Do you supplement your child's school learning with home learning?


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It’s almost been a month since my boys went back to school and we are well and truly back into a routine. I get up every morning (yes every morning) and do exercise and then I get the boys up and sort their breakfast before school.

By 8:30am BP has taken himself off to school and I’m heading out the door with LP in tow. At 9:00am I arrive home and have until 3:15pm to myself. Of course in this time I write posts for the blog and do other stuff.

Having the boys back at school is a welcome break after the summer and being back in a routine has done us all good. One thing I have noticed though is that my boys seem to take a few steps backwards during the summer when it comes to their academic abilities. We noticed it most with LP this year. At the end of the last school year he was well ahead of his classmates with his maths. He practiced every day and loved it. Over the summer we didn’t have a lot of time to for him to practise his maths and as a result he has gone backwards and needs to recap some things. It’s a shame really because he was doing so well. I’m not concerned because I know he will soon get back into it - in fact he has.

  • Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. 

Anthony J. D'Angelo

After weeks back at school he’s loving his maths again and I’m trying to get him to enjoy English too which he’s not so keen on. So when he’s at home, after school and at weekends, we supplement his school learning with learning at home.

For reading it’s fairly easy because he already loves reading, he’s currently reading The Hobbit on his Kindle. His handwriting is a little more difficult because he hates writing. I use various tactics to help him with this and it’s doing it every day that helps improve his handwriting most. Although I have noticed a slight difference in the writing he does at home vs the writing he does at school - his school work is much neater.

As for his maths there are various things we use - like the Smartick Method.

Smartick Method

I have written about Smartick before and I have to say I think it’s a brilliant way to supplement schoolwork. Not only does LP have daily tests which help his cognitive learning and problem solving but he gets achievements along the way too and that helps to encourage him. LP also loves the home area where he can buy things (using the in app stars) for his home an display them wherever he chooses. It’s his very own customisation and he gets so excited when he’s earned enough stars for a new item.

At 8 years old the Smartick Method has really helped LP and always makes him excited for his daily tests. Don’t get me wrong, he has his moments when he gets frustrated with it because he hasn’t read a question right or he isn’t doing what the app wants him to but generally he enjoys it.

You can get your child a subscription to Smartick Method for £39 per month, the price reduces if you want a subscription for more than one child. I would highly recommend it, particularly if your child could do with a little helping hand with their maths.

Maths Training on the Nintendo DS

A Nintendo DS game, Maths Training, surrounded by cubes with mathematical equations on them. A 3DS sits above the game and a pair of glasses sit on the table too.

Maths Training was a game we purchased many years ago, just after the Nintendo DS came out in 2005. The Hubby loved it, he’s a huge maths whizz, and played it for hours. It also helped BP when he was LP’s age and he used to practise his maths most days. Now it helps LP with his maths. It has cell calculations and incorporates addition and multiplication as well as other mathematical concepts. It also helps with writing numbers because you have to write on the screen. This was a huge help with LP in the beginning because he had trouble writing his numbers. He would often write his numbers backwards and using the Maths Training game trained him to write them properly because it wouldn’t accept the answer until he wrote them properly.

To us Maths and English are two core subjects that need to be pushed. I’m lucky that both my boys are quite good at these subjects and enjoy them but even if they didn’t I would still be encouraging further learning at home.

  • The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

I know the general consensus these days is that children should be allowed to be children and in some ways I agree. I think that children should be given the opportunity to explore the outdoors and have fun. I agree that children shouldn’t have to sit silly tests in order to place them in a list. But - I think we should push our children to try harder. I believe we should teach our children to persevere which seems to be something the younger generations lack.

2 boys and their father play mini golf in Highfields Park in Nottingham. The father is taking his shot close to the hole as the youngest boy watches.

We supplement our boys’ school learning with home learning, and that doesn’t just include the things I’ve mentioned. We let them watch the news with us in a morning and that often results in them asking about things. These can range from political questions to economical ones and the Hubby often ends up discussing complicated economical issues.

We also discuss things during our weekly drive to visit family. The topics we talk about range from dinosaurs to music choices and what it takes to be a “rock star”.

As parents we believe that giving our children a wide range of experiences can expand the topics they’re aware of and help them see the wider world for what it is.

So, do you supplement your child’s school learning with home learning?

Health and weight loss update - month 2


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It has been 2 months since I started this latest campaign to be more healthy and lose weight. I've seen lots of changes this month and I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Last month (October)

Weight: 13st 6.6lbs
Fitness: 10 1 minute sessions of running within 30 minutes exercise on the treadmill.

Last month was difficult, I'd just started the campaign and it was about training my body to get used to not only getting up earlier but also to eating a lot less than I was used to. Admittedly I had been over eating a lot and it was time to make a change. But that's just what I did and I made quite a difference in that first month.

The exercise was helping and I was feeling better, I had started to notice a difference in my clothes and was hoping that by now I would've lost a stone.

  • To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise. 

Gene Tunney

This month (November)

Weight: 13st 1.4lbs
Fitness: 10 minutes running within 30 minutes on treadmill.

So the loss hasn't been as big as it was last month but I'm not complaining (okay, I am but not much), I've made bigger differences elsewhere. My weight seems to have fluctuated a lot this month, around that time of the month I was stuck at 13st 4lbs for ages and it took extra effort to kick-start the loss again. I tend to get that sometimes, my periods impact my weight loss a lot and it can get quite frustrating at times. At the same time though I'm almost at a new milestone - being less than 13stones. That's really close now and I hope I get there soon.

Obviously losing weight has made a difference to the clothes I'm wearing and just last week I had to pull out my size 16 jeans. I have to say that felt really good! I can now fit into size 16 jeans - go me! Add to that the fact that my sports bra isn't quite as snug as it was and I can feel I'm losing weight. Still lots of work to do but moving down a size shows my efforts are paying off.

The exercise has been the biggest difference I've noticed. Half way through this month my treadmill broke, it kept slipping when I was using it and it got so bad that it was unusable. I was distraught because treadmills aren't cheap and I didn't want to have to buy a new one. While the treadmill was out of commission I turned to our elliptical - I hadn't used it much before but I needed to get my 30 minutes exercise in. The elliptical didn't really get much use before I started using it and actually it's really good. I thought it would kill me trying to do that for 30 minutes but I found it easier than the treadmill and it burns more calories too!

Once my treadmill was fixed (thanks Hubby!) I went back to the treadmill for my exercise and found that even with just a few days of elliptical I could run for longer. So now I tend to alternate which machine I'm using, although just lately the elliptical is getting a bit squeaky and needs oiling. I believe (I don't know if it's true) that pushing myself on the elliptical is making my legs stronger so I am able to run for longer on the treadmill. And it feels SO good to see the improvement.

Don't get me wrong, I still have days when I don't want to do it but they're much more rare these days.


Food has been very similar to last month, we're finding more and more meals that we can have and it's not as bad as we thought it would be. Some days I do really well, others not so much. But the fact that we can still have chocolate is a bonus!

Our favourite meal at the moment... hmm I think there's two of them. The first is my biryani, the boys love it, the Hubby loves it, I love it, and it's healthy (or healthier than some meals!) - what more can you ask for? The second has been a surprise actually, last month I mentioned the Chicken Lo Mein from the Tasty website/app? Well it turns out we all love that one, even the boys! They eat the vegetables and like the chicken and noodles (LP's favourite bit). It's been on our list every week so far and the fact that it's a quick-to-cook meal means we can have it on a Sunday evening after returning home from visiting family.

What next?

To be honest it's much of the same, continuing with the exercise, continuing with the healthy eating. I'm not sure how possible that will be around Christmas but I'm hoping I have the willpower for it.

  • Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings. 

Publilius Syrus

My hope is that the weight loss continues and Christmas won't have too much impact. Although realistically it will, mince pies are my downfall!

If you're trying to lose weight how do you intend to stay on track over Christmas?

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This Mum's Life

Post Comment Love 17th - 19th November


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Friday keeps rolling around doesn't it? Are you ready for the weekend? Friday can mean only one thing, it's Post Comment Love time. Join Stephanie and I for our weekly linky where we welcome all bloggers, all topics, as long as it was written this week.

This week has been one of the very few weeks during the year where I get to work on the blog continuously every day without interruption. The only interruption I've had this week was having the shopping delivered on Monday, other than that it's been great and I've got lots done. It makes a change and I wish all weeks were like this, unfortunately that rarely happens - there's always something going on.

BP is back home from his trip (yay!) and spending a lot of his time being a teenager, lots of strops, lots of shouting, lots of sulking. When I asked him about his trip he said it was good, they spent a lot of time in cemeteries and walking around, some of it was boring apparently. I know he's growing up and wants to be his own person but I do wish he would talk to me more.

  • Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time. 

Rabindranath Tagore

LP on the other hand is full of energy every day, he wakes at about 6:30am and goes to bed at 8pm and every hour between is spent doing some sort of activity. I think I've mentioned that he goes on bike rides with the Hubby every day now too. They both love it and it's helping the Hubby lose weight. LP is the sunshine in the house most days, apart from when he's having a tween strop, and I'm not looking forward to him entering the same stage BP is at now.

It's all a part of parenting isn't it? The different stages are a chance to learn more about ourselves and more about our children. They do have to grow up, they do have to become their own person, it's just hard for us to watch. It's now that I appreciate what my parents went through.

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So how has your week been? Was it a quiet one where you got lots done or has it been busy? Let me know.

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Too much tech in your home? Here's how to deal with it


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If you live with a family of impressionable children, then it’s fairly standard to have piles and piles of old electronic devices that we simply don’t know what to do with. Some people love hoarding old tech and they’ll keep entire cupboards or boxes full of things like cables, batteries, old games consoles and phones. Even if they don’t work, they’ll still keep them around for nostalgia purposes, and some kids even insist on keeping their old phones despite upgrading “just in case” their new phone breaks.

Keeping around so much tech can be bothersome, so it’s important to find ways in which you can deal with it. If you leave this unchecked, then sooner or later you’re going to find old phones, games and even electronic toys just laying around the home. Sadly, you can’t just throw these out—that would be irresponsible. It’s important to dispose of old tech in a proper manner because the components and batteries can actually cause harm to the environment if disposed of incorrectly. In fact, the toxic materials inside electronics can cause several different health complications, which is why we can’t just simply throw them away with the rest of our trash.

The proper way to dispose of old electronics would be to use a recycling service. Even if your tech and electronics don’t work anymore, the parts inside could be reused. In the event you have something so old that nobody can work with, it will be disposed of in an efficient and eco-friendly manner that won’t harm the environment. For more info, take a look at these fascinating statistics below.

Infographic Source: My Trendy Phone

Collaborative post.

4 simple ways to keep the kids out of your hair on moving day


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The day of your home move has been rapidly approaching. All you can think about is conveyancing, stress, deeds, stress, boxes, more stress, brown tape and how Fido the dog will cope with the home move. Another niggle of a thought that’s been bothering you is the kids. Although you obviously love them to bits and they are a well-behaved bunch, you have a feeling that their frustrations on moving day could emerge as squabbles, misbehaviour and general low-level annoyances that could add to your already high anxiety levels. All is not lost. Take a look at these ideas to help keep your little darlings busy come the big day.

Encourage them to join in

If you’re busy wrapping and packing as the kids look on wondering what all the rustling is, the chances are that they’ll get bored. The TV is already packed so you can’t use that to distract them and they are starting to fidget. Get them in on the action. Don’t give them responsibility to wrap the delicate antique candelabra that’s been in your family since 1788, but allow them the opportunity to pack some books, CDs and DVDs. If you’re tempted to call in the pros to help you pack as well, take a look at to discover the advantages and disadvantages to relinquishing the packing duties.


If you have some family pets, consider asking the kids to be responsible for them. This gives them a real sense of purpose for moving day. Their main focus will be the wellbeing of the animal that they’ve been allocated. If little Jimmy is looking after Fido, he’ll be more concerned about the mutt getting fed and watered than himself.


Like with any long journey, the ubiquitous ‘Are we there yet?’ whine from the back seat can get under your skin and cause your stress levels to bubble away until they reach boiling point. Stock the back seat up with games and quizzes like the ones suggested at Rent or buy a couple of portable DVD players for the journey and have a stash of age-appropriate movies in the back. With their earplugs in, they can while away a good few hours as you get a little bit of peace and quiet en route to your new humble abode.


When you finally arrive at your new pad, you might be aching for a cuppa whereas your little cherubs may be eager to launch themselves into your new property and race around every room at breakneck speed. To try and mitigate this youthful adrenaline rush, allow your kids to select their rooms and unpack their belongings. Giving them some responsibility to set up their little piece of the home will calm them down and channel their excitement into a much more worthwhile task.

Moving home can be a stressful experience. However, you can use some good old sneaky tactics to keep the kids busy and alleviate some of the anxieties of the big day.

Collaborative post.

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