Getting Your Head Around All That School Work

Matt Brown
Dec 12, 2023 By Matt Brown
Originally Published on Feb 03, 2021
Boy finishing school work
Age: 0-99
Read time: 7.8 Min

“What… what does that mean?” We’ve all had similar thoughts when helping children with school work. Perhaps we’ve forgotten a key concept from our far-distant school days, or it may be that teaching techniques are radically different from in ‘our day’. Certainly, I don’t recall learning about phonics, numicons and split digraphs when I was a school boy.  

We’ve put together the guide below to help parents get their heads around common words and concepts encountered in the modern classroom. In some cases, we’ve given a brief explanation of the term, but all entries link off to a more in-depth guide.

We hope you find it useful if you’re having to do more homeschooling than usual during lockdown.

English And Grammar

Adverbs: Words that modify a verb, like quickly, slowly and helpfully. View our guide to adverbs.

Book Reviews: View our guide to reviewing books.

Colons And Semicolons. View our guide to colons and semicolons.

Commas: View our guide to commas.

Compound Sentence: A sentence formed from two or more ideas, usually linked by conjugations. View our guide to compound sentences.

Conjugations: a word that connects, links or joins two parts of a sentence or phrase together, like ‘because’, or ‘and’. View our guide to conjugations.

Determiners: Words connected to nouns that give more information, such as ‘these’ ‘their’ ‘my’ ‘your’ or ‘tomorrow’s’ (all of which could be determiners of a noun like ‘apples’). View our guide to determiners.

Ellipsis: Those three dots, and how to use them. View our guide to ellipsis.

Figurative Language: Phrases like ‘couch potato’ and ‘early bird’. View our guide to figurative language.

Fronted Adverbials: Scene-setting phrases at the start of sentences, often giving information about time, frequency, location or degree. E.g. “Every once in a while, I like to read sites other than Kidadl”, where “every once in a while” is the fronted adverbial. View our guide to fronted adverbials.

Homophones: Words that sound the same but have different meanings and/or spellings. For example, they’re, their and there. View our guide to homophones.

Hyphens: View our guide to hyphens.

Idioms: Figurative saying that aren’t literally true but are universally understood, like raining cats and dogs, or giving someone the cold shoulder. View our guide to idioms.

Imperative Verbs: Verbs that give a command or order, like fetch, give, tidy, wash, etc. View our guide to imperative verbs.

Letter Writing: View our guide to letter writing.

Modal Verbs: Verbs that don’t describe an action, used alongside standard verbs, like will/would, shall/should, may/might. View our guide to modal verbs.

Multi-Clause Sentences: Sentences with more than one verb/clause, including subordinate clauses. View our guide to multi-clause sentences.

Noun Phrases: Any short phrase without a verb (e.g. “the big house on the corner”. View our guide to noun phrases.

Oxford Reading Tree: A commonly used reading scheme in UK schools. View our guide to the Oxford Reading Tree.

Parentheses: Phrases set aside (a bit like this) from the main sentence. View our guide to parentheses.

Passive Voice: “The rabbit was being chased by Peter” as in passive voice. Peter chased the rabbit” is the active voice. Our guide explains the difference, and the pros and cons of using passive voice. View our guide to passive voice.

Persuasive Writing: Any writing that tries to convince the reader of a viewpoint. This includes adverts. View our guide to persuasive writing.

Phonics Phrases: The sounds that make up words, learned from the earliest days of school. View our guide to phonics phrases.

Possessive Apostrophe: View our guide to possessive apostrophes.

Prepositions: A short word which is used to refer to when something happened, or where something is in relation to something else (e.g. since, between, during). View our guide to prepositions.

Present Perfect Tense: When you combine present tense with a form of the past tense, for example “She has worked at the school for a very long time.” View our guide to the present perfect tense.

Relative Pronouns. Words that refer back to a noun which has already been used, and introduce a subordinate clause that gives more information about the noun. For example, “Holly had a new toy, which was plastic”, where “which” is the relative pronoun. View our guide to relative pronouns.

Root Words, Prefixes And Suffixes: View our guide to root words, prefixes and suffixes.

Similes: View our guide to similes

Split Digraphs: Usually, a pair of vowels split by a consonant, such as  'a–e', 'e–e', 'i–e', 'o–e' and 'u–e', where the dash represents a consonant. View our guide to split digraphs.

Synonyms And Antonyms: Words that have similar or opposite meaning, respectively. View our guide to synonyms and antonyms.

Victorian Poems: View our guide to Victorian poems.

School bag with books and blackboard


Geography And environment

Climate Zones: View our guide to climate zones.

Map Skills: View our guide to map skills.

Mountains: View our guide to mountains.

River Features: View our guide to river features.

Settlements: View our guide to settlements.

Skara Brae. An important prehistoric site in Orkney. View our guide to Skara Brae.

Sustainability: View our guide to sustainability.


Ancient Greece: View our guide to the Ancient Greece timeline.

Anglo-Saxons: View our guide to Anglo-Saxon art, crime and punishment, jobs, religion, runes and shields.

Bronze Age: View our guide to the Bronze Age.

Celts: View our guide to the Celts and Celtic shields.

Dr Barnardo: View our guide to Dr Barnardo.

History Timeline: View our guide to the history timeline.

Industrial Revolution: View our guide to the Industrial Revolution.

Iron Age: View our guide to the Iron Age, and Iron Age clothing, housing and weapons.

Mayan Civilisation: View our guide to Mayan civilisation.

Myths And Legends: View our guide to myths and legends.

Romans: View our guide to Roman armour, baths, clothes, crime and punishment, gladiators, gods, Hadrian’s Wall, inventions, Julius Caesar, mosaics, Roman numerals and a Roman timeline.

Shang Dynasty: View our guide to the Shang Dynasty.

Spanish Armada: View our guide to the Spanish Armada.

Stone Age: View our guide to Stone Age houses and tools.

Stone Keep Castles: View our guide to stone keep castles.

Tudors: View our guide to Tudor medicine.

Victorians: View our guide to Victorian children, Christmas, homes, Queen Victoria’s family, railways, rich and poor and workhouses.

Vikings: View our guide to Viking art, artefacts, clothes, food, gods, jobs, longships, runes and shields, and a Viking timeline.

WWI: View our guide to WWI.

WWII: View our guides to WWII poems, rationing and timeline.


Area And Perimeter: View our guide to area and perimeter.

BODMAS: An acronym to help remember the 'order of operations'. BODMAS stands for Brackets, Orders, Division/Multiplication, Addition/Subtraction. View our guide to BODMAS.

Counting On Maths: When adding two (or more) numbers, start with the largest and ‘count on’ the next number. An early maths technique. View our guide to counting on maths.

Decimals: View our guide to decimals.

Equivalent Fractions: ½ is equivalent to 2/4 and 3/6, etc. View our guide to equivalent fractions.

Fractions: Half of parents understand fractions, while two-thirds don’t. View our guide to fractions and improper fractions

Grid Method multiplication: A way of multiplying numbers by breaking the down in a grid view. View our guide to grid method multiplication.

Long Division: View our guide to the bus stop method of long division, chunking and other long division methods.
Negative Numbers: View our guide to negative numbers.

Numicons: Brightly coloured shapes representing the numbers 1 to 10, used in the first year of school. View our guide to numicons.

Partitioning Numbers. A way of computing that breaks numbers up into simpler numbers. For example, 89 + 37 = 126 could be partitioned into 80 + 9 + 30 + 7. View our guide to partitioning numbers.

Proportion And Ratio: View our guide to proportion and ratio.

Rounding: View our guide to rounding.

Symmetry: View our guide to symmetry

Translations: View our guide to translations.

Triangle Types: View our guide to triangle types.

Venn Diagrams: View our guide to Venn diagrams.


Scale Degree Names: View our guide to scale degree names.

Tudor Music: View our guide to Tudor music.

WWII Music: View our guide to WWII music.


Animal skeletons: View our guide to animal skeletons.

Bird Life Cycle: View our guide to bird life cycles.

Digestive System: View our guide to the digestive system.

Earth And Space: View our guide to Earth and space.

Electricity: View our guide to electricity.

Evolution And Inheritance: View our guide to evolution and inheritance.

Exercise, Diet And Hygiene: View our guide to exercise, diet and hygiene.

Flower Parts: View our guide to flower parts.

Food Chains: View our guide to food chains.

Forces: View our guide to forces.

Fossils: View our guide to fossils.

Frog Life Cycle: View our guide to the frog life cycle.

Human Life Cycle: View our guide to the human life cycle.

Light And Shadows: View our guide to light and shadows.

Mammal Life Cycle: View our guide to the mammal life cycle.

Material Types: View our guide to material types.

Periodic Table Group Names: View our guide to the periodic table.

Plant Life Cycles: View our guide to plant life cycle.

Solids, Liquids And Gases: View our guide to solids, liquids and gases.

Sound: View our guide to sound.

Stone Age Animals: View our guide to stone age animals.

Teeth: View our guide to teeth.


View our list of other resources for KS1 children and homeschooling resources.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Matt Brown

Bachelor of Science specializing in Chemistry, Master of Research specializing in Biomolecular Sciences

Matt Brown picture

Matt BrownBachelor of Science specializing in Chemistry, Master of Research specializing in Biomolecular Sciences

With a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's in Residency specializing in Biomolecular Sciences and roots in the Midlands, Matt has developed a passion for writing about London. As a former editor and prolific contributor to, he has authored several books exploring the city's hidden gems. In addition to his work, Matt enjoys spending time with his two preschool-aged children.

Read full bio >