Office at home: Back to school… the calm before the storm??
Phew, I sat down at my desk this morning and breathed a sigh of relief, after last weeks slightly stressful back to school shopping trips. You may be familiar with the drill - dragging reluctant children around the shops and asking myself why I always leave it so late to buy everything! The shops have run out of school shirts the right colour and my 11yr old is looking sullen-faced at the remaining stock in his size the local shoe shop…
However, after a little persistence, persuasion and a few well-timed treats everything on the list has been bought. The boys have now been dispatched, complete with new haircuts, bags and shiny shoes - probably shiny for the last time this term.
Now, if previous years are anything to go by, I reckon I’ve now got about a week before the homework starts to pile up, half the contents of the pencil cases has been lost and the library has run out of books on this terms topic. So, this year I’m making a stand for parents (no self-interest there then ;-)) - scouring Office Online and beyond for resources which may help me and them manage the remainder of the term. I hope you find them useful and if you have any tips of your own – please share!!
Start with a template
Save time with pre-designed templates which you can save onto your PC and then use to easily create documents to suit your needs. Office Online has a huge selection – search the template database or take a look at these…
- Customise and print out 2009-2010 academic calendars for you or the kids, to keep track of activities or to use as homework planners.
- This backdoor bulletin board is a useful (and imaginative) project to bring together all your household info and notes. Get the kids to help put it together and maybe they’ll remember where their homework timetable is.. or is that just wishful thinking?!
- Use a weekly meal planner to get organised and save money… and more importantly, stop that too familiar ‘what are we going to have for tea?!!’ panic.
- PTA committee members may find some useful poster templates here. Some designs are a little US-centric but as they are templates they can all be customised to make them more suitable for the UK if needed.
- Lots more useful links on our Parents page.
Here’s a couple of websites which could be a help with the homework (and are open more often than the local library)
- A new BBC Schools portal has brought together the enormous range of BBC online resources for both kids and parents. Definitely worth spending some time browsing – the site is divided into Primary and Secondary resources and you can browse by subject or site. There’s also an extensive parent’s section which looks like it could be very helpful in getting to grips with the Key Stage structure and associated jargon.
- Wikipedia is always one of the top sites found if your kids are using a search engine to get background info for their project. The good news is that it’s surprisingly accurate – although it’s always worth getting them to double-check any facts picked up on the internet!
- Top Marks is an educational search engine bookmarking a wealth of resources. Browse by subject and age group. There’s also a parent’s section with tips on supporting your child with learning and school.
- Although I am a little biased, I do love Bing! The gorgeous backgrounds change every day, often giving a lovely little insight into an unexpected corner of the world. Oh and it does actually bring back some pretty good search results too!!
Buying a new PC?
- If you are thinking about buying a new laptop or desktop computer for the kids this year there are some good back to school offers on – take a look at the PC World site for an idea of what’s available.
- Don’t forget to get a copy of Microsoft Office when you buy your PC as it doesn’t usually come with the computer. You can get Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 for £75.35 from Microsoft Store until 30th Sept, which is about £25 off the usual price. That version comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote (very cool note-taking software) and you can use it on up to 3 PCs. Take a look at the demos on the Real Life Tools web site to see it in action.
- This article may help if you need to get Microsoft Office for a netbook.