Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Stay on Track

Have a read about this amazing Mum who has set up a fantastic way of helping kids with Maths! I would love to introduce you to Sharlene from Stay on Track

I am a passionate Mum of three,my children are Aslan(12), Katia(10) and Seth, my wee surprise baby (3).I am a woman who loves to laugh, read books, watch movies and see smiles on my children's faces.I live with endometriosis, which can be a bit of a battle at times, but has also taught me many things about myself.

I trained as a teacher at the Dunedin College of Education,doing all my practicums in Dunedin schools. As a family we then moved to Auckland where I have taught for several years. In my teaching I have always put a big emphasis on the relationship between home and school. I believe that if the parent is on board and they understand what is happening, then the child can excel in their work and feel fully supported while doing it- this is a strong premise for www.stayontrack.co.nz.

I have had a great relationship with my students parents but one thing that became clear to me is that parents who want to help their children, are often confused by the system and the teacher talk, so feel helpless as a result.

I feel very passionate about changing this and empowering parents, after all we are all in this together. This is why we offer a 5 day free trial and only ask for an email address. I want parents to know they have a choice, and that StayOnTrack is a great choice.

Starting Stay on Track...
My inspiration is my daughter Katia. I think that sometimes as busy parents it can take us a while to see what is happening on our own doorsteps,we expect that if anything is going wrong with our children that it will be brought to our attention. This is not always the case, one night I had managed to come home early and I was sitting with my daughter helping her with her maths. In a splash of terribly cold realisation, I could see that not only was she far behind in her mathematics but she was developing a "it's cause I'm stupid at maths" and a "maths sucks" attitude.

As a teacher and a mother, you could imagine I felt very guilty.

I knew that without the basic facts, Katia would never succeed in mathematics so I started creating fun, 15 minute worksheets. To get excellent at anything, including sports, you must practice everyday so that was the base line. I created worksheets at her level, that used the strategies of the New Zealand curriculum and had the sole focus of the foundation of all mathematics-basic facts.

I was impressed at how quickly she started to learn by practicing 15 minutes everyday and even more pleased at watching her enjoy what she was doing on the worksheets. I remember when she first came home with a big smile on her face to say she had done the best ever on a test at school! I may or may not have had a few private tears.

It dawned on me that I was lucky, I had the training to know where she needed to be and how to get her there, what happens to parents that want to help but have no idea where to start?

My husband really liked the worksheets and the ideas and motivation behind them, he is a home taught computer whizz and suggested I share these with other parents, ta-daa StayonTrack!!

I do suggest that every parent trial for free our worksheets, I have been stunned at how grateful parents are but not surprised that continual and sustained practice makes a massive difference. The great thing is you can pop these in front of your children while you are cooking tea, or driving to sports practice!

At first we thought about having some crazy name, in the style of google but then we thought about what we were providing our parents- a way to help their children, straight forward and to the point and so we chose a name that was the same. It is important to our parents that their children stay on track in the course of their learning and so it is important to us. Hence StayOnTrack.

I am still figuring that out! It tends to start with answering emails and working through a list my husband and I have decided needs to be done for the week. It is super hard to be structured but I try. Let's not forget that I also juggle three children as well so the worksheets have been just as useful for our family lifestyle as for anyone else lol.

I get great satisfaction in the positive feedback I am getting from our parents. Next on the list will be blogs and videos to break down the teacher talk and to teach parents about the different levels and strategies. This should not be a mystery so if you pop onto www.stayontrack.co.nz, you can put in a topic that you want to know more about and we will address it, including questions to ask at parent/teacher interviews.

So many parents I have spoken to say they nod yes, yes, yes to the teacher and then leave wondering what that all meant and just clinging to the fact that maybe the teacher said their kid was doing well, I don't think this is good enough. When we buy an appliance we seek to know everything about it and how it can work for us, aren't our children so much more important than that?

An extra bonus is that I now get to spend three days a week at home with our son Seth. Any parent that works knows the struggle of putting your child into full time care,so finally being able to have this time is super precious.

Designing Stay on Track Resources...
Yes I do design them all myself, but I frequently bounce ideas off my husband and my teacher friends.

This can lead to some heated discussions but all ends in the production of quality resources and strategies being used in StayOntracks worksheets

Everytime my children come home with another notice needing to pay for something at school, certainly helps!!:)

My prime motivation has been the distress of not only my daughter but also students I have had, when they know they are failing in mathematics.

I taught Year 8 students who barely knew their 3x tables let alone any division, this is unacceptable and sets our children up to fail in High School Maths.

Our children need to know their 1-12x tables and the division side of 1-12x tables so well they can answer within 3 seconds. At StayOnTrack we build that knowledge to allow for mathematical success in later years. It is all about practice, and our well-structured worksheets provide that. There is no age limit on this-I have 4 year olds signed up (they need more support of course) and I have 12-13 year olds signed up.

The great thing is the feedback tells me that they are all improving!

Be passionate! Believe in what you are doing-self-doubt is your enemy!

Get help from a business mentor and join a local business network- I am currently seeking these out.

I lock myself in my room and read or watch a movie. It is super hard to turn off as I am very passionate about math, as a student I was doing very well in math until about Year 5 and then I fell away. I know how it feels to struggle with math.

As a training teacher I decided this was ridiculous-to be the best teacher I needed to overcome my fear of math (also diagnosed as math anxiety- check www.stayontrack.co.nz for this upcoming article), sign up for a free trial to receive our new and revamped emails! So I took a lot of math courses and that is when I knew that everyone is good at math, you just need to practice and you REALLY need to be good at your basic facts!! Hence www.stayontrack.co.nz!

From here... 
Parents and children are our main priority- we have a few afterschool care groups showing very positive interest and praise in StayOnTrack's worksheets and want to incorporate it into their programs, also parent support groups.

We are looking at schools- I have support from local schools and teachers that know this is an issue- they love my product and know it works..so watch this space and come on board!

We are building our StayOnTrack brand so tell your friends to sign up for a free trial!

Contacting & buying...
When you sign up for a free trial-takes about 3 seconds on the website- there are direct links to our Facebook, Twitter and Pin Interest Page so that is one easy-peasey way.

The website is www.stayontrack.co.nz-it is super important to us at StayOnTrack that our worksheets are affordable for all parents so it is only $6 a month (the price of a Happy Meal).

Go straight to our subscribe page and the details are there Or sign up for a free trial.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/stayontrack_ (Don't forget the underscore at the end :) )

Facebook: Stay on Track Worksheets

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/stayontrackws/

Or you can email me personally, which I love, at sharleneg@stayontrack.co.nz

Happy following!!

Thanks Sharlene!

Sharlene has so kindly given me 2x 6 month subscriptions to her worksheets to giveaway! I have been doing some of these with my oldest son and he loves them. They are so great educationally and also FUN! I receive an email daily with a new sheet and it is great as we can work through them at our own pace and when it suits us.

To be in to win a subscription, please enter here ~ http://goo.gl/svLYpK

This giveaway closes at midnight on 16 June and the winners will be emailed on 17 June and announced here on my blog.
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