Secondary School! (🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿)

Eeek! With just over a week to go before we find out our children’s places….

Choosing a child’s secondary school is difficult, there’s good and bad in every school and so much depends on the child’s character themselves.

Our son is a bright lad and could’ve taken an entrance exam to a higher academic school, however, HE chose not to and he didn’t want to travel the distance either, we were not going to force this. Many friends and family questioned why we didn’t ‘make him just try’. Our priority as parents is to ensure our children’s happiness, if we are enforcing such big decisions at this age, making them take exams or go to church (whatever they need to get into these schools) etc, will they end up resenting US for it if they struggle? or if they’re bullied? as I said there is good and bad in every school whatever their academic status, exam results or OFSTED, and their resentment consequently could result in negative behaviours, communication and relationship breakdowns.

First and foremost children need to be happy, and parents need to guide and advise them, no pressure needed.

I cannot emphasis enough the importance of visiting all potential schools, even if you’re not interested in one, which you may be allocated because it’s your nearest, the feel of a school is more powerful than any rumours that surround it! Visit it anyway!

Don’t just visit on their open evenings when staff and students are ready for you, but during the school day too, phone up and book an appointment, then you can not just see it in action, but feel it too!

Ensure your child visits the school with you, it’s no good them sitting at home, it’s them that’s got to feel it, it’s them that’s got to be there for the rest of their education. They need to be happy with the school. Them not visiting the school, could cause greater anxieties later on. Preparation and discussion are the key!

The only 2 pieces of advice I gave my son when we were looking round were:

1- Don’t just choose a school because your friends are going there. (you can always keep in touch with them)

2- Really get a feeling from the school & visualise yourself being there.

I was so proud of how my son embraced the visits, his own little pros and cons, what he liked and what he didn’t like. He read through the perspectus’ and initiated many conversations and questions with the teachers even the head teacher, despite his nerves, he came across confident.

He was 100% involved in this decision making, of course he’s still nervous for next week (finding out) and most definitely for September! But I’m confident that his decision making will provide him with greater self esteem, particularly in those early days!!

This, gets me to my initial reason for writing this blog. School uniform and the expense! Most local uniform is generic, black trousers, white shirts etc. So, since changing my job, financially things are different, I’m having to think more about the pennies and I was looking at ways to spread the cost.

As the basics are generic I compared prices of our local shops and was quite suprised at the findings….

Next is almost double the cost!!! Why?? If you know please tell me, because personally I wouldn’t have said the quality is any better???

The costs are based on age 12-13yrs. Most of TU was out of stock and Tesco-couldn’t find an on-line range.

Anyway, I thought I’d share, it may be useful to you or maybe you have other tips of ways to spread the cost. Please share!

Good luck to fellow parents in this waiting game, I sincerely hope you get your child’s desired school.

And remember, happiness and self-esteem go hand in hand. Our children’s happiness is what counts!

Harry Potter-the understair cupboard

My boy used to read Harry Potter, but wasn’t really into it for long, now it’s hitting our household 2nd time around faster than you can say Accio …..

My daughter is about to turn 7 and has suggested to start reading Harry Potter together, but she’s a bit nervous incase it’s too scary. I think she’ll actually be ok with it, we shall see, any thoughts gratfully received! Is she too young??? What age did your children start reading it?

We started The Philosopher’s Stone just 2 days ago, with a view that if she doesn’t like it, we’ll stop but oh my she’s loving it, embracing it (only on page 77)! To the point our house is being magically transformed, we no longer have shoes in our understair cupboard, but a bedroom, her bedroom.

Simple props, such as this sign, takes seconds to make, but the memories last a lifetime.
A few fairy lights, spells on the wall. An obligatory owl!
A Spell book-just a book covered in brown paper.
A beanbag for comfort

They both slept in the understair cupboard last night and this morning recieved a few letters…

I’m not sure how long this Harry Potter phase will last, just enjoying the moment, making memories.

Feel free to share your Harry Potter ideas and activities.

Storm Dennis

The storm is rapidly approaching, what’s everyone up to?

The perfect weather for getting your children’s imaginations going…..

Get out the crafts or playdough, bake together or maybe a puppet show, or just let them lead the way…………

…..I was busy doing mum-stuff, when my daughter said ‘mum, come and visit my animal sanctuary’, her bedroom had been taken over by all her stuffed animals

They were everywhere! I replied ‘I can’t visit without a ticket and I don’t know where it is-you may need some signs’ and so she did, spent all morning together designing posters and tickets for the sanctuary.

I paid 50p for my ticket, which in turn promoted money and maths descussion, how much change? Etc.

Come lunch time, I just made my daughter a lunch suitable for her animals too, she ate the lot 😊, or maybe it was her furry friends 🤔

Sometimes mum-stuff doesn’t matter, but quality time with our children does!

Spend your storm Dennis time wisely, create your own storm of imaginitive play!

kind hands, kind words, kind heart

Some think it’s over commercialised, some love it!

Either way it’s a great day, to share love with our friends and family, and the perfect opportunity to teach our children to be kind.

I put love heart post-it on the children’s bedroom door, with things I love about them.

I decorated the table and made heart shaped pancakes for breakfast with lots of special toppings.

My daughter made a valentines card out of recycled materials….

And she wanted to gift all her class with a pack of love hearts so she wrote in the card saying ‘kind hands, kind words, kind hearts’ A strong message for everone! 💗

The 3 W’s

Today it suddenly hit me how my parenting has evolved over the years, no, I’m not even sure it was such a slow process of evolution, more of a step, yes it was quite a steep step! My children are growing up they are beginning to make their own choices and decisions but mostly and more excitingly they are becoming themselves.

My parenting has always been central to my life, (through choice), I’ve rarely let my children out of my sight, not extreme attachment theory, but I just never felt the need to get a babysitter (or even grandparents) so I can go out or get my hair done, or have ‘me’ time etc.

‘Your children will never be this age again’-is definitely my parenting motto! Every weekend, every holiday we go on, it is always planned around my children’s interests, their needs and their thirst for learning, I’ve embraced it, ran with it and provided them with experiences and memories that will stay with them forever.

It’s like I’ve been driving their childhood on this journey, while they admire the views, safely at arms reach, strapped in the back, their straps loosening with each stage of development.

Today a realisation. The next parenting phase. The 3 W’s.

Waiting. Watching. Worrying.

Whilst the 10 year old is getting Scuba ready……..

the 6 year old is getting party ready….

She doesn’t want me to stay with her at the party and I can’t be scuba-ing with my son.

I go home.

Get a cuppa.

We’ve always been so busy, had a house full of friends and children, I don’t think I can recall both of my children being out of the house at the same time before without myself or my husband accompanying one or the other of them.

No other children to look after, just me, a cup of tea and an empty, quiet house.

Waiting.Watching.Worrying.

Yes, of course, from the moment we hold our babies in our womb, we are always alert with worry, especially whenever our children are away from us, but this worry was different. Very different.

This worry, was one that had been planted because my children had made their own decisions, because they are becoming independent, because they are becoming their beautiful selves, because they are moving on to learner drivers, driving into the next phase of their lives, I now take a passenger seat while they make decisions about where to go at the next junction, occasionally taking hold of the steering wheel to guide them.

Relying on a combination of other adults to protect them and themselves taking responsibility to make their own decisions to keep themselves safe in the outside world.

The tables are turning rapidly and as much as I’m sitting here alone, drinking a cup of tea, in peace-every parents dream, I’m still waiting, clock watching and worrying; are they having a good time? Are they safe? Have I educated them enough to make safe decisions? And so on!

I’m more than proud of my children and I love every milestone not only that they achieve, but we as parents do too, and today was no different, just daunting! Every day is an opportunity to learn more about our children, support and guide them, as well as managing our own emotions about their next steps, their decisions and such.

Although, I do feel like I’m in training for the teenage years ahead as the cliches are rapidly becoming visible.

-The bank of mum and dad

-Mum and dad’s taxi

And so on!

Love everyday, your child is only this age once.

The Beauty of Children

Children aren’t born to discriminate, they are not born to be prejudiced.  It’s taught.

Children are born with beautiful souls and beautiful minds, that are inquisitive about the world around them.

Social education for parents is often about behaviours and boundaries within their society, but it’s deeper than that. Discrimination stems from naivety of our differences, predominantly from the adults around us making presumptions and stereotyping. But it’s our differences give us our individuality.

It is our job as parents to teach our children the power of our differences, educate them in understanding others, and consequently, as I found out this weekend our children will naturally want to learn more about the people around them.

I am blessed my daughter; Little Miss 5 has proved her kind self this weekend, she made a friend named  ‘I’ at the caravan.

‘I’ is a beautiful girl, well mannered and full of charisma, she has a smile that could light up the world, and such a contagious laugh that made your own belly hurt just from hearing it! This same beautiful girl, also has a brain tumour and is severely visually impaired.

However, nothing can came between this pair’s friendship.

DSCN1072    DSCN1081

They laughed together, danced and sang together, played together, shared toys and swapped toys together.

 

Little Miss 5 showed great patience as she taught ‘I’ to play snakes & ladders (large scale), while the young girl taught my daughter the true meaning of laughter, fun & friendships.

Little Miss 5, found a caterpillar and realising ‘I’ may not be able to see it, she picked it up and placed it on ‘I’s hand, ‘I’ giggled as the caterpillar crawled over her hand and said she’d never felt one before. What a lovely experience for the girls to share, one I hope they both will remember forever!

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The girls were inseparable for the entire weekend and have even swapped addresses, ‘I’ says she’s going to write a letter in Braille to Little Miss 5 (to be translated by her teacher) & Little Miss 5 will write a letter to ‘I’ (which her mum or Nana will read to her).

Little Miss 5 now wants to learn Braille too! She has her first basic braille book. 🙂

I cannot even imagine the journey ‘I’s been on over her short little 6 years, I hope one day I get to meet the mother of this truly courageous and inspirational young girl.  Meanwhile, we wish her all the best for the future and look forward to hearing from her soon!

Hopefully I can rest in the knowledge that I have given Little Miss 5 a good understanding of equality and that instead of discriminating continues to naturally embrace the learning opportunities that arise from her social interactions, to enable her to build wonderful relationships with all who cross her path as indeed she did this weekend!

So proud of both these kind-hearted souls ❤️

Jack and the beanstalk

Today we woke up to a letter from the giant:

Little Miss 5 was so excited, the letter was huge, from floor to ceiling , her face was a picture.

This is how it came together:

I filled mini bags with jelly beans and simply printed a label that said ‘edible magic beans’, I did enough for all her friends at school as Jack and the Beanstalk is their current core story.

I had bought new gardening tools for her, as well as beans to plant and pots-I put dots on the beans which corresponds to the numbers I put on the pots I made golden eggs by painting foam eggs I bought from a craft store, I found the paint went on easier if I papier-mâchéd them first, I also papier-mâchéd a ballon too for a large golden egg-which cracked dramatically under the great British heat we’ve had over the last few days! Luckily I managed to patch it up!

I had purchased a plastic ivy plant from Amazon, plastic golden coins as well as chocolate coins (I couldn’t resist), made a harp & large footprints out of cardboard, there you have it!

So we set to work on the giants requests straight away, as the magic bean treasure was irresistible!

we planted the beans.

we had an outdoor puppet show, where little miss 5 was able to retell the story-we used the same props. She even wanted to make us tickets

Little Miss 5, then measured her toys against the giants foot prints

There is so much home learning that can be done, just by knowing what core story your child is reading at school, and it’s not ‘boring’ or ‘homework’ as such, just quality learning experiences, in a fun way, but mostly it’s about spending quality time together!

Needless to say, we ended the day with a Jack and the Beanstalk tub-time and quite simply moved the props to the bathroom! Obviously reading the story several times too!

Little Miss 5 has a splashing time!

Slime Saturday

When your plans change or the weather’s bad, simply make some slime, an open ended malleable product which lets your children’s imagination flow, and their fine motor skills develop!

I haven’t made it for a while, so today was perfect, my children then added various small-world toys to the mix such as Lego etc, oh my, they have had hours of fun!

img_5250img_5251img_5276.jpgLego men being fossilised apparently 😁

If you wish to make some the ingredients are below, adult supervision is highly recommended!

3floz of Elmer’s glue

Food colouring

Tsp baking soda

Mix thoroughly then gradually add

Optrex, mixing and kneading until you have the perfect consistency. Store in an airtight container and it will last for a while! 👍🏻😁

To make the rainbow 🌈 slime, you’ll need 6 lots of this recipe! My preferred food colouring to use is paste rather than gels or liquids as they are more vibrant.

                           

Digesting headlines

How much attention do your children pay to the news?

Do you think it’s important?

Growing up, I was never really interested in what was going on in the world, but as a parent I think it’s important that some news stories are relevant for our young ones.

My son has been receiving The Week Junior, for about a year now, it really simplifies news for them and great if your child is into fascinating facts! It is easy to read with plenty of pictures and entertaining headlines too.

This was our favourite article this week so to celebrate this great discovery we made Oreo penguins!-so simple (although ever so unhealthy)

1) dunk your Oreo in melted chocolate

2) stick on a large white button for its tummy, some edible eyes & half a skittle for it’s beak.

3) place in the fridge to set

4) Eat & enjoy!!

Making news fun……….and digestible!

Anti-bullying

First day of term and the breakfast table conversations are about reflecting on last term, what we hope to achieve this term, and our behaviours which influence our social circles.

I gave the children a plain piece of paper and told them to screw it up, I then asked them to flatten it out as much as they could…..we spoke about how the paper creases would not go away, similar to if we hurt our peers, as much as we can say sorry, the memories and scars will always be there.

I then gave them a toothpaste tube each and told them to squeeze as much out as they could……then, I gave them a spoon and told them to put the toothpaste back in the tube…..obviously they couldn’t. We compared this to the things we say, if we say unkind words, we cannot un-say them or take them back.

I do this every term with my children to reiterate the impact of our actions and words on our social circles.

Please share to support anti-bullying!