Category Archives: learning

Project Wild Thing

As a mum of 3 that home educates i think I’m fair in saying that as a mum whatever your situation you are time strapped, there’s an endless tirade of cooking, cleaning, tidying, making and unmaking appointments, food shopping, pet care, bath time, homework (i think you get the point!) So where do you fit in the time to just simply down tools, act like the child you really are and get outside, and get dirty?
Well that’s the point, something has to give! We as families cannot go on with using technology to replace the sheer wonderousness of outdoor play, yes its scary allowing our little angles (when they aren’t trying to murder each other that is!) to go outside alone, or even to have our eyes taken off them for 30 secs, i get it i really do, having a child manage to get out of your house and wander off down the street is enough to put the fear of god in you, i don’t think i actually breathed for the whole 3mins it took me to find her! But this cotton wool world we have all created out of our own insecurities is taking away the one thing children yearn the most and that’s the ability to learn from their surroundings, there is really only so many times you can play angry birds after all!

So anyway after receiving a Little Dish email i discovered this new project, Project Wild Thing, and this is what they do..

Project Wild Thing is a film led movement to get more kids (and their folks!) outside and reconnecting with nature. The film is an ambitious, feature-length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly disparate connection between children and nature.
And Project Wild Thing is much more than a film, this is a growing movement of organisations and individuals who care deeply about the need for nature connected, free-range, roaming and outdoor playing kids in the 21st century. Hundreds of people have already committed huge amounts of time, energy, resources and money to help get the project where it is today. Which is really just the beginning.
The journey started in late 2010 with film-makers Green Lions exploring a film approach to an emerging issue coined ‘nature deficit disorder’ in kids. A collaboration formed with the National Trust who were also looking at the issue and through the Britdoc Foundation support for the development of the film and movement has gathered along the way from RSPBPlay EnglandPlay ScotlandPlay WalesNHS Sustainable Development UnitTFTWoodland TrustsAMV BBDO and Arla foods.
In summer 2012 Greenlions formed a collaboration with Good for Nothing, helping co-create the foundation of David Bond’s nature marketing program, this was supported by generous contributions from the Do LecturesTYF AdventuresEden Project and Al Kennedy.
In the autumn of 2012 the Natural Childhood Summit hosted by the National Trust brought together hundreds of organisations to explore the challenges and issues more widely and collaboratively.
Project Wild Thing emerged and thousands of people have pledged to support the project a year before the film has launched. A Kickstarter campaign raised further funding from hundreds of awesome individuals around the world to finish the film production.
In January 2013 Swarm Partnership came on board with support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and The Wild Network was hatched. The network is an open, growing collaborative group of organisations big and small seeking to tackle the many issues raised in the film and champion the wonders of being outside. An advisory group was established with the WildLife Trusts currently heading that up.
Phew!
Project Wild Thing and The Wild Network is a people powered movement, it’s success will be down to the actions and the energy of this growing community.
If you want nature, wildness and free-range living for kids and adults to exist alongside an increasingly industrialised and technological society then join us and get involved in making that happen.
See you on the outside.
 
So sign up https://projectwildthing.com and pledge as little as 10 mins per day where you swap screen time for outside time and enjoy what nature has to offer yourself and your children. Nothing combats those stress levels than a lovely walk through the park or a dog walk to the local lake or even as simply as walking home from school instead of taking the bus or car… whatever gets you all out of the house and enjoying each other if we don’t make the change, who will?!!
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kinect… a new age educational tool?

As I was born before the invention of the Internet, sourcing information on the goodies I wanted to fill my head with as a child meant bleeding every adult i knew of information or whiling away the hours at the library with my head stuck in books however for my children its simple enough to switch on a computer and reach every morsel of information they could ever require all in one place all the while still sporting yesterdays PJ’s!
Now I’m no advocate for the Internet, its not the ideal place for children to be but for its wealth of knowledge I’m madly in love with it. the things I could of learnt as a child if I had had the Internet at my disposal. (insert evil laugh here)

I have also found an alternative to the nasties of the Internet in the form of new kinect games from Sesame Street and Nat Geo TV. Not only do they get the kids up and about on rainy cold days but they provide them with skills and knowledge you wouldn’t necessarily learn otherwise.
My little two ones had so much fun in Sesame Street playing with all the Muppet’s and not knowingly learning skills and it was a fun change of pace for them from books and the sort.

Our eldest enjoyed learning all about what Nat Geo wild has to offer, not only can you be a bear, yeah that’s right BE A BEAR!!! who doesn’t wanna be a bear?1 but she also learnt from first hand experience all about Grizzly Bears in Yellowstone Park and that’s just the first episode.

Price wise I feel they are more than fair at £20 each, both come with 2 discs with episodes and interactive games on both discs. Each episodes lasts about 45 mins so the right amount of time for children to learn without getting bored and great value for money.
They also expand as more and more episodes are released through xbox live allowing the fun to last and last.
I never thought I’d say this but Ive finally found a game aimed at children that is fun AND educational and surprisingly kinect actually works!
Now Wonderbook, you have a lot to live up to!!!

Until next time..

L x

Can Educational Toys be fun?

As we home educate, and have done for almost a year you find that you learn even from every day chores like food shopping or baking and the girls are just soaking up life like little person shaped sponges so when i was asked to review some educational toys from RM at Home i couldn’t believe my luck!

For those of you who have never hear of RM at Home here’s a little more about them…

                                        

‘Making learning fun’ is number one education concern for parents

When it comes to supporting children’s education, the main concern for parents is that learning should be fun.  That’s what research conducted by RM Education has revealed.  But how do you make learning fun and effective?

RM Education has launched ‘RM At Home’ – a brand new website offering a wide range of products for ‘happy learning’.  Research by RM Education, the leading provider of technology for learning, revealed that the number one concern for parents when it comes to supporting their child’s education is making learning fun. 72% of those surveyed said making learning fun was of ‘great importance’, with a further 25% saying it was of ‘some importance’.  Other top concerns included help with numeracy, online safety and avoiding falling behind.*

Additional research into parental involvement with schools shows that 75% of parents believe education is a shared responsibility between themselves and schools**. Keen to fulfil this important role in their child’s learning outside of school, their main concern is that their involvement should be fun.

Presenter and mum of three boys, Philippa Forrester, is helping RM At Home raise awareness among parents of the products that are available through RM At Home (Home.rm.com) that make learning enjoyable and effective outside school hours.

Philippa Forrester comments: “As a mum of three, it’s always been really important to me to support my children’s education.  But at the end of the day when they get from school I want them to have fun as well.  That’s what I love about RM At Home – loads of great ways to help parents support their children’s learning without it feeling like hard work.

“And it’s not just fun.  All of these products have proven educational value – they are used and trusted by schools throughout the country so the quality is extremely high – it has to be to survive in a classroom!”

Commenting for RM Education, Senior Educationalist Kat Howard says: “You can buy fun stuff that’s not educational and you can buy things that are educational but not fun.  We are fulfilling a need for learning resources that have proven educational worth while also being enjoyable for children to play with.

“One product we’re particularly excited about is Easimaths. It’s an online maths tuition software for children aged five to 11 and it’s adaptive, which means as soon as the child masters something, they are immediately moved on to the next level.  It’s bright, colourful and games-based and costs just £34.99 a year.”

RM At Home also offers another solution for parents – RM School Finder.  There is currently no one place parents can go for information about their local schools – they have to trawl through several sources of data.  RM School Finder, which is free to use, takes all available school data and presents it in a user-friendly format so it’s easy to see not just Ofsted reports, but exam results, extra curricular activities, what pupils achieve, plus softer information on the culture of the school direct from the establishment itself.

For more information visit Home.rm.com and follow http://www.facebook.com/rmathome and https://twitter.com/RM_AtHome

We received 3 products to review, a Ball Cannon, Voice Recording White Boards and the Recording Magnifier.
The girls where so excited when the box came, crammed with goodies, it was like Christmas!!
The Ball Cannon went down a treat! i don’t think i have ever seen  my 3 year old laugh so much and shes always chuckling about something. It was attractive to all three of them, 8, 5 and 3, and they lined up patiently to have a go. They played constantly with it for a few hours without fighting and arguing before they started seeing if barbie would have the safe effect as the balls.

Not just for educated children, RM at Home offers a wide range of SEN and Sensory Toys for children of all ages.
RM At Home provides a range of products that have been tried and tested by teachers, children and parents, to help support children’s learning at home and have fun whilst doing it. Available from Home.rm.com in the following categories is:

Numeracy: evidence shows our numeracy skills in the UK lag behind other nations (source: OECD) and many parents lack confidence when it comes to helping their children. The RM At Home numeracy products help address the issue by making maths fun and interactive, while enabling children to grasp core mathematical concepts.

For example: Easimaths – games-based online maths tuition for 5 -11 year olds.

Extra Help: one in five children in the UK has some form of special educational need (SEN) or needs additional support (source: DfE data).  There is often a delay between a parent first recognising developmental challenges and receiving a diagnosis, it can be up to two years, during which time learning progress may stall.  At Home has categorised a number of products by observed behaviour – e.g. difficulty with speech and language, difficulty reading – that are designed to give parents the tools to help their children overcome these challenges.

For example: Handwriting Essentials Kit, Focus for Fidgets Kit, Fine Motor Skills Kit.

Holidays, rainy days and ‘I’m bored’ days: Products to help maintain learning momentum during holidays so children don’t experience a ‘learning dip’.  Also great for rainy days and general ‘I’m bored days’.  At Home offers a range of exciting, interactive, and challenging products to keep children pin-sharp and on track, even when they are not at school.

For example: Speaking and listening kit (includes talking tubes, conversation cubes, Storytellers Kit (storyteller’s cloak, recordable story mountain, sound effects CD)

•  Sensory room: enables children with more severe special educational needs to benefit from immersive and sensory play at home.

For example: Bubble Tube. Fibre Optic Harness

Educational Gifts: a range of offers high quality and entertaining educational gifts, ideal for those who want to buy something worthwhile rather than adding to the ‘toy mountain’.

For example: EasiSpeak MP3 recordable microphone, Active Maths Kit, Time to Talk Baskets and Making Bath Bombs kit.

Keep kids learning during the holidays RM At Home top tips to help avoid the learning-dip this summer

School’s out.  Six weeks off.  Hurrah! Or perhaps not when it comes to your child’s brain power.. While holidays are essential for children (and grown ups) to relax and re-energise. the six week long break can lead to a so-called “learning dip.” This is when children disengage from reading, writing and numeracy – their brains simply get out of the habit of learning.

Kat Howard, Senior Educationalist at RM At Home, provider of fun and educational toys, games and kit comments, “Come September, it’s difficult to switch back on. Often, the first couple of weeks at school are spent just getting back up to speed – which is a waste of precious teaching and learning time. There’s a lot parents can do to keep kids pin sharp, while having fun at the same time.”

Here are RM At Home’s top tips for avoiding the learning dip:

1: Make it part of family life
Holiday learning mustn’t feel like a chore or become a battle ground. Try to weave literacy and numeracy into everyday tasks or fun challenges.  Baking a cake? Involve the kids – how many more grams do we need?  How long does it go in the oven for? A mini-maths lesson followed by the joy of licking the spoon!

2: Positively encourage reading
To encourage reading for pleasure, why not sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge http://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/, which encourages children to read six books from the library over the summer, in exchange for prizes.  Visit your local library to join and you will be given a pack including a card where you can keep track of what you’ve read.

                                                 

And if you need an incentive, why not trade 30 minutes reading for an hour on a computer game?

3:Little and often
Especially with numeracy, little and often is the best approach.  There are loads of online maths resources. Why not try RM Easimaths, games-based, online maths tuition for children aged 5-11 – 15 minutes a day is all it takes to make a real improvement.

4:Get Outdoors

Working on the ‘active body, active brain’ theory head to your local park or woods and collect treasure – leaves, twigs, stones to take home and make a mini-wood (an old shoebox comes in handy here). See what bugs you can find, how many trees, plants and flowers can you name?

 
 A small selection on outdoor toys that are available.

5:Encourage conversation
Play observation games (I spy, first to count ten red / black / blue cars), board games and word games – they are all fantastic ways of encouraging conversation, extending vocabulary, practising spelling and comprehension.

I cannot say enough good things about these educational toys and services that RM at Home offer. The girls have had so much fun recording silly noises and playing them back to each other, firing a multitude of toys across the lounge and viewing bugs and the like on the Recording Magnifier.
We will be taking some of the things we have learnt from RM at Home and take it forward in our own education journey.
I hope this has shown that pre school education or support learning at home doesn’t have to be like school, it can be fun and rewarding for all concerned.

Happy Learning

L xx