Young Driver Experience – A day to Remember

Could you imagine learning to drive before the age of 17?

At Young Driver, a center that gives children from the age of 10 an opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience driving with a qualified instructor. Children can learn to drive at one of the 60 UK centers where they are taught in a specially designed training area. The training area includes; sharp bends, mini round-about, parking spaces, traffic lights, and junctions.

Young Driver follow the Driving Standards Agency curriculum, which means that what 10 – 17s learn at YOUNG DRIVER is exactly the same as they will learn on the road at 17. The children are given a Drive Diary to record their progress and this is one of the most important parts of the programme – moving forward is the aim!

Their personalised Drive Diary charts individual progress and current level of driving and is completed by the instructor after each driving session. The instructor talks them through it and explains where they could do with some more help or whether they can progress to the next step. The Drive Diary can be given over to their driving instructor when they begin their official lessons at the age of 17 and the instructor will then know what their experience level is.

 

My son, who is 14 years old, was lucky enough to be invited along to the Bluewater Center to experience for himself what it is like to drive a car. The center itself, is situated within the blue car park at Bluewater shopping center. There is a section of car park outside that is specifically designed for a  beginners’ zone, that has a full road system with traffic signs, road markings, junctions and parking zones. In this way it encourages responsible driving.

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As soon as we had arrived, he was called up by his instructor and taken along to the car that he would be driving. Before he could turn the key he underwent a safety check and was taught how to use the mirrors, signal and when to manoeuvre. He had full control over the steering wheel and pedals, however the instructor had pedals that would over power his if an accident were to happen. He started off slowly, to get used to the feel of the steering and clutch. Not long on the road and he was soon snaking in-between cones and maneuvering the car into a figure of eight in the parking lot. Whilst, he was driving he was continuously given advise and constructive criticism from the instructor. He spent 60 minutes out on the road, building up his confidence and learning some important skills of control and responsibility. He now knows how to drive safely and properly, putting him leaps and bounds ahead of other 17 year olds.

His instructor was fantastic, professional and made him feel safe at all times.

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Since his experience, he has become more road aware and is definitely more confident and prepared for when he can hit the road.

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We made a video of his experience

My son certainly left with a big smile on his face and is now eager to get behind the wheel.

I would highly recommend the experience for any young child who wants to get ahead of their peers and become a much safer driver. A very valuable and worthwhile experience.

30 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £34.95

60 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £64.95

To find out more about the experience or to make a booking, head on over to their website www.youngdriver.com

We was given this experience for the purpose of this review.

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Mum, I’ve Fluffed it!

Yesterday was a big day for us, in particular Jak!

Four weeks ago i booked Jak in to take a test, a test that before then we hadn’t even thought of, but as Jak was soon to turn 11 and it was time for us to start to think about what senior school we would be applying for next year. I read through what was needed of the child applying and thought that my Jak could do that. I filled out his details and booked him into the nearest test centre.

The test i am talking about is the 11+.

The test was to be sat at King Edwards vi Grammar School in Chelmsford, the school that we would love for Jak to attend.

A few days after applying for the 11+ I decided to print out some sample papers fro Jak to look at, it was at this point that i realised what I had put him forward for! Jak is a very bright and talented young boy and i believe in him, I believe that if he puts his mind to anything he could achieve it.

The test consisted of 3 individual tests Maths, English and a Verbal/Non verbal Reasoning, Jak had never even seen most of the questions before on the Verbal reasoning papers.

Jak practised on a few of the sample papers but to be honest it wasn’t enough, he should have had more time and it was completely my own fault for applying so late. Four weeks just isn’t enough time for a young child to get used to the fact of sitting such a test, revision is needed and time! I never realised that children were tutored for the test from the age of 9, Jak told me about a friend of his who has been privately tutored for the past two years for the test and all i had done for Jak was print of  few sample papers and sat down with him going through the questions and possible answers.

On Saturday Morning, the day of the test, Jak woke up and was all hyped up for going saying that he would try his best and just enjoy the experience but after an hour and some last minute revision he began crying saying that he couldn’t do it, there was no way i was going to put him under this emmence pressure he was feeling so i told him not to worry and just to go have a shower. 5 Minutes later he has changed his mind and wanted to give it a go, i gave him a big hug and told him that no matter what the results are just to think of it as an audition (as he liked doing these) and to have confidence in himself.

The School is about 25 miles  away from us, we decided to go by train just to see how long it would take him if he did get through, we arrived in good time and Jak seemed to be ok, he was laughing and joking with me and when we got to the school Nanny was waiting there to wish him good luck. We joined the long queue of parents with their boys and registered him in, we walked out of the registration room and had to say good bye to Jak, I wished him good luck and told him i believe in him and i took his phone and gewing gum away from him lol.

We registered Jak in at 12:40 and was told to come back at 4:00 to pick him up, watching my little boy walk down that corridor along with the other young boys i felt guilty as hell, he wasn’t prepared for the test and i shouldn’t have taken him.

I went off to the shops with the boys and my Mum to pass the time and went back to the school at collection time, there were hundreds of parents waiting to collect their child, as i waited anxiously behind the line, that had been placed across the playing field, I saw the first boy being lead out by a school prefect and i saw the look on his face as he scanned the hundreds of adults waiting and as he spotted his adult he ran over to them, I looked again within the many boys that were leaving the building and that’s when i saw my Jak. I waved over to him and as he got closer i noticed how white and peaky he looked, he gave him the biggest hug ever and he said to me

“Mum, I’m sorry I’ve let you down, I fluffed it!”

No! I shook my head, “It’s me that’s let you down!” I should have either prepared him more or not have entered him at all! He looked sick and he was shaking, i have never seen him so scared before. The pressure was too much for him, he just wasn’t ready.

I don’t care for his results, I know my son and i know what he is capable of, he is not the brightest of boys but he is my ray of sunshine. I know whatever school he attends he will do well. He told me that most of the questions that came up in the Verbal Reasoning Test paper he had never seen before and had no idea how to answer them so he guessed them and the Maths paper was a lot harder than he what he fault it would be and the English paper wasn’t too bad.

A word of advice from one parent to another: If you are thinking of putting your child through an 11+ test to get into a Grammar school then make sure that they are ready for it, prepare them with revision but don’t push them too much, they are children after all!

Children are not children for long, savior them whilst they are young as they are not young for long and soon grow up to be young adults.

I failed my son, my son hasn’t failed me!

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A few tips on Child Modelling

My three boys belong to a child model agency and have been signed up to Scallywags agency since last November. Jak my eldest who is 10 years old did some modelling work for the same agency when he was 4 years old but when he was 6 i decided not to sign him back up. Jak has done work for Tesco, Nickelodeon, Comic Relief does the apprentice, on line clothes catalogue and just recently Call the Midwife. Joseph has done Tesco, Thomas the tank engine, Virgin Money, Priddy books and ELC for Nick Jr. Oliver my youngest is on the latest Cow & Gate Commercial. I am no professional in the matter but i have been approached by a few people with some questions about getting their children into modelling so i thought i would write down some of my thoughts and experiences to share with you all.

1. All agencies are different if you want to know what agency to join your little ones up for make sure you do some research, look the company up on the internet, speak to people who are already signed up to the agency and ask them for advice, find there Facebook and twitter pages and read through them and contact some of the big companies like Argos, Next and Mothercare and enquire what agency they use.

2. Most agencies charge a yearly prescription to cover their costs and to represent your child. They will take a percentage of what your child earns aswell which is normally about 25%.

3, Once your child has been on a job do not expect a payment within the month, sometimes this can take up to three months to come through. Don’t forget the agency has to wait for payment from the client before paying your child.

4. You should have a bank account set up for your child so the cheque can be placed into their account as it will be made out to them.

5. Once you have found an agency and you sign up to them, don’t be too upset that you don’t receive a phone call from them about a job as some children hit off quicker than others. Modelling is a harsh job sometimes and the client know what they are looking for so if your child is 154cm high and they want a child that is 145cm then your child will not be out forward for the job.

6. You normally receive a call the day before an audition, we have received calls from the agency as late as 5pm for an audition that is scheduled for the next day. You will have to give the agency a yes or no on whether or not you can attend ASAP. All of the auditions we have attended are in London but they are all over the UK. It has been known that some children have been called into to an audition on the same day.

7. When at an audition it may simply involve a photo being taken, others will involve some acting and dialogue. Sometimes you will receive part of the script they want them to read the day before others they will hand them out when you arrive at the audition. At all auditions clients will expect confidence and enthusiasm. Gaining any level of success involves commitment and patience. My boys have been to quite a few auditions and have not been booked onto the job. Your child needs to be confident and not fazed at not being picked. I always tell my boys that they should look at it as experience and always have fun and enjoy what they are doing, the day that they say that they are not enjoying themselves i shall cancel their subscriptions.

8. In most cases of an audition you will not be allowed in the room with them, the client wants to see how your child behaves without you around. Even on a casting i don’t think i have ever been in the same room with the boys, i sometimes have to take a peek through a window without anyone noticing.

9. Don’t expect a call straight away informing you that your child has been booked on to the job, it can mostly take a couple of days to hear from the agency. If i havent heard anything in 3 days then i take it as they wasnt successful although that said Joseph did attend an audition and we received the call three weeks later.

10. Once you are booked onto a job, travel may be organised for you or you may have to find the way there yourself. Some shoots may ask you to take a selection of clothing with you. I always pack a few of their toys and books, expect to sit around for a while so this keeps them busy and not getting in the way. On most jobs food and drink will be supplied but it’s always a good idea to take a few snacks with you. Some jobs can be over within a couple of hours and some can last up to 6 hours, it all depends. Depending on your child’s age there is a limited amount of time they can be kept on set.

11. Try your best not to arrive late for a job or audition and if you are running late it’s best to let the agency of client know ASAP. The child is not the only one representing the agency, you are aswell so make sure that you are all on your best behaviour lol.

12. Once your child has been selected for a job they will need a performance licence, you will get this from your local children’s authority. To get a performance licence set up you will need a doctor’s certificate to say that your child is ok and fit enough to be in front of lights etc, a school letter saying they will be allowed time off of school both of these certificates need to be signed and stamped for approval. (Doctors charge for the certificate and they last for 6 months, we pay £20!) you will also need two passport photos of the child. There will be a form that you the parent will sign as well and fill out the child’s details on.
These licences can take my thing up to two weeks to come through, you will receive your copy in the post.

13. On some jobs there is a chaperone fee paid to the parent to take their child to a shoot but sometimes there is a paid chaperone who are there to look out for your child.

14. Once with an agency and your child hasn’t received any auditions or castings don’t be scared to contact the agencies office and enquire why your child isn’t getting picked, it may be the case that you need to update your photos on the website. The agency work for YOU! We rely on them to circulate our child’s photos.

15. Update the agency every couple of months with your child’s measurements and hair type, if you go on holiday inform them so that they know you are not available for any jobs, if you child loses their teeth keep them up to date with where and how many.
If your child belongs to a theatre group or any type of club let the agency know what their talent is and keep them up to date with any certificates they receive.

16. Fees for jobs varies depending on what the agency have agreed with the client prior to a booking. Some jobs are paid hourly and some are per day, some times there are usage fees on top of their rates but you should be told what the child will be receiving before the job.

17. If your child is succesful for a casting, don’t be disheartened to find that after sitting around for a few hours that they are not used on the day, sometimes clients like to have back up children. Also if your child is filmed or photographed not all the time do they make it into the media. Joseph has been back up for one job before and we just sat around eating and playing then we was sent home after 5 hours, just look at it as a day out and experience.

It’s all about having fun and the moment that any of my boys tell me that they are no longer enjoying it then it will be stopped. The boys love to attend auditions and castings and never get upset or disheartened when they are not picked, they look at it as fun and they get to meet many new people and most of the time it’s about making friends to them. When the boys get offered a job i give them the option if they want to attend or not, we have only ever turned two down and that was because for one we was away and the other jak had plans and chose to carry on with them instead of attending the job. I like to keep a diary of all of what they have been up to so i collect, magazines, print outs from the internet and record anything that is on the television.

Hope i have answered most questions but if you would like to know anything else please contact me and i will try my best to help you the best i can in anyway whatsoever.

Thank you for reading

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Set4Sport with Judy Murray

Last week We were invited along to a superb children’s sporting event run by Judy Murray which was to be held at London Zoo. The boys were really excited that they had been asked to go along and couldn’t wait unfortunately in the end we couldn’t attend so we organised it for a friend of ours to go along in our spot. She jumped at the chance as her daughter who is only 6 and very sporty and also pretty good at tennis and wanted to meet Judy.

Set4Sport was created in a garden, Judy Murray’s garden to be exact. Judy comes from a sporty family so it was the inevitable for her to play games with her boys Jamie and Andy which she did as soon as they could walk. Not only was playing games with her boys fun but it also helped them to develop skills that would allow them to play any sport competently later in life and that they did as they both went on to become brilliant tennis players, Jamie also has a handicap of 3 at golf and Andy once trialled with Glasgow Rangers.

The Set4Sport programme provides accessible ways for parents to play with their children, all of the activities can be tailored and easily created at home with inexpensive items lying around the home. It’s all about having fun in the family environment covering the ABCs agility, balance and co-ordination –  Developing these skills at an early age can also improve confidence, self-esteem and the ability to set goals and challenge themselves.

The day started at with 10.30 Judy Murray giving a little talk to the bloggers about the day, what it was going to be all about and a little back ground to Set4Sport. 

There were 4 stations around the room all showcasing a game – Judy and her 4 coaches showed how each of the games worked and then played them with the children and the familes. Mums and Dads involvement was very important as the event was all about getting the family together and then for us to start to create our owns games. Rokoslana enjoyed playing all the games which were all new and exciting to her, obviously her favourite was the DIY Tennis game but she has been carrying on playing the games at home with her parents. Rokoslana couldn’t wait to sho her daddy what games she had learnt, she had lots of fun and even got to have a little wander around the Zoo after for a spot of animal watching

The Games that we played were-

Jump the river:

Use 2 pieces of rope to create the river. Start with them quite close together and gradually move them apart after each jump. Dream up a theme to make it more exciting. ‘Shark-infested waters usually worked for Jamie and Andy!’ – says Judy 

We play this in school in our nursery and the children love it! There are many giggles and lots of laughter but most of all energetic and healthy and doesn’t cost the earth to do. This activity also helps with their imagination as well.                                  

Double trouble:

Start off facing each other about 1 step apart and with one play ball each. Say 1,2,3 GO and both throw or kick at same time to each other. As soon as you have both caught (or trapped) the ball, say 1,2,3 GO and send the ball again. As soon as this becomes easy, start taking a small step backwards to increase the distance.

Tidy your room:

The purpose of the game was to make tidying up more fun while at the same time exercising and developing their co-ordination. We like to sing songs as we do this too 🙂

Race and chase:

Roll or kick the ball in a straight line towards a target. Child is alongside you as you roll/kick and starts to race the ball to the target. The aim is to get there ahead of the ball, turn round, stop the ball (with hand, foot or bat depending on the skill of the child) and send it back in a straight line to parent. The boys always loved to knock things down or score goals – such a boy thing…so this game became more appealing if the target was a “goal” (think football) or a stacks of cereal boxes.

DIY tennis – Judy and the coaches played tennis with the children and created their own tennis court (bamboo sticks to corner it off and chairs to act like the net)

A game that we have made up at home and one that is popular at children’s parties and holiday camps is Limbo, two adults and a broom is all that is needed! You could also change it the other way and use it as a high jump!

We’d love to hear about any games you make-up at home on the Set4Sport Facebook page, you can share images and videos on the‘Wall of Play’ – Why dont you have a go! Judy really likes to see how you adapt the games and create new ones yourself!

Read more about Set4Sport here on Their website www.set4sport.com

 

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Confusion! What Am I Doing?

I had serious second thoughts this morning about whether or not i should carry on with my blog or not.

This weekend saw me leaving all three of the boys for the first time with their Daddy while i jumped onto a train and made my way to Britmums Live, the biggest blogging event of the year. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never attended one before, so even though i was nervous i was really looking forward to learning how I could take my blog to the next level, what these spiders are that are hiding in my blog and meeting lots of other bloggers. I couldn’t attend the first day on friday so saturday was my first day, I met up with fellow bloggers Lovefrommummy, Mummyadventure and thelifeandtimesoftheworkingmum at the station in the morning and off we travelled together to the event. Nervous wasn’t the word, I was very worried that i wouldn’t be accepted as a blogger as I am not as big as most of the others who was in attendance, I had already been sick that morning with the nerves and i was afraid that I wouldn’t fit in and that no one would talk to me so having Vicky, Laura and Bex by myside made it all feel slightly better. I am not a very confident person and although i might make jokes, I am secretly thinking to myself have i just said the right thing. I try to be funny to make up for the fact that I have a low esteem. Walking into the hub (main area) I felt like the new girl at school, the girl who no-one knew, i felt people looking at me trying to work out who i was. I found myself looking round desperately trying to catch the eye of others who i could talk to and hopefully strike up a new friendship with. On the odd occasion when i did stand within a group conversation, i just stood on the outside listening too scared to step into the conversation incase i just got ignored. When i did feel confident enough to introduce myself as mumofthreeboys I just got the ‘oh, yeah, Hmmmm’ obviously no one had heard of my small blog which made me feel even smaller than what i was! Not their fault at all, It’s all me! too scared to make myself known. Attending Britmums for me was all about the socializing, I wanted to put faces to blogs and voices to tweets unfortunately due to me being who I am and too frightened to approach others, who seemed way above me, I only actually talked to a few people. I wanted to learn more about SEO and gain some more knowledge of the blogging world, I attended the workshop: Beginning blogging, SEO tips and legal essentials which was very insightful, I took lots of notes and hopefully be putting what i learnt to the test over the next few weeks in my blog posts. I also sat in on the workshop about Pinterest as it was something that I am signed up to but would love to learn more about and the lovely Alice from Anessexwife was talking too so that kind of swayed it for me.

I would like to say that so much work and hardship went into planning such a huge event and i heard some inspiring, upsetting and brilliant words from some magnificent bloggers in the bloggers keynote session so why did i this morning wake up and feel not worthy to be at such event amongst some amazing powerful people, I don’t know! It’s something I can’t answer, however hard i look at it or think why am i feeling so low about my blog i come up with zilch, nada nothing! I’m not a writer nor have i ever claimed to be good at english, I don’t have many interesting things to say and i don’t really understand computers so now im feeling that maybe i shouldn’t blog at all. I know i will never have a huge following but we all like to feel liked every now and then, need people or something to make us feel special and that is what i was using my blog for but today i don’t feel special at all! So what am i going to do? First I turned to twitter and in my upset state i did what i would never normally do and showed a feeling, I tweeted out that i wasn’t sure what i was doing with my blog and didn’t expect any response at all but i was amazed at how many people replied with words of advice and pointed me back to my about me page where i stated that i started my blog for my children and as a diary of their lives, something for us all to look at and remember our days together. I somehow at some point lost why I started blogging in the first place, I felt like I strayed away from my comfort zone with my boys and got lost in a forest where I left the path to take a shortcut. I have spent all day with my boys and i spoke to them about the blog and they want me to carry on but I’m not going to change nor am i going to try to get more followers and try to drive more traffic to my blog because why would i want to do that when after all, mumofthreeboys is for me and me family!

Thank you to everyone who send me some words of wisdom today on twitter and thank you to my mummy for listening to me and guiding me out of the dark to see the light.

The reason why I blog
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