It seems that there are so many children that need extra help with school. This can become a very costly exercise if you must keep on relying on extra lessons and therapists. So, as a mother, what can you do to help your children?

I have put together a list of a few ideas that I have come across that really work.

The first and hardest step is to get rid of any mental blocks and negativity that your child may have towards certain subjects and tasks. For example: my youngest child Josh hated reading, he was almost in tears before he had even opened his book. This became a daily fight and we both suffered until I made it my mission to come up with some way to change his mind about reading. The next day when he opened his book to start reading, I waited till he finished the page and then I told him to stop, it was now my turn to read, he looked at me with a very strange look on his face, but I took the book and read the next page. Once I had finished the page I handed the book back to him and he read, we continued like this until the book was finished. What this did was change his focus from the fact that there looked like there were so many pages to read before the book was finished.

All he was worried about was when it was his turn. We did this for a while until he was confident that he could read the whole book by himself. We had just nailed it and then the books coming home were longer and harder. Plan B – I would encourage him to read the whole book even if he didn’t have to. I told him not to tell his teacher that he had finished the book and then he didn’t have to read tomorrow. He thought this was great, having a little secret that only the two of us knew. In no time, he realised that he was capable of reading the whole book and that it was not as hard as he thought it would be. Thankfully now we don’t have any issues when it comes to reading. Another little trick that I found works is to get your older child to read the library book to the younger one. This encourages them to read out loud, and they feel proud and have a new sense of responsibility. The added bonus is that it is one less thing that you have to do.

Times Tables.

The only way to learn them is by repetition. Why not purchase a times table chart from your local toy store, stick it onto the back of their bathroom door. You will be amazed at how many times they read it when they are sitting on the toilet. I found this fantastic video on how to teach your children place value in maths. Click on the link to watch the video. https://youtu.be/Kpj7Rt2qT6o


There is a great movie called Trompie. The original 1975 feature film about the mischievous young Trompie and the misadventures he and his gang of friends embark upon, it is based on the books by Topsy Smith. This is a story that all kids will enjoy, and it will encourage them to watch an Afrikaans series. The more they hear the language the better they will become. I am sure our Afrikaans was better because we had no choice but to watch Leva Hexi and Willie Wallie if we wanted to watch TV.


First off, when a list of words comes home for them to learn, before they even begin, I test them. This way we know which words they battle with and we focus on those. There is no point in learning the whole list if you already know how to spell them. We have found that our boys spell better with rhymes, so when they have a word that they always get stuck on, we make up a rhyme for that word.

Here are a few examples of rhymes that we found worked.

Minute – Mom is nice until the end.

Calendar – A Calendar shows you the end of the year, Cal – endar

Cousin – Can owl’s use sticks in nests

Teeth – Both your front teeth look the same ee not ea

Witch – The witch is always in trouble so she won’t go to heaven.

Which – No trouble so heaven it is, h

Were – Wally eats raw eggs

The list goes on, but it definitely works.

The kids often need to write a sentence with the words on their list, I am not sure if it is just a boy thing, but if left to their own choice, the sentence will consist of three maybe four words. To change this, we try and see how many words from the list that they can put in the sentence with the sentence still making sense. Sometimes we get a three liner.

There are two great websites that I have come across. Worksheet Cloud and E Classroom. These sites are both based on caps and have tons of worksheets, tests and answer sheets. They are a great way to recap and see what the kids know and what they still need to learn.

If you have an iPad or Tablet

There are lots of amazing learning Apps available. My favourite ones are: Mad Multiply; Times Table Trainer; OhNoFractions and Spelling Free. We also use the voice recorder App a lot. They will read their poems, notes or prepared reading into the voice recorder and then play it back to themselves until they know it.


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