Written by Hazel Davis

Lifestyle

Hey! Teachers! I’ll leave my kids at home

Hazel Davis and her fella are home-educating their kids. This week, she looks back on all the learning experiences they’ve encountered over the past year.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

This will be the end of our first year properly home-edding and we’ve learned a few things along the way.

We’ve definitely learned that the English language is a prick. As a linguistics master (I mean, I have an MA, not that I consider myself a master), I should have remembered this, but this year I have said the sentence, “But that one doesn’t follow that pattern ‘cos it’s a weird one and you just have to learn it. Shhh. Just remember it,” around 348 times.

We learned we should have got the Oxford Reading Tree books when everyone told us to get them (i.e. ages ago). They’re brilliant and they work because the words ALL make sense to a new reader. Unlike any other children’s books ever.

We’ve learned that not having to get children up and out at the crack of dawn means they can stay awake for bloody ages and even if you start the year wanting them to be little Spartans who rise with the sun, you end the year with two dreadlocked (at least in their soul) free spirits. But they do get really good at staying out late for parties and concerts, so every cloud…

“I’ve learned that I can spend a good three hours twatting about on the piano with the children making up songs and call it educational as long as I get them to copy the results out on manuscript paper in case the LEA come to call. See also ‘playing my clarinet to them’.”

We’ve learned that there are some things you just get used to when you go to school. Like lining up. When our oldest first went to choir, she stood like a deer in the headlights when the conductor told everyone to get in a line. I was sitting at the back with my fist in my mouth wondering why she was being so odd then my (fellow home-edding) friend said, “But when has she ever had to get in line?” It’s a good point. There’s not much call for it when it’s just you, your sister and a couple of terriers.

We’ve learned that the little blighters remember whatever you shove in their ears. In the car the other day I had an actual argument with a five-year-old about whether Catherine Parr was divorced or died. The bloody five-year-old was right (she was the one who outlived him). It has amazed me how much information they retain. Granted, most of it this year has been about the Royal Family but hey, if Lucy Worsley’s job ever comes up for grabs, I know a couple of willing contenders.

We’ve learned that when shopkeepers ask your kid why they’re not at school and they tell them they’re home-educated, an unexpected 97 per cent of them will sigh and say, “I REALLY wish I’d done that.”

I’ve learned that I can spend a good three hours twatting about on the piano with the children making up songs and call it educational as long as I get them to copy the results out on manuscript paper in case the LEA come to call. See also “playing my clarinet to them”. It’s like when a local musician would come into your school, except it’s me in my kitchen. #educational

And this week I also learned that when you send your two home-schooled children to their gym class in black leggings and black T-shirts because you forgot the memo that said it was party day and everyone else is in FULL princess outfit, wings, masks, hats and tinsel, your kids are so used to being different that they just shrug and have a lovely time anyway and look perplexed when you keep apologising to them. Christmas ninjas.

Read all of Hazel’s adventures in home-edding here.

@hazedavis

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Written by Hazel Davis

Hazel Davis is a freelance writer from West Yorkshire. She has two tiny children but the majority of her hours are taken up with thinking about Alec Baldwin singing sea shanties and the time someone once called her "moreishly interesting".