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To the Boy in the Corner.

I saw you today.

Don’t worry.

I saw the other boys too.

Don’t fret.

I don’t think you did fret at all actually and that’s what I really admired.  I also admired the fact that you stuck up for yourself in the situation I unknowingly put you in.  You see, it was partially my fault.  I didn’t seat you in a good place in my classroom because I was rushed, so for that I apologise.  Teaching four back to back lessons today, meant that you didn’t quite get the attention you deserved when you walked into my classroom for only the second time since you started at school three weeks ago.

I am sorry that I flipped when I saw one boy point and snigger at you.

That was my trigger point and I probably didn’t help the situation when my anger boiled over.  I am not usually a shouter you see.  You’ll probably learn that in time when you get to know me better as your teacher.  But, what I am is a mother and in that split second I saw someone potentially laughing and pointing at my own son or daughter in ten years time and my instinct to protect those who are perhaps a little more vulnerable than others just kicked in.

“One thing I won’t stand for is bullying!” I yelled.  “In my classroom, no one will ever be made to feel worthless.” The boys I kept behind flinched at my voice and denied everything.

“If you don’t like each other, then that is fine, but you accept and respect each other’s differences.”

I may have stumbled on my words a little (did I mention I am not a shouter?), but the boys and you all caught onto my gist.

Everyone eventually apologised – even you.  Because you weren’t innocent in all of this.  I told you more than once to stay focused on your own work and not wind the other boys up.

I think you were trying to make amends; make them laugh perhaps, but they didn’t ‘get’ you, just as you didn’t ‘get’ them.  The most satisfying part of my job is working with young people like yourself.  Your personalities are infectious and unique and that’s an amazing thing, but unfortunately, it sometimes means that not everyone will want to be your friend while at the same time, you might not want to be theirs.  And that is fine. It’s totally fine.

“Are you okay?” I asked when the other boys had left my room.

“Yes,” you chirped.  “I didn’t see them laughing and pointing.”

Should I have left it then?  Should I have turned my back on someone laughing at you because you didn’t notice?  Your feelings were not hurt and you’re fine – you told me so.

Was I wrong to try and help?

“Don’t ever change,” I told you as you left my classroom.  “Don’t let others tell you who you should be.”  You looked at me, smiled and then sauntered away to your next lesson.

I imagine that everything I said to both you and the boys vanished from your minds within the hour.

But, with me it lingered because I fear I made a mistake.  Perhaps a quiet word with the perpetrators would have been the better solution, but the idea of someone being bullied in my class caused me to lose my cool, if only for a moment.

Please be assured that the next time you all enter my class, everything will be forgotten. I’ll sit you in a seat better suited to your needs and I will teach, talk to and laugh with the others who may or may not have laughed at you because with each new lesson comes a new start, a new learning focus and a new way of earning mutual respect for one another.

This evening, my daughter told me that a big girl was mean to her today at school.  In only her third week at school, my heart ached a little for her.  I don’t quite think she fully understands the term bullying (and I don’t think she is being bullied), but she recognised the fact that being called a ‘weirdo’ is not right or acceptable.  I asked her to talk me through what happened.

It was during Breakfast Club and I think she was struggling pick up her empty bowl and cup to return to the adults who were serving the food and drink.  I think she asked one of the older pupils to help and she was ignored.  Later, she told me, the same pupil pushed into her and called her a ‘weirdo’.  I am not naive in the fact that what my four year daughter told me may not be entirely true, so rather than tell her to retaliate or tell a teacher, I simply told my girl to ignore and stay away from the said pupil.

“Next time she does it Mummy, I’ll just shout ‘No, that’s naughty!'” she said.

As much as I wanted to fist bump her and yell ‘yeah, you go girl!’ I feared that this would only provoke the pupil into calling her a name again, or heaven forbid, laugh at my girl’s feeble attempt at sticking up for herself.

Was my daughter fazed by allegedly being called ‘weird’?  No, of course she wasn’t.  In fact, if I were to mention it to her again in the morning, she would probably deny all knowledge of having said it in the first place – such is the sieve like memory of a four year old recalling a school day. (She remembers every single day for a year that she wants jelly maker for her birthday, but can’t remember anything she does at school – heaven help me when she is fourteen.)

However, if (and it is a big IF), if my daughter is wronged again by this pupil, or by any child, then this defense mechanism of loudly saying ‘no that’s naughty’ she seems so eager to try might just draw the attention of some caring teacher who will not stand for any bullying in his or her classroom. And whether my girl wants the teacher’s attention to be drawn to her or not, the bullying, the name calling, the pushing, the being called out for being different has to stop.

FULL STOP.

Therefore, to the boy in the corner.  Let me apologise for perhaps drawing some unwanted attention to you.  But, I won’t apologise for highlighting yours and many others’ plight.

I won’t stand for bullying in my classroom.

Not now.

Not ever.

Being true to yourself is cool as is enjoying and working hard at school! 😊

 

 

 


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Essentials To Remember When Home Schooling Seems Tough

There are plenty of reasons why we choose to homeschool a child, and they vary from parent to parent. Some parents want to raise their kid in a specific faith environment, while others just don’t have good schools nearby. Some parents have children who have special needs, and others are worried about bullying. Whatever the reasons, homeschooling has been shown to have positive results for kids.

Of course, the fact we need to bear in mind is that there are as many different ways to approach homeschooling as there are people who do it. The way you choose to do it may be different from the way I do, and so on. And as long as you raise a well-adjusted, clever kid with options for the future, it’s a success. But I can say you’ll have doubts about whether you’re doing it right. Why? Because every parent who home schools their kid does. And every parent who doesn’t, too.

Image Credit: Pixainsecurity-1306280_1280-1

 

Why Would You Have Doubts?

Simply put, you get one shot at every decision you make in life, and the road not traveled will always be there in the back of your mind. If your kid struggles with math, you’ll wonder if a school teacher would have made it easier. If your child’s friends are on a field trip, and he or she wants to go, you’ll wonder. Because you could have done it differently, you’ll wonder if you should have. And similarly, those choices exist between different choices you can make in homeschooling.

What Can You Do About Those Doubts?

Not much, you’ll still have them even if your kid goes on to become President. But you have those doubts because you care. Allow them to guide you to the right decision. It’s good that you have them – you love your kid! If you feel you can’t get them where they need to be in Chemistry or any other subject that passes you by, there are home tuition options that will give them a better chance. You don’t have to do it all on your own!

Do Parents Who Send Their Kids To School Have This Problem?

Absolutely they do! And a few more besides. The right decision for your child is the one you’re most comfortable with, and for those parents; that’s what suits them. But on the other hand, they have to worry about bullies – no school is without them. They have to worry about their child being overlooked – class sizes mean it can be unavoidable. You don’t have to worry about these things.

At times, of course, it’s going to feel like you’re not getting the right results. You may not feel like you want to send your child to school, but you’ll wonder if you’re doing it right. And sometimes you’ll need to change things. That’s what parenting is all about, in the end.

You’re only ever failing as a parent if your child has reason to doubt that you love them and want the best for them. Making the right decisions for their education is a sure sign that you do both.


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How Can We Nurture Well-Rounded and Confident Children?

When you are a parent, you are under all sorts of different pressures. You are meant to expose your children to x, y and z, to help them to become a well-rounded and confident individual. The are pressures as to how you discipline your child, what you feed them, and of course, what they are fed right from birth. This minefield that we call parenting is a tricky business, but lots of fun along at the way too.

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I do think that it is important for our children to get involved and try lots of different activities. It is all costs permitting, but can make a real difference in their lives. Music lessons and sports activities are great examples of this kind of thing. They help our children to develop in ways that they might not be able to show in the classroom. Take sports day for example. Is it all about the taking part that counts? The jury is still out on that one. However, I do think that it is a time for the students that don’t always excel in the classroom to shine. So should that be taken away from them? Shouldn’t all of our children be praised when they do something well, and not all just given a medal or trophy for turning up? It is important to learn that we can’t be the best at everything. If your child can, then great. But I don’t think there is too much wrong with learning to be gracious and accepting defeat sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes.

If there aren’t any appropriate clubs for your children where you live, then it might be a good idea to do things with them at home. You could play various sports with them in the garden or at the park. You could run mini-competitions for bike riding or running races. It is just good to get them experiencing different things and learning about healthy competition. It is something that will carry on in their whole life, so it is good that they learn to deal with it all. You could always get them some trophies or medals from somewhere like www.trophiesplusmedals.co.uk. Then they can be praised for doing well and achieving.

 

Getting our children involved in crafts and different hobbies is a great idea too. When they learn new skills, they just become more interesting, if nothing else! They will develop in confidence for themselves when they aim for something and achieve it. Whether that is getting a certain badge at Brownies, or achieving a grade in music. I don’t mean confidence in a loud and obnoxious way, either. But the best confidence is for them to develop confidence in themselves. When they are happy and confident with themselves, they will do so much better in life. They will push themselves and know their limits. There is more in an article here www.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/child-rearing-and-development/ that goes into more detail. So getting your child involved in a variety of activities is such a good idea Whether at home or not, it is all good!


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It’s No Big Deal!

I was the first person to hold you when you came screaming into our world.

Birth is not a big deal, I thought, as I passed you to Daddy so he could meet his girl.

The midwife made a big deal when I said I didn’t know how to fasten a nappy,

It made me feel stupid and alone, when really I should have just felt happy.

I found feeding you so difficult at first, but I tried and tried and tried.

Health visitors thought I was being dramatic when the pain came and I cried.

But, I persevered; I fed you myself and in the end it wasn’t a big deal,

The long nights soon started and then the sh*t got real.

Sleep deprivation became a well known form of torture,

Never did you sleep in the lovely cot we bought you.

No big deal.

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About an hour old!

Tomorrow you start school and that’s no big deal,

You’re more than ready and this I know, but what’s this emptiness I feel?

Your uniform is hanging neatly in your darkened room,

And you’re sleeping right now so sweetly with your dreams dancing in full bloom.

“It’s your first day tomorrow! What will you do if Mummy cries?”

“It’s not a big deal, stop saying that!” Then you roll your eyes.

I can tell you’re ready, it’s plain to see because

When I talk about school, you literally beam with glee.

I hope it lives up to your expectations and is everything you want it to be,

I hope you make friends quickly and are not too shy like me.

But, if you find your first day tough, don’t worry, it’s not a big deal,

There’s always another day where you can start a fresh and put up a brand new shield.

Dream big, my girl!


There will be times when I can’t help, there will be issues you’ll have to deal.

And what you feel will one day be felt, because as time passes, you will heal.

Friends may come and friends may go, but please remain kind and true,

Popularity doesn’t matter as just long as you are you.

Mummy is looking forward to listening to your story books,

I won’t make a big deal when you learn new words; I will avoid your embarrassed looks.

It’ll be no big deal when you’re all dressed up, armed and ready to go.

I won’t fuss with your hair, take lots of photos and insist on the girly red bow.

 

As a teacher, I know you are in the best place you can be,

You need to learn from others and not just listen to nagging from me.

Your teachers will know you inside out and will know what it is you like to learn,

It’s not a big deal if you struggle at something; it’s okay to crash and burn.

But, it’s important that you stand back up again and tackle the challenge you face.

Your teachers won’t think it’s a big deal, in fact, they will think you’re ace.

As you go into your new school, I will go into mine too,

And I will greet new pupils who have butterflies in their tummies just like you.

I’ll smile, introduce myself and play down the importance of the day.

“Right!  Who know’s what a homophone is?  Let’s crack on.” is what I’ll say.

It’s alright to feel overwhelmed when you experience something new,

Just smile to yourself because it’s no big deal as friends will always find you.

Go get ’em kidda! (Mummy know it’s a huge deal really!) 

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You rocked Lower Foundation!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Parenting Rapped Up!

To be rapped loudly to the theme tune of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ (the unedited version.)
Now this is a story all about me,

How my house became a mess and why I’m always grubby,

And I’ll like to take a minute just sit right there,

‘Cos I’ll show you how to master the CBeebies blank stare.

In lovely West Yorkshire, I spend most of my days,

Cleaning, not sleeping and dozing in soft plays,

No chilling or relaxing, it’s taxing, not cool,

Wading knee deep in ball pools, I look like a fool.

Then a couple of mums see me stuck on the slide.

“Scootch on down!” they say, but it’s no good I’ve tried.

I managed one sip of tea before my kid got scared,

He got stuck in a net and shouted at anyone who cared.

Soft play hell – don’t forget your socks!


My daughter begs and pleads for something every single day,

For toys and sweets and her own goddamn way.

She shouts and screams so she gives me no choice,

Out come the big guns: my loud teacher voice.

She cries and on my cheeks she’s suddenly a kissing, 

I grab my keys to the car and ask her which Barbie she’s missing.

She’s crying because she is lost…in a maze!


I praise those mommas who have braved having a third,

Just how many more years do you want covered in turd?

Some mornings I wake and think I could do it again.

But then I think nah forget it, I prefer myself sane.

I pull up to my house about seven or eight,

I’ve been at parents’ evening and you’re telling me they’re still bloody awake!

But, then I look over at my babies and I love them to their bones 

Now please go to bed so I can watch ‘Game of Thrones’!

My babies

#Peaceout

#90sTeen


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Putting the Swing Back into Golf! 

“We’re going on an adventure!”

“We’re just going on a train.”

Teaching Mum: Destroyer of Dreams.

“What?  Like Harry Potter?”

“Yes, like Harry Potter.  I imagine the train into Leeds will be exactly like the Hogwarts Express.”

Teaching Mum: Re-animator of Dreams.

Therefore, as we stepped onto the train, my girl was bursting with excitement. Unfortunately, when she saw no Harry, Ron, Hermione or chocolate frogs bouncing on the seats, her enthusiasm faded somewhat.

“Can I play games on your phone?” My girl asked the minute we began to move.

“No,”

“I want to play games.  Can I play games on your phone?  Give me your phone!”

“I bet Harry Potter doesn’t play games on his phone whilst he is on the train to Hogwarts.  Look out of the window and enjoy the view.”

Where’s Harry and Ron?

No sooner had I said that and I saw some expletive language scrawled across the wall we were whizzing by and quickly handed her my phone in order to divert her eyes.  I bet Harry Potter didn’t see the word ‘cockwomble’ emblazoned across a wall on his way to Hogwarts.

Eleven minutes later and my girl, Grandma P and myself arrived in Leeds Train Station. Eleven minutes!  I was very impressed.  I don’t often get the train, so I made a mental note to mention this to the Other Half when I got home.  Perhaps, on a rare child-free evening, we could catch the train into the cosmopolitan and vibrant city that is Leeds and treat ourselves to a few cocktails and some delicious food.  Then I remembered that the Other Half doesn’t like cocktails, fine dining or socialising so I quickly scrapped the idea.  It’s that damned ‘Othertownsilitus’ that he suffers from; he gets nervous and jittery when he leaves our precious little village.  Well, that’s the reason he tells me when I complain that we haven’t been on a date in six years.

Anyway, ‘why were you in Leeds?’ I hear you cry.  Well, the reason being was that my daughter and I had been invited to our very first blogging event.  My little blog sits steadily under the radar when it comes to making a living from it (I don’t), being recognised for awards and being invited to review products and events, which is fine because they were not my reason for starting to write.  So when I received an email inviting my daughter and I to a golf event at the Hilton Hotel in Leeds with Online Golf, an on line golf retailer, I was a little chuffed.

The Dude was staying at home with Daddy because the thought of him wielding a gold club around in a confined space was a little too much to handle.  So, who else was going to come with me?  Yep, that’s right.  Grandma.

Upon reaching her house, I was greeted with the now familiar sight of her surrounded by a load of contact lenses and looking confused.  Way back in December, she had her eyes lasered and has had nothing but trouble since.

“They have sent me more; I think these are wrong too.  Can we just call at the opticians first?

Therefore, once we arrived in Leeds, our first destination was not the Hilton, it was an opticians.  To cut a boring story short, the heavens opened while we were inside being taught our left eye from our right eye and were caught in a downpour on route to the hotel.

Not looking too dissimilar from a drowned rat when we arrived, we were greeted, welcomed and offered a drink before the activities started for the day.  Before long, we were ushered into another room that was filled with lots of different golfing activities.  We were introduced to the team running the event and the children all split up to trial different activities.  In my opinion, my girl chose the most difficulty activity first.

“I think that will be too hard for you.  You need to chip it up.”  As you can tell by my language, my golfing knowledge is second to none…

My Mum scolded me and told me to let her have a go because she would never learn otherwise.

Yes, Mum.  Sorry, Mum.

A very friendly instructor spoke to all of the children and explained, in detail, how to hold a golf club and what they needed to do in order to score top points in the game.  Once the explanations were finished, it was time to have a go.  All of the children waited patiently for their turn and put their hands up when they wanted a go.  Some of the older children had a go first and they proved that the activity was indeed quite difficult.  I found it hard to imagine my four year old being able to do it any better.

She didn’t prove me wrong.

Walking precariously up to the instructor and the tee, he explained patiently once again how to hold a club.  My girl just stood with her hands out clearly not knowing her left from her right.  Maybe I ought to teach her that essential piece of knowledge at some point… Nevertheless, she was eventually holding the club and was ready to swing.

Being taught for the first time how to hold a club.

She swung.

She missed.

She swung again.

She missed.

She swung a third time.

She hit the ball; it rolled off sideways into the net.  She was pleased though and ran over and high-fived me.

I bet Rory McIlroy is shaking in his golf shoes.

I think she hit the next ball although I can’t be sure.

As all this was going on, another blogger came over and introduced herself.

“I like your fringe,” she said.

Reaching for my now curly and frizzy bangs, I told her that it was in desperate need for a trim.  Bearing in mind that I now resembled the blonde version of Monica ‘it’s the humidity’ Gellar, I wasn’t 100% sure that she was being serious with me.

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The beautiful Yorkshire summer ruined my hair.

The lady assured me that my fringe looked cool and I was happy to have met a fellow Yorkshire blogger who appreciated the dishevelled look I was sporting.

By this time, the children had rotated and changed activities and next up was the opportunity to knock some foam pins down with a golf ball and putter.  I thought my girl was much better suited to this activity as it looked much simpler than the last.

I was right.

Well, I was right about it being a bit easier.  I was wrong about my girl being better at it.

Eyes on the ball, not me!

In the few minutes that she had left one activity, she had forgotten how to hold the club. Once again, another very patient and friendly instructor told her what to do.

She swung.

She missed.

You know how this goes.  No pins went down, but Mummy did catch one as it veered off through the air.

The instructor asked how many pins she knocked down.

“Three!” she announced proudly.

The cheat! (She actually thought he was asking her how many goes she had.  Well, that’s the story she is going with.)

Next up was Crazy Golf.  Yes!  She had played this before.  She would know what to do.

Guess what?

She had forgotten how to hold the putter again.  For the third time she finally grasped the putter correctly and started to play and…she wasn’t terrible.  There were no holes in one, but there were one or two ‘holes in two’.  (Is that even a golfing term?)

How do you hold it again?

Once the activities had finished, we were treated to lunch and given a little gift bag.

Donned in her new golfing cap, we made our way back to the train station.

“Is the adventure almost over?” my girl asked.

“Yes, the train will be here soon.  Have you enjoyed yourself?”

She nodded and soon enough we were on the train and moving again.  Then the familiar questions started once more.

“Can I have your phone?  Can I play games on your phone?”

Reluctantly, I handed her the phone.

“Mummy?  Have you got any golf games on your phone?”

Thanks for having us!

This post was written in collaboration with Online Golf.

 


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Back to School with Wynsors World of Shoes

The summer holidays, this year, have been fantastic simply because I have been able to spend precious time with my family.  My children have played together brilliantly and we have enjoyed our first family holiday in three years.

And the holidays aren’t over yet.

I know that come the 4th of September, I will be clinging on to the last few hours of summer 2016 with all my might because I just don’t want it to end.  This is for two reasons: the first being that I just want to spend as much time with my family before I return to work in September because once the new term starts, I won’t stop to rest until Christmas.  The second reason is because I will have to come to terms with the fact that my little girl – my first born – will be starting full time school on the 5th of September.  I know she is ready for it; she asks about school almost every day and she is becoming more and more independent by the second.  The question is though: I am ready for it?

Emotionally, I am not ready for it – she’s my baby!

Literally, I am not ready for it because, well, those of you who know me know that I am very disorganised and rather forgetful at times.

As I have been so busy enjoying the summer holidays (see, I am blaming something else for my inadequacies) purchasing back to school essentials for my daughter has fallen by the wayside.  I seriously need to get my act together especially as there is only just over two weeks to go.

That’s when the email landed in my inbox.  The email that might have just saved my bacon and saved me from the sudden rush of panic buys that would no doubt take place in the early days of September.  My daughter and I were invited to Wynsors World of Shoes where we could look at and sample their fantastic Back to School range.

As soon as we walked through the doors, we were greeted by the most friendly staff who immediately complemented my girl on her fancy looking dress.

“We’re going out for dinner,” I explained.  “We wouldn’t ordinarily be this dressed up when looking for school shoes.”

Once our formal attire was made clear, we were shown the Back to School range and what surprised me the most was how extensive it was and it included a number of big brand names such as Kickers and Adidas.

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Back to School range – photo courtesy from Wynsors World of Shoes

After looking at the shoes, my daughter was asked to sit down in order to have her feet measured. Wynsors World of Shoes offer a personalised measuring service so once we knew what size shoe we needed, we were asked to pick some shoes we liked.  I decided to take a step back and allow my own ‘Little Miss Independent’ to pick her own.  Spoilt for choice, she chose three pairs including a pair from their Disney Frozen range.  As my daughter tried on her shoes, the lady who was serving us thoroughly checked the fit of each shoe.  Despite all of the shoes being the same size, the fits were very different and in the end, the pair that fit perfectly were a cute patent pair with a love heart pattern.

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Personalised measuring service.

Once the shoes were decided upon, we were ushered towards the back of the store where we were greeted with more back to school essentials.  My girl chose a Finding Dory back pack, a Frozen lunch box (Mummy wanted the Finding Dory lunchbox so that everything would match…) and a range of Frozen stationary.  Fantastic!

All the essentials under one roof!

I cannot praise the staff enough to be honest as they made my daughter feel like the most important girl in the world.  Starting school can be a very apprehensive time for both parents and children, so to have the staff at Wynsors World of Shoes in Castleford take a genuine interest in us and offer us a personalised service was wonderful.

This girl looks ready for school, although I am not sure the dress will be allowed.

This is a collaborative piece of writing whereby we were kindly invited to trial Wynsors World of Shoes Back to School range.