40 articles Articles posted in Education

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.

Making Your First Year Simpler with Free the Fresher

Do you know what’s scary? I’m now enough of a grown up to have friends with children who are going off to Uni this year. I KNOW. The fact that I have two kids, a Husband, a dog and drive an estate car should be enough for me to be aware that I’m a proper grown up, but sometimes it takes the realisation that my friends have grown up kids to make me realise that I’m not the kid anymore. In fact, watching “13 Reasons Why” the other day and realising that one of the teachers in the show was Lane from Gilmore Girls really drove that point home!

Anyway, I’m rambling! I want to talk to you today about Free the Fresher. They’re a company which aims to make the first year of university far simpler for students by providing them with everything they need, from cutlery to stationery, in the hope that this allows them to focus on socialising in the SU bar STUDY!

Let’s face it, the last year of Sixth Form or college is usually mega stressful; as well as studying, revising, exams, UCAS forms, Uni tours, deciding on courses and accommodation and ALL of the other stuff that goes with it, you then have to actually do the whole “moving across the country” thing and frantic trips to home wares stores to make sure you have a chopping board is just one inconvenience that you could do without. I’ve seen my friends looking absolutely grey with worry, making sure that their firstborn has everything they need for their first year of independence and it can all be avoided by paying a one-off £50 fee to set them up with the essentials.

I’m a huge fan of convenience, but I am also budget conscious, however this pack seems to be really good value. As well as saving you time, you’re going to save money on the fuel to get to your nearest home wares shop (as well as all the Swedish meatballs you’ll avoid eating!), the reduction in stress levels is frankly priceless.

There are additional, seasonal boxes which you can send to your student too, including one for Christmas which includes cards and ornaments to help make their dorm feel a little bit more festive at that time of year.

The boxes were the brainchild of three former Uni students who put their heads together to think about what would have made their lives easier when they first went off to university, so you can be guaranteed that they’ve curated a special selection of stuff which will be genuinely handy to have, rather than a random selection of tat which will still be unused by next July!

If you’d like to learn more about Free the Fresher, head over to their site – the £50 price is a limited offer and as of this moment you’ve got just 22 days to sign up at that price. Let me know if you sign up!

Off to Uni with Free the Fresher

Free the Fresher2017 is quite a landmark year for our family because not one but FOUR of us are starting University! I’ll be working on my English Lit and Language degree from home with Open University but Husband, my sister-in-law and our cousin are all doing the proper Uni thing and going to school to get their degrees. My little (or, not so little because he’s actually A GIANT) brother will be going in 2018 too,  so it’s fabulous that we’re all doing it at the same time and knowing that in a few years there will be several people with degrees in our family.

Just recently, I heard about a service called Free the Fresher and it struck me as something which would be amazingly useful for people who are striking out and leaving home for the first time. It was created by former Uni students as a way to help first year students to make their lives a little easier while they’re getting used to a completely new way of life.

You pay a one-off fee to Free the Freshers and they send you everything you’ll need for living in halls, including bedding towels, kitchen stuff, loo roll and even stuff like pens and planners for, you know, the actual studying part! You receive three packages throughout the year and at the moment, membership is reduced to just £50 for the year. It takes a massive load of stress out of the pre-Uni period where you’re worrying about buying everything you need and enables you to just settle into your new digs, get on with your studies and meet a load of new people.

Another awesome feature is the Christmas and Summer upgrades – for an extra £5 per pack you can include Christmas cards, ornaments and January exam prep material, plus in Summer you’ll get moving boxes to help you pack up after your first year of study. It’s a really innovative and unique service which I can imagine would be a huge help to anyone starting Uni.

From the point of view of a parent, even though my girls are still WAY off the Uni stage, it would be really good knowing that there’s a service like this out there, where people have been able to apply their real-life experience to knowing exactly what a Fresher needs. Delivery is free, and Free the Fresher have also teamed up with a whole bunch of brands, such as Nandos and Poundland to give you discounts which last your entire first year.

The testimonials on the site are really impressive, too:

“Finding FTF was a God sent, my freshers pack was waiting for me the day I moved in, saved so much time, money and effort” – Abbey Miller- Bristol UWE

“I knew coming to University would be expensive , and surprise, surprise my student finance was late, I honestly don’t know what I would have done had I not signed up for Free The Freshers in the summer, I had everything I needed for class and accommodation , had I not done so the notes from my first 3 weeks in lectures would have been on my hand” – JJ Smith – KINGS COLLEGE

“If you want to get the most out of Freshers week , sign up and save some money , that’s what I did- and had more money for snakebites (beer, cider , blackcurrent) lol” – Justin Green -Cardiff

” Was very impressed by this service  I thought there would be some hidden cost when I signed up, but I honestly only paid £50,  the quality  of my stuff was good and came on time” – Ian Stammers – UCL

Do you have a child going off to Uni (or are YOU going to Uni for the first time this year, like us?!) and would you find this service useful? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Profs Tutoring – University and Beyond!

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m at an age now where some of my friends have kids of university age and older, so as much as my two are still in the early stages of their education, my friends’ kids are moving on to higher education already. It’s a real eye-opener, seeing all of the processes that they have to go through, from UCAS forms to Uni tours and applications for finance, it’s WAY more daunting than a primary school application and that’s before the work has even begun.

Some of you may remember that I started a degree myself, back in 2010 when Sausage was just 2. I had grand ideas of studying psychology and although I managed to get through my first two courses, the workload got too much once I returned to work, not forgetting the huge hike in fees which happened to treble the cost of my courses. It gave me huge respect for the people who move miles away from home at the tender age of eighteen to do it all full-time and made me realise that there must be kids who need help too.

It never occurred to me before that University students might have private tutors, but that’s exactly what the guys at The Profs do. They’re a University tutors service, aimed at students in higher education, and can help with private tuition, applications, academic consultancy, career advice, writing guidance and everything else a student might need to help them to get through their courses.  The tutors are all trained professionals from top universities, so they know all-too-well the rigours of Uni life and how tough it can be to keep on top of everything whilst dealing with what is most youngsters’ first real taste of independence.

The Profs’ mission statement is: 

A Private tutor can improve your understanding, boost your grades, diminish pressure, and enhance employment prospects!

    • We provide private tuition, academic mentoring and educational consultancy for students at all levels. Our tutors are professional tutors with teaching experience at top universities, schools, and institutions.
    • Our tutors are experts in everything from exam technique to revision technique and we seek to give students the confidence and dedication needed to succeed in education.
  • We have hundreds of educators working with thousands of students in pretty much any subject you can think of. Please, give us a call and see how we can help you.The Profs

With the job market being tougher than it’s ever been, even for graduates, it’s good to know that young people (or even people like myself who choose to go back into education after many years) are able to get the help that they need to enable them to get the best results they can. The cost of tutoring through The Profs are really reasonable given that they are all world-class educators and teachers. Many of them can also work online giving students from all around the world ultimate flexibility in having professional classes, no matter where they are based.

If you’d like to know how to find a tutor for yourself or your child, click on the link above to be taken to The Profs’ website.

Getting Ahead with Spires Online Tutoring

Spires Online TutoringWe’ve been toying with the idea of getting Sausage a tutor for some time now. I’ve written before about her lack of confidence in maths and how she’s incredibly bright but seems to get flustered with numbers, and also about how she’s adamant that she wants to do her 11+ and I do worry that her own nerves will get the better of her. The issue we have with private tutoring is two-fold. Firstly, one-to-one tutoring can be expensive, and although it’s possible to buddy up with another family and pay for the tutor together, the second issue is that we live in the middle of nowhere, seriously limiting the amount of tutors who’d even come to us (and giving us a far shallower talent pool to choose from, in much the same way as smaller, rural schools).

The obvious answer is online tutoring, which is where Spires comes in. Spires is an online tutoring site which offers tutors from Oxford and Cambridge and all of their work is done via the internet which means that our location is no longer an issue. It also means that costs are kept down because travel isn’t a worry – a Spires tutor could effectively sit at their desk for eight hours a day and tutor solidly the whole time, without ever needing to move!

One thing that I absolutely LOVE about the Spire ethos is that they’re aiming to level the educational playing field by offering top-class tutoring to ANYONE, rather than only priviledged kids at the top schools getting all of the benefits. They say on their site:

“No matter how much the UK’s top universities are said to encourage entrants from the state sector, the reality remains – students from the best independent schools consistently have a far greater chance of entering the best universities.

So we asked ourselves:

What could we offer to maximise the chance of any student getting into a university worthy of their intelligence, ability and potential regardless of their background?

We attended one of the best universities in the world and we were oblivious to just how lucky we had been. Only at Oxford did we begin to appreciate the unfair advantage that going to a top private school had given us in getting into a top university. At school, we were drilled, tutored and trained to get those places.

We were coached over and above the curriculum. If we were struggling with any element of our studies – great tutors were available, around the clock one-on-one – to fix that problem.

We created Spires to provide the one-on-one tutoring experience that gave us the edge in our final exams. Our aim is to make that experience affordable to as many parents as possible and level the playing field in those pre university examination years”

I went to a really good grammar school for my secondary education and was lucky enough to get in despite living WELL out of the catchment area, but my parents couldn’t have afforded tutors because they were expensive (and probably non-existent in a town like Basildon anyway…), although I know lots of other girls have them, so it’s really good to know that my kids won’t be at a disadvantage if they ever need help with their studies.

 

5 Educational Apps for Kids You Should Download Right Now

Today, when smartphones and tablets have unalterably turned our life to the direction of technology it’s hard to imagine our children not using the electronic devices. As you probably know there were tonnes of concerns expressed regarding the matter: the worried parents and educators have begun to ring alarm bells viewing it as a growing problem. One thing when an adult shows the signs of addiction, constantly visiting gaming sites like http://777spinslot.com/online-slot-machines/ by means of a gadget. But it’s absolutely different case when a kid spends all of the time looking into a tablet. Luckily, the software companies paid attention to the matter and released some educational apps for both iOS and Android in order to ‘reclaim initial fault’. So now one may confidently say the devices can educate your kids as well.

Montessori Geometry 

This application, developed by French company Les Trois Ells, represents a powerful math tool. It uses 3D objects to provide better comprehension and make pictures on the screen sink into child’s memory. A user (your kid) will have to perform a great deal of drop and slide tasks to remember and name 23 different geometrical shapes. The app comes in eight languages and contains 2D objects too.

Star Walk HD

There’s no single kid on the planet who hasn’t been amazed by the night sky at least once in his life… “Star Walk” is an absolutely brilliant application allowing you to identify and view over 20,000 objects like stars, satellites, planets and galaxies. The tool offers a 360-degree touch star map and tonnes of exciting content. You and your children will, no doubt, find it incredible! It is much better than some narrow-minded gambling app, installed on your laptop (for there can’t be any worthy gambling app unless it was downloaded from 777spinslot.com). Regarding the latter, you can find out more here if you need details.

Fancy Nancy Ballet School 

If your children like dancing they will surely enjoy this application. The app teaches your child some 11 positions that will help a lot in further dancing practice. As soon as these moves are learnt, a kid can combine them and invent his own unique dance.

Ultimate Dinopedia: Complete Dinosaur Reference

It’s no secret that children love dinosaurs. The tool covers more than 700 dinosaurs from the well-known favourites to some more recent and less famous discoveries. It should be stressed that the app won the award for the most interesting and engaging kids’ application. Both visual and audio content makes it simply impossible to lay aside.

Barefoot World Atlas

Want to take your child on a journey around the world? Not a problem! “Barefoot World Atlas” is the application that offers some amazingly detailed graphics and great music. Your kid will admire the landscapes and buildings found everywhere around the globe. As your little adventurer heads to some other destination the music will change accordingly.

Home Schooling on the Rise: Should You Take The Plunge?

What is behind the popularity of home schooling?


Home schooling is becoming increasingly common as more parents recognise that students taught at home actually achieve greater results academically and socially. With one of the primary responsibilities being to educate their children, some parents also believe that this is not something that can be left in the hands of the state. According to certain home school experts, statistics back this up by showing that parents who home school their kids are doing a fantastic job.

Choosing to home school your child opens up new and exciting avenues for your child’s studies. The approach has earned a reputation as an ‘education that works,’ say Paul and Gena Suarez, publishers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

The most recent estimates from local authorities put the number of home schooled children in the UK at more than 36,000 – a figure which has increased by 65% over the past six years. Across the Atlantic in the USA, there are around 2.3 million home schooled children according to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI). This figure, the Institute says, has increased at an estimated 2-8% per year for the past few years.

In New Zealand, there were more than 5,500 home schooled students according to the Ministry of Education website, Education Counts. In Australia, Dr Rebecca English from Queensland University of Technology’s Faculty of Education has said there were around 10,000 students registered to be home schooled country-wide.

The truth is that all these figures are likely to be underestimated as some home schooled children may have not been registered as attending school. They therefore will not count towards the official figures of children who were ‘removed’ from school in the first place.

Despite the success of home schooling, the thought of jumping in may be daunting to some parents, and rightfully so! There is after all a lot of apprehension stemming from the fact that parents may not know how home schooling actually works. This creates a number of assumptions and misconceptions around the practice.

Free from the oversight and regulations of the state, your home schooled children won’t be bound by strict curriculums, learning schedules or needless inspections during their studies.

While there is plenty of online material supporting the home schooler’s learning needs, setting up direct high quality teaching can be difficult. As a result, most parents teach their own children or hire a tutor to supplement their child’s studies.

According to Dr Brian Ray, president of NHERI, “multiple researchers and their studies find … the home educated to be developing as well or better socially, emotionally, and psychologically than institutionally schooled children and youth”.

With the proper input and support, gifted children who are home schooled will be encouraged to flourish – which can mean a brighter future for those who may have previously let down by institutionalised education which failed to meet their individual needs.

This is, what we think is, the greatest benefit of home schooling your children: you will be able to create a tailor-made education for your child – one that directly fits their learning needs. This flexibility lets you decide what, when, where and how your child learns. For instance, they can go outside to study the weather or take in culture at a local theatrical performance. This gives your child a well-rounded experience they cannot get in an institutionalised classroom in which 20 or 30 kids have to be looked after and taught at the same time.

Families often choose to enlist the help of outside tutors for their child’s home schooling for various reasons. For instance, some parents aren’t thoroughly satisfied with the inadequate performance of teachers at local schools. Others may want to provide additional challenge for children who are academically, athletically or artistically gifted. Some have realised that a busy teacher cannot cater for children with specific learning needs. Finally, some children find the typical school environment too stressful to learn properly and reach their full potential.

In these cases, hiring a professional tutor is a great support method for home schooled children. Most parents will admit that they can only cover the basic educational needs of their children while others may believe they have a ‘natural affinity’ with their child’s intelligence and capabilities. However as the child ages and has to cover more complex topics, gaps may be found in the parent’s knowledge. These can be filled by hiring a trained, specialist tutor.

The success of home schooling can be seen as generations of children taught at home study further at university, graduate, and find employment in the real world.

We believe children can find success in home schooling in the same way as they do at school. No matter who we are or may be, everyone needs to experience the joy or our own and each other’s experience. Once we have this, all we need are great teachers to light the way.

Author: Mrs Gillian Dixon BSc PGCE MBA, founder and director of Teachers To Your Home. Previously head of Trent College, independent HMC day and boarding school (2006-2014); deputy head, Cheadle Hulme Grammar School (2001-2006); housemistress, mathematics teacher (1993 – 2001). Lecturer and head of mathematics department, University of Zimbabwe, VSO Zimbabwe (1988 – 1993).


“Teachers To Your Home” was founded by a group of school leaders and teachers in Oxford in January 2015. It has now developed into a large and talented team of over 3,000 qualified teachers, who provide high quality home tuition right across the UK.

Teachers To Your Home

Tel: 01993 774549
Email: office@teacherstoyourhome.co.uk

Web: www.teacherstoyourhome.co.uk

Co. Reg. in England and Wales No. 09204189

Getting Our Kids Outdoors

One of the main reasons that we moved to the countryside back in September of last year was that we wanted the kids to be able to spend more time outdoors, surrounded by nature. Our house, as well as having big front and back gardens, is completely surrounded by farmland and footpaths which are perfect for exploring or going on an evening ramble after tea. Here’s a shot taken by Husband just this evening whilst taking Chuck out for his evening constitutional (isn’t it absolutely stunning?!):

outdoors

The thing is, Husband and I were raised during a time when it was completely normal for kids to play outside; we both remember leaving the house in the morning and only ever popping back for lunch and dinner, and we often comment about how sad it makes us that our girls will never experience the same sort of freedom. That’s why when I heard about the new campaign being spearheaded by Sudocrem and PlayMore, I knew I had to write about it.

Their research has shown that, on average, the modern child spends less than five hours a week playing outside, compared to over 11 hours for their parents’ generation.

Child psychologist Dr. Lindsay Ip explains, “Children today are more used to immediate gratification from technology and digital games than active, creative play in the outdoors and connection to humans and nature. That’s why we have a responsibility as a society to encourage our children to get outside and play. It’s important for their health and educational development.”

Based on this research, Sudocrem has teamed up with PlayMore to offer 10 nurseries across the country the chance to win £500 towards improving their outdoor play facilities, in an effort to get pre-school aged kids outside more.

Sudocrem’s Brand Manager, Nick Lang said, “Children love outdoor play but they’re bound to get stung by stinging nettles and scrape their knees. This is all part of the learning process for parents as well as children. A cuddle and a tub of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream can make a lot of things better. We’ve been healing skin for generations and we’re proud to promote the spirit of adventure with Play More.”

The reception classes at Sausage’s school have recently upgraded their outdoor facilities, including an astro-turfed area to allow year-round ball sports, mud kitchens to let kids enjoy messy play and a canopy-covered area so that they can still get fresh air during wet weather. It’s really refreshing to see the outdoor space being incorporated into the classroom in this way and I can’t wait to see how BB enjoys it when she starts school in a couple of years.

If you think your child’s nursery could do with improving their outdoor facilities, go to www.sudocrem.co.uk/social-hub and nominate.

Getting Ahead with Tutor Hunt

Tutor HuntLiving where we do, the secondary school situation can be pretty competitive. We’re lucky enough to have two amazing girls schools nearby (one of which, my old school in fact, is ranked in the top 60 of the whole country!) and we’re hoping that Sausage will pass her 11+. The exam itself is said to have got a lot harder in recent years and I know that a lot of her peers will start receiving tutoring in the next year or so, to help improve their chances.

Tutor Hunt is a brilliant service which allows you to find a tutor in your area, letting you narrow down the choices to find exactly the right person for you. You can even find an online tutor so that, as with us, living remotely shouldn’t be an issue. It also allows you to narrow down the search by price range, which will allow you to only look at tutors you can afford, making life SO much easier.

The really unique thing about Tutor Hunt is that it’s not actually a tutoring service, it’s simply a matching service, so although there’s a small fee for matching you with a tutor, they won’t charge ongoing commission, which means that your tutor takes home every penny you pay, which ensures a really high standard of tuition (and is also great for motivating teenagers to study, at a later stage)

Tutor Hunts says “Most tuition agencies will select your tutor for you, based on who they think would be suitable. Tutor Hunt doesn’t work this way: we believe the parent, or the student themselves to be the best judge. They will know better than an agency assessor who is the right tutor for them.

Most agencies work by commission, taking a cut of the tutor’s earnings. This has the effect of driving up the tutor’s hourly rate considerably, as the tutor will seek to recoup their lost funds. This effectively passes the cost onto the student; and with ongoing lessons, the cumulative amount can be quite significant. The hourly rates of tutors signed up with Tutor Hunt are less than tutors working for agencies, as they are in complete control of their rates, we do not take any commission from them.”

One thing that we’re seriously considering is teaming up with another family to make tutoring a more affordable prospect for our families. One of my friends has a son who is in the same year of school as Sausage and his parents are also keen for him to attend a grammar school, so getting both kids tutored at the same time would be economical and convenient for all involved.

If you’re looking for a tutor or simply want to know more about the whole tutoring process, head over to the Tutor Hunt website for more details.

The Catchment Catch

With my Facebook awash with friends who’ve had emails today about Secondary placements for their older children, it’s got me thinking again about our own catchment issues. When Sausage was due to start school, we had a real dilemma; the house we lived in was close to the school we wanted her to go to, but wasn’t actually within the catchment. The school was also very oversubscribed and one of those real rarities; a really good school within an area where house and rental places weren’t too high – the Holy Grail for a lot of parents!

school catchmentCatchment appeal advice provided by Simpson Millar LLP

Fortunately, we were in a position to move and found a reasonably priced little bungalow within the catchment area, which meant Sausage was given a place at the school we wanted. She’s been at the school for 4 years now and is really happy, which makes me glad that we were able to get her in. Other people in our area aren’t always so lucky. Many of the other schools with a good reputation are in areas of very high rents, which means that even though it’s not private education, many ‘normal’ families simply cannot afford to send their kids to the best schools. Of course, it’s possible to appeal, so that’s always an option.

In two years, we’re going to have the same issue all over again. BB will be due to start school the same year that Sausage goes into Year 6. This means that we have to either put BB in the same Primary as Sausage and potentially tie ourselves into a 36 mile-a-day journey for all the school runs for another 7 years (providing we still live here in the sticks) or try to get BB into a more local school and have each girl at different schools. Also, would BB even get into Sausage’s school, now that we’re so far out of catchment? See our dilemma?!

On top of this, we have to factor in the quality of local schools where we are now. Our two most local schools are church-run (and we all know how I feel about that!), and because they’re tiny schools, they don’t attract the funding or the most dynamic teachers, like large town schools, meaning that they often flounder when it comes to OFSTED results. Having said that, I don’t put a huge amount of stock in these inspections these days and do think a school with just of 90 pupils in the whole place might be a great way to get a more personal, one-on-one education for BB.

Home schooling is looking like a fairly attractive option, even if it’s just for Reception year. I often think that 4 is far too young for them to start school anyway, and we could home school BB until we know which senior school Sausage will be attending. That way, we could apply for a school place for BB closer to where Sausage is going to school, which could make our lives a whole lot easier!

Have you had to face a similar dilemma? Do you have kids who go to school in different towns? How did you cope? I’d love you to leave me a comment and let me know.

*Collaborative Post*