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The essential school holiday checklist for stress-free parenting

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Summer will be gone in the blink of an eye, and yet the holidays themselves seem to stretch on forever. It can be a stressful time planning activities for the kids, working and yet being organised in time for September.

Tempting as it is to drop everything and wait until the autumn term, we’ve some handy hints to help you through the summer holiday frazzle-free:

Shop ‘n label now

Sort out school uniforms, stationery and school bags now while the back-to-school sales are on over July and August. You’ll not only save money, but your sanity too!

Sorting uniform labels now will also make life easier in September if you’ve a gaggle of children to organise! Do two an evening, and before you know it you’ll be done.

Book haircuts and health

You’d be amazed how many of us leave it to the last minute to book a haircut! With your children likely to resemble scarecrows by the end of the summer, it’s wise to book an appointment 6 weeks ahead.

Why not MOT your kids’ health this time of year with eye checks and dentist appointments?

Book some playdates

Other frazzled parents will snap your hand off if you offer to book in some playdate times with your children’s friends. Of course, do make sure they reciprocate!

Keep brain drain at bay

Get ’em reading online with an app such as Reading Eggs. Packed with interactive fun and activities, they’ll find it hard to put down. Give it a try!  Teach your monster to read is also a fun app for the early years.

Struggling with a subject still?

Many local parents across Manchester and Cheshire book some intensive tuition sessions during the summer hols while the pressure of school is off. It can be a fantastic way to not only prepare for the new term, but to blitz some of those pesky learning problems from last term.

Contact the 121 Home Tutors’ team if you feel a spot of tuition would make all the difference. We’re here to help…

Cracking Christmas facts! Bet you didn’t know that…

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Whether you’re pulling a few crackers today, lighting candles for Hanukkah, or gearing up for the Chinese New year, Yuletide is full of fascinating facts and myths.

Take Father Christmas, for instance… He’s had a busy night! Even beat the law of physics to deliver presents to 378 million children worldwide!

Flying east to west through different time zones, Santa had just 31 hours to visit 91.8 million homes… How many visits per second is that?  A whopping 822.6!

That’s an incredible 1/1000th of a second to park his sleigh and whizz down the chimney to deliver presents – before snaffling a snack or two, shooting back up the chimney, hopping into the sleigh to visit the next house. Phew! Fast work…

Even more astonishing, Santa travelled a staggering 650 miles per second! This equates to 3,000 times the speed of sound, or 0.35 per cent the speed of light. Woo hoo…

To put this statistic into perspective, one of Earth’s fastest man-made objects  – the Ulysses spacecraft – shot through space at 27.4 miles per second! So Santa’s journey was super speedy…

Amazing eh? Nice to have a bit of fun during the Christmas hols…

Revision tips for holiday learning

Remember if you’re planning to revise for your GCSE or A level mocks, entrance exams in January or prepare for the year ahead, check out our nifty revision tips. Keep your eyes peeled for ‘Magical Maths’ tips in a few days time too…

As ever, you can drop us a line at 121 Home School Tutors to book a Manchester or Cheshire tutor for next term. We’re here to help! Happy Christmas everyone…


Fun 11+ Summer Revision Tips

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Is your child sitting the 11+ in September, or a grammar school Common Entrance exam? It’s closer than you think.

‘Brain drain’ can strike even the most hard working student – where all those concepts and techniques seem to fly out of the window during the holidays.

Here are some useful tips to keep the brain topped up over the summer:

  1. Read! Reading a variety of different books improves comprehension skills and widens vocabulary knowledge.
  2. Stretch word power. Practise synonyms and antonyms; list as many different verbs for ‘walk’ ‘speak’ ‘moved’; go adjective crazy by thinking of different words for scary, big, pretty, good.
  3. Play word games. What about dictionary games (guess the meaning, find the most obscure words) or how many words begin with a letter blend such as tr or bl. Try Scrabble, anagrams and crosswords. Improves verbal reasoning skills.
  4. Get problem solving. Play Sudoku, Tetris, origami and jigsaw puzzles to sharpen non-verbal reasoning knowledge.
  5. Mental maths games. Going supermarket shopping? Get your children to keep a tally of purchases that go in the trolley … in their heads! They could also count different types of foods if they get bored. While cooking, revise fractions and measurements.
And if you have any practise papers or revision books, dipping into a chapter rather than studying for hours on end will keep your child’s interest for longer.

Of course, if you’re unsure how to get started 121 Home Tutors can help. With specialist Eleven Plus and Entrance Exam teachers available over the summer hols, just drop us a line.

Summer tuition … is it for you?

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Shortly, it’ll be a case of ‘school’s out for the summer.’ No more lessons for weeks, even months!

While a family holiday or  fun day out can help children recharge their batteries, for many parents the initial excitement of school hols wears off quickly. How to stave off boredom often becomes the challenge.

Little wonder that we get a surge of interest in summer tuition this time of year! Interestingly, many parents these days want to keep up the momentum, to make better use of free time.

As we find out every year, a course of summer tuition can help children:

  • Maintain interest in learning. As you know, a six week break from school can switch a child off learning. Private tuition keeps your child’s brain buzzing – increasing their motivation.
  • Build knocked confidence. The summer term doesn’t always go well. Disappointing end of year exams and reports often leave children deflated. Catch-up lessons over the summer gives them the chance to tackle those weaknesses without the pressures of the classroom.
  • Prepare for testing. With 11+ and Common Entrance exams starting from September, the summer break is the perfect time to practise techniques! That’s why a one to one tutor can be instrumental in helping a child get to grips with some of those difficult skills.

Whether your child is taking a grammar entrance or 11 plus exam, or needs that extra bit of help over the summer, call us. From Wilmslow to Stockport, Altrincham to Manchester, we’ll find a specialist tutor for you.


Round up on education and tutoring news

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

We’d just like to say good luck to everyone who is getting their GCSE results today – do call us if you need any help or support.

We post lots of interesting education soundbites on facebook – here’s a round up of what we’ve been reading in the last week.

The Economist discusses ways tutoring (and the success it brings) can be open to all.

The BBC – making it clear what you shouldn’t do when your child receives their exam results. 

We’re wondering if there might be a new reality series – Manchester Celebrity tutor?

Is our educational success determined from the day we walk through the school gate?

The summer holidays are here!

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Most children have now finished school for the long summer holidays (or it’s your last week next week!). So how can you balance fun with a bit of education over the next six weeks?

  • The first thing we advise is that for a week or so you just forget learning. Give yourself and your children a complete break and refresh. Some children, especially those who have had significant exams, may need a much longer break. And that’s fine. Most children can cope well returning in September even if they haven’t studied over summer.
  • Remember if you do want to ‘keep your hand in’ with education that it isn’t school – make learning fun and be led by what your child wants. Take them to the library and choose whatever book they want (they are still reading) or find a fun museum to visit (MOSI in Manchester is fantastic).
  • If you want to be more structured about it then a summer club or tutor can offer educational opportunities that are still fun – there are science camps, maths clubs and physical activities (that’s still learning!).
  • If your child has fallen behind during the academic year then the summer holidays can be the perfect time to catch up and start with renewed energy and enthusiasm in September. Look for a tutor who can offer a structured way to get them back on track but keep it fun. Make sure you build in lots of rest and breaks so they don’t enter the new school year tired.
  • Don’t forget the simple things that encourage learning – board games, shopping (great for maths skills) and trips to the park for nature spotting.

If you’d like to know more about summer tutoring in Didsbury, Sale, Altrincham, Wilmslow and Northenden (Manchester and Cheshire) call us today. 

Shorter school holidays make for more successful students

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Last month Michael Gove, Education Minister, argued that pupils in England should spend more hours in school each day and have shorter holidays.

Speaking at an education conference he said that the most successful education system (in East Asia) has both longer days and fewer holidays. He argues that our education system was designed to work around an ‘agricultural system’, maybe harking back to a time when children had to be in the fields helping their parents with the crops and animals. As we are now in more modern times Mr Gove thinks we need to have children in school more to compete with more academically successful countries. He also made the point that longer days combined with shorter holidays would make life easier for working parents.

And maybe in this respect Mr Gove has a point – in families with two full  time working parents early school finishes and long summer holidays can cause real childcare headaches and have a considerable financial impact. If you aren’t lucky enough to have friends or grandparents who can do the school pick ups or act as holiday cover then you can incur huge costs for after school clubs and holiday play schemes.

Many parents and teachers have objected to the idea of longer days because of the pressure many children already find themselves under, especially with the introduction of testing at a younger age (SATS).

Although there may be some benefits to what Mr Gove is suggesting at 121 Home Tutors we’d like to see some research done into the pros and cons for both students and teachers before these steps are taken.

If you’d like to know more about one to one private tutoring in Manchester, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton and surrounding areas contact us today.


Ready for 2013?

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

By now you’ll be well into a lovely long break over Christmas and New Year. It’s important to have some downtime but this is also a great time to reflect on how the year has gone and if your first term back at school has been enjoyable and successful.

Now is a great time to set some resolutions for the new year and start back in 2013 on a positive note.

  1. Think (honestly) about how the first term has gone. Now is a good time to stop and decide if you have put in the right amount of effort or if things need to change slightly. If you don’t know whether you are on track then ask your teacher, parent or tutor.
  2. Don’t forget to focus on what you have done well instead of everything that has gone wrong.  This is the perfect time to make changes without it affecting your whole academic year.
  3. Where would you like to be by Easter? If there is one area you need help with then it’s a good time to start working with a private, one to one tutor who can focus on that topic and build your confidence.
  4. Do you cope well with your work during the year? What we often hear from our students is that they actually really enjoy their subjects but they struggle with planning and organising their study and leisure time. You need time for yourself (even when you are revising) and the best way to get this is to plan out your study time and leave gaps for rest and relaxation.
  5. Talk to someone. Christmas is a really relaxed time and a good time to share concerns with a friend, parent or tutor.

We hope you all have a great Christmas and fantastic 2013. If you’d like to know more about our one to one private tutoring in Manchester, Stockport, Sale, Altrincham and Trafford, Heaton Mersey and local areas then drop us a line.

What to do over the summer holidays – Primary

Friday, July 20th, 2012

If you have children in primary school then you are probably already in the summer holidays or fast approaching them. If your child is in reception then this could be the first time that you are faced with six weeks trying to keep your child occupied. We thought we’d round up a few ways to keep your little ones busy over the summer…

  1. It is the holidays so why not start with some duvet days, forget the rushing about and rules. Grab a few DVDs and snuggle up. One of the best ways we know to spend a rainy day.
  2. Go to your local tourist information centre. This might seem a bit odd if you live locally but they have so much great information about what’s on in the local area and you might just find some new places to explore.
  3. Consider signing up to cost effective organisations that means you will get out of the house, The National Trust and Wildlife Trust have places you can visit right across the UK.
  4. Don’t forget the library. As well as a great place to spend a few hours when it’s raining they often run events for children of different ages. You could also set a fun project and use the library as a basis for the project (maybe something like bulding a paper mache dinosaur and they have to find out all about dinosaurs).
  5. Talk to mum friends and check local noticeboards to see what’s happening on your doorstep and then arrange group visits or play dates.
  6. If your child has struggled this year then it’s a good idea to take some time out to do a bit of academic catch up. That could be in the form of a summer study school or some specialist one to one tutoring.

If you have older children then you’ll find some great ideas to keep them occupied here.

If we can help with primary level tutoring in Manchester, Stockport and Wilmslow, Cheshire areas (and summer schools near Altrincham, Didsbury and Sale) then contact us today.