site for other STEM toys, arts and crafts kits, books and a whole load of other educational gifts which are so vibrant and fun, kids will forget they’re learning!

Who Knew Studying Could be Fun? 5 Ways to Enjoy Your Studies as an Adult

Photo by Kyle Gregory Devaras on Unsplash

Whether you’re studying to further your career, secure the job you’ve always wanted, or you just want to have the satisfaction of some additional studies and qualifications under your belt, then returning to education as an adult can seem like the perfect solution. But is it possible to juggle the responsibilities of adulthood – parenting, holding down a job etc and yet still have a positive student experience? Is it possible to actually enjoy your studies while you’re juggling everything else in your life?

Read on for 5 ways you can enjoy your studies as an adult.

Get a little help

Ask any student about which aspect of their studies they dislike the most and the majority will tell you that checking for grammar and spelling errors, proofreading their work and trying to get their heads around correct citations is really what drags them down. Luckily, there is help at hand for all these little tasks in the form of proofreading services, spelling and grammar checks and even an apa citation generator! All of which can be found online, click the link to find out more.

Get some good music

Beware! Not everyone is able to study and listen to music at the same time. It just depends on how your brain works. For some, listening to heavy song lyrics and writing a compelling essay about 19th century art comes naturally. For others, it could be a bit of a hindrance. If you think you might struggle, try listening to some movie soundtracks instead or perhaps some classical music. Before you know it, you’ll be the star of your own study montage!

Use stationary you love

Forget those boring old pens and pads that remind you of school or your place of work. This is your study time, so make it your own. Use stationary that ignites your desire to write, take notes and gives you inspiration. From pretty post-it notes and thought provoking notebooks to highlighters in gorgeous colours, pretty pens with fluffy toppers or sleek and stylish fountain pens that compliment your stunning annotations. Head to the stationary store and treat yourself!

Try studying somewhere different

You might have created the best studying area that allows you to concentrate and work without interruption. However, even the most productive of workspaces can feel a little stagnant. To shake things up and to make your studies more fun, consider studying somewhere different. Head outside to the garden and enjoy the sunshine or head to a café and treat yourself to a slice of cake. You deserve it! You could even consider reading your study materials in the bath or writing some study notes whilst waiting for the bus.

Give your memory a boost!

Struggling to remember all those dates and names? Try turning the trickier elements of your studies into rhyme or poems to help make them stick. You could draw pictures that trigger your memory or write flash cards and stick them all over the house!

College Homework: 8 Essential Study Habits for Parents

If you are a parent and attending college, you are likely to have problems organizing your time. It becomes even more difficult when you are working at the same time. The thought of juggling between work, studies, and parenting is overwhelming in itself. Therefore, you have to find the right tricks that will help to survive under such conditions. Here are some tips for you to get your college homework done.

IMAGE: Parents Attend College Too

  1. Create time for everything

Although it may seem like there is not enough time to perform all your duties, you will be surprised to find out that you can create it. Proper planning ensures that everything is done at the right time. When you do this, you will even have time to spend with your children and family.

  1. Invest in the right study apps

The use of applications in education is one of the best things that ever happened to students. As a parent who still has to work and study, you need applications that will help you to organize your functions. They should also make it easy for you to access your notes and communicate with your tutors.

  1. Look for online courses

Since you will be spending most of your time at home taking care of the children, an online course could come in handy. You will notice that it allows you more flexibility compared to traditional classrooms. You can feed the kids, put them to bed, and proceed to take a few lessons.

  1. Technology will be your savior

In this age, you cannot overlook the importance of technology when it comes to education, especially when you are a parent and a student at the same time. Find the latest trends in technology and see how they can help to ease the pressure on your shoulders.

  1. Invest in high-quality educational gadgets

What are some of the gadgets that you use for your college education? If you want to enjoy the best experiences, you have to invest in high quality calculators, laptops, document readers, printers, and all the tools that you may need,

  1. Find online forums for parents in similar situations

There are many parents who are juggling between many tasks the same way you do. Find them through online forums and find out how they cope with it.

  1. Rest is important too

It is good to focus on your studies and give them your all so that you may succeed. However, do not deprive yourself of rest because a lack of it will only lead to unfortunate situations.

  1. Find someone to help with your homework and essays

Since you have too many other things to do besides education, you may want to find experts to help you with your assignments and essays. You can find such experts online, and they will save you a lot of time and energy.

In a nutshell, the fact that you are a parent should not make you abandon your dream of getting a college education. By suing some of these tips and getting help , there is no doubt that you will complete the course.

Why You Should Teach Your Children a Foreign Language at Home

While English has become one of the most spoken languages around the world, learning a foreign language opens many doors. It is extremely beneficial to teach children a foreign language from a young age to assure that they can have a future in which they can travel around the world and communicate with people from different nationalities and backgrounds. With a foreign language one can form cross-cultural friendships, have a boosted cross-cultural understanding but also benefit from broader career opportunities and exciting travel adventures. Teaching a child a foreign language no longer means sending them off to language classes but it can also be easily taught at home through reading and interactive games and videos. Another great guide is How to Learn Spanish and Succeed.

It is always encouraged to begin teaching a child a foreign language from a young age as the younger the mind is, the easier it is to pick up the language. As a child starts getting older certain windows close in terms of language acquisition therefore learning a language before puberty will allow children to speak with a native accent. Knowing a foreign language is certainly an incredible skill to have especially when thinking ahead of the child’s future career. Career-wise it is in fact known that professionals who can communicate in a second or third language are always more desirable for the job. It has also been studied that thinking in a foreign language helps people make quicker and better decisions and can contribute to a higher standard of living.

There are many ways to teach children a foreign language and the very first place to begin is inside the child’s home. If the child’s parents speak two different languages a highly recommend approach is the One Person One Language method. With this method each parent consistently speaks a different language to the child, for example one parent will speak their native Spanish while the other speaks their native English. This method is highly effective in raising a bilingual child as there is a consistent exposure to two different languages. A few other ways to teach a child a foreign language is to have them read consistently in the foreign language. Watching videos that are 100% in the target language is also a great way to interactively learn. Language learning apps also provide a simple, effective and comprehensive system for learning languages at one’s own pace through interactive lessons, numerous courses and with the help of voice recognition. For example a child can easily learn French thanks to the combination of effective education methods and the use of apps like Babbel that are interactive and therefore very intuitive.

When deciding which foreign languages to teach your child it is important to think of their future and which languages might benefit them the most. Spanish for example is the second widest spoken language in the world, with over 300 million people speaking it every day. Spanish is therefore one of the most useful languages in the world for travel and business opportunities. Meanwhile, French is the most widely studied foreign language in the world, with 200 million speakers worldwide. French is also the official language of 29 countries and is the basis for many words in English such as “naïve” and “cinema”. Mandarin Chinese instead is spoken by over 1 billion people worldwide, making it the most widely spoken language in the world. The Chinese have always interacted with hundreds of cultures and many nations today enjoy Chinese-specific cultural contributions in the areas of cuisine, commerce and the arts. As Mandarin Chinese is tonal, meaning that pitch is used to distinguish its lexical or grammatical meaning, the earlier a child begins to learn this language the easier it will be for them to pick up on the difference in tone.

Many parents have become more proactive in jump-starting foreign language education for their children knowing all the benefits a second or third language can bring for their children later on in life. Language learning has many benefits on the brain: in fact it is proven to boost cognitive, memory and listening skills and is therefore a wonderful way to stimulate a child’s brain while in its peak development.

Five life skills your kids don’t learn at school

Five life skills your kids don’t learn at schoolThere is no “right” way to bring up children, and sometimes the more advice and opinions you hear, the tougher it can seem. Even the views of the greatest teachers and psychologists always differ to a certain extent.

Still, there is one thing on which everyone is in broad agreement: if you give your children freedom and value their individuality, they will grow up confident and happy. Another basic truth is that parents have as important a role in educating their kids as schoolteachers. With that in mind, here are five lessons that will be of value to every child, which you can help them to learn:

Independence

Before doing something for your children, step back and ask yourself whether they can do it themselves. Everyone needs freedom, but keep in mind that freedom and permissiveness are not the same thing. Let them try to do their own shoelaces, for example. Encourage, guide and most of all be patient. They will get there in the end.

Housework 

Here’s a secret: Kids love to help out with things. The only reason they get lazy and reluctant is through habit if you don’t let them get in on the act from a young age. The sooner children learn to perform ordinary household chores, the more confident and self-sufficient they will be in future. Aside from that, it’s always nice to have an additional pair of hands to help with cleaning or washing up, and it’s a great time to chat without the intrusion of a TV screen or games console.

Of course, kids don’t become skilled in domestic chores overnight, and role play games are highly valuable here. Those toy kitchens and toolkits are the perfect start, and you will see how much they love preparing pretend meals or repairing their toy cars.

Choosing and analysing

Your children will ultimately live their own lives, not the ones that you or the teachers in school have in mind. Where you can make a difference is to coach them on how to make wise decisions. Provide your child with the opportunity to choose as often as possible. For example, what to wear or what colour backpack to buy.

Beyond that, get the kids involved in broader family decisions, so that they can see how to research options and make the right choice. Whether it’s booking a family holiday or choosing the right printer cartridge, there is research to be done. Using the latter example as a case in point, show them the price of cartridges on the high street, then search online for Canon MG5750 and decide which is better!

Outdoor activities

Children need to spend time in the wide world. This is where they learn to observe, see the beauty of nature and live in harmony with the world. That doesn’t mean throwing them out in the morning and hoping they come back in the evening, as some generations maintain they spent their childhoods. In truth, it’s a great opportunity for us, as parents to spend more time outside too, not to interfere, but just to be around.

5 Benefits to Having an Aquarium at Home for your Children

aquariumPhoto by David Clode on Unsplash

Have you considered using an aquarium as an educational tool? There are many ways that having an aquarium at home will positively stimulate the imagination and affection of your kids! While many parents look into getting an aquarium simply because it’s fun, there are many underlying reasons that reinforce why this is such a good idea.

If you’re wondering exactly what these benefits may be, read through the following article for some guidance and inspiration. You will also find useful links here comprising technical aspects of having an aquarium.

Aquariums Encourage learning

There’s something so new and exciting about having a live fish tank indoors that always fascinates children. As such, an aquarium is a great opportunity to pique the curiosity of your kids, which in term will help fuel their desire to learn more about the world. They’ll start by pondering simple questions such as how do fish breathe or whether they drink water, and from there their natural curiosity should entice them to learn more about fish species and underwater environments.

Stimulates imagination and creativity

Since an aquarium is a self-contained little world inhabited by peculiar creatures and plants, watching this unusual setting will stimulate your children to look beyond reality and imagine other possibilities. This is especially true if you allow them to play an active role in decorating the fish tank and helping with research – like finding the 3 best aquarium timers. It’s also a fun idea going on some field trips for inspiration – such as visiting a large public aquarium before getting your own.

Increases senses of responsibility

Even though they’re a great tool to stimulate imagination and creativity in children, aquariums are also a great way to encourage your children to keep their feet firmly planted in reality. After all, those are living creatures swimming around in the fish tank, and they have to be properly fed and taken care of. By recruiting the assistance of the young ones, you will manage to get them involved in the project while subtly exercising their sense of responsibility.

Helps with negative emotions

There’s something incredibly soothing about an aquarium that seems to have a positive effect on anxiety levels while promoting healthy bonding. Children who help manage a domestic aquarium will tend to connect with fish and regard them as friends. This on-going experience will provide a valuable outlet to help dismiss negative emotions such as frustration and sadness.

Creates moments of magic

For a growing child, a aquarium can be truly a magical and wonderful thing, since it’s so unlike everything else around them during any given day. Having the opportunity to interact with fish and observing them enjoying their underwater setting can be a magical and character-building experience. It will provide your kids with many happy memories as well as a window that allows them to peek into the underwater world to watch some of its fantastic creatures.

11+ Help for a Fraction of the Cost with Education Quizzes

Education QuizzesI’ve mentioned before that Husband and I have been looking into getting Sausage a tutor to help her with the 11+ and now that we’re getting towards the end of year 4, it’s becoming even more of a pritority. The main issue we have is the cost associated with tutoring; most of the decent tutors locally charge betwen £25 and £30 a week, which can really build up over the course of the month and it’s quite normal to think that would be well out of the budget of the average family, who usually doesn’t have that kind of spare cash at the end of the month.

Just recently, we were made aware of Education Quizzes, an online education portal which contains quizzes on a number of different levels, including KS1, KS2, 11+ and even G.C.S.E’s and the cost is absolutely fractional compared to that of a tutor. For just £9.95 a month, your child will have access to quizzes relating to the level they’re studying which are written by teachers and are intended to make learning both interactive and fun.

The site is totally advert-free, which is something that appeals to us massively. We’ve done our best to make Sausage super savvy when it comes to internet stuff and advertising, and she even checks all of the permissions that apps ask for before she’ll download them onto her phone, so it’s nice to know she won’t be bombarded with adverts while studying. You can also cancel your subscription at any time without any fees, which is also good to know.

It’s also possible for schools to sign up to Education Quizzes and allow all of their pupils access to the site with one membership – schools are offered a hugely reduced rate per pupil and they’ll have access to a whole new set of resources for helping the kids, as well as giving the children something they can use from home if they choose to. If you’re a parent and think that your kids’ school could benefit from this, I strongly suggest you put the idea forward to them!

I love the fact that we’ll be able to monitor Sausage’s progress as well as the fact that this type of extra curricular learning will be totally convenient for us. Not only do we live well out in the sticks (much further than most tutors are willing to drive!) we’re also usually pretty busy with something or another, but with Education Quizzes we can fit it in wherever, and whenever, we need to. I also think that the online aspect will be appealing to Sausage – let’s face it, most kids would rather look at a screen even if it’s for something educational, so at least we know this will hold her interest!

I’m excited to see how Sausage gets on with the site and I’ll update you at some point in the future. In the meantime, if you want to find out more about Education Quizzes, follow the link above.