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, let’s talk about sex, baby. (And relationships.)

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Sex and relationship education is on the curriculum for four-year-olds. For the record, I absolutely think it should be. None of your ‘keep their innocent minds free from all this filth’ for me.

If they’re going to learn about it, they should probably learn about it in a measured and sensible way, not from what they’ve gleaned from songs (“I know you want it”) and films (“Hey, I’m a man who feels small and ashamed. Gonna lock you in my castle for a bit, OK?”) and *shudders* the playground.

As long as it IS in a measured and sensible way, that is.

A while ago a friend told me that a teacher had taken her aside because one of her daughters had suggested that she hadn’t decided whether she fancied boys or girls yet. Excuse me? And this is cause for concern, how?

I’m not saying that by not sending my kids to school I’m preventing them learning bad things or hearing nonsense spouted by kids (and teachers); they get the opportunity to hear plenty of nonsense at home, don’t you worry. BUT… I really love that we are free to tackle this in our own way and at our own speed and not question them when they muse about their own sexuality.

The kids are currently four and five. Their favourite film in the whole world is Grease. That’s an understatement. They went out the other day, one in all black as ‘cool’ Sandy, the other in black trousers and a white T-shirt as Danny. She just about stopped short of asking to have her hair cut and slicked into a quiff (although I can’t say I don’t actually love the idea).

“Our approach to it has been so right-on that the other day the youngest child asked in a cafe, QUITE LOUDLY, whether it hurt when sperm came out.”

But Grease naturally throws up a whole load of sex issues that we have had to discuss at length. And this is why moments in the film are described to strangers on buses like this: “My favourite song in Grease is Oh Sandy, the one Danny sings after he’s tried to touch her boob in the drive-in. He had no right to do that. It’s her boob. Boob. Boob. Boobs. Boobs. Boob.”

Rizzo is deeply beloved by both children. Naturally we feel the same but with reservations; their father, because it’s Stockard Channing and she’s hot. Me, because it’s Stockard Channing. And she’s hot! But also because she sings a song about how there are worse things to do than go with boys. Which is true. It’s true.

But it’s such a complicated mixed message. IS it worse to tease boys by smiling and batting your eyes and then NOT going with them? No, lads, deal with it. IS it OK to tease Sandy for being a virgin (“No, girls. Being a virgin if you want to be is GOOD. It’s a GOOD thing.”)?

Grease 2, which is way more progressive and better all round, just doesn’t quite cut it with our little throwbacks just yet. But we’ll get there.

Anyway. Grease aside, learning at home is fabulous for sex ed. By raising sex issues ourselves we don’t have to deal with any sudden post-school, “Louise Jones said penises get hard” (paraphrased from my own childhood) questions, instead tackling them, ahem, head-on at the kitchen table.

In fact, our approach to it has been so right-on that the other day the youngest child asked in a cafe, QUITE LOUDLY, whether it hurt when sperm came out. And the other day she drew a girl in a skirt with a, let’s call it protrusion. When I questioned her she said, “It’s her parts,” then shrugged, “That’s just how I draw girls now.” I distinctly remember being told off at school for drawing boobs on a picture of a woman. Still hurts.

And you know what? I love it. I love that they are exploring the world, exploring what sex and love mean and there are no questions from teachers about what is and isn’t appropriate or a ‘normal’ way to speak about things. Hurrah for all the parts protruding.

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".