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Resources to help you navigate the primary years: Parent 999

Struggling to see the wood for the trees parenting school age kids? Sharing resources to help parents - parent 99 articles and quizzes reviewed

If like me, any of your kids are at primary school, chances are you find yourself constantly googling things, from facts about deadly creatures to explanations of the water cycle or reasons why the English language is so blooming hard to learn to spell. (Or trying to stop them guessing your computer password so they can type ‘poo’ into You Tube). You probably also spend a lot of time googling things like ‘Is my 6yo’s behaviour normal’ or ‘Is a 10yo supposed to be able to…’ and ‘When do children normally learn to…’

As an ex teacher and general straight talking parenting wisdom junkie I thought I would begin to share some resources which may (or not) be useful to others. Mr A and I like to share parenting articles and resources that resonate with each other by facebook messenger, it’s been a really helpful dialogue to have as parents. I also thought, now that I don’t blog about my kids quite so much – apart from when we travel –  I would like to blog more in general terms about parenting.

Education Quizzes 999 Articles

The website Education Quizzes asked me to review their “999 articles” for parents.  They are written by educationalist, Linda Innes and each one covers a different ‘parental information emergency’, each article has 999 words, so makes for an easy to digest topic introduction, packed full of key information and thinking and links to useful resources. They cover topics that parents with school age children need to know about such as: revision tips, brain development, the national curriculum, body image and cyber bullying.

Each one ends with a quiz, in keeping with the site’s main focus – teacher-written, fun quizzes for children at all stages of education.

There were around 17 ‘999 articles’ at the time of writing, but a new one is added each week. Here’s what I liked about them:

  • They are written by education specialists so give valuable insight into educational topics from an objective position. While I like to read personal accounts of parenting, they can be emotive, sometimes I just want the facts.
  • Each post gives a basic introduction to the topic, starting you right from the beginning, but quickly adds depth via educational theory, research and government guidelines.
  • There are plenty of useful tips, I liked the homework hints and I’m going to start using a homework timer for example – as I type this I have my timer on but I hadn’t thought of it to motivate my kids and limit the negative impact of homework!
  • Advice for dealing with emotive topics like discipline, bullying and self image is very clearly explained, the steps are straightforward and no nonsense, making tackling the topic as a parent seem achieveable.
  • The layout is waffle free, bullets and headings make for a quick and easy to digest read.
  • They are free to access.
  • Each post is full of links to reliable sources of more information, such as children’s charities.

If you want to test yourself there is a quiz after, it is totally optional! Although this fits well with the site’s mission to deliver Education Quizzes to children, as a grown up I was dubious, it seemed a little patronising. However, once I got stuck in, what I liked about the quizzes was:

  • Rather than just skim reading, they did help me to remember a mixture of things which would help me talk to my children effectively about a topic: interesting facts, key things to be aware of, strategies and tips.
  • The multiple choice questions give you a chance to test the general principles you have been reading about, not all the answers are taken directly from the article you read.
  • The right answer and back ground information pops up as you answer each question so you can quickly test your reasoning.
  • They are harder than you think they will be and encourage you to develop your skills.
  • It doesn’t matter if you get them right or wrong, what matters is you are thinking difficult topics through!

I’ve screenshot a couple with right and wrong answers, so you can see how it works:

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 13.12.36

The 999 articles are a great jumping off point, they really help you focus in a parental 999 situation, are reassuring and link to lots more resources to explore. I look forward to seeing lots more topics, the emerging focus on different special needs is useful for parents concerned about their child’s educational development. The angles are really useful and interesting, my favourite was the article about making school a positive experience.

Please have a look and do let me know how you get on with the parent quizzes, Education Quizzes are developing the site and are on the look out for constructive feedback from parents.  Leave any thoughts in a comment and I will be sure to pass them on.

This post was written in collaboration with Education Quizzes. 

Photo by Evan Dennis, via Unsplash

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