I remember my Dad always telling me I mustn’t “be a teacher” to my own children – and I knew what he meant; that I mustn’t talk to them like they’re kids in my class and that I shouldn’t be constantly trying to teach them things instead of having fun. And I agree with him. However, in the same breath, it’s impossible for me not to be a teacher to my own children – aside from the fact we are all teaching our children without even realising it half the time – it’s completely natural to me to explain things to them, to demonstrate new stuff and to question their understanding of things, “teaching” is how my mind works. I can’t switch that off. (Ask any blogger friend who has had a message pointing out a typo!)
I like to think that, for the most part, I’ve got the balance right. It may surprise you to know that we do very little “work” at home – as a parent I feel its my responsibility to read with them, to give them opportunities to play imaginatively and to provide them with exciting experiences and adventures which open their minds, broaden their horizons and give them something to relate their reading to or to inform their writing. I think we do a good job of that. Nevertheless, there are times I feel we should be doing more at home. Listening to more reading, writing more, practising handwriting. Certainly with Ben’s KS1 SATs coming up I often feel guilty that I’m not using my teaching skills and experience more to prepare him for this.
I’ve recently been introduced to Education Quizzes – a subscription site designed to help support children across the Key Stages from KS1 (which is Ben right now) right through to GCSE quizzes. The quizzes are written be qualified, experienced teachers and cover all aspects of the school curriculum. For once this isn’t just about maths and English!
Although I’ve had a good nose at the site as a whole, I’ve paid particular attention to the KS1 and KS2 quizzes – as that’s where my own skill set lies! The site is easy to navigate and the quizzes are set out in a simple multiple choice format. At the start of each quiz there is an explanation for parents as to what the quiz will cover and how this fits with the curriculum. There’s no distracting graphics or anything, just get on and do your quiz. As you work your way through the quiz, you are told immediately if you got the answer right or not and also given a quick tip on how best to work out the answer. (Again this is really useful for parents who want to know how to help their children.) Once you’ve completed your test your total score is recorded on the front page of that subject area so you can try and beat it next time – you will be given the same quiz rather than a variation of it though so you might want to jump around the topics a bit to make sure the questions have been forgotten before you do it again!
The biggest plus points of for me are that the quizzes are short and sharp – meaning your child isn’t going to get fed up with them. As a parent they give you a clear taste of what is expected of your child and what gaps they might have so you can support them better at home. Oh, and the challenge of beating your previous score is always appealing – who doesn’t love a bit of competition, even if it is with yourself!
A subscription for Education Quizzes cost £7.50 a month and can be cancelled at any time. As a Mum of three, on a tight budget, I like the fact that you don’t have to sign up to a full year. You can subscribe for a month and see how you get on. It’s the sort of thing I would subscribe to in the run up to SATs and over the summer holidays when you want to keep their brains ticking over – but then would perhaps pause the subscription over Christmas when I know they’re not going to have time to access it. The flexibility of this really appeals to me. Of course £90 a year is a quite a substantial commitment for an individual family, however Education Quizzes offer a whole school subscription which means that, depending on the number of pupils, it can cost as little as £2.00 per year per student. What a great way to organise homework!