When one is better…

What do you do when the younger one is better than the older one??

Last year Megan started school and did well. Amazingly well, to be honest. She was like a sponge and just picked things up so quickly and seemingly easily. 

Last year, the phonics program we followed at school was pretty basic. We taught a letter and the main sound it made. The many letters that made several sounds were covered only when they popped up. This year we have followed a different program that taught each letter and ALL of the sounds that they made (did you know that ‘a’ makes 5 different sounds? I didn’t until this year!)

Alex started school this year and we honestly thought his lack of concentration would hold him back. Turns out he only doesn’t concentrate at home! Typical kid…angel at school…devil at home! So now that Alex has mastered the basics of letters, sounds and reading, he is taking off…sometimes ahead of Megan. 

While they bring home different levelled books, Alex is so much better at putting sounds together to read a word. Much to the frustration of Megan. When they read their school books in the back of the car on the drive home from school, it’s Megan’s job to help Alex if he needs it. Her sight word vocabulary is much greater than his, so for words that can’t be sounded out (eg, who, they, said) she’s the expert. But when it’s Megan’s turn to read and she gets stuck, Alex is often the one who can decipher her sound-by-sound reading long before anyone else. His knowledge of all the different sounds that each letter makes puts him at a better advantage than Megan. Although she expects to know more because she’s older. 

So….How do you combat that?

Do I let him help? Do I ask him not to?  

7th Heaven…

Megan turned 7 today. 7yrs goes by slowly but fast. The days tick over as they always have, until you say that your first born is 7!! Anyway…

We celebrated by following Megan’s choice again…a nice way for her to be in control for just a day!

The day started with brekkie in bed, opening presents and getting ready for a busy day!

Growing up too quickly!

Movie time

Very funny movie

KFC lunch with one set of grandparents. (Yes, KFC was her restaurant of choice!). Then a big haircut was in order. 

 

Hairdresser visit


Back home for a bit to rest and build some birthday Lego!  

Building!


And then a great night out with the other set of grandparents, at the Werribee Open Range Zoo Wild Night!

   
  

  

Hoola fun in the glow zone!

  

Exploring by torchlight

  

Marshmallow toasting

  

hanging with the fire dancers

  

Crashed with her new meerkat


And then her party starts tomorrow!!!! 

Frustrations of a Book Lover…!

(That title should read “Immense Frsutration of a Book Lover”)

The sequence of events…

  • Uncommitted Saturday with a reasonably good book to finish.
  • Spend most of the morning in bed reading, get dressed, then continue to read through lunch and into the early afternoon.
  • Realisation, as the book is ending, that there must be a sequel.
  • Book finishes.
  • Quickly jump onto the local library website to find the next book (expecting to have to order it in from another library)
  • Local library service HAS the next book…AND it is available to borrow!
  • Decide to make myself presentable for the quick trip to the library to get the book.
  • Daydream of the rest of the afternoon delving into the next part of the story.
  • Check the opening times for the library and realise the library has CLOSED!
  • Mentally count the hours until the library reopens, and think of the bleak hours ahead that COULD’VE been spent reading!!
  • 😤😥😤😥😤😥😤😥

Saving Time…

Everyone, these days, is time poor. Us included. The cold, hard facts are that during the week the kids leave home at 7:30 am and often don’t get home again until 4:30-5pm at night. And by that time, everyone is tired, cranky and ready for some down time…which we can’t always guarantee.

We try not to over-schedule the kids’ lives, but they do have gymnastics and swimming classes after school on Monday and Tuesday nights. Gymnastics is their choice of activity and the both LOVE IT and swimming lessons are a non-negotiable for us. So finding ways to save time and multi-task are high on my priority list at the moment.

Some time savers we have used for years, other we are just trying out and seeing if they work.

LUNCHES

We have been making bulk lunches for a few years now. On the weekend we make a whole stash of sandwiches or rolls for the week ahead. There’s not usually a lot of variety in these lunches- cold meat, cheese, spreads, no salads, but having them frozen and ready to pull out the night before makes things a whole lot smoother. We also pack all of the lunch boxes (snacks etc) the night before, so they are just ready to grab in the morning.

Lunches get made on Sunday for the week ahead and frozen

Lunches get made on Sunday for the week ahead and frozen

 

HOME READING

A fairly recent strategy of saving time has been for the kids to read their home reading books in the car on the drive home. By the time the kids get home, they are worn out and just want to chill, and reading a book and practising words is the last thing on their agenda…or mine for that matter. I tried to get them to read their books to me while we were still at school, but I get so many interruptions that this didn’t work out.

We have a 15-20 minute drive home which is prefect at the moment for Alex’s reasonably short books and Megan’s slightly longer ones. One reads, while the other looks at the pictures of their book as they wait, and Megan is often helping Alex out with tricky words because she can see the book while they both sit in the back. The odd, super-tricky word gets spelled out to me and I help out that way.

FullSizeRender

 

GROCERIES

We savour our weekends, so we have always done the grocery shopping during the week after work, usually finishing at about 6:30pm. The kids are normally well-behaved while we wander the aisles, despite the odd “Can we please get…” but I’m conscious of it being yet another late night home for them.

Our latest venture into time saving is online grocery shopping. We tried it years ago when Megan was a new-born and I didn’t want to venture out far from home or for long, but we didn’t stick to it. Spending time on the computer or iPad to input our grocery list, while sitting in front of the TV sounds straight-forward to me! We always used to get take-away on the way home from grocery shopping too, so by not staying out so late, we can reduce the amount of junk food we eat…well that’s the plan anyway. We have just placed our order for the groceries to be delivered Friday night, and though it did seem a bit more expensive than shopping in-store, I guess we can say its money well spent for time well saved!

IMG_9521

 

If you’ve got any more ideas on ways to save time or multi-task doing the boring stuff, to spend more time with the family…please share your tips! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’ll wan to hear them :)

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