Some weeks have a pleasant groove and this was one of them. I used to write posts where it felt like we did this much in a day; these days we mostly go at a slower pace and while it might seem like less is achieved in some ways, so much comes out of the activities we get through that it feels as satisfying as those long ago “and then we had lunch” days.
Early on in the week the local authority popped through the door in letter form wanting contact again. Sigh. This naturally produced an instant panic that not enough education had occurred though the year. In point of fact, all I wanted from this year was to see my children whole and happy again and that much seems to have been achieved.
What does it all add up to? And in fact, now I come to think of it, what have we been up to all year?
So, as is only appropriate at times like this, we did some maths tests. Some dreaded SATs. And without wishing to bother with the ins and outs of it all, they all did really well, coming in the very top band of whichever paper they did. Josie actually managed 100%, which isn’t bad going given I feel like I never actually teach her anything. I loved that she really wanted a test and has a good way of coming up with methods to work things out. She’s a very thoughtful logical girl. Amelie sailed through and so did Maddy, so whatever we have done this year, they are all very much up to speed in their maths, they can all read, they can all write and they all appear to function.
Although I do find it profoundly upsetting that they all then asked for more
We spent a lot of one afternoon going through some of their areas of weakness (to be fair Maddy got 118/150, mostly lost on silly mistakes or things I had never taught her so didn’t have too many) and learning new things. We learned (all of us!) about multiplying brackets out and how a +/- sign is actually stuck to the number or letter to the right of it. We learned how to multiply with negatives (a move on from cakes on plates here… minus numbers are killer viruses) and we learned (with difficulty, Maddy did not approve) that some equations are not meant to have an answer, just a different version of the sum Very much the completer finisher, is Maddy.
I was exhausted. I also know my maths and my understanding of numbers, is a great deal better than it was 10 years ago. It fact, I was snorted at by my children only yesterday when I referred to our alternative route to a party being like “going along the hypotenuse in that sum last week, rather than the right angle.” It’s un-mummy, to say such things, apparently.
And so on to a little review of a product Twinkl I was sent login details to too many weeks ago and have not achieved writing about until now.
One of the problems with home educating is sometimes just laying your hands on resources really quickly I often used to make mine, number cards, word dominoes, matching cards. I would laminate the best of them, find places to print out things that appealed, hunt down worksheets to give quick access to more practise on some subject that would come up. And of course I spent money on things like educational games and jigsaws too. Over the years there is less on the net for free and more and more needs to be paid for. That’s fair enough, but I often find there is not enough to make a paying decision on, or not enough content once you do pay. My lack of bookmarking skills mean I can lose things I liked, or they move or close because they were free and got too busy.. .or, well, you get the picture.
Twinkl is primarily a teacher resource which has a large and growing quantity of numeracy and literacy resources on it. They range right through the spectrum of KS1-KS2 (I’m sure I saw some things I know would be used beyond that too, especially if you have a child for whom spelling has come slowly) in Numeracy and Literacy. There are games, matching cards, bingo, word lists, maths practise and all sort of other things to print out and use. The sets are clearly described and have guide pictures so you know what you are opening and there is good labeling to help you see age appropriateness, content and style. I like the resource packs which group entire subjects together in one pdf you can download and also put items together in phases for a job lot of similar ability work. There is a parents area for schooling parents with more useful help in it, particularly sheets you can download to help with basic skills. In other subject areas there is the opportunity for educators to share ideas and resources which is a great idea. Hopefully as Twinkl grows it will add it’s own spin to these topics too.
My thoughts: there is lots in Twinkl I would use; Josie has enjoyed matching cards and word lists this week and I can see lots of the maths will be helpful. I like how it is set out and I think there is a ‘money’s worth’ of resources for anyone with 5-11 year olds here. I like the helpful tips laced through it, such as printing the resources in a more home friendly, smaller way and I think the community feel, with shared resources, is a great idea. There are obviously resources in it a home educator wouldn’t use, such as classroom labels etc but most items in the site would have an application at home. Plus I really like that it feels ‘alive’ – the resource feels cared for and ‘kempt’ as it were and I know it is being added to and improved all the time. I sense a business keen to give it’s subscribers what they want. Given the time I could easily spend sourcing, buying or making lots of these items if I needed them for a child wanting support in some area, i think the years £29.99premium membership definitely worth it.
Disclosure: I was given free Premium membership to Twinkl for this review and mention. Opinions are my own.