At the end of last school year my husband and I attended Parents Evening. My daughter had just completed Year Two and unlike the previous years, the teacher asked to speak to us in private. I suddenly thought, “oh no! what’s wrong?”. It turned out, there was nothing wrong. The teacher replied, “we just like to discuss all children’s progress -without them- incase there are any issues”.
So with a sigh of relief I listened to the teacher who informed us that my child is no longer behind in any of her subjects. Previously my daughter had struggled with reading and other tasks. Being really unwell during year One, I had not been well enough to do anything to help her but after a year of hard effort during year two (doing work from the bedside) we helped Sylvia to catch up. Not only that, my daughter is now finishing year three and is one of the top in her class in certain subjects.
I came away feeling really pleased! What is it that we had done differently? How is is that our child went from being at the bottom of the class to the top? There are four main things we have done with my daughter and it has made all the difference.
Everyday we read with our child. Sylvia has a reading book and each day after school I would ask her to read to me. We didn’t read the whole book and sometimes if she was distracted we would only read one or two pages but we always tried to read her assigned reading book each day after school.
We also read at bed time. Now I’m not perfect and sometimes the regular routine goes out the window for whatever reason but we try to read at least one book each night.
So- we consistently read with our daughter every day!
My daughter kept coming home and telling us about her spelling tests where she would get 1 or 2 out of 10 each time. I have a whiteboard at home and so every Monday we would write up the spelling words for the week and whenever we had a moment would do a mini test or ask her to spell the word. Doing this just once a day for a few minutes or taking a look at the board during dinner has helped my child increasingly with her spelling.
We encouraged my daughter’s handwriting every week. She always does her homework on the weekend and we sit together and I make an effort to guide her to write neatly and practice capitals and full stops. Over the last two years, Sylvia’s writing has improved significantly. I am amazed at the pieces she is writing on her own and bringing to me to see.
Each term, my daughter has had a different times-table to learn and we have practiced these in the car when going to appointments or at home when I’ve been unwell. We have also played counting games, learnt about shapes and done measurement activities. Sometimes I would write a list of objects in the home and send Sylvia to measure them and record the results. We also do baking and do a lot of weighing and recording to help learn about quantities and weight.
My daughter was in a “special group” at school where she had extra phonics support at school. She has had a fabulous teacher, but the support and effort we have made as parents all paid off when the teacher said how well my daughter had done. I felt so proud of Sylvia and a sense of accomplishment knowing I’d been able to support her, even when I’m unwell and sat doing this in bed.
So what next?
Well the school holidays are upon us and next year Sylvia will be year four. Wow the time has flown so fast. In the holidays we will be doing a book challenge. I’ve made a chart for Sylvia to fill out each time she reads a book and at the end of the summer we will see how many books she has read and give her a reward.
We will also practice things during trips in the car and I’ll give Sylvia opportunities during the holidays to learn through play and exploration. There is so much you can learn as you play. Sometimes we role play waitress and waiters. Sylvia writes down the menu and will make a sandwich. Other times we play something else but these are fun opportunities to practice writing in an informal but fun way. So these holidays we will be planning fun activities to encourage reading and writing.
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About Angela Milnes
Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in Preschool and Kindergarten teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and is passionate about kids crafts and having fun as a family. Angela has also taught cooking skills and loves to share both family recipes and easy instant pot recipes here on The Inspiration Edit. Follow her on Pinterest!
Emma's Mamma says
I’m glad she’s progressed so well! Sounds like you’re all doing a great job! x #KidsCorner
Thanks Emma! It is great. I had no idea uo until the parents interview that she was doing so well so I was really very pleased. Thanks for reading! Angela x
Absolutely Prabulous says
To my sadness my 5 yo is in fact repeating her year this September. I’m a very hands off parent re education because I hate tiger parenting and don’t want to be like my parents who rammed exams down my throat. Sadly, I feel guilty that my hands-off approach (I marvel at how much you’ve done with her) and frankly time focussing on her siblings’ homework has held her back. Well done you. #happyquacks
It’s not an easy thing to do, especially when parents are so busy! I guess the inner teacher in me (that feels passionate about kids education) pushes me to support my daughter more, but there again my mum was a brilliant example. She had no major education and helped me and my sister to do well and we ended up with university educations. As for Sylvia I’m not going to push her to go to Uni. I had an indian friend (when I was at school who’s parents were so strict that she committed suicide because she did not get A’s. It was so sad. My daughter can choose whatever she wants to be and i’ll try to support her, be it hairdressing or her current vocational choice which happens to be a lollipop lady!
A little can go a long way. The car is a great place to practice everything and anything. Maths, spelling, memory games, the list is endless! I’m glad Sylvia is doing so well. You must be so proud of her!
Yes! The car is perfect, especially on long journeys. I am really proud of my daughter, she is making a great effort. Life is not easy having a mum who has been sick a lot but she does her best to do well at school and deal with her emotions and I am very proud of her.
I am very bad with Math. Even at the second and third grade level, the Math has gotten so complicated that the school actually sends home how-to guides and a website for parents to look at. We have to study just so we can help our kids with simple Math problems because the rules on HOW the work gets done has changed. Still, I can’t do Math. I just can’t. luckily, both of my boys seem to be naturals with Math and I have asked the school (and they happily oblige) to help them in that area because I can’t. Reading, spelling, and writing on the other hand, that’s my domain and I happily work with my younger boy with this because this is where he struggles a little. I do some of the same things you do, such as reading every day and having him do the reading. The white board things is an interesting idea. I will have to try that with him as he gets ready to enter the third grade and writing demands will be higher. Great post! Thanks for sharing!
Well done to all! It’s amazing what a bit of time and effort can achieve. As a teacher I love parents like you who are committed to helping their child. #positivelyposted
It sure is! Thanks for your lovely comment and appreciation for my efforts! It’s nice to here this! ANgela x
Random Musings says
I’m so pleased that Sylvia is doing well, well done to her and to you and your husband for helping her along. I also think this post raises the serious question of how effective her school education actually is – for her to go from bottom of the class to top of the class in a year because of help she received from you tells me she is a good learner and does the work when given support. This leads me to question why the school seem unable to teach her the things you have. Thanks for hosting #positivelyposted
Very good point! She did change schools at the start of last year and had an awesome teacher this year so I do think it was a team effort, however I am very disappointed with the previous school and I think they were very rubbish. We are blessed to go to a small village school, which although it is not rich and does not have tons of resources, it does support kids well…unlike the last school…but our support has definetly made a big difference. You raised a good point there Debbie!
Ah what amazing progress she has made! I have friends who work in primary schools and they always say you can tell which kids read a lot with their parents as they are usually much more confident with reading and writing. You have given her fantastic support so it must be lovely to see that it has paid off! #KLTR
Thanks Ellen. Reading with kids is so so important and for sure helps them!
Kate (Along Came Poppy) says
Wow sounds like she is doing so well. Thank you for sharing your tips. My eldest starts school in September. I don’t like to push her to do things so it will be interesting how she deals with her reading for school. We read a lot anyway but I don’t want it ever to feel like hardwork! #KLTR
Your welcome Kate. It’s great to do our part to help the kids along.
It’s great to hear that she has excelled at school. I’m sure this post will help parents of other school children. #KLTR
Susan Mann says
That is lovely to hear. Sounds like she is really excelling at school. Great tips for helping others out. Thanks for sharing. #KLTR
thanks Susan. Yes Sylvia is doing well. I need to do more!
Tracey Bowden says
This is amazing you must be so proud of her! It’s proof that all the little things you do (or don’t so) really make all the difference when it comes to learning. Until this year (year5) my daughter had issues with spelling. She is an amazing reader and loves to write but just could quite spell correctly and her teacher this year gave her a different tactic to try and it all just clicked sometimes you just need to find the right thing (or teacher) to help. She is now writing away confidently and is giving me a run for my money in the fiction depratment #kltr
Thanks Tracey. Yes she is doing very well and trying so hard. Today is the last day of school and Sylvia has got an award 200 house points! I think thats incredible! So proud of her!
Esther @ Inside Out & About says
This made is so happy Ang. Sylvia is getting so grown up isn’t she? I am so pleased for you all, and these are such great tips! Love you lots #KLTR xx
Thanks Esther. It’s exciting to see my daughter progress educationally. 🙂
Karen : TwoTinyHands says
your doing a great job you really are. Making time to learn and teach with your kids is something I am keen to practice. #kltr
Thanks Karen. I will keep at it.
Laura's Lovely Blog says
Some great tips here I will need to remember them for when Logan starts school 🙂 #kltr
Thanks Laura. 🙂