It’s the age old problem. You really want to help your child with their homework (without giving them all the answers, of course) but you realise your own skills aren’t necessarily up to scratch. “It’s all changed so much since my day,” you mutter as you try to get your head around common subjects like maths, English and science.
A recent survey suggests that two-thirds of British parents feel they need help with their kids’ homework. It might seem easy at primary school level, but things can get tough later on. What exactly is a quadratic equation anyway?
Parents also admitted to not knowing much about their child’s educational potential and felt ill-equipped to find out more. Part of this comes from knowing that the education system’s resources are currently fully stretched.
While many fathers want instant “self-help” online resources they can trust, mums would prefer to speak to someone in confidence about their child’s performance. A new web site aims to meet both needs in one place.
Educating Together has been set up by two teachers, between them having 40 years experience, offering a one-stop shop for advice on the National Curriculum along with advice on social and behavioural issues which can impact on parents, children, school and family life.
“Parents are navigating an all too often complex educational landscape in trying to understand, and respond to their children’s educational needs at a time when education is in a state of flux, and household budgets are already too stretched to pay for additional individual tuition,” said the site’s co-founder Lorrae Jaderberg.
“We have developed a website which is easily accessible and what’s more affordable – costing less than a chocolate bar at 30p per day – staffed by professional teaching staff with vast experience in all matters relating to a child’s educational well-being,” she said.
Confidential advice is available seven days a week from 7am to 11pm. Even if membership isn’t affordable, there are a variety of free resources including advisory films and online talks, plus a fun, educational area for children to use.
Family Relationship Magazine's pick of news and blog commentary:
- California to offer foster kids aid until they're 21
“Aiming to improve the dismal outcomes for thousands of 18-year-olds who leave the foster care system each year alone and impoverished, California will soon provide support through age 21.”
- Emotional Fitness: Being nicer to your spouse can make all the difference
“I have worked with numerous couples who could be in a great relationship, except they both have forgotten to be thoughtful to one another, and the resentment has built to the point where therapy is no longer a choice but a necessity.
I know about the demands of working 40-plus hours a week, raising kids, keeping up with the bills and maintaining a home. By the time evening rolls around, you hardly have any energy for each other, and weekends are not much better. When you’re overworked and overtired, it’s easy to get a little resentful that you’re doing everything all by yourself. The truth is that your mate is probably working as hard as you are and most likely is feeling something similar.”
- The Dark Side of Dating
“It was a happy-go-lucky relationship for Mari with her boyfriend, Anthony. Like most teens, she thought the constant text messages from her boyfriend checking up on her location were “normal.” But soon Anthony was isolating her from her friends. Then, during a confrontation over Mari speaking to another boy, Anthony threw her against his truck in the school parking lot adamant that if she spoke to the other boy again it would be proof she didn’t love Anthony.”
Grant County’s pioneering Teen Dating Violence Peer Education Project offers teens in abusive relationships help from someone they trust – other teenagers.
Family Relationship Magazine’s pick of news and blog commentary:
- My Priorities – Should our children fit in?
- Praising destructive behaviour
- Male brain vs female brain
- But darling, can’t you be friends with someone wearing Boden?
- My little artist
- Zubber Bands – A Toyologist Review
- Too long since you left me
Incredibly moving prose, six months on from the loss of newborn Freddie.
We were giggling at those tragic people who take their blogging and Tweeting so seriously that they forget to actually have real lives to blog about.
Blogging is addictive, and blogging as a parent is often something that you just want to do to extreme, boasting and shouting about your kids, your triumphs, the highs, the lows, the comedic, the tragic…
Yet these twenty signs are all too familiar.
My absolute favourites:
- You find yourself tweaking the family Christmas cards for better SEO.
- When you take a photo of your kids, they say, “Is this for your blog?”
- When your partner accuses you of blogging too much, you immediately write a blog post asking, “Am I blogging too much?”
- When dressing in the morning, you automatically assess your outfit for potential v-log suitability.
Why not head over to the blog and leave your thoughts on your obsessive blogging?
A social network for parents of children aged between six and nine years old, Ready for Ten is a new web site run by and for these mums and dads.
If you have struggled to find resources for your six-, seven-, eight- or nine-year-old child, then you’re not alone. That’s the reason Ready for Ten was set up.
The site explains:
“For kids, these years are filled with new skills to master and different ways to exercise a growing sense of independence. There are adventures to be had and boundaries to be explored as kids start to become their own people.
Yet for all that happens in the years before ten, there’s an information gap for parents?
Most parenting resources focus on the baby and toddler years, or the ‘tween and teen years. Finding support and advice can be incredibly time-consuming, especially when you’ve got a busy child to keep you on your toes.”
It’s been designed by Britvic using their Fruit Shoot brand, but the company say they are dedicated to allowing parents to connect and converse, rather than trying to push their products.
Topics on the site include playing, learning, places to go, food and drink, growing kids, kids’ gear, parenting life and ‘funnies’. Each blogger is a parent of at least one child in the target age range, so you can be sure you’re reading thoughts and advice from people who are actually there, living the experience.
Inspired by Darren’s Bloggers to Watch List, I thought I’d ask Family Relationships Magazine readers which family bloggers they’ll be watching this year.
They could be mummy or daddy bloggers, or those blogging about education, childcare, marriage, pregnancy, health, family finances, or anything else of interest to families.
Leave a comment below with either a list of your favourite family/parent bloggers, or a link to your own blog post that lists them.
Over to you.
A new web site has launched — SuchASmartMom.com — which lets parents pool resources by asking questions of other parents.
Shrinking school budgets, crowded classrooms and fiercer-than-ever competition to get into college make it more important than ever for parents to be involved in their children’s education.
“As a mom, I understand all too well that parents have just 13 precious years to get their kids from kindergarten to college,” said site creator Ruth McKinnie Braun. “Such A Smart Mom will be there every step of the way as a trusted resource.”
Braun started Such A Smart Mom after more than two decades as a reporter and editor at The San Diego Union-Tribune. She’s a mother of two teens and a former parent group president with more than a decade of school volunteer experience.
Her extensive background in journalism shows through in the caliber of her reporting and writing. Her instincts as a mom and parent volunteer guide her story choices and bring a unique voice to her first-person blog that also appears on Such A Smart Mom.
“Our children can’t put their education on hold until the economy turns around,” Braun said. “Their time to learn is now. Fortunately, smart moms and dads can turn to Such A Smart Mom to help their kids get where they need to go.”
Wow, we’ve actually made it on to a “top 100″ list! Thanks to Totsy’s Place for publishing the the first ever Tots100 Index of British Parenting Blogs and Bloggers and for ranking us at number 72.
The ranking is actually based on some pretty nifty online measurements, namely
- Technorati Authority: number of blogs linking to this blog in the last six months
- Technorati Inlinks: number of inbound links, excluding self-referring hits
- Yahoo Inlinks: number of inbound links in last six months (excl self-referring hits)
- Google Blog Hits: number of posts/links/weblinks in Google
- Google Hits Recent: number of links from the last 30 days
- Readers: number of subscribers based on Feedburner and Google Reader
- HowSociable: the blogger’s visibility outside the blog, measuring activity on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Don’t worry if that’s all gobbledygook to you – basically it’s just a measure of how many people are linking here and interacting with us.
It’s quite an honour to be listed next to a number of fabulous parents who are blogging personally and passionately about their kids and their lives.
The top ten is as follows:
- Petite Anglaise
- Wife in the North
- Jo Beaufoix
- Alpha Mummy
- My Boyfriend is a Tw@t
- Crystal Jigsaw
- A Modern Mother
- Single Parent Dad
- Notes from Inside my Head
The press announcement also offers up five tips for being a “Mummy Blogger”
- Sign up for an account with a blog provider. Blogger is free and simple to use. Typepad and WordPress are a little more complex, but offer more features (for a price).
- Choose a blog name and write your profile. Think about how much personal information you feel comfortable sharing – you can always remain anonymous.
- Start writing! A blog is a bit like an online diary, but there are no rules on what you can write about. Recipes, days out, comment on the news – whatever you like. Just make it authentic, and remember to update once a week or more.
- If you want people to read your blog, make sure you read other people’s blogs. Include links to their work on your blog, and try to leave comments on their blogs. Eventually, people will start to visit and comment on your blog, too.
- As you settle into the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœblogosphere’, consider creating a blogroll (a list with links to your favourite blogs) and creating an RSS feed (a simple way of publishing your blog content in a form that people can subscribe to).
So, thanks for compiling the list, Talking Tots.
Secure and easy-to-use, the service allows an online “baby book” to be created, that can include photographs, videos, baby journal, baby “firsts” and favourites, and the opportunity for friends and family to interact.
The free service ensures that only trusted contacts can have access to the book.
BabyLolly.com was founded by UK-based BabyLolly Ltd.
The Internet isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of information and advice, but it isn’t a bad place to turn.
The Digital Nanny comes from a source that you can most definitely trust to have the best interests of parents and children at heart: the NSPCC.
Though parents can often feel isolated, stressed and without anyone to turn to when bringing up young children, YourFamily.org.uk comes to the rescue with the new Digital Nanny service.
It provides professional advice and support which includes such issues as discipline, communication, tantrums, nutrition and sleep.
Entering the child’s sex and age brings up bespoke information from experts at the NSPCC, including personalised responses.
Of course, it’s not a substitute for getting caring friends and family members around in real life, but sometimes that’s not always possible. At least some fundamentals are covered using this service, and it’s free.
Tots to Travel, the company providing genuinely child-friendly properties in France and Italy, has launched its award-winning formula in the UK. The new website that combines all three countries and a new online travel shop is now live.
Initially concentrated in Anglesey, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Shropshire, Tots to the UK properties offer a mix of good old-fashioned bucket and spade holidays, countryside escapes, eco retreats and farm stays, typically off the beaten track. The company will also be expanding to other parts of the country soon.
The Tots to Travel team personally visit and vet every property with a strong focus on safety features. All properties are fully kitted out with all the baby and child equipment families need, from cots and highchairs, to sterilisers, blenders, toys, potties and more. Babysitting is available at most properties and some also offer pampering treatments, spa facilities and home cooked meals.
“With the current economic climate, many people are looking to cut travel costs by holidaying locally. Most families aren’t willing to sacrifice their annual holiday entirely, but it’s more important than ever that the holiday they pay for is the best it can be,” explains Wendy Shand, founder of Tots to Travel.
“Having spent the last three years building successful operations in France and Italy, we’re now applying the same philosophy to the UK, making holidays with young children easier, so parents get the real break they need.”
An example of the type of property available is Owl Barn in Angelsey, a four bedroomed barn conversion sleeping up to 12 people, featuring slate, oak and stone throughout. It has a great games room, mountain bikes available and is situated just a mile from sandy beaches. Prices start from Ã‚Â£695 per week.
The new website TotsToTravel.co.uk also includes an online travel shop for a range of great holiday accessories, swimwear and travel goodies.
Welcome to a new feature celebrating the wealth of interesting articles, features, hints and tips in the world of parenting, family and relationships blogs.
We want to highlight the best stuff that’s out there. If you’ve written a brilliant article, or you know someone who has, why not send it in to us by emailing us.
Create your own play money
The idea is that you simply print out your own money designs, including family photos if you wish, and then tape them to the gift cards. The money is much stronger than the flimsy stuff that often comes with the toy register in the first place, and can even be used as play credit cards.
Last minute Valentine’s crafts
Goodyblog has posted up some last minute crafts for Valentine’s Day on Saturday, so if you’re feeling both arty and romantic and have a bit of time over the next day or so, head over and check it out.
Learning to tell time
Laylee now follows mum around reporting on the time and making sure everyone knows when she’s running late:
She’s also always ready to call me on my inconsistencies. “But Mom! You said you’d be ready to do story time in five minutes and it’s already been six minutes and you’re still not ready.”
And to this, as I frantically work to get dinner ready, I want to respond, “Yeah? Yeah? Well you didn’t even know that Spider-Man was a good guy until yesterday when I told you that I did not, in fact, buy Magoo Valentine cards covered with pictures of an evil villain mastermind so I don’t think you have any room to criticize. Besides, this food I’m making is for you.”
But that would be immature and very un-mom-like. And by the time I spit it all out, I would probably be at least three minutes late for story time and she’d know it, and then she’d pass that knowledge on to me.
“Yar” should do it
Dad About the Boy tells a delightful story of his son “P” who is very good with the word “Yeah”.
Not only does is signify agreement, but it’s also used repeatedly to beg for food.
Teaching him to say “Ta” when he’s given a piece of food has resulted in his “word economy” kicking in and the generation of a new word: Yar
He says this new word as if he’s an Australian – with a hopeful, pleading rising intonation at the end. So now, stood on the settee, hand on shoulder, he repeats “Yar. Yar. Yar” in your ear until you finally give in and a raisin is deposited into his mouth.
What a clever little boy he is.