Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or our baby bloggers and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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  1. After school selections a few weeks ago, we are now looking ahead to the SATS and I was chatting with some of my oldest friends last night about tutors and how they felt about tutoring their children.

    There is no doubt that tutoring can be a brilliant way to pick up the pace of your child’s learning and it is becoming an increasingly popular choice with busy parents like me. Home tutoring is a booming industry worth an estimated £6.5 billion last year. 520,000 tutors during 2015 have educated more than 2.8 million children, across the age ranges demonstrating just how keen parents are to give their child a helping hand.

    When my daughter sat her 11+ exam, I was adamant that she was wasn't going to have a tutor in order to get a pass on an exam into a school as I didn't want her to struggle throughout her school life, just because she had been coached for one particular exam but that said, I wonder on reflection whether a longer term tutoring plan may have been the way to encourage her abilities more. 

    There are a lot of benefits to following the tutoring route for your own child, and as a parent, the ability to choose the tutor is a major plus. Handing over my hard earned pennies gave me the ability to select a tutor that has an approach or personality that I know would suit my child best. Trying to find a tutor is just the starting point, so using a site like Tutor Hunt makes the whole process of locating tutors quick and easy. You can quickly identify a number of suitable tutors operating within your postcode. You can then message these tutors, and ask them any questions you may have. Unlike a child’s teacher at school, who you unfortunately can not pick and change, if it is not working for your child you can simply (but with kindness and compassion) find another tutor. I think that this more personal relationship enables you to be honest and clear with your own child’s tutor to enable them focus on what needs working on more intensively.

    Following a recent parents evening, it is clear that at school, busy teachers may only be able to offer a token amount of private attention to your child if they need that all important reassurance to ‘get the idea’. Tutors are free from classroom constraints and so often have a real passion for learning that they can pass onto your child.

    My daughter is a maths wizard, she just "gets it", whereas comprehension is something that she doesn't always "comprehend". So I have taken time to find a literary tutor for her that has wide experience and a real passion for the subject. Without doubt this has been infectious for my daughter and hopefully will capture her own interest and enthralment for the subject.

    Tutoring

    I think some of the main benefits for tutoring are:

    • Fresh perspective on any topic your child is needs to cover.
    • Diverse methods in teaching & dedicated time
    • A tutor will be able to cover a great deal of detail in a small amount of time.
    • Tutors can work at your child's specific pace and become familiar with your child's capability for learning and the technique that works best for your child 

    Let's be honest, each child is very different as all parents will testify too and the right tutor ought to be able to identify the individual needs of your child. 

    I know that sometimes we have looked at my daughters homework and questioned our own ability and children have the ability to ask dread fuelled questions of parents that you just don’t feel you can answer as your child gets older. At the end of a long day at work, I am also not a big fan of coming home to hours of homework help either, no matter how much I want her to suceed. A tutor can supply all the answers that my daughter needs and gives her the tools to find the answers for herself.

    My daughter isn't always the strongest of characters but in one to one sessions, shy children can be empowered to ask questions. Many children can be too shy to ask questions in class and may then miss out on their learning. Another of the benefits of a tutor is that they can recognise when a child's attention span in a one-to-one setting is wavering more obviously. Tutors have the luxury of being able to spend a minute or two considering something else or having a break to reset the clock to a degree that your child will be able to get back on track rapidly.

    So my conversation with my friends concluded in my admissions that I have had a change of heart about tutoring, after weighing up the costs to us as a family against the benefits she will get as an individual, tutoring most defiantly has numerous benefits for children’s learning in the long term. I just wish that I had looked at it this way sooner.

    Has your child had any tutoring? Did you see the benefit?

  2. Shoes, shoes, shoes. It is no secret that I have a love of shoes so when I was recently invited to an event by organised by Vionic UK, I couldn't resist going to find out more. We were told that Vionic Group LLC is one of the leading global makers of consumer and medical footwear, so I was intrigued to find out how stylish shoes could be good for your feet too. 

    Can shoes be stylish and good for your feet-

    I was therefore thrilled to find a collective of likeminded bloggers, including some of my favourite bloggers Emmaand3, Pink Oddy and Parent Blogger News  at the event held at Marco Pierre Whites in Birmingham. We were treated to a delicious lunch and then a talk from Tony Linford who eloquently conveyed the benefits of the Vionic range of products, from the innovative FMT technology which helps reduce over-pronation to the ability to relieve common associated pains such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain), knee pain and back pain. 

    Tony said that women get to around 40 and realise that their shoe choices were having an affect on their join pain (I obviously cannot comment on this as I am not "quite" at that milestone yet!) but with age being something that I can't control, having the ability to control my shoe choices is something that I need to reconsider.

    From the Antonia Wedge shoes (shown above) that are perfect for work, to the Islander Toe Posts which are ideal for the summer, there is a range of shoes for every woman and every ocassion.

    Vionic Toe Post Sandal

    The shoes are designed for good health and wellbeing, they are not sports or running shoes but they do actively encourage walking and being active. They have a great article on the Vionic blog called Find30 about how studies have shown how 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to boost metabolism and improve one’s mood, providing cardiovascular, metabolic and cognitive health. Sounds good to me .... I just need to find those extra 30 minutes.

    I was gifted some Vionic shoes and I have to say that they ARE very comfortable and Vionic have been even more generous and given all my readers a 30% off code that is valid until 30th April. All you need to do is shop on the website here and use the discount code VIONIC30 at the checkout stage.

    The event really made me think about me footwear choices and if you want to read what the other bloggers throught about the event, there is a link to a round up of the event from Myriad PR here

    Did you realise that your shoe choices can have such an affect on the rest of your body?

  3. I received news last week that my oldest has been allocated a place in her preferred secondary school. Once the excitement died down the panic set in and it all seems so real. How am I old enough to have a child going into secondary school already? My emotions fluctuated all week and I don’t expect they will settle down any time before September. September 2023 that is, because I also have another child starting infant school at the same time, and will have to go through all of this again in six years.

    Thousands of children in England missed out on a place at their first choice of secondary school. More than 30% of pupils in Birmingham and London had to settle for a lower preference, while in Bristol 7.5% of pupils were not offered a place at any one of their preferences, so I know we are lucky.

    Secondary School PlacementsDid you get your preference

    You would think that having seen one child successfully through primary school I would feel prepared, but I don’t at all. Secondary school is a different world, one  which I have barely set foot in since I graduated myself. Stepping over the threshold on open evening was like both stepping back in time to when I was 17 (bad hair and unflattering trousers), and landing on a foreign planet.

    White boards were the height of technology when I left primary school but now it’s all tablets, laptops, and independent learning. There’s no lunch money, I just top up an account online and she pays with a fingerprint, and chips are only served once a week. It’s a world of “can I have a mobile phone?”, “how do I do simultaneous equations?” (um… ask your father), and “what’s it like to kiss someone?” (DON’T ask your father!)

    While my oldest has moved beyond the realms of dressing up for World Book Day, birthday parties at soft play centres, and Christmas plays at school, my youngest is just about to start, catapulting me right back to the beginning. I am honestly not sure how I feel about this. High school may be more expensive in terms of uniform and school trips, but infant school is much harder work with all the getting ready in the morning, special assemblies and concerts, and parent helping on school trips. 

    Parenting is such a bittersweet experience. We raise our children to be independent but each step they take on their own is a step further away from us. Part of me is proud that they are so capable and confident, but another part of me yearns for the time when I was their entire world (or I was when they wanted something)

    These next few months will fly by and, before I know it, I will be walking one child into school to hand safely over to the teacher, while being told not to walk anywhere near the other in case I embarrass her in front of her new friends. I have promised myself that I will try to savour the last term of life as we know it, to look forward to the opportunities that having two children in full-time education will bring, and to stop worrying about changes which will happen whether I want them to or not.

  4. We regularly talk about the affects of childhood asthma but I didn't know that asthma has been associated with a prolonged time to pregnancy and a decreased birth rate. 

    A new clinical observation study published today (12 February, 2016) in the European Respiratory Journal adds to previous studies that have identified a link between asthma and fertility. The evidence so far has been conflicting and many of the studies have either relied on data from questionnaires or small sample sizes. The current study investigated 245 women with unexplained fertility problems aged between 23 and 45 years. They underwent asthma and allergy testing and questionnaires during their fertility treatment. 96 women in the study had either an existing doctor’s diagnosis of asthma or were diagnosed with asthma when they entered the study. That is a whopping 39% of women, which is a huge number. 

     LLP - Asthma linked to an increased time to pregnancy

    The researchers monitored the women during their fertility treatment for a minimum of 12 months, until they had a successful pregnancy, stopped treatment or the observation ended. The results found that the median total time to pregnancy was 32.2 months in non-asthmatic women and 55.6 months in those with asthma. Women with asthma also had fewer successful conceptions: 39.6% achieved pregnancy in the asthmatic women compared with 60.4% in the women without asthma. The results also found this trend was more apparent as the women got older. 

    Lead author Dr Elisabeth Juul Gade, commented: “This finding in a clinical trial setting adds new weight to the epidemiological evidence suggesting a link between asthma and fertility. We have seen here that asthma seems to have a negative influence on fertility as it increases time to pregnancy and even more so with age. 

    “We do not yet know the causal relationship; it may be complex with different types of asthma, psychological well-being, asthma medication and hormones all play a role.  Given this new evidence, we believe that clinicians should encourage women with asthma to become pregnant at an earlier age and optimise their treatment for asthma pre-conception. Patient education is also of paramount importance as adherence to treatment may be enhanced if patients are informed of this link.”

    Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, says: “These findings will be frustrating for many women who are trying to conceive as they do not offer any solution, other than planning a family earlier in life which is not a viable option for everyone. There is a wealth of existing research linking asthma and hormones so this adds to our knowledge on the subject but we need much more investment into asthma research to be able to understand exactly how asthma could impact on fertility. If you have asthma and you are trying to conceive then you should have an open discussion with your GP about your health to ensure you are managing your asthma, understand how your medicines work and are taking them correctly. If you have any concerns you can also call our expert nurses on the Asthma UK Helpline on 0300 222 5800.” 

    I loved being pregnant and fortunately have never suffered the torment of struggling with conception but I can only imagine how difficult this must be. On the flip side, I now worry that my youngest daughter will endure these difficulties as she grows older and wants children of her own. I am a huge supporter of Asthma UK and their helpline has been so useful for me and my family, I just hope that they continue to get the support and investment that they need to continue their important work and research.