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Hamilton Maths for Home Educators

Athene Reiss By Athene Reiss

Hamilton maths units contain everything you need to teach your child maths with reliable pedagogical methods in hands-on and fun ways. We have written some guidance to help you find your way through our materials in the home context.

For home educators, we recommend starting with the 'Short Blocks', as these present maths concepts in the best possible order for progressive learning. The blocks cover an amount of focus on each area that will sustain the interest of most children. However, the ordering and grouping is flexible, and if you find you want to structure the teaching sequence differently, you might prefer using the 'Long Blocks', which present the same content in a more flexible order.

Hamilton's 'Calculation Strategies' provide very clear guidance about the mathematical methods we recommend for teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These give both a useful starting point and an ongoing reference for you. We also have advice about the mathematical 'bottom line' - the Key Skills that your child really needs to gain in each year. You may find that keeping an eye on these helps you focus on the unmissable parts of your child's mathematical education.


To decide how to organise your teaching, consult the 'Coverage Tracker' at the top of the page for your child's year. These represent the whole year's teaching, and will help you plan and track your child's progress. When you have chosen a block, we recommend starting with Unit 1 and working your way through the units in sequence, as they are developmentally arranged as a coherent set of knowledge and skills. Read our guide to the unit structure for explanations of what you will find in each content box.

The 'Hamilton Objectives' tell you precisely what is being taught in the unit. You can skip any units where your child is already confident with the objectives. If you want to check her/his understanding, use the 'Mastery Activity'. (At the moment, you will need to work out the answers to these, but we are starting to include answers for Summer Term blocks and will be working our way back through the rest gradually.)

We strongly recommend that you read the 'Common Misconceptions' document before you start teaching your child. These will give you key vocabulary to use and will help you avoid pedagogical mistakes that may hinder long-term mathematical progress. They also flag misunderstandings to watch out for. You can read more about these documents in our blog.

Teaching and Learning

We suggest starting with the 'Mental/Oral Starters', some of which are designed to warm up a skill used in the session, and some of which offer practice of skills that children need to keep 'on the boil'. Choose the starters that meet your child's needs.

For the main body of teaching, use the 'Teaching and Group Activities' document. This will give you methods and language for teaching, as well as lots of hands-on activities that will enable most children to understand and consolidate the objectives. The learning activities are described as 'group activities', but the vast majority will be suitable for a one-to-one context. The 'Resources' documents provide visual support for that teaching as well as printable materials for the activities.

The 'Slide Presentation' provides a digested version of the teaching and leave space for doing a group activity. You could work through the presentation together with your child if they suit your approach; they contain many useful dynamic models and images to illustrate mathematical concepts.

The presentations include a sheet of 'Practice Worksheets' for each day, but you may prefer to choose a harder or easier one from the 'Procedural Fluency' box. You can decide how many examples to work through until your child is confident. Many Practice Worksheets include a 'Challenge' activity to further probe understanding. There are answers at the end of the download for you to check yourself or together with your child.

If the unit's learning is too challenging for your child, use the 'Extra Support' activity (there is a sheet for you as the teacher and one for your child) to build up the necessary prerequisite skills and then have another go. You could also look for teaching ideas and activities on the same skill in an earlier term or year group.

Make the Most of the Home Enviroment

All Hamilton units come with an in-depth problem solving investigation. These are perfect for the home context as they encourage exploration of mathematical ideas that many children find deeply engaging. They are 'low floor - high ceiling' activities that give all children a chance to think mathematically; and independent learners often take them and run. We provide lots of advice about teaching 'Investigations' and how to give feedback on them to promote good learning.

Games and Resources

Hamilton's pilot Home Maths website contains lots and lots of fun numeracy-building activities that you can do with your child to develop maths skills. Each activity is supported by explanations that will help you understand the pedagogy you need to help your child learn maths.

Hamilton Education have put together 'mystery parcels' for home educators who are looking for some fun educational resources to share with their children. They cost £5 (plus £2 postage/order), and will contain maths resources worth at least £12. There are maths parcels targeted at key stage 1, lower key stage 2, or upper key stage 2, which contain age-appropriate resources such as a poster or number lines, a numeracy passport to record progress in key maths skills, dice or cards with activities, a mini whiteboard and pen and/or other similar items. To order yours, go to Hamilton Education's Magical Mystery Boxes.