In this exceedingly difficult time, it has been hard to know whether our children are ‘doing enough’. I put ‘doing enough’ in inverted commas because I have heard that phrase hundreds of times over the last three months and it is like a badge of honour for some, and a provider of guilt for many. As a parent myself, I frequently ask my friends what learning they have been doing with their children during lockdown – secretly hoping they say ‘not a lot’ – quite often they reel off a list of things and it leaves me feeling inadequate and that we aren’t ‘doing enough’ in our house.
There is huge worry and guilt that comes from prognosticating your children’s academic downfall particularly when you are not able to fall back on blaming other things. Believe me, overseeing a tuition company with almost unlimited resources, worksheets, and online platforms at my fingertips this is feeling has been increasingly amplified!
However, I took a step back and thought about this journey we are all on and in particular the ways we can ensure our children are learning, without relationships becoming frayed. I just wanted to review the things that Smart 11+ provide, along with a few ideas, so that you can choose which things would be best for your child. Again, please let me reiterate, that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to what they need to be doing. Depending on your long-term goals for your child, and their appetite to sit down and learn at home, then this will vary and alter accordingly.
1. Weekly resources
We are still sending the weekly resources out with a short video to support. If you have been having a go at these then that is fantastic. You can always go back and use them again or if you have not had a go yet, the videos are still all available on YouTube so you can save them for the summer holidays.
2. BOFA and Bedrock
We love BOFA and Bedrock and they are both great tools. They can both be accessed on their tablets and this may work well for your family. I tend to do BOFA and Bedrock before bed with my eldest child (8) and then he does a little reading afterwards. We try and keep this consistent and at least he has a regular bedtime routine.
3. Summer Word List coming Friday
We are sending out a brand-new Summer Holiday Word List this Friday. Again, this will follow the same principle as the Winter and Spring ones. Hopefully, this will help vocabulary building and their verbal reasoning.
4. Key Maths Videos
Over 20 maths videos explaining different mathematical concepts have been sent out now in separate emails. We are going to put them all together in one single email and send it out, so you have a one stop shop for any area of maths you need. Please keep the requests coming for these.
This is the single most valuable thing your child can do to improve their academic success. The benefits to English and verbal reasoning are clear but also the comprehension required for mathematics papers at 11+, SATS or GCSE is all very advanced and therefore I would say this should take priority over any of the above. My son has been reading Harry Potter on the kindle app on his tablet. Although this breaks my heart as I do love a paper book – there is nothing like the feeling of turning a real page, tapping the screen just doesn’t cut it for me – it has been a revelation. The ability to use the ‘Word-wise’ tool, which explains any of the challenging words to him has single-handedly improved his vocabulary more than any verbal reasoning exercise I have done with him.
Please never hesitate to get in touch with any issues via email. If there is a certain question or topic you need explaining, we can provide email feedback with suitable video content to assist you.
Thank you for reading this far. I just wanted to recap the above so that you can develop your strategy for the summer months. As I said above, there is no need to do all of it and please don’t feel guilty for not ‘doing enough’. You are doing an amazing job and this little blip is not going to cause as many issues as the media and your friends may like to tell you.
Take care and stay safe. Cannot wait to see you all again soon.