Tag Archives: school

How the first ever day at school went for my 10 year old!

I went to pick R up from school after her one-off trial day (so lucky to have such a lovely headteacher at a local primary, willing to let R just go in and see for a day.)

R came out with such a grin on her face and actually bouncing, the teacher came out with her and said she had really fitted in well and been confident and made friends easily. The work hadn’t phased her (which was the primary concern.. dyslexia-wise) they had done maths and geography, and the only writing she’d had to do was copying words, which she did brilliantly… I was really impressed. They’d had reading time  in class and she’d asked to draw instead (which I guess as a child actually properly at the school wouldn’t be such an easy option)

She had a couple of girls look after her, and it sounded like they had a real giggle. She said the teacher was lovely and asked them nicely to get on with work once they’d had a bit of a joke, which they did.

She didn’t get to know any of the year 6 children, which had been the aim really, because their teacher was away, they were all split between the other classes and sat at the back doing homework, so there wasn’t much interaction with R, who was busy getting on with all the year 5 lot. The year 5 teacher said she’s welcome in his class any time 🙂 Shame it doesn’t really work like that!!! I think if that was an option R might consider asking to go in for longer. However, she has said she would like to try and go into class 6 for a couple of days when their teacher is back, if the school are ok with that, so I’ve e-mailed to ask if that is possible.

R is still saying she wouldn’t want to go to Secondary, though she did admit that Primary was much nicer than she expected. Funny really because L has raved about how lovely the Primary was when she tried it for a couple of days and she now also raves about how great Secondary is, and we’ve always been careful to say that there are good things about school as well as the not so good…. so it is funny how anti-school R is.

I wasn’t sure if R would actually fill me on on how it had gone right through the day, but she did, she was so excited, it was lovely. I think she was relieved that the work was ok, I don’t think she realises quite how well her reading and writing are beginning to come on, it takes more than just me telling her! Hopefully that has been a bit of a confidence boost for her.

It will be very interesting to see how she gets on with the year 6 class if she gets opportunity to go!

Watch this space!!

She the first post about this here

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First Day of School with a Difference!

Around 9 years ago I took my shy 3 year old to pre-school, she clung to me and didn’t want me to leave. She didn’t make a big fuss, but she was upset. I came home and cried. L did a term at pre-school, she wasn’t herself, she withdrew, she didn’t cause trouble, so the staff kept saying she was fine, but I knew that the quiet child they saw, wasn’t the child I knew and the best thing ever was taking her out and not sending her back.

Today I took my other daughter R who is 10 and who has never been to pre-school or school before, to primary school for a taster day. I was pleased how excited she was this morning. She was ready when I got up and bouncing around. It has taken her a while to decide whether to try a taster day, I think her dyslexia is the main concern for both me and her. It will be very interesting to see how it has gone. We held hands on the way to school, and her grip certainly tightened as we entered the playground, but the office staff were lovely, as was the class teacher, so I expect she’s been fine.

I think it will be a bit of an odd taster as the class has had to be spilt up with the teacher absent, so she’s gone into year 5 with a few of year 6. This may be a good thing as it may take the pressure of the work a bit. We may ask for the chance of another taster day if R wants to, so she can really get to know more of the year 6 kids, who she would be with if she went to Secondary school next September. I think there will be a lot of talking about that!!!

It was as close as I have been to that feeling of leaving L at pre-school though, as R had rather a worried face as I left her…. but dealing with that for both her and me was much easier than when a child is 3 or 4, I know she is more than capable of coping in many different situations, she has been out on day courses without me, so it isn’t the first time away from me or anything, just the first time in an actual school class!!

It has been strange coming home without her and a taste of what it might be like if we end up with both children at school!!!! Sort of an empty nest taster for me! I’m having days where I’m beginning to understand why people (women especially) have such a hard time with empty nest syndrome! Time is going by so fast, and although my children feel more grown up at 12 and 10, and indeed look grown up too, I think as a parent it still seems so recent that they needed you to do so much more for them, and you can still see the young child you knew. I can see how rapidly teenage years are coming and all the excitement that lies beyond!!

The day is going very quickly though, as I knew it would. Time to get a few jobs done, but not much more, then it will be time to go and pick R up from school!!!

See how the day went here!

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The Reading Discussion

A lazy start, with R having a lovely long bath… a lovely thing to do when it is dark and pouring with rain outside on a Monday morning!

Today we watched some excellent Mathswatchvle videos on probability. There are some sample videos on YouTube. Otherwise you have to subscribe.

I find MathsWatchvle is a really excellent way of learning maths, and R seems to find that too. The clips aren’t too long and you can pause and have a go at questions as you go along, with full explanations after you’ve tried it.

We then had a Mario Kart game or two and lunch,  before a really good reading session.

We are now reading Wolf Princess, which so far seems pretty good. I read a chapter then R reads a page. Her reading is coming on so well, she still only wants to do a small amount and has an amazing way of arguing out of doing too much… I think we have covered human rights and the right to our own decisions rather too well sometimes!!

We usually reach some sort of compromise, else my throat really does give up if I read for so long! She has a total handle on the idea that she might be dyslexic though and I do genuinely think she tires very quickly if reading too much.

Instead of her reading some more of a chapter… which is not an easy book…. (though she does cope very well with it when she does read it) she agreed that she would look at the common word flash cards we haven’t used for ages. A year ago she would have got a fair number right but certainly not all. She breezed through them, which I think pleasantly surprised her…. I don’t think she always believes me when I say how well she is doing, and occasionally it is good to have it actually physically confirmed for her.

The girls both set up the train track yesterday and had a really lovely play together (which is happening slightly less now L especially is getting so grown up), R carried on with the game by herself today too. She talked about how her and L play less than they used to which she misses, but then it is harder now with L at school, and with them both changing as they get that much older. I am happy that they still do manage imagination play together at 12 and 10. I think it is getting less common in kids that age…. which is such a shame.

Poor L came in soaked after school, so a nice warm shower for her… ended up with two girls sat on the sofa watching ‘Friends’ and having their hair brushed through. Love family sofa time.



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The Education Dilemma with a Dyslexic Child

We’ve recently had the letter from the Schools Admissions team for R for next September. I knew it was coming, but it still threw me. It seemed a gradual progression with L when we went through this two years ago, just taking each step as it came and deciding as each option came along.

R has decided that she would like to go into a local primary, just for a 2  day visit, not a permanent place, just to see what it is like. She has been adamant for a long time that she won’t go to secondary school…. but this is where things are now slightly wobbly…. she now is still mostly saying she doesn’t want to, with occasional glimmers of maybe she might try it.

So, now we hit the… do we apply for a place in case?

With L I could see that as the decision came closer that she was ready and happy and wanted the independence of making the decision and has been happy with her decision.

R, I think is beginning to want the independence side of things, and to perhaps widen her social circle further… but in terms of school I am very worried that all the confidence building we have done around her dyslexia could be undone within a week, even if she does just go and try school. Her reading is coming on, and we read teenage level fiction / young adult, she often struggles on small words and is amazing on larger more complicated words! I don’t think she’d have chance to read higher level books at school, it’d be dumbed down…. we’ve seen it with L, where they have to read a certain colour and can’t move up until they’ve passed tests on the lower coloured books.

R’s maths is great, but I generally read out the questions, as she struggles reading, thinking and writing all together.

We are covering some really lovely stuff at the moment… we have had several theatre visits recently, including today when we went to see ‘Lord of the Flies’ at the Mayflower theatre, with questions and answers with the actors afterwards. Although surrounded by school parties of 13/14 and 15 yr olds she asked two very good questions, and we have had such in depth chats about it all before and after.

We’ll go with a couple of days at a local primary and see where we go from there.

Watch this space!

Anyone been through the same with a dyslexic child?

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Awards and Film Watching at School

Awards and film watching plus drama and art

L has had a good week for awards. She had a presentation evening at school for being in the Netball team. S went and said there was a lot of high achieving sports, but also the yr 7 netball team, because although they hadn’t won any cups or awards… they had worked very hard and improved, and been reliable too. L was really pleased with her certificate and badge.

L also came home beaming yesterday with a green badge with G on it… which apparently you get if you are put forward by 3 different teachers as gifted in their subjects. She was put forward in Maths, Science and Spanish, and as talented in Metal work.

I am obviously very proud of her (though I don’t need a badge and certificate to make me proud of her.. or to tell me she’s doing very well), and I wasn’t sure about this whole gifted thing at school…. but apparently it is seen as something you work for each year (or term), it isn’t a permanent label, seen as unmoving, which did reassure me. L is certainly working hard, because she wants to and enjoys what she is doing… but she isn’t stressed, or over working… perhaps because she sees it less as work and more as something she has chosen to do.

I was labelled as gifted at school and personally it seemed like an unwelcome pressure. If you do well it is just expected, if you don’t do as well then it is a disappointment…. Not a pressure from parents particularly, just a general feeling.

Read this article recently: Pushing kids to be gifted

The wind down to the summer holidays is well truly under way at school, there are lots of nice things going on and L is having a fab time. The only thing that has bugged me this week is that some teachers are showing the first bit of a film in class as a treat (Ice Age) knowing that there won’t be time to watch the end, with no intention of letting the class see the end on another day. This would bug me! Wouldn’t it bug you? Other teachers have managed to show a whole film over two lessons, or have picked a shorter programme that fits into one lesson… makes more sense to me!!

R is having a good week too. I think she is pleased with the maths we have done this week, especially as L brought home her maths exam paper and R looked through and could do quite a lot of it. (Though she did say that she’d be worried about reading and understanding what the question says. If I read it to her then she totally understood the maths side of it. Such a shame exams don’t allow for this (I haven’t researched this enough… I know some people can get extra time if diagnosed with dyslexia, and possibly a scribe sometimes.. but I’m not sure if you can have someone read the question out loud… it isn’t something I’ve heard of.)

R had her drama performance of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. It was great, all the kids did really well, you could hear them all clearly, and they were all confident, even the usually more quiet and shy ones. It was on a proper stage, with lighting, back drop with pictures from the book and well chosen music too, with some groovy dancing to ‘Wild Thing’ R loved every minute of it. S came too and also our friend A, with lots of other parents too. Really enjoyed it.

We even did some more maths when we got home…. then R needed a nice break because her brain started melting!!! 🙂

I’ve done some painting today, good relaxation for me.

2015-07-16 17.30.47


R has been over to see Granny and Grandpa and Auntie J and Auntie M, she’s played badminton, running Granny round like a mad thing. Then she wrote out care instructions for Auntie M who is having R’s guinea pig when we go away soon.


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True Tie Dye Home educators

R had Auntie M round for the day to do some tie dying… lots of tie dying in fact. Enough to firmly establish us as bona fide hippy type home edders 😉

tie dyed hammock
tie dyed hammock

Our hammock is now a lot prettier!

Having been to L’s information and Guidance day and had her report from school, R decided to write her own report, which she started but then found the writing too much of a slog and asked if she could dictate it to me instead… which I happily did. She showed Auntie M what I’d written and then with Auntie M decided to correct my ‘unclear’ writing and write it out more neatly ( 🙂 )

We then had a trip to L’s school for the summer fair…. which included lots of sweets, guessing the name of the teddy bear, guessing how many sweets in the jar, and teachers having wet sponges thrown at them in the stocks. Met some more of L’s school friends. R was a bit nervous at first as it was quite full on, but L seems very at home with it all.

school summer fair
school summer fair

We also had chance to have a look at a fire engine and chat about it all with some firemen and firewomen.

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Three letter abbreviations and the mysteries of school

It was L’s IAG day today (information and guidance) not to be confused with ICT (something computery) or HLT (homework learning tasks), school is full of these mysteriously named things…. we’re gradually finding our way through them!!

So, IAG day is a ten minute appointment with L’s tutor, she has to wear uniform and parents can go if they like, then the rest of the day is free. So we got an earlyish appointment, R wasn’t overly impressed at having to walk there with us, but I didn’t want to leave her at home alone for that long…. even if she felt ok about the idea.

So behaviour and effort graded from 1-5 for each subject (5 being good) and also homework and classwork, again from 1-5. All fine. Plenty of 5’s and also L has taken part in plenty of after school activities and attended well, so all boxes ticked for the school. (not that we’re fussed about the boxes being ticked)… for me the boxes I want ticked are her happiness / well being / friends, and also her enthusiasm for learning and staying interested and engaged. Tick for those too, so I’m happy. We did mention to her tutor that the school system still seems unable to cope with the fact she has no official SATS results, so the computer system has basic target levels for her, despite them being obviously wrong and us knowing her levels… It doesn’t seem to be possible just to adjust them on the computer!! Very bizarre. Hopefully now L has done all her end of year exams, the results can be fed in? (You’d hope so!)

L then met friends for a trip to the park, I read some of The King’s Curse to Rose and we did some maths, then it was out to the Chiropractor (R went to play next door) with L… as she has been having hip and leg pain (we had a car accident a few years ago, so she’d been to the chiro then. The chiro said it isn’t nerves, it is muscles tightening, most likely due to sitting at a desk each day…. Doh. Another downside to school!! We now have some exercises for L to do each day to stretch herself out.

The girls then had Woodcraft at the park, a nice walk and a bit of geocaching.


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Back to School

I had the chance to look around L’s school for an hour while lessons were on last week. She knew that I’d be coming and we’d had the jokes about me jumping up and down and waving at her… she’d rolled her eyes at me but also giggled a little bit. I did, of course behave myself 🙂

It turned out that L was in an exam and I got to look in and see 300 year 7’s in their exam. We only looked in right near the end and through a small window.. I didn’t want to put anyone off!!! Couldn’t see L amongst the mass of backs of heads.

A friend came with me and there were a few other parents there too, we were given two year 9 students to show us around, and we went into several classes while they were running.

We were also there at lesson change over and the start of break time. Certainly different from my memories of school, there was a calm feeling to the school, and space, not huge numbers of children shoved through narrow corridors. There was art work everywhere and displays and information, and it didn’t have that school smell that some schools have!!

The children and teachers we met were great and the overall feel of the school was nice. I only broke out in a sweat when we went into a science class and the teacher was giving out detentions… he seemed pretty stressed out. I’m hoping we didn’t add to that too much… it was also a reminder of how children can be spoken to at school… which could have involved a lot more respect.

The other classes we went into felt OK, and the kids seemed fairly engaged and happy. They certainly have lots of lovely activities and events and very much focus on being a community. It would be good if there was more overlap within the local community too… perhaps we’ll work towards that while L is there. She did get her class involved in the library campaign by writing postcards which her tutor helped to sort out. So it is a good place to start from. Having tours like that also help, I was surprised more parents didn’t go along.

Although I am very pro home education, I have always tried not to run schools down. I was aware that one or both may like to try school at some point, and we’ve always given them that option if they wanted to. We now have one in school and one home educated. Both are happy and also engaged in learning… so I’m happy with that.

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Algebra, Smoothies, Exams and Sword making

Made use of some time at home with R to look at some maths videos on MathsWatchVLE, a resource L has from school. We’ve covered some interesting algebra and also long division which seems 100 times easier than when I did it at school.

It has taken home education to finally fill me in on the education it would have been good to have!

We’ve also done some art, R is mostly creating drawings of new creatures for Minecraft. All very colourful.

Woodcraft folk this week was a smoothie making session, which went down very well and I should think managed to dose the group up on their 5 a day in one go!

L has had her first ever ‘proper’ exams this week, in the hall at school, full exam conditions (there have been plenty of tests at school this year but only in class)

She has had three exams today and seemed happy with them all, she just ran out of time with the last couple of questions in the maths paper.

I have really mixed feelings about it all. L is totally chilled out, she has done a bit of revision but not loads, and she doesn’t seem worried in any way about the exams. Her teachers at parents evening suggested that she should be in higher groups for English and maths. I think my main concern is that I want her exams to reflect her ability as they don’t have SATS results for her. I want her to be in the right set for her so she doesn’t get bored.

I have been suggesting she might want to look through some things with me, as I’ve had that horrible pre-exam feeling and haven’t wanted her to get into the exam and panic.

I’ve then had to step back and give myself a talking to….. she is not me…. she is not seeing it as I would have… and this is a good thing! She is in control of her education, and the wobbles are mine, not hers!! I’m very proud of her.

We had friends round today and had a session making things from balsa wood with files and saws….

Making a sword
Making a sword

R was very pleased with the result and is keen to make other things too. It was good to get advice on the best way to shape things and join things. I learnt things too.

We also sat watching some baby mice that have appeared in our garden….

Little mouse
Little mouse

See also:

How we do Maths


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Grandparents, Badminton and First Ever Parents’ Evening

R went to Granny and Grandpa’s today – they book to play badminton each week and R is getting very good, she really makes Granny run around now, and Granny is a very good player. They spent the afternoon in Granny’s garden, watching tadpoles and fish, gardening and playing games.

I had L’s first ever parents’ evening at school (we’d met her tutor before but not the rest of her teachers…. and as expected they do all look very young!) There were 5 min slots with whoever your child managed to book with. We saw English, Maths, Science, History, Geography and Spanish teachers.

They were all very pleased with her, some didn’t know that she’d been home educated up till now and said I’d obviously done a very good job, which was nice to hear. Sounds like L will be moved up sets in possibly everything as they were slightly cautious with her set planning I think as she didn’t have official SATS results and school reports…. but she has had some super teachers this year and has settled in very happily so we’ve been happy with that. She has friends in the other sets though, and would be changing teachers anyway, so moving up in September would be good.

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