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Helpful Advice for Parents Educating at Home

We have added some 'useful' advice to help you educate your children at home. These 'top tips' are a guide only and meant as tongue-in-cheek to keep you smiling. Enjoy!

Parents! A lot of you will be starting your own journey into teaching today. Please read the advice below to make sure you get it right.

1. Before teaching anything, always remember to write down exactly what is going to happen during that time, including any questions you are going to ask, what the learning objective of what you are teaching is, what the success criteria of the lesson is and how you will know if children have met this, not met this or exceeded this. This must happen for every lesson, regardless of how much of an expert you are in teaching the subject and how many times you’ve previously taught it. If you fail to do this, children will not learn. At the end of the lesson, you must write on the plan how the lesson went, who met the success criteria and who didn’t and what you intend to do to address this issue. If you fail to do this, children will not learn. 

2. After teaching any lesson, be sure to write detailed comments on the work the children have done, including three things they have done well and one thing to improve. This is known as three stars and a wish and must be done regardless of whether children have the ability to read the comments. If they can’t read them, you must still write them but write ‘vf’ beside them which stands for verbal feedback. Then you must read the comments out loud to the child. If you fail to do this, children will not learn. Any marking carried out must be done in a variety of coloured pens and highlighters and responded to by children in a different colour pen. Pens of the appropriate colours will disappear on a daily basis never to be seen again. 

3. You must make sure that lessons are long enough but not so long that children get bored. If you have more than one child, you must make sure that every child gets equal chance to speak answering questions that are carefully directed to be challenging for them but not too challenging. If they do seem bored, that is your fault and you must make the lesson more engaging. If you fail to do this, children will not learn. 

4. Every day, you must remember to include teaching on maths, English, reading, phonics, handwriting, fine motor skills, some kind of topic, something promoting social and emotional health and some outdoor time. If you fail to do this, children will not learn. 

5. Most children are not able to learn when another child is ‘looking at them’. Please prevent this from happening at any time. If you fail to do this, children will not learn. 

6. You are responsible for making sure children do not lose jumpers, gloves, shoes, socks, PE clothes, glasses and lunchboxes. It’s fine if they aren’t labelled as most children recognise their own and others’ belongings by smell alone. 

7. Children aged 6 and under should be taught to read words that don’t exist in the English language. Don’t be fooled if they can read actual sentences fluently and understand what they are reading. If they can’t read the words ‘strombron’, ‘clightning’ and ‘fraw’ then they will not be successful later in life. 

8. All children should be able to recognise a fronted adverbial, a determiner and whether something is written in an active or passive voice. Never mind that you didn’t learn this in school, will have to Google to discover what this means and that it will not be used beyond Year 6. It’s important. If you fail to do this, your children will not learn. 

9. Remember that sentences should only be punctuated with an exclamation mark if they start with the words ‘how’ or ‘what’. You may be thinking ‘what a silly rule!’ or ‘how ridiculous!’ but every piece of writing should include this. 

10. Tidying up resources generally causes children to urgently need to wee. Scientists have not yet determined why but it is an ever-occurring phenomenon. 

11. Be prepared for being asked how long until lunchtime. This should begin around ten past nine and continue around every ten minutes until lunch. 

12. Most injuries are instantly cured with a mini ice-pack. 

13. Someone from a different home-school (maybe a neighbour or one of your children’s friend’s parents) should be allowed to come and watch (via a window, obviously) your lesson. They may arrive late and leave early but they will still be allowed to comment on parts of the lesson they haven’t seen as if you didn’t teach it. Afterwards, they will give you their opinion on how you did and give you something you need to improve. You won’t remember any of the good things they say but the suggested improvement will be imprinted upon your brain until death. 

14. It would be useful if every now and then you can sit at a table and explain to your partner how well their / your child is doing at school. Don’t forget to have targets for the children to practise and preferably write them a short report that says exactly the same thing. 

15. At the end of the teaching year, please write a 4 page report to let your child’s teacher know exactly what they can do and what the teacher should practise with them. It would be useful if you could add photos too and also the child’s thoughts on how well they are doing. 

16. If you have children of different genders, or children born in different seasons or with differing needs, don’t forget to compare them to make sure you are doing the best for everyone and not leaving any groups out. Use percentages to compare this and never mind that the small number of children may give misleading statistics. 

17. When you read a story, don’t forget that it needs actions and a range of voices for each character.

18. If you work with children under 5, remember that if you didn’t photograph it and write about it, it didn’t happen. 

19. Don’t forget about assembly. Singing songs you remember from the Come and Praise book will suffice. Add in the Lord’s Prayer and the school creed for the full experience. 

20. If it’s windy and the children have been outside, forget it! Just write the day off and try again tomorrow. 

21. Don’t forget to learn a song and poems for Easter and to perform these to relatives. Actions and printed resources are mandatory. 

22. If you are considering arranging a school trip, it will be sufficient to go to your garden, eat the packed lunch and return to the house. Most children are only really bothered about the lunch and will be happy once it’s been eaten. 

23. It is normal for children to repeatedly blurt out any answer and keep guessing until they see the appropriate reaction on your face. What is 4 plus 3?  “Nine, five, one hundred and four, orange, zero, eighteen?” Keep calm and don’t shout, no matter how many times it happens. 

24. When a child is writing and reaches the end of a page, they will often ask if they can turn the page to continue. Avoid sarcastic remarks such as ‘no, just write on the desk’ as they will. 

25. Be prepared to explain what you want the child to do several times, including using picture prompts. Be ready for this information to be forgotten in the time it takes to pick up a pencil. 

In all seriousness though, it is the best job in the world, so enjoy it while you can. It’s probably not an opportunity you’ll ever get again, so look at the positives, enjoy the quality time and don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ve got this!