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

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?

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