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Easter break means easter eggs!

Easter & Bank Holiday Closure Dates 2020

Easter Holidays Closure Dates for April 2020:

Bex Harper Tutoring & Coaching will close for the Easter break between Saturday 4th April and Sunday 19th April 2020.

BHTC will also close on Friday 8th May for the May bank holiday and Saturday 23rd May to Sunday 31st May for half term.

There will be no tutoring lessons or coaching sessions during these periods, as Bex will be out of the office and our administrator, Hannah, will also be out of the office, on maternity leave.

 

Contact:

If you need to contact us via text or email, one of us will respond on Monday 20th April, when we resume our normal business opening hours.

You are welcome to post homework through the door to ensure it is marked in time for your first lesson back after Easter.

Don’t forget to build in little tea breaks to eat those lovely Easter eggs!

Covid-19:

If Covid-19 is still a pandemic by the end of the Easter holidays, online lessons will continue until at least 1st June. Many thanks for your patience and please see my posts on resources for kids not in school and  how you can keep busy at home.

 

maths algebra practice

Resources For Kids Not At School

It is a difficult time for parents and guardians. Don’t feel overwhelmed by being solely responsible for your child’s education: give me a shout if you need a tutor. Meanwhile, here are some things to help you. They are mostly reading, English, maths, German and history.

Key Stages 3 and 4

Free Kids E-books

My English Lit Resource page

German resources (various levels)

My online practice exam questions for English (see the images that are blue-green)

BBC Bitesize

Writing about what you know

Speech writing

Essay writing and more

Creative writing and critical reading

Fiction writing

Poetry

Critical Reading

Grammar

First World War

Maths

More maths

Even more maths

Key Stage 5 and beyond

Health and the Ancient World

Duchess of Malfi

First World War

Mental Health

Also check out my post on how to keep yourself and the kids occupied whilst mostly stuck at home!

25 things to do whilst we are all mostly stuck at home!

With this virus going around and being advised to stay at home, what can you do to stop the boredom?! Here are 25 suggestions:
  1. Do a Youtube meditation, or take an online kick-boxing, dance or yoga class
  2. Read a book (or several)!
  3. Take a walk somewhere new (stay 2m away from others) – we often fail to take the time to explore places in or near our own neighbourhoods
  4. Play boardgames with your family.
  5. Paint, draw, colour in, sew. Get arty! Make home-made greetings cards.
  6. Have a movie night – find a friend who will let you use their Netflix account or watch a DVD and get some popping corn for around £1 to make your own popcorn in a pan on the stove.
  7. Learn a language on Duolingo – impress your friends with your skills!
  8. Video chat with a friend and catch up. This is a great time to talk to that person you are always meaning to ring but never find the time – show them you care.
  9. Listen to an audio book or some upbeat music whilst you clean and declutter your home – kill two birds with one stone!
  10. Make a movie or music video with your family – dress up and wear silly outfits and put on ridiculous accents.
  11. Do a murder mystery night with your family – you can get a free murder mystery set here or here.
  12. Take a bubble bath – listen to some music whilst you relax those cares away!
  13. Try Geocaching – go on a treasure hunt and explore the wonders of Geocaching.
  14. Have a picnic or a BBQ, hula hoop, or play ball games in your garden.
  15. Write a song – if you are musical or think you don’t mind the silliness. Otherwise, write a poem, or that book you’ve always wished you had time to write!
  16. Learn to play a musical instrument.
  17. Play an online computer game or my favourite game: The Sims!
  18. Write letters to friends you haven’t see for a while (if you have postage stamps!)
  19. Make a coffee at home, sit in the garden to enjoy the outdoors whilst sipping your drink.
  20. Go for a bike ride – feel the rush of the breeze against your face.
  21. Write a bucket list of 50 things you want to experience in your lifetime or a “Be, Do, Have list”– then close your eyes, daydream about what it would be like, and then set to work working out which 3 you’d want to do first! Then make a plan of how you can do them!
  22. Go stargazing in your garden or on your balcony – take your blanket and lie down somewhere where you can easily look at the stars.
  23. Bake bread, cakes, pancakes or muffins and have a lazy jazz breakfast.
  24. Go gardening. Plant your own seeds. It’s perfect for the spring!
  25. Get some online life coaching! This is the perfect time to work on yourself!
healthy eating, snacks

Brain-powering Snacks!

The Importance of Food For Your Brain

With exams coming up, it is important to have healthy, but tasty, snacks to make your revision and homework sessions more fun! It can be easy to crave sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks, but here are some tips.

Drink plenty of water or sparkling water! (If you have a craving for fizzy drinks, sparkling water is better than cola, etc.)

Oats are high in protein and fibre as well as containing lots of vitamins and minerals (e.g. manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and B vitamins).

Nuts (unless you are allergic!) are a very good source of protein and natural fats, as well as vitamins and magnesium.

Chocolate that has low or no sugar content, but high cocoa content (at least 70% cocoa), has been shown to improve your mood and contains iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. In small amounts, chocolate can be good for you.

Likewise, bananas, which are high in potassium, are very good for you in small amounts. Make sure your banana is yellow/brown; not still partially green.

 

For a quick snack ideas:

  • spread a banana with peanut butter
  • trail mix: make up a box of dried fruit, nuts, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate squares
  • carrots and hummus

 

Alternately, you could try the recipes below that I use regularly to keep the cravings at bay! Thanks to Sophie at Gut Confidence for sharing these recipes and for giving me permission to share them with you.

 

RECIPES

All freezable. Just make as instructed and put in air-tight containers in the freezer and get out in the morning. These snacks will help with sugar cravings and are full of healthy fats and proteins!

 

Chocolate Nutty Energy Balls (makes about 12 balls)

Ingredients:

  • 125g peanut or almond butter
  • 90g oats or quinoa flakes
  • 50g dark chocolate chips or 50g of a bar, grated
  • 50ml maple syrup (make sure it is the real stuff and not a fake, like golden syrup)
  • 30g chopped macadamia or hazelnuts

 

How to:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. (TIP: you can make a double batch of the dry ingredients and put the spare half in an air-tight container to use when baking in a rush!)
  2. Stir in the nut butter and maple syrup.
  3. Roll into 12 balls with the palm of your hands.
  4. Put in the fridge for 30 mins to chill.

 

 

Cranberry + Hazelnut Bark

Ingredients:

  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 50g hazelnuts, chopped
  • 100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa content)

 

How to:

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, break the chocolate into pieces then microwave for about 2 minutes. Check every 20 seconds and stir, then take out as soon as it’s fully melted. (It might be done before 2 minutes depending on your microwave.)
  1. Add about 3/4 of the nuts and cranberries and stir together. Pour onto the baking tray and spread out with a spoon until it’s a flat slab with even thickness.
  2. Sprinkle the rest of the nuts and cranberries over the top
  1. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes then  carefully cut into smaller pieces with a sharp knife.

 

 

Cinnamon & Banana Oaty Bakes (makes 8)

Ingredients:

  • 100g rolled oats
  • 2 bananas, mashed (very ripe ones are best)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 60g raisins

 

How to:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C  and grease a baking tray
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (TIP: you can make a double batch of the dry ingredients and put the spare half in an air-tight container to use when baking in a rush!)
  3. Add mashed banana and stir throughly.
  4. Spoon 8 mounds onto the baking tray
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown, then remove and let cool.
  6. Keep what you can eat in 3 days in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer. (If you don’t freeze these, they need to be eaten within a few days due to the banana!)

 

Fantastic Freezer Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 200g coconut oil (melt so that it is liquid)
  • 30g cacao powder
  • maple syrup
  • Sea salt

 

How to:

  1. Mix the coconut oil and cacao powder in a bowl
  2. Add maple syrup and sea salt to taste.
  3. Freeze. Keep in the freezer until you are ready to eat them!

 

If you love making these treats, I also love the Rawtarian chocolate brownies, freezer cheesecake and chocolate shortbread, as well as Brendan Brazier’s Salt and Vinegar Kale Crisps. I suggest you check those out next! Happy baking!

Bex, Harper, tutor, Southend, Westcliff,

Christmas & New Year Closure

Christmas & New Year Holidays Closure Dates!

Bex Harper Tutoring & Coaching will be closed for the Christmas & New Year break.  Our break will be between Friday 20th December 2019 and Monday 6th January 2020 (inclusive). There will be no tutoring lessons or coaching sessions during this period, as Bex and our administrator, Hannah, will also be out of the office, on annual leave.

 

Contact

If you need to contact us via text or email or send homework via email, you shall receive a response on Tuesday 7th January when we resume our normal business opening hours. Many thanks for your patience.

 

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Becoming a Zero-Waste Household

I’ve always been interested in recycling and have recently shifted towards a less environmentally damaging way of living. These are the ways I previously lived and have continued to live:

  • I’m vegetarian and have been now for nearly 15 years.
  • I get public transport, walk, cycle, or use an electric car to travel within the UK.
  • I grow my own food on my allotment.
  • I use energy saving lightbulbs and bulk-cook meals.
  • I recycle my empty containers and compost my food waste.

What now?

Earlier this year, I switched all my bath products to Lush’s naked (without packaging) range and have enjoyed face washes, soaps, shower scrubs and even deodorant in bar form, rather than in plastic containers.

But lately, I have been seeing that, even so, I am still generating a LOT of recycling with regards to supermarket shopping. So, I decided to set myself a challenge of converting to shopping for food in a zero waste supermarket, when possible, such as my local farmer’s market or The Refill Room.

What are you doing to help the environment? I’d love to hear from you!

Back to School!

BHTC will open its doors again on Monday 9th September at 4pm to begin the new school year!

Firstly, we are almost fully-booked, so get in touch if you haven’t secured your tutoring slot for September. We’ve only got these times left:

  • Tuesdays 6:00-7:00pm (fortnightly)
  • Wednesdays 4:00-5:00pm (weekly)
  • Wednesdays 5:00-6:00pm (fortnightly)

Get in touch via email ASAP to book! Contact hello@bexharper.com for more information or to book one of these times.

 

Secondly, don’t forget to let me know which literature texts you are studying for GCSE, your examination board or other important information.

So, I’ll see you week commencing 9th September! Enjoy the rest of your holidays!

Your Words: Improve Your Child’s Wellbeing and Education!

I tutor English Language and am life coach. So I am very interested in language use. In particular, I am fascinated by how the language we use around children affects the way they perceive themselves and others. First, let’s explore a little some ideas I have come across recently. These are approaches that encourage your child to be resilient. Second, we’ll look at using gender-neutral language. Through this approach, you allow your children to believe in themselves, due to avoiding gender bias.

Growth Mindset Language

Growth Mindset is a theory from educational practice that states that children should not be praised for what they achieve, but how hard they work. Some people think this is impractical. They believe giving praise to children who never achieve high grades is creating an unrealistic view of the world for those children. However, my response to this view is twofold. Firstly, I believe strongly that the people making these claims do not understand growth mindset theory. Secondly, they also do not understand the potential damage done to the children’s confidence. If children get consistently low grades and also see others being praised instead of them, this increasingly makes them feel worse about themselves. 

Growth Mindset is saying “Well done for completing all the questions” when a child works slowly and doesn’t normally finish. It’s saying “Excellent! You remembered your folder today!” when a child manages to get organised, who doesn’t normally manage this. Growth Mindset literally makes kids want to keep doing the things you are praising them for. Then it starts to become automatic and you can start to set them new goals. “George, well done for remembering your folder today. Tomorrow I’d like to see you remember your homework!”

 

How Can Parents Use Growth Mindset Language?

Praise your kids who don’t normally do their chores, when they do them. Growth mindset is almost like the opposite of nagging. Children love praise. Nobody likes to be told off, but it is necessary sometimes. However, try to limit your nagging or telling off to a ratio of 1:5 – with 5 lots of praise for every nag! Use language like: “Well done for being kind to your sister and sharing with her” or “Great job that you wiped your feet before coming in today!” In particular, with education, you can praise children for completing their homework and taking an interest in their after-school clubs. 

A little goes a long way! They will start to believe in themselves!

 

How You Can be a Language Role Model

Don’t say to your kids “I wasn’t any good at maths, ask ____”. Studies have shown that kids can interpret this as “Well if Mum / Dad isn’t good at this, how will I be?” You can be a language role model by saying to your kids: “Okay, shall we research this online and see what we can find?” or “Do you find maths harder than other subjects? Do you want a tutor to support you and make you really confident?” This way, you are actively helping to find a solution without putting yourself down. You are not telling your child “I feel anxious about this and can’t help”.

 

Avoiding Gender Bias

Many studies have shown how little girls mostly get compliments that reflect their appearance. For example: “you’re so pretty” or “your dress is beautiful”. Boys, on the other hand, get complimented on how well they do things, rather than expressing their emotions or how they look. To improve your daughter’s chances of doing well, praise her for things that she accomplishes as well as how she looks! Likewise, boost your son’s confidence by commented on both his great achievements and decisions, but also how well he expressed his feelings. 

 

Moving Forward

This is just a whistle-stop tour of how language can help your child. If you are looking for coaching or a tutor to help boost your child’s confidence, then drop me a message to see if I can help! Email hello@bexharper.com for more information.

Revision Time!

It’s time to revise! Don’t panic! Check out:

Good luck! 🙂

Film and Nostalgia: Representations of History Course Review

Guest Post by Sandra Martin

WEA Billericay Branch – Spring Course

Film and Nostalgia: Representations of History

Tutor – Dr Bex Harper
Scene:

A cast of around 30 men and women from their mid to late twenties and ……!
Seated, facing a screen, wide-eyed in anticipation. Unsure what the next 8
weeks will involve. A plethora of bodice-ripping tear- jerkers? A potted history
of the world courtesy of the film industry? Think what the film ‘Troy’ did for
our knowledge of the magnificent Greek civilisation hmm?!

Enter stage left:

Our Director/Producer Bex whose in-depth enlightenment of how film
techniques are used to portray events, emotions, relationships and
environments ensured that we will probably never view a film in quite the
same way.

Bex helped us to really see the importance of things that we may not have
noticed in our viewing. For example, so many different camera angles used as
devices to show so much more than the things in shot, such as the
power/vulnerability of characters, historical setting, and of course emotions.
She chose 4 films for scrutiny. The first being Howard’s End, which we soon
realised was so much more that a beautifully filmed rural idyll and which some
might call a stereotypical nostalgic film?

Secondly, and about as different from Howard’s End as you could choose, was
the brilliant Good Bye Lenin!, a film set in the last years of the GDR ,when
history was being made, but focussing on the life of one family. Bex’s guidance
through this film showed us how a film can show nostalgia and heritage in such
a very powerful way that the viewer can identify with even though the events
were far removed from their own lives. It was a film that was a great discovery
for most of us and during the 4 weeks we studied it, I for one couldn’t wait for
the next session.

After a session viewing clips from, and discussing The Help – a film set in the
south of the US around the time of the Civil Rights movement, we moved on to
our final film The King’s Speech, set in the years leading up to WW2 and
centred on the future King’s struggles to master a speech impediment which
could hinder his role as sovereign.

Method:

Our sessions were so much more than us, as the audience, viewing while the
Director Bex led – we broke off into small groups for discussion and then
regrouped to share our views after each clip. This technique enabled us to
pursue in depth what nostalgia and heritage in film meant, not only to us, but
in the portrayal of life events in film.

A thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening course.

– Sandra Martin, Student