Homework – for 4 year olds?!

It seems these days children are not allowed to be children for long.  Even at nursery they are taught phonics and numbers.  I’m sure when I was young we did not start learning until we started school and even then I only really remember the playing!

When Little Mr A started school in September I knew he would bring home reading books when he was ready but I wasn’t expecting homework too!  At 4 I thought he would be too young and assumed that being at school 5 days a week would be enough.  I was not sure I agreed with very young children having to do extra work at home.  It’s not that I am not prepared to help him, I enjoy seeing how far he is coming on and how well he is doing it is just I know how tired he is when he gets home from school most days and I did not think he would be up for doing more work when he got home.

Since starting back after the Christmas holidays not only has Little Mr A started bringing reading books home but he is also getting homework.  OK so it is not hours and hours of work, just a few spellings/phonics to learn but it is still homework.  Little Mr A has completely surprised me with his enthusiasm for the homework.  As soon as he gets home, no matter how tired and grumpy he has seemed on the way home, the first thing he does is sit down to do his homework and read me his book.

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He is doing really well.  All the spellings he brings home he does perfectly without me having to prompt him too much and he is doing so well with his reading.  He really enjoys showing us how much he is learning and how much he knows and is really proud when we praise him.

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I do feel myself turning into my Dad a bit though!  He was always really good helping with our homework but quite strict and I need to remind myself he is only 4 and I need to chill out, he is doing really well and doesn’t need me to push him!!

Since he has started bringing work home I have changed my opinion – maybe homework for 4 year olds is OK after all!

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Goodbye 2012 – it’s been a great year!

If someone had told me last New Years Eve how much my life would change in 2012 I wouldn’t have believed it!

After so long trying for Little Mr A it came as a complete shock in February when I found out I was pregnant!  I had just about resigned myself to the fact that perhaps 1 was our lot and we would have to make do with just Little Mr A.  Then came an even bigger shock in April when we found out we were having a girl.  All this generation of my family are boys and I didn’t think we had the gene to produce girls!

It’s a what?!!!

Also in April this year we moved from a house we hated to a really nice house in a great little village.  Looking around now I know we made the right decision in moving again after 6 months in Hull, even though it was stressful at the time!  It has meant we have spent much more time together as a family even though we were further from work.  Earlier in the year, before I went on maternity leave, we would all go into town together to work and nursery, rather than me getting up as Big Mr A and Little Mr A were going out the door!

In July/August we had a great holiday together in Dorset which was just what we all needed after the upheaval of the move and, to spoil Little Mr A before Little Miss A came along.  We had a great time and even managed to see some of the Olympic sailing in Weymouth (even if we were really far away!) and it was great to be involved in such a great event, even in that small a capacity.

Olympic sailing in Weymouth

My boys!

My boys in Dorset 2012

Come September it was time for Little Mr A to start school.  I found it very hard to let go of my little boy for the first few weeks, he still seemed so young!  After a few teething problems in the first half of the term, since the October holiday he seems to have calmed down a lot and is settling into school life really well.  I am so proud of his achievements so far and loved seeing his Christmas play!

October came, and along came Little Miss A.  After a great birth I am absolutely loving having a baby in the house again, she is so easy and fun and I can’t wait for all the exciting times we have ahead in 2013.

My two gorgeous children!

I am very excited about 2013 and all the fun and adventures it will hold for the ‘A’ family.  Big Mr A starts his new job next week and although it means more travelling and less time with the family during the week I am hoping weekends will become even more of a quality family time together.

Happy New Year everyone, hope you all have a great 2013!

Little Mr A’s Nativity – well Chrismas play!

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This week we went to see Little Mr A’s first school Christmas performance.  Instead of performing a traditional nativity, in years 1 and 2 they do an alternative performance.

 

Their performance was called ‘Santa’s new hobby’.  The basic story was that Santa was bored after Christmas and needed something new to do.  Little Mr A was one of 4 Santas (as Santa was the main character there was a bit too much for one 4/5 year old to remember!).

 

First, Santa entered Strictly Come Dancing but was no good at that!  Next he entertained guests on Come Dine with me, however, they were not impressed with his Christmas dinner!

 

Next came Little Mr A’s turn.  His ‘new hobby’ was to enter the X-Factor.  Unfortunately he was no match for ‘One Direction’ with his Jingle Bell Rock!  I thought he was the best!

 

All the children were fantastically behaved and remembered all their lines and the songs which they performed with real enthusiasm and confidence.  The teachers and staff must have worked really hard to get them to perform and behave so brilliantly.

 

We were very proud parents and are looking forward to showing off his video to all the family over Christmas!

 

Can’t wait until next year’s performance!

Am I mad?!

I’m beginning to feel like a bit of a mug!  I assumed this year as Little Mr A is at school and learning how to write/learning letters that he was expected to write his own Christmas cards.  Cue a couple of stressful hours over the last few weekends of me helping him lovingly write his friends names in the cards as well as his own name.  He was very proud of them and couldn’t wait to give them out to all his friends (in total I think we did around 30!).

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He has been receiving his Christmas cards this week and around 90%, maybe more have been written by the parents.  A couple of his friends have written their own names on them but that is it.

 

Am I the stupid one?  What did you do with your little ones?  Did you write their cards for them or did you sit down and do them together?  I would be interested to know if I’m the only one?!

Too much technology?

techAs those of you that know us will not be surprised to find out, Little Mr A would rather sit down with an i-Pad or at the computer than kick a ball around outside thanks to his Dad’s obsession with technology!

How much should we let him play on the i-Pad or computer?  We usually limit him to 30 minutes at any one time which I feel is more than enough.  He never gets to go on anything if he has misbehaved, he knows it is a treat/reward if he has been well behaved.  We make sure that he is playing age appropriate games and do not leave him alone, we are always milling around in the room even if we are not actually sat with him (tea doesn’t make it’s way to the table on it’s own!).

When he’s on the computer he loves to play on Cbeebies or Milkshake and we have also got lots of games on the i-Pad for him, some educational, some not!  He is an absolute whizz on angry birds, much better than me or his Dad, we were amazed when he switched it on at the weekend that he had got 3 stars on nearly all of the levels!  He has been using technology for as long as he could hold a phone without dropping it or dribbling all over it and I really feel it has helped his hand eye co-ordination and he also has a respect for technology products and knows not to mess about with them.  Surely in a world where technology is ever increasing in use it is good to teach your children this respect from an early age?

Whenever I ask Little Mr A what he has been doing at school the normal response I get is ‘playing on the learning stations’ (computers) or ‘we have been in the computer suite’.  If technology is introduced as a way of learning as soon as they start school I think it is a good idea to be embracing it at home too.

Recently I came across the website for Oxford Owl which provides a lot of schools’ their reading books.  It is a great interactive website where you can click on the book to read it and play activities.  I think this will be really useful when Little Mr A starts bringing books home as we will be able to play activities relating to the book he has and look at the other books appropriate to his age range/ability level.  He loves looking at this website already and it is something we can sit and do together.

I would like to discover more technology based products that will also get Little Mr A up and about and being more physical.  We have a Wii and a game which he can use the Wii Fit Board with, Nickelodeon Fit which is a good game to get him active but I would like more games that do the same.

I have noticed the Cbeebies website seems to be introducing more active games, Tree Fu Tom and Justin’s House seem to be popular with Little Mr A.

I am hoping that when the nicer weather comes he will want to get outside more.  Should I be more strict and say no to technology or is it a good thing to be embracing at such a young age?  I can imagine that by the time Little Mr A starts secondary school there will be no such thing as text books and they will all be downloaded onto one tablet.  Oh the sadness of missing out on covering your text books in horrendous wallpaper!

I would hate for anyone to think that this is all he is interested in, it’s not, it just seems to occupy a lot of his thoughts recently.  He also likes playing with lego, colouring and baking all the ‘good’ things we should do with our children!

What is your opinion on using technology with your children?  Do you agree that it is OK within reason or do you avoid it at all costs?  I would love to hear other people’s views.

 

Proud Mummy take 2!

Little Mr A's Key Stage 1 Writer's Award

Little Mr A’s Key Stage 1 Writer’s Award

After my previous post a couple of weeks ago, Little Mr A has now won another award at school.  This time he has won the Key Stage 1 Writer’s Award.  He told me it was for writing out his favourite foods which apparently are chocolate spread and tomatoes!  Strange boy, don’t know where he gets things from sometimes!

 

I am really glad he’s doing so well at school I just wish he would bring some of his good behaviour home with him!

Wow week!

This week has been ‘wow week’ at Little Mr A’s school. It has been an opportunity for parents to spend an hour at school with their children to see what they get up to on a daily basis.

I am not sure what I was expecting really, I don’t remember primary school! When we arrived his teacher greeted us and took us through to the classroom. We were then left to spend time with our children on the ‘learning stations’. These consisted of various areas set up with different activities such as play doh, lego, a make and do station with crafts and the computers.

We iced a cake together and I had a look through his learning journey to see what they have been doing.

I came away from school feeling a little disappointed. After the initial introduction we did not see the teacher again although there were a lot of support staff in the classroom and the headreacher was helping out.

I still feel that I don’t really know what Little Mr A actually learns at school and think it would have been better if the teacher had perhaps explained a bit mote to us. I appreciate they are busy but the more parents know what their children do, the more they can support them.

I am sure as Little Mr A gets older he will tell us more about what he does, until then I will just have to keep persevering with questions and be satisfied with the little snippets of information he gives us!

I don’t want to go mummy!

ImageAfter 6 weeks of school I finally had the morning I was dreading today!  Little Mr A has loved school since the moment he started and has always been really keen to go.

We had a really nice walk to school together this morning (I have managed to convince him to leave his scooter at home now until Little Miss A ‘pops out of mummy’s tummy’).  He was chatting away telling me about all his friends.  He was a bit whiny at the school gates as he wanted me to hold his bags so he could go running off on the grass.  As it was wet I told him he couldn’t.

I let him walk to the school door, as usual keeping my distance so as not to get in the way of all the other children trying to get into school (once you go down the path you get stuck!).  I usually wait until I am sure he has gone in before I leave but this morning he just stood in the doorway looking sad.  I couldn’t leave so went to check what was wrong.

Little Mr A burst into tears and said he did not want to go to school today although he wouldn’t tell me why.  Eventually one of his teachers managed to get him to go into school but he was still crying.  I felt so awful having to leave him and it took a lot of effort to hold it together and not run in after him to give him another cuddle.

He’s been so good at going I sometimes forget how young he is and how difficult it must be for him sometimes.

Fingers crossed it was a one off and he will be fine going again tomorrow, I am emotional enough at the moment without Little Mr A making me feel bad!