Helping your teenager with English

Whether you are a home educator or your children go to school you are an integral part of your child’s education. Once they get to the teenage years, however, it can be difficult to know how best to help them with their learning. They may see teachers as the only source of knowledge, your own subject confidence may be shaky or feel a little rusty or you may just have run out of ideas. English can be a difficult area to tackle. It is easy to see how those first steps in English, learning to read and write, can be of … Continue reading

Online English sessions

Today we are launching the first of our small group online tuition sessions. Aimed primarily, but not exclusively at home educated children, the sessions will run via Skype and Google docs and cover a variety of English skills. The first set of sessions will look at analysis; how to analyse a variety of texts; the point of analysis, both for examination and in real life; and how to write analytic texts. These sessions will not be aimed at any particular exam board or specification, but will give children an overview of the skills, theory, practice and purpose of analysis. The … Continue reading

What makes a good tutor?

If you want to invest time and money into tuition, you want to be sure that it is good tuition.  You want to make sure that the tutor is good. The big question is, however, what are you looking for and how do you tell?  Here are ten tips to help you choose a tutor. Relationship You need to have a good working relationship with a tutor.  Perhaps the most important things for the success of a learning relationship is that the tutor and tutee can work together. Having a good working relationship can mean different things to different people, … Continue reading

The importance of play

I was reading a paper today, published back in 2012, by Dr David Whitebread from the University of Cambridge. The paper is entitled “The Importance of Play” and it is a review of evidence surrounding children’s need for play. It is interesting to read this report at a time when headlines over the first part of this year have been suggesting that we seem to be heading for earlier and earlier formalised learning and less space for play, as children are not ready when they start primary school. Dr Whitebread’s report opens “‘Play’ is sometimes contrasted with ‘work’ and characterised as a … Continue reading

Maths with young children

Maths is a subject which people are often happy to say they are not very good at. There is no stigma attached to saying “I’m rubbish at Maths” or “I hate numbers” unlike the stigma which would be attached were you to say “I’m rubbish at reading” or “I hate words”. This is strange, as in many ways we use Maths as much in our day-to-day lives as we do the core English skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing. Maths is a part of our lives in a much less overt way than English. When you drive a … Continue reading

Science with young children

The world around us is a pretty incredible place and this is what your young child should be exploring as a basis for scientific learning and discovery when s/he is older. Science can be seen as the territory of geeks and the uber-clever, but this stereotyping does nothing to help our children progress. Firstly, what is wrong with being a ‘geek’ or very clever? Secondly, at a basic level, science is both common sense and fascinating. The everyday world is a place to be explored when you are a child and exploring it with your child can make you re-examine … Continue reading

Spelling

Spelling is something which has been the bane of my life.  I was in the generation of children whose primary teachers had been trained that spelling should be “caught, not taught”, but unfortunately, I didn’t catch it; or at least not all of it. I obviously managed to drag myself through, however, and did indeed go on to get an English degree and to become an English teacher.  Only for spelling (and how to teach it) to become the bane of my life again! A few days ago, a friend of mine bemoaned the fact that she was struggling to … Continue reading

Phonics

If you have children in nursery, pre-school or primary school at the moment, you will no doubt have heard the word phonics. A school or nursery which communicates well might have had a parents’ information evening to help you. However, when your child comes home with “split-digraphs” and “CVC” words to learn, you may become a little baffled by it all. Fear not, in this blog post, I hope to demystify the whole thing (at least a little) and leave you feeling able to help your child learn to read in a way which will complement the way in which … Continue reading