Education · Family

Being a Full-Time Student and a Mum: Pros and Cons

Photo by Jep Gambardella

Are you a mum trying to cope with studies and family life, doing your best to bring as much
love and inspiration in everything you do to serve as a good role model for your kids?
Leading such a busy lifestyle is pretty challenging and complex. However, with all the
tension and overwhelming things that are inevitable when you combine college life and your
mum’s responsibilities, there are undoubtedly precious and meaningful moments to cherish
and be grateful for. 

Continue reading “Being a Full-Time Student and a Mum: Pros and Cons”
Education · Kids

5 Unusual Extra Curricilar Activities for Kids

5 Unusual Extra Curricilar Activities for Kids
Photo by Daniel Chekalov on Unsplash

Now that the girls are being homeschooled, we’re acutely aware of making sure they have a rich variety of extra curricular activities lined up so that they’re able to socialise with other kids AND learn the creative things that might not be covered by day-to-day schooling. However, anyone who knows my kids knows that they’re not your average “football and ballet” kind of kids and they need something a little out of the ordinary to focus their creativity on.

With that in mind, i thought I’d share with you some of the more unusual extra curricular activites we’ve stumbled upon while doing our research:

Musical Theatre

Lots of kids have singing lessons or drama lessons, but there’s a professional music school in Telford which actually offers Musical Theatre lessons, which incorporates acting, singing, dancing and stagecraft all in one! Sausage went to a musical theatre class when she was little and really enjoyed it, so it’s definitely something we’d consider again.

Parkour Clubs

When BB was about six months old, I was working on my laptop while she played on the ground next to me. All of a sudden, I saw her getting higher and higher and realised she was actually climbing up my clothes airer like a ladder! Since that day,  she’s been mad about climbing, throwing herself off of things and generally behaving  like a nutter, so when I recently found a class that teaches parkour to kids, I knew it’s something BB would love.

Quidditch Clubs

Any Harry Potter fan will recognize this game that, in the books and movies, requires players to compete on flying broomsticks. In 2005, some college students figured out how to adapt the game for earthbound Muggles. Now hundreds of colleges and high schools have their own Quidditch teams. There are even Kidditch teams for young players! BB is mad about Harry Potter so I can imagine her seriously digging this.

Cooking Classes

There’s not much that my two love more than cooking up a storm in the kitchen and they’re both pretty decent little chefs. Sausage even had a birthday party once where her and her guests attended a cookery class at our local Waitrose and it was great fun! There are quite a few clubs around now which teach kids to cook and I know this is the sort of thing where my two would thrive.

Lego Club

While Sausage is probaby too old to enjoy a Lego club, BB is at the prime age to use her imagination for this kind of thing! We do a fair bit of Lego building at home so turning it into a learning experience where’s she’d also get to socialise with her peers sounds like something we’d seriously consider. Lego clubs are popping up all over the place so if you’re looking for one near you, I’m sure a quick search will help you to find one.

Education

Simple Ways To Help Your Children With Their Education

Starting school is never an easy experience for a child, as it’s a totally new environment with different people and rules that they have never had to follow previously. This can make it awfully tricky to settle in, which in turn can impact upon the quality of their general education, so it’s vital that you can take some responsibility as a parent by stepping in to offer a helping hand. Thankfully, assisting your children with their education doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might initially imagine, as there are just a few simple steps that you can make the most of that will have an almost immediate impact on their learning! So, if you’re interested in finding out more, then read on.

Simple Ways To Help Your Children With Their Education

Image Source – Pexels

Find The Most Suitable School

First and foremost, one of the most important steps that you need to follow if you want your children to have a positive learning experience is to find the most suitable school for their unique needs. There’s likely to be several different school options both in your local area and further afield, whether they’re public schools that don’t require payment or private schools that come with a term-by-term fee. Taking the time to visit and assess each of your options is essential, as you need to get a true feel for the place by looking at classrooms and speaking with teachers before you decide to send your child there. Bear in mind that your little one will spend a huge portion of their life at school, so it needs to be a positive environment that promotes great education and care. Lots of parents will also choose to leave reviews too, so you can take the opportunity to read through these to get a more honest look into the quality of the service and surroundings. Your child can’t choose their own school, but even if they could they would not know what to look for – it has to be you as a parent, so spend a little time looking around to make sure you can locate their ideal match.

Always Show An Interest

Picking your children up from school only to transport them home and sit them down in front of the television without doing so much as ask a single question is one of the worst decisions that you can make when attempting to support their education, as you need to make an effort to show an interest in their daily education if you want to be of benefit. Simply asking your children how their day at school has been is enough to encourage them to recap the events and lessons learnt, so this can be a brilliant way to ensure they remember what they’ve been taught by recalling it again to explain it to you. Additionally, showing an interest also proves to your children that learning is important, otherwise you would have no need to ask such questions – they need to be able to recognise that being able to access education is a real blessing that should never be taken for granted. A great way to show an interest in a productive way is by sitting down with them to go through any homework they might have been given to complete, as this way you can check up on their skills, offer help or guidance and make sure that they’re on the right track toward success.

Provide Them With The Best Equipment

Sending your child to school with nothing but a pencil to their name is another terrible decision to make, as your little ones need access to all of the best equipment if you want them to take their education seriously. It’s your responsibility to purchase the relevant materials that your children need to take to school, otherwise they will have to try and borrow from another student or teacher who may not have what they need. Being left out and unable to partake fully in a lesson can have a knock-on effect on your child’s education, leaving them feeling lost and without confidence while other children don’t have the same struggles. Invest in a pencil case that’s filled with both writing and coloured pencils, erasers, ball point pens and an array of mathematical equipment like rulers and a mini calculator – these are the basics that your little one will likely need at least once during an average school day. Teachers may also advise of extra equipment needs when specific activities or events are taking place, so be sure to source whatever you’re advised to buy if you want your children to have the best shot of reaching their full potential.

Recognise Their Struggle

If you notice that your child doesn’t seem to enjoy or understand their school work, then you need to recognise their struggle and step in so that you can offer some kind of resolution. Any problems to do with isolation or bullying need to be discussed with your child’s teacher, but learning related issues can be tackled at home! For example, learning that your little one doesn’t have the best confidence in their STEM subjects should trigger you to source some kind of maths and physics online tutoring, as this way they’ll be able to use s new approach to learn the lessons they previously struggled with. You can even take the opportunity to print off extra worksheets and encourage them to complete these at home, as practice makes perfect and they’ll be highly motivated to show you that they finally understand. If you’re finding it hard to see where they might need a little extra support then just think back to your own schooling experience – did you feel left behind in class? Did the teacher have enough time to give you the education you needed?

Utilising just a few of these easy ideas can help your children massively with their education, allowing them to make the most of each and every day in no time at all – school should never be taken for granted, so implement the steps described above to support your kids now.

Education · Kids · Parenting · Reading

Night Zookeeper Review and Discount Code

Night ZookeeperAs you may or may not know, we’re currently homeschooling the girls on a semi-permanent basis. Sausage is now in year 9 and will be home educated through to college age, whereas BB is in year 3 and is planning to go back to school once she’s had her COVID vaccine. This means that we’ve been using as many resources as possible to keep them both engaged by learning and also on par with their peers. Recently, I discovered Night Zookeeper and we were generously offered a 12 month subscription to try it for ourselves.

 It’s a subscription-based website which encourages reading and writing in a really creative way. It’s developed by experienced educators and brings together a compelling story, innovative digital technology, and effective curriculum-aligned educational content, to help your child boost their literacy skills.

The website is packed with games which help kids learn spelling, grammar and vocabulary and they’re so fun that the kids barely even realise they’re learning. I gave BB her login details and let her use the site without even telling her that it was a learning resource at first, and she was totally engrossed in minutes.

Night Zookeeper storytelling

Parents Point of View

One of the things I like about Night Zookeeper is the fact that it encourages kids to use their imagination. Sausage and BB have always had a thirst for knowledge and intense curiosity for the world around them and they’ve both channelled that through art and storytelling, so the format of NZK plays right into BB’s wheelhouse.

The site is really well set up in that there’s a separate login for parents so that you can see your child’s progress and see what they’ve been up to on the site. It even gives you a word count of how much they’ve written in each of their mini stories and it’s really interesting to see that the word count has been increasing with each time BB has used it.

It can also be used on tablets, laptops and PCs, making it accessible without the need for expensive new tech. There are lessons, writing challenges and word games which are immersive and exciting, telling fun, modern stories that the kids enjoy. There’s even a blog area where kids can write and share their own blog posts!

Perhaps the MOST useful feature of Night Zookeeper is the fact that real teachers can comment on BB’s work and leave her comments and suggestions to help her to expand her writing. Having that type of feedback is so valuable, I think it’s worth the cost of subscription all by itself.

Night Zookeeper teacher feedback

How does it work?

“By providing thousands of fun and engaging lessons, challenges, and games, Night Zookeeper helps children to learn new words, use them in sentences, and then create amazing pieces of writing that are shared with children from around the world. They receive feedback from our team of tutors as well as other children that highlight where they can improve. In-game awards and competitions keep them motivated to continue to learn and progress. They’ll write about everything, from stories about magical animals to instructions on how to make the perfect hot chocolate. All genres of writing are gradually introduced including newspaper articles, persuasive writing, reports, and poetry.”

What Does BB Think of Night Zookeeper?

“It’s really good! It feels like you’re playing a game and you don’t even really realise that you’re doing school work. My favourite thing about it is creating the animals because I like to get creative. I also really like the mini games because they’re fun and feel like other games that I play on my iPad” – Burrito Baby, aged 7.

Value for Money

Night Zookeeper PricingFor what you actually get, I think the subscriptions offer really good value. There’s content on there which suits kids from ages 6 to 12, so it can be useful even beyond junior level, and I love the idea of the continuity that will offer as BB progresses. All subscriptions come with a 7 day free trial, so you can see if you like it before you buy and if you purchase a 12 month subscription, it works out at just £7.50 per month.

Night Zookeeper Discount Offer!

We’re delighted to also be able to share with you an exclusive link for you to use, giving you a massive 50% off of a year’s subscription! By using this link you’ll pay just £46.99 for one child for a year or a truly bargainous £57.99 for up to three children per 12 month subscription! Click on the image below to nab your half price subscription:

Night Zookeeper half price membership!Conclusion

I’m really excited to see what else BB creates with Night Zookeper! We have a few different subscriptions for the girls to use during our home ed and I honestly think this is going to be the one which provides the best value for BB’s literacy. Thanks so much to the people at Night Zookeeper for giving us the opportunity to try the site.

Education · Kids · Parenting

Fab Career Tips For Kids Of All Ages

Fab Career Tips For Kids Of All Ages

Photo by Amina Filkins from Pexels

Part of being a parent is dispensing advice, no matter what age your kids are.

And career tips are no exception. There’s absolutely no rush to propel children towards the world of work, but when they start to become aware of it, it’s never too early to have healthy conversations on what a ‘good job’ might be and why that can feel different for everyone.

School is also the start of a journey which might have full-time work as an eventual destination, and even children attending university or even approaching destination don’t always have well-developed career plans.

All that considered, here are a few fab career tips for kids of all ages.

Career books for kids

Yup – career books for kids are a thing. But think wonderful Roald Dahl-esque wordplay and inspirational illustrations rather than the type of sleep-inducing pamphlets you used to pick up from your school careers service. Adele Writes An Ad by top pro copywriter Andrew Boulton is a brilliant example – if you work in advertising, reading it together with your little ones will explain how you spend your days in a superbly fun way. And even if you don’t, it might sow the seeds of a creative career choice in their minds.

Work and play

Another way that kids can serendipitously discover possible careers is through play. For example, an innate skill with Lego toys could transfer to an adult career in architecture and engineering, or for older children, awesome hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity developed through video games can possibly be adapted to a career as anything from a pilot to an eSports professional. With gentle encouragement, there’s no reason that play can’t lead to a passion for an exciting professional career.

Paid internships

Once children are a little older, a paid internship is a great way of them testing the waters of a full-time career and gaining great experience to bolster their CV – there are lots to choose from, so please take your time. Consult an employee-focused comparison site like Glassdoor for a selection of paid internship opportunities, then cross-check the employee reviews in order to ascertain what it’s really like to work there. Once you’re convinced that your child’s chosen internship is not exploitative and represents a genuinely great career progression step, encourage them every step of the way.

Online qualifications

Undergraduate degrees and postgraduate qualifications can still be passports to dream jobs for your children. But depending on their experiences at high school and other lifestyle and family commitments, full-time study on a physical campus might not be possible for them. However, an online degree which they can study flexibly when it suits them best is a brilliant choice that adds a new dimension in career possibilities. Lots of reputable universities now offer outstanding degrees online – for example, you can even earn an online Data Science MSc from ARU Distance Learning and progress to a terrific career in AI and machine learning.

These career tips for kids of all ages should help steer your offspring to success and happiness – enjoy putting them into practice!