Last week (like many of you I’m sure) my social media was flooded with back to school pictures of friends, family and fellow bloggers kids, all kitted out in new uniforms and excited for the new school year. It has come around so quickly and I am honestly really sad to see Ethan and Megan returning to school after what has been an incredibly fun and adventurous 6 week Summer holiday!

I am really proud of how quickly we have all fallen back into the school run schedule, and how much they love being in their new classes and seeing all of their friends again! They were super excited to get back to it, and I smiled as I peered in on them before we went to bed last Monday night, and caught a glimpse of their new little uniforms all laid out with precision – Megan’s on the end of her bed, Ethan’s on his desk. Their little shoes, a size bigger, were sat by the door all shiny and ready for them to trash… their PE bags repacked, and book bags sat waiting to be filled with all manner of tat they choose to bring home!

I cannot believe they are now in year 1 and 2. I cannot believe that those busy days of having them at home and going to toddler groups are so far gone now and they are well and truly in the flow of school life, our family a new seasaon. Life is filled reading books, playground antics, school dinners, PE, assemblies and sports days (to name a few). They have mastered the playground, their teachers names, and they have their crew! They are so happy, and I am glad for that, but it really is a stark reminder at the start of a new school year, just how fast they are growing up, and just how fast time is flying by.

This time of year is always a struggle for me too, and not one I always wear on my face. It is just my new normal and a time of deep reflection. It’s a time of year that thrusts me into a moment where like you, having had my kids with me daily, it’s all suddenly gone. It brings a quiet house and moments where I suddenly realise they’re into a new school year, a few inches taller, a few months older, a little more independent. All of that is okay, its weird and a little emotional, but its okay. Its all of that combined with it also always being a week or so before we pass through the anniversaries of loosing Poppy, that means that September has now become a huge reminder of days that will never come for us with her.

Back to school is exciting, but its the marker to countdown to her anniversaries and remember what we will never have.

We will never get to see her starting Nursery next term, or buying her uniform and new black shiny shoes. We won’t see her running up the road excited to see her friends after the summer, or nervous that her new teacher might not like her. We won’t ever know if she will love school dinners or get to post the pictures of her celebrating the start of a new school year with her siblings all over social media.

No one will ever know that their child might be missing out on another friend and class mate, the teacher one less pupil to teach that year, but with each school we will. So, whilst I am pleased with how smooth these last couple of days have been, and how excited Ethan and Megan are for school again. Whilst I love to see them excited for school and get excited to hear of what they have been doing too.  I am always a little sad for our little flower missing from the action, the pictures and new adventures of going back to school!

This Year Megan still wants to be a vet, and Ethan a Teacher (“NOT the assistant – the actual teacher”). I hope your kids are enjoying their new years, classes and friends!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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A few weeks ago Megan came home from school excited to tell me about a concert they were practising for at their new school which we now know to be called “little big sing”. It took her a while to give the deets, and to be honest initially I wasn’t 100% sure whether she has misunderstood something or made it up (which happens a lot in Megan’s world). Over a day or so we mostly understood, and Ethan confirmed they were indeed practising a number of pieces for a concert of some description!

We became even more excited when they said they would be singing at the Bridlington Spa (hello theatre performance!) and yesterday my mum and I had the pleasure of going along to see them.

It wasn’t anything like what we had thought … all of us were expecting to see their school on stage singing and dancing, and they too thought that’s what they were doing. In actual fact there was a live band and music director on stage leading about 10 different schools (made up of key stage 1) in a “big sing” of songs they had all independently being learning. It was so random and funny!

We sat on the balcony and cheered and laughed whilst the little voices rose up sounding absolutely gorgeous. We watched them wiggle, twirl, clap and beam. We tapped our toes and waved along, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of music and positivity.

For the last couple of weeks we have thoroughly enjoyed being serenaded with duets from Ethan and Megan at home and out and about at train stations and parks – It has been great. I love to hear my kids sing and see them dancing, and I love to have music in our lives and let go together. I love the ordinary moments of feeling joy and free, unified by musical beats!

Little big sing wasn’t at all what I expected, but it was a breath of fresh air from everyday life to be in a hall with live musicians and the joyful spirits of kids filling the air. What a wonderful way to spend a Monday afternoon. Roll on next year and let’s make this a tradition and ordinary moment of Summer!

The Ordinary Moments
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One of my favourite things about where we lived in Leeds was certainly the lovely school the kids attended. It was small, religious, filled with lovely families and just a short walk from our house and the park. We all fitted in well, had lovely friends and whilst the new school looked good on paper, you never really know.

This week saw a big ordinary moment associated with moving house – Starting a new school and for the first time in my life as a school mum we have done school runs on the bus and train!

On Monday morning we were all super excited to get into our new flow of life whilst living at Grandma’s, and caught the bus opposite her house up to the school (15 mins away) to our soon to be new village. We had a lovely tour and met their classes and teachers, and everyone was just so lovely. They wear daffodil yellow and bright blue, instead of the purple we were used to, and things are done a little differently too. But they have so many great things for the kids to do, and whilst unknown to us we were delighted immediately and left feeling very excited to start the day after!

Living away from the school for the time being, it has of course meant that we can’t just pop our shoes on and leg it round the corner in a mad dash like our usual school days have been, arriving in the final second. We rely on public transport or family for the moment, and so I have been way more organised on a school morning than I ever have been!

We have gone by bus (which here is a complete rip off), And then the train too which was a great adventure for us all…mostly though we have had the kindness of family drive us up daily and they have enjoyed seeing the kids go to school and come home with an array of stories.


I am incredibly grateful that their school is so lovely, that they are so happy and that starting school again has gone so smoothly! It is a small village school with small classes, in a beautiful setting. They are all friendly, the kids feel included and accepted, and they have been eager to go in every day and have left with smiles on their faces (what more could you want?). I am so excited about it, about their teachers and the clubs, the stuff they do and the fact that if I want to I can go have lunch with them too (or take them out and have a picnic) – what a bonus feature! I seriously feel like I am living the dream.

Yes it is a whole new way of life to that we have been used to, and I never imagined that something so ordinary as going to school would become such a great adventure – but oh what fun we’re having and how much we have to look forward to in the coming years here!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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It became apparent to me at the start of this half term that Ethan seemed to be falling short when it came to his spellings. He has gone from an impressive and acceptable 7/8 to getting none at all right and not quite able to see the errors either. Their education is obviously important to us and so with this my worried mother mode well and truly kicked in and I have since been trying to increase our frequency of practice tests and spontaneous words to spell out loud. But, with 2 other demanding little people in the mix you can imagine it isn’t always productive or even possible (Que mum guilt)!

His maths are great and he always gets top marks in maths homework too – he just seems to click with that…and science too is something he talks about endlessly on those days, but English? Whilst he enjoys writing he seems to not be clicking as well with it. He isn’t particularly keen when it comes to school generally and found the new school year/new teacher set up a little worrisome, and now with his depleting test scores each week in spellings he seems to be feeling more awkward and I have hoped to find something that would ignite a learning desire and help him to improve in the process.

Discovering Education Quizzes

We were asked recently to review Education quizzes, which is the most comprehensive online source of UK National curriculum to help support children’s learning and revision throughout their various stages of education. It is used by students, teachers and tutors alike with a key focus to help kids be successful at school and once you have access, you can use it across several devices at once!

Quizzes are formulated by teachers and so go along with what the kids are leaning in class and discovering it has meant that I have a source rich with fun learning materials to support both kids at each of their individual learning stages. They love it and so do I….Ethan especially has been rather passionate about it and it certainly seems to be the answer we were searching for for that extra “kick”.

Whether for fun together around the table after school, or to test them in the areas I know they seem to be flunking, it is a valuable tool that follows the curriculum and enables us to work together to test knowledge and build upon weaknesses. Because it is written by teachers and follows the various things they have been doing in class, it instantly helps them feel comfortable as they have some recollection when faced with the questions.

I love it and have found it great for me as a parent to not only see where they are at and get a feel for what I should be doing with them outside of school (lets face it kids rarely go into depth on what they are learning once they leave those school gates), but also to know how to help them. It has given me better understanding of what they should know and be able to understand rather than me expecting too much or making tasks too simple…you can clearly see what type of questions they should be able to answer from what that have been learning at the ages of 4 & 6!

Another great thing we love is that they get a big green tick when its right and then rather than just saying whether the answer is right or wrong, it shows the child where they went wrong and teaches them more in the process too.

Both Ethan and Megan have enjoyed showing me what they know and having me help them figure out what they don’t or “can’t remember”. Ethan at 6yrs old is able to use it independently which was good for him and his confidence, and great for me to then work with Megan on reading, baking or letter formation. He also enjoys when we all sit together and discuss the tricky ones and then having the opportunity to do it again to try and do better! He has already gained a lot from the spelling quizzes and counting in 10’s and 5’s and its great to know that whilst on screens and having fun, they are also being productive!

For Megan at 4.5 she loves to do the 2D/3D shape quizzes from KS1 and upper and lower case letters. It is not only helpful for her education, but it has been great for some sibling bonding too. Their teachers have suggested recently getting Ethan to help Megan with her writing and letters, since they moved her up a level (and thought he would be useful in getting the potential out of her), and he has delivered. He reads them out and asks her the questions…they discuss and he is never shy of praise when she gets it right…

Our kids don’t have Ipads or tablets and rarely use computers at home either…their screen time simply comes in the form of films or children’s TV whilst I frantically prepare dinner, or need an extra 15 min snooze on a morning, so being allowed on my precious laptop after school  to “work” (study) has been both exciting and helpful for us all. Its great to get a balance of fun, screen time and education and I can already see the benefits of this site for sats and GCSE revision too in the future.

Subscription is £9.95 a month and can be cancelled at any time – useful for spontaneous revision sessions with older kids. But for me with 2 kids (one in YR1, one in Reception) I find that broken down over a month really isn’t much at all to help them in their learning and education and to have a source to bring us together to support them in their work. It is something that could come out with us to pass the time on journey’s too, but wherever we choose to access it, we are confident it is good and coinciding with the curriculum they are learning at school!

If you are your kids are interested in Nature too, then why not check out Education Quizzes daily nature blog here.

*This post is sponsored by Education Quizzes and is our honest thoughts and opinions of their site. 

 

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