We are well back into the swing of back to school up here in Scotland. We are now into our fifth week. The homework tantrums are well underway and my fridge is no longer visible under the sea of paperwork. With two children at school and one at nursery school, there is a lot to organise and a lot to remember. How do you do with after back to school organising?
In preparation for back to school, we’ve done the new haircuts, shiny shoes, shirts, trousers and of course new school bags and lunch boxes. A list was made and everything purchased right down to the new wallets for lunch money on school dinner days. We can’t have them missing big fish Friday as they call it. And to be fair I’ve had their school fish and chips, if I could do there every Friday I’d be there too with my wee tray. So we have the back to school stuff done.
Now what happens when we are back to school, how do you deal with all the communications? One day last week I got 8 different letters between 3 children. I write in any dates that I need to be at the school or that the kids need to take something to school like gym kit, trumpet, etc in a diary we can all look at and a note in the calendar in my iphone which I set reminders the night before and the morning of the event. Then there are the ones when a costume is needed like World Book Day or something to be made for learning logs or Easter Egg decorations. These I write in the calendar at least a week in advance to remind me to get the stuff in and to do at the weekends. Also handy for all those birthday invitations. I do still have the letters on the fridge and pin board, but the family diary and iphone reminders have made me much more organised when it comes to this. Do you have a family calendar or diary? What works for you?
I have to do the majority of the kids homework at the weekend as it’s too late to do by the time I get home during the week after work. I do have one day off during the week when I help them with their homework that is done daily. I don’t feel it’s fair to rely on grandparents and with a lot of homework now done online, it’s not really something they can do. Both my boys do EasiMaths on the laptop which is great and monitors how they get on.
My boys both have a few after school activity clubs and both are very active at football. It can be hard to fit it all in. How do you encourage your child to learn and not start to resent it? We do a lot of reading together at bedtime and I encourage the boys to read a book to Aria. She loves it and they get to bond before bedtime. We also do lots of Times Table reciting and mental recall of maths.
We’ve had a few times in the past when reading together and common word flash cards didn’t help. My little boy was struggling to pick up his reading. He was getting frustrated with himself and really upset. We tried to help, but being close to them can be painful for the parent as well as the child. We enlisted the help of a tutor from Fleet Tutors and they helped him understand where he was going wrong. They looked at it impartially and he was a much happier boy. He only needed a couple of months and now he can read far better than I ever imagined. He is reading a year above where he should be. It just goes to show, with the right support and tutor anything is possible. This is definitely something I will use again, especially as they get older. We are lucky we don’t have 11+ and other exams in Scotland, but in high school things get a little tense and I won’t hesitate next time.
Then there is the extra curricular activities of music. Lucas is learning the trumpet again and trying to make practice fun and not a chore can cause a few blows, pardon the pun. This is the next one on my list of after back to school organising. How would you tackle this one?