A parent's impression of their child's school day can be rather nebulous, and so I thought I would share a few techniques I've developed to get a bit of a firmer idea of what their school day is like.
Parents can inevitably struggle with this painful process. Many avoid talking about Back to School for fear of upsetting the present happy moment. It often gets left to the last minute or gets lost in the rush to prepare packed lunches and bags.
Official figures estimate that one in 10 school-aged children and young people have a diagnosable mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, but other more recent surveys place that figure much higher. This is above and beyond the sorts of knocks and challenges that we all encounter in life - this is a diagnosable mental health problem and requires professional support.
When we first made a decision to home educate, only a handful of our friends were supportive. For the most part, we were met with either mild bafflement at us suddenly turning hippie-like, or rather rude comments labelling us irresponsible parents who will surely ruin our child's future, because school is the best thing ever since sliced bread, and isn't school compulsory anyway?
somehow, teachers seem to get blamed for disappointing results with the credit for the best results going entirely to their students. The thought of photographers taking shots of delighted teachers leaping in the air outside their schools, reading glasses and sensible cardigans flying in all directions, is so ridiculous that it's utterly delightful.
It feels a shame to cut the six weeks short by readying ourselves now for the school term, but having left it too late in the past, and having been a teacher myself for many years, I know that being a prepared parent makes things much easier.
Lots of people I meet automatically assume that employers would veto any candidate who has no degree or generally doesn't perform well academically. However, this isn't always the case. I, and most other employees, look for something more than just an impressive CV. We want a candidate to tell us when they have applied learnings to real life experiences.
The government would be wise to remember that most parents want good local schools, with good teaching, behavior and leadership, a safe well functioning environment and a curriculum in which every child can flourish and realize his or her talents.
The government's plans for improving skills in Britain are ambitious and wide-ranging. The Chancellor's briefing document, "Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation," explains in a little over eighty pages how this is to be done.
Schools should be encouraged to visit sites of significant historical meaning more than they are now. Archaeology and anthropology studies can be conducted in the deepest Mayan forests of South America, the desert towns of the Middle East, but it can be even more fascinating to our youngsters if it is right on their doorstep - as I have found in Llanelli.
Learning by rote does not foster innovative thinking, questioning the status quo, changing the world. It teaches children to be excellent at passing exams that were designed to test their ability to regurgitate facts. This is not knowledge, or intelligence, or analytical thinking.
Homophobia and transphobia kills. LGBT young people are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. They are also more likely to self-harm and suffer from depression
The new freedoms and greater clarity over exclusions given to head teachers is having a positive impact on behaviour. I am hugely encouraged by what schools have achieved - but parents know we cannot be complacent until all children are being taught in safe, calm and studious classrooms.
Both the Anglican and Catholic Churches have long been able to use publicly funded schools to inculcate children into their religious traditions. Their reluctance to let go of that privilege is understandable. But for the sake of young people's future, people of all faiths should accept that faith-based education isn't in Britain's best interest.
Mr Cameron's speech was never going to please everyone, but has made a good number of those he was reaching out to feel even more alienated.
As Andy Murray helps to steer Great Britain to a Davis Cup win against France at Queen's, we have to ask the question: Where would British tennis be without Andy? The answer is: Nowhere.