Friday, February 24, 2012

Chipmunks Reading - 5

Within a day of Chipmunk starting year two I knew I had to go and talk to his teacher about his reading.

He came home with his new reading book which was probably 6 reading levels above the ones I had been teaching him and all the keywords were back. 

So on day two I anxiously approached his teacher and asked if I could have a word about his reading. 

The teacher looked puzzled but said yes and she listened,really listened. 

She then searched through her books and found Chipmunk some reading level books that I approved off and made him his very own book box up. 

She took away most of the keywords and said lets try him with just two sets and see how he progresses. 

She actually said he had too many keywords and I wholeheartedly agreed. 

I was relieved ~ we could carry on at Chipmunks level. 

And that meant he was happy! 

See what happens to Chipmunks reading by the end of infant school in part 6. -

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Did you really swim Chipmunk?

Chipmunk today was your first day back at swimming since way before the half term break.

I think you have had a whole month without swimming!

Everybody has been sad that you have missed out,especially just as you seemed to be 'getting it.'

But you were poorly and that was that ~ no swimming for you.

So today was a big day for us and you did so well.

And Im writing this at a ridiculous hour,even when I'm so,so tired because

today I saw you swim without armbands for the first time!

And as I peeped in to look at you before I went to bed I thought to myself "did he really do that!?!Did he really swim without armbands!

My friend was sat at the side of me and I can remember her cheering you on and how happy we both were.

So this must mean you did do it!

And I can picture your face as you swam towards me,I couldn't believe it!

I still can't!

And that's why I'm writing this,when really I should be sleeping.

Did I honestly see you swim tonight Chipmunk?

And in my heart I know the answer is yes.

From your tired but extremely proud mummy xxxxxx

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chipmunks Reading - 4

Having found out just how much Chipmunk was struggling I went on the Internet that night and looked for some lower reading level books and ordered them.

At that point I didn't know quite what I was looking for so I went with Oxford Reading Tree and bought a set of Floppys Phonics and some Project X books. 

These books arrived really quickly and I took them into school and asked if Chipmunk could read these instead of the school books and they agreed. 

Chipmunk loved the books,the text was bigger and not so lengthy and his confidence began to rise again.

But I soon realized that if I was going to provide my own reading books for Chipmunk I would need loads and that's when I went on the library website to research what books would suit Chipmunk.

I learnt all about reading levels and reading schemes and started Chipmunk on the Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds and some Start Reading scheme books,we eventually worked our way through all those books!

Just writing about them brings back so many memories and I can picture so clearly that summer holiday sat ordering books in as if my life depended on it! 

During the summer holidays Chipmunk read a reading book daily,I was still reading him tons of picture books and he was a happy reader again ~ thankfully!

It was during that summer holidays that Chipmunk,me and my mum were sat in a cafe.We were just waiting for our order and Chipmunk had just visited the library and was looking through his library stash of books. All of a sudden I listened in and just sat amazed as chipmunk read the whole book by himself! 
My mum and I were amazed and so very pleased and proud!

At this point we were still struggling with the keywords,I had stripped them right back and started at square one again. 

The summer holidays began to draw to close and I started to wonder what year 2 would hold for Chipmunk and how his new teacher would react to what steps I had taken with his reading. 

Would they go with me and support the work I had done or would they want to do their own thing with him. 

See what happened in part 5 of Chipmunks reading
Forest Trails

Yesterday at the forest we did something completely different ~ we followed a trail! 

We we arrived at the forest we noticed a sign advertising a trail around the visitors centre and woods. I was undecided but as it was only 50p I thought nothing ventured nothing gained so we did it! 

When I first got the instructions in my hand I thought yikes (I'm so not logical or maths based) and Chipmunk looked pretty worried and ready to back out of this new game...but 'we gave it a go' 

 The trail was based in a simple concept of using numbers to decipher hidden meanings to words on the signs around the forest.
 Every clue had 3 numbers 
 first number was how many lines down to start counting  
second number was how many words to go too in the sentence 
 third number was how many letters in that found word. 
When you got to that letter you wrote it down and eventually all the random letters spelt out a word or actually many words. 

Our faces must have been a picture,Chipmunk does not like anything new so he was concerned and I certainly was in no doubt that I would mess this up  and fail miserably. 

 Off we trotted to the visitors centre and completed the first clue ~ woohoo! Easy as that eh! 

Of course this involved reading and what does Chipmunk like...reading! We were onto a winner!

 As we began to know what we were doing it became easier and the predictability of the number pattern began to sink into Chipmunk and his confidence grew and then,well we were zooming! 

Around the forest we went,receiving very curious looks from some people,as we dashed to signs and started counting! 

In the end the words spelt out  Robin Hood And His Merry Men 

We then had to go to the shop and tell the lady there the secret phrase and then we were presented with a certificate that said Chipmunk was a honary member of Robin Hoods gang! 

What more could a 7yr old boy want!

It was a really good thing to do and I would definitely do another trail if there are any more. It just adds something different to do when playing in Robin Hoods Woods! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reading part 3

Chipmunks Reading - 3

Chipmunk had got to the middle of year one when I began to realize we were really hitting trouble. 

The books were becoming longer,the text was getting smaller and Chipmunk was struggling. 

He was also having trouble retaining his keywords.

He had got all the sets of keywords but as quickly as he was taught one set he would forget a previously taught set.

I was beginning to get really worried. 

Then one day after tea I asked Chipmunk to bring his school reading book to me to read. 

Chipmunk didn't seem at all keen to come and snuggle up with his book but he eventually did come to sit in the settee with me. 

When I opened the book up Chipmunk just began to cry and it was heartbreaking

The little boy who loved books was crying at a book! 

I was horrified and at that point knew something had to be done! 

How could I sit and watch this little boys love of books be destroyed.

In part four what I did to turn the situation around and to get Chipmunk loving books once more

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Library Loot

Our recent stash of library loot!

We have got some reading to do

Look forward to that then!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chipmunks Reading - 2

When Chipmunk started school he was thrilled to bring a reading pack home with a set of keywords in it ( pink ones) and a book without any words,just with pictures in to look at and discuss with a grown up. 

We read regularly together and methodically worked our way through the key words and with a fair amount of help Chipmunk began to recognise some keywords but I had a funny feeling he was not connecting his keywords to the words in his reading book. 

After 6 months in reception Chipmunk moved to Year One and I began to become concerned that he was not retaining some of the keywords and yet he was coming home with more new keywords. 

This was a worry to me. 

The books were getting more complex and lengthy and I had a very bad feeling that Chipmunk was struggling.

In part three... The day I knew I had to do something about Chipmunks reading!
A Bit Of Nature
 One of my big pushes this half term week has been to get Chipmunk 
out and about in the fresh air.

Today we went to Creswell Crags and it was good.

The other boys were at school and working so it was just me,
Chipmunk and my mum and dad. 

Creswell Crags is only a short drive away from where 
we live and it is truly beautiful

It is a archaeological site,steeped in history
and some great walks and stunning scenery.

First thing Chipmunk did was find a stick
and this stick stayed with us all around the lake 
and its in my kitchen right now.Im hoping it will 
transfer to the garden tomorrow!
We walked through windy woodland paths
until we came to a cave which was high up in the crags
So we climbed up and up and up,until finally 
we reached the top
And we found out that in here remains of wolves,
hyenas,woolly mammoths,even rhinos had been found.

Obviously this fascinated Chipmunk,wild animals
in caves = exciting!

We walked all around the lake,fed ducks and swans,saw horses galloping 
madly round a nearby field and then turned back to journey home.
Still carrying the stick of course!
It was a fantastic day out and after we got home Chipmunk relaxed with his
beloved ipad.

He had had a great time,climbing,running,being with family,
everything I want him to do.

Happy Chipmunk and happy me

Thursday, February 16, 2012


 The boys are loud!

 When they are together they torment each other to pieces. 

Argue,argue!Silly voices!Jumping out at each other.Rolling on beds until someone nearly falls off.Lying on top of each other and squashing the bottom person till they are hysterical with laughter or tears.Jumping out from behind doors and frightening people to death! 

Words like 'Hey' 'Oi' 'Watch it' 'Telling' and of course 'Muuuuummy' and 'Muuum' are flying around,usually at one thousand,million decibels. 

The things is that even though I get exasperated there is a big bit of me that smiles at them. 

I like the fact that they are interacting with each other.I like that boisterous side to them,they seem like the boys I used to know,not quite so grown up and a bit like my boys again. 

So let the noise reign,just don't tell them I approve :-) 
Reading - Part One

When Chipmunk was a baby and a toddler I didn't let him watch any television.

I was not being horrible but after having two older children who I was always telling to come away from screens,Game Boys,X Boxes,TV,etc, I just thought it was madness to introduce a toddler to the television if I didn't need to.

This had a knock on effect,Chipmunk needed to be entertained,no electric babysitter for him,and this is how his love of books was born.

He would bring me piles and piles of books to read and we would cuddle up on the settee and read,read,read.
He began to associate books with cuddles,mummy time,fun,rest,amusement,all good things.

One of the first books Chipmunk really loved was Boo  Baby,I must have read that book hundreds of times and he used to giggle his way through it.

We used to go to the local library regularly and Chipmunk soon got to know all the library assistants and they got to know him too!

By the time Chipmunk was 3 years old it was apparent he was a Little bookworm and anybody who knew Chipmunk knew this

In part 2 see what happened to Chipmunks reading when he started school

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chipmunks Reading

These reading posts came about from a comment made by my dad as we were coming back from swimming last week.

Chipmunk was sat in the back seat clutching his new best book called Yuk!

He had come straight out of swimming and wanted to read the book but it was dark and he couldn't see the words in the dark.

My dad was trying to explain this to him and afterwards he said to me

"He's a real little reader isn't he"

A moment later he said

"But it's not always been like this has it?"

And this made me think,really think.

I have got so used to this little boy carry his book around and the sound of his voice reading away at night before he sleeps and in the morning as soon as he wakes up.

And I love it!

I never tire of it,it's magical.

But as my dad said just a bit ago I was worried about Chipmunks reading,really worried.

Its not all been plain sailing.

In fact its been quite a long journey.

And I thought I know, I'm going to write a blog piece about it and then I realised it would be much too long and laborious to write and read in one go so I'm going to do it in installments so tomorrow read part one.....

Midweek Splashes & Dashes

Having a fabby half term! 

Nothing special,nothing grand but time spent at home with the boys and for me that's enough. 

We have done something every day and I'm pleased with that. 

 On Saturday it was hair cut day,erm less said about that the better! 

Sunday Chipmunk went to a bowling party,this was good fun,Chipmunk enjoys bowling and it was nice for him to see his school friends in a informal situation. 

Monday was good.We had a trip to town and spent time in the pet shop. 
Chipmunk got to hold a lovely 8 week old guinea pig ( I fell in love with this little guy,by the way.) We also saw budgies,mice,and cute things called degus,they were like the kangaroo's of the rat world,all jumpity & Chipmunk and I really giggled at them. 
 We then went to the library and got some more really great books out. (hmm that reminds me,I need to rearrange chipmunks bookcase out) 

Then on Tuesday we went on a train to Nottingham with my mum & dad and the boys and Tigers girlfriend. That was a good if somewhat tiring day! Nice to get out with all the boys ~ something I treasure these days.

 Today ~ Wednesday ~ we got invited to a friends house for cake and coffee.How could we refuse that! Chipmunk made friends with the family dog 'Mack' and a good time was had by all. So I'm happy with how the half term week is panning out and still more days left for more family time ~ yay

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dear January Half Term,

So glad you didn't warn me how tough you were going to be!

Think we have only had 6 weeks back since Christmas and in that time Chipmunk has been really poorly and so have I.

The change in routine threw me completely,one minute Chipmunk is at school then he's at home poorly.
I spent my life dashing around between work and home and then I got poorly!

What started out as a great time with swimming twice a week turned into no swimming for 3 weeks.
It couldn't be helped but very disappointing for me and Chipmunk.

And then there has been the snow which meant no outside time for the school children for a week!

 In with all this madness has been some good bits too.

I seem to be getting more organized at night times which can only be a good thing!

We are seeing more of my mum & dad now my dad has retired.
This has been great and made my life easier and nicer.
It is really a big change for me and it's great to have their support.

We had a fab parents evening for Sharky.I will post about that this week as it was good!

During this half term we have met Sharkys girlfriend,who is a regular at our house now.

Family dynamics changing yet again!

So I think all is going okay but what a tough half term.

Can I put a request in for a easier next half term pretty please!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weekend Splashes & Dashes

Its been such a busy and contrasting weekend

Daffodils to remind me Spring is on the way

 And snow to remind me that Winter is still here!

 On Friday night we went to children's church and had a great time.
We saw lots of friends there and had a really good sing song.
Its surprising how music and singing can make you feel so happy.

 Friday was also Pyjama Day at school.
Chipmunk wore his new pyjamas
And as predicted lost his Streaker book into the bargain!
Hopefully he will find that tomorrow,especially as it is a library book!

On Saturday morning my mum and dad came up and spent a hour with us,
And then we went on our duck pond adventure.
After the duck pond we just flopped around lazily.

It did start to snow on Saturday evening and Chipmunk nearly dropped his ipad in excitement!

I woke on Sunday morning to the sound of snow being scraped up.
All the men on our close were busily shovelling snow like madmen!

Chipmunk and I cleaned our hamster out and then went out into the cold, white snowy world
 It was not as deep as last year but enough to play in
 We splattered snowballs at this tree
 And made this snowman - ta da
a perfect place to dry our gloves
Chipmunk digging
It was great fun but we were glad to get back in the house.

The tag hanging out in this photo made me laugh
And I snapped Chipmunk doing a bit of morning reading 
while I got the hamster cleaning tackle ready.

All in all it has been a good weekend and now only 5 days until half term
Im on countdown.
Hands On Homework

I'm not the worlds biggest fan of homework at all.
I would much rather be playing with Chipmunk rather than struggling laboriously through homework.

  So I was pleasantly surprised by this weeks homework.

One piece is making toast! Mmm yummy.
The questions after might not be so yummy
But the toast makes up for it!

That is the literacy piece.

For numeracy we have to make a tally chart of different colour cars.
 So its time to wrap up warm and go car spotting.

I think Chipmunk will like this two things.

Woohoo for hands on homework!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Silent Sunday
Dancing On Ice

We Went On A Duck Hunt

We went on a duck hunt
It was freezing cold
Through lots of trees we went

But could not find any ducks  
So we threw a few sticks 
Until the stick got lost! 
But still no ducks,

So we walked a bit further 
And still no ducks
Someone had kindly left some food
But still no ducks!
We passed some boats
And some horses too
But no quacks were to be heard
Then we saw them
Rushing to be fed
We were happy & gave them lots of bread

Splashy Smiles

Bit late with this weeks  Splashy Smiles

Better late than never though!

Firstly its brilliant to have Chipmunk getting better after that nasty virus,he is not 100%
but certainly much better than he was this time last week.


Picking Chipmunk up from school and seeing him run with his friends
This always makes me smile.


The text messages that Chipmunk is sending the family
the spellings are making us all grin.
We group together to see who has got a new one each night.
a example of a Chipmunk text can be found here
I must take some more photos of them,they are precious!


Tiger seems to count down each week from Christmas,so each week he will say
3 weeks ago it was Christmas Day
How long will he keep this up?
Can you imagine in July him saying
27 weeks ago it was Christmas Day!
It does make me smile though!


How taken Chipmunk is with Sharkys new girlfriend.
His comment was,
''She has wonderful hair''
This made us all grin.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Weekend Hat

Chipmunk has a weekend hat.

Its blue.furry,covers his ears and is very comfy to wear.

It is destined to be just a weekend hat though or even a school holiday hat


if it ever went to school it could end up...

in a muddy puddle,
stuck in a bush,
in the teachers car park under a teachers car,
inside a fenced off bit of school property that can only be reached by grovelling to the caretaker,
even on the school roof!

How do I know this....

Because those are a few places that hats of ours have found themselves!

And that's why this is a weekend hat!

Snip snap

The boys hair needs cutting.

Desperately needs cutting!

What with one thing and another its just not been done lately.

Blame Christmas,blame money,
the fact is all the boys hair does need cutting.

And boy haven't they let me know about this fact!

They have gone on and on and on until I cant even bear to hear the word haircut.

So i have got to make a appointment for some time in half term for the long awaited hair cut.

In the meantime I'm going to make the most of those long locks of Chipmunks,
because although can see it needs trimming up or perhaps ahem cutting,I do like it long too!

So I will be taking lots of photos  just so I can remember those lovely blonde curls

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This house is hectic!
 Ive always wanted a busy house and Ive certainly got one! 

Both biggie boys have got girlfriends now and so that's even more people here.

People are on different time zones!

Teenagers staying up late,getting up even later!

They seem to wake up at the end of the day and start eating and larking around

Meanwhile Chipmunk goes to bed at 6.45pm and gets up about 8am.

So I'm up early and to bed late.

Burning the candle at both ends!

I'm always making drinks and the sink is always full of dirty dishes.

The shoe collection by the door is a interesting mix of shoes,boots,Vans.
There are bags everywhere and coats.

And mealtimes have to be staggered so we can fit round the table!

So Ive got what I wanted, a house full of bustle & kids

I'm making the most of it though because I know this is what I want,

A proper busy family home.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Back To School

Today Chipmunk went back to school.
He had been off for 6 days and it almost seemed like a lifetime away.

We had been cosy in the house,where the most he had moved was up and downstairs
And then wham,into the cold air and the hustle bustle of the school playground.

I was anxious because although I knew he was a lot better,I still worried about him managing a full day at school

As soon as he put his school uniform on I noticed the cough again,
Infact I worried all day long!
I expected a call to say ''Come and pick him up''

But he survived it - woohoo!

And it was lovely picking him up and seeing him run with his friend,
That has to be a sign hes on the mend.

He bought all his milk home too,which he was thrilled about,
Nothing as thrilling as drinking 'school milk' at home!

So we are back on track,phew!
Its been a hard week!

Next decision - do I let him swim tomorrow/
Think I will sleep on that one!

One step at a time eh!