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, the family that works together is quiet together and it’s bloody smashing.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

The Easter holidays are coming up and I don’t care a jot. No, I really don’t.

Depending on when you ask me, the fact that my children don’t go to school is an absolutely wonderful brilliant thing and I get to see them all the time and work upstairs while they broaden their minds downstairs OR it’s an absolute frigging nightmare because I get to always see my children and hear them broadening their minds downstairs.

As my fellow working parents run around frantically trying to cram in working and having their kids around, I am totes already set up for it. In fact, during most holidays nowadays, my kids get to hang out with their friends and usually spend most of their time at day-long musical clubs having a whale of a time, while I get to work in the house in silence. A rarity.

But in the last year or so I have properly perfected the art of working alongside children. We have an extra-large kitchen table thanks to my other half’s extraordinary woodworking skills (I hesitate to say joinery lest anyone try to actually pay him for it and wonder why there are tiny triangles of wood where there should be clean joins).

This means it’s pretty easy to make cupcakes, do a grammar exercise and write a couple of articles all at the same time. It sounds like a nightmare but actually it’s pretty cool.

“There’s something wonderful about looking up and seeing us all beavering away at the table together. Not least because I no longer feel guilty for ‘just sending a few emails’ or ‘just writing a quick 1,000 words on supply chain management, then we’ll make a robot, I promise.'”

In any case, prior to having children, I happily worked in cafes and co-working spaces. I tapped away while people held creative writing classes, mediation meetings and loud conversations about John Cage. Working at a kitchen table while a four- and five-year-old get to grips with the English language is nothing.

It’s got even easier in the last few weeks now the five-year-old can ACTUALLY READ THE QUESTIONS IN A WORKBOOK. I could never have imagined how massive a difference this would make.

Before, I’d need to stop writing every five minutes, read the question and then leave her to it, stopping only every other two minutes to give the appropriate spellings. Now she’s discovered the joy of reading, she’s able to work it out for herself. AND MOREOVER, she’s able to help her sister by smugly reading her instructions too.

And though (believe me) I do spend a fair amount of time working one-to-one with them (I promise), there’s something wonderful about looking up and seeing us all beavering away at the table together. Not least because I no longer feel guilty for “just sending a few emails” or “just writing a quick 1,000 words on supply chain management, then we’ll make a robot, I promise”.

In fact, I think this quiet time is really good for them. I really do. I think it teaches independent study. It lines them up for hours in the library (HAHAHA JUST KIDDING, WE WON’T HAVE LIBRARIES BY THE TIME THEY ARE STUDENTS); it teaches them how to work together and it teaches them to be comfortable with silence.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Now, if you could just excuse me, Mummy’s working.

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".