…that time I failed at Mum-ing. Or at least FELT like I failed, miserably.
OK so there’s no such thing as a “FAIL” on the school report card (at least, I don’t think so!), but it definitely felt like a big fat F on my “Mum-report-card”. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will be familiar with this story (and image) from back in May…so to summarize: basically, I have high (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations of myself. ESPECIALLY where it comes to being a Mum. This particular point in time is when I’d been told, for the second time this year, that my lil man was falling behind at school. I felt like I’d failed him. I mean, I’m a stay at home mum. I eliminated pretty much everything possible that took my time away from focusing on my kids, and I still wasn’t doing good enough. He was tracking behind in his reading at the start of the year, but we caught up (not without some tears from both of us!) and surpassed the expectations, so in the back of my mind I knew we could do it again, but I still felt shit. And SO guilty – I knew extra work was coming his way, and he almost hates doing homework already. His teacher had asked me to sign for permission to put him in a special group 3 times a week (which of course I did!) and I was really lucky to have support and advice from some amazing Insta-mamas who are also teachers.
Making learning fun, for both our sakes
I went with my gut feeling on this and we took it one day at a time. No forced extra homework, just working fun ‘learning’ into our everyday life, like we did the first time ❤
SO we went on a little Mummy-son date. He picked out a ‘special’ pencil case and some stationery. To practice his spelling, writing and recall, (the ‘problematic areas’ at school) he has been keeping a ‘top secret’ journal, where his ‘secrets’ are written in a special pen that only shows under UV lights! (If you look closely, there’s a ‘secret’ message on the blue post-it in the pic!).
The yellow post-its are ‘special missions’ aka practicing using specific words for his creative writing. For spelling, we found that traditional flash-cards weren’t working.
I wrote his spelling words on green post-its and stuck them randomly around the house for him to find, and once he thought he knew how to spell them, he brought them back to our ‘spelling space’ (just the wall in the lounge) to be tested. When he’d mastered the words – he put them on his ‘wall of fame’ (side of kitchen cupboard) so he can see his progress (it’s getting pretty chocka!) and we randomly test from that list, just to make sure. And the blue post-its are for him to do whatever writing he wants – usually ‘secret’ messages to each of us saying I love you ❤
What’s your currency?
Reading homework can be a real drag. I discovered that it wasn’t that he couldn’t read, he just was SO disinterested in the books (see: Jake and the Big Tree) that he just didn’t care for reading homework.
We went to the library and got him to pick out ANYTHING he wanted to read, as long as he had 10 books to bring home. We ended up with quite a random mixture of books about the solar system, cooking, science experiments, some picture books to read to his little sister, and a couple of easy readers based on Iron Man and Hulk.
To add a little incentive – we told him every book he read would earn him 10mins of Playstation time…WELL! We’ve had to renegotiate that to 5mins earned for every book…he’s now reading anything and everything, and even thinks it’s fun!
I was so proud of how quickly lil man had turned it all around, so I wanted to treat him with something to celebrate, just not chocolate (his fave treat)!
We’d had so much fun with a borrowed set of the Bead Threading activity from Busy Bags…I got the Letter Threading set for him as another fun way to practice spelling. I also fell in love with the Order and Eat set using the CUTEST felt food handmade by Two Magpies…so we got that too. BOTH kids (and the cat) have had endless use of these sets, money seriously well spent.