Hazel Davis and her fella have decided to home-educate their kids. This week, both she and her little ‘un are enjoying running before they can walk.
“Mummy, is trump a homophone?”
“Yes, yes, darling, he is.”
The great thing about home-edding (and quite possibly the bad thing) is that you can take the thing you’re good at and run with it very fast. You avoid being faced with a page of inexplicable exercises brought home from school that you have to look up before you can help your children.
That’s not to say there won’t be things we have to look up (we are already reaching our joint natural level maths-wise – basic addition and subtraction), but we can at least devise things that we understand and can therefore explain more easily.
This, of course, would be absolutely perfect if one of us was a writer and the other one was a scientist. It would be a dream if we had complementary but contrasting skills. If one of us worked in banking and the other worked in social care, for example.
“As I love nothing more than casually calling out a gerund or pointing out relativising conjunctions, the idea of teaching my children to precociously know the names of grammatical terms is bloody thrilling.”
Sadly, I have an MA in linguistics and a deep love of grammar. My other half has a degree in Old English and a deep love of language, poetry and showing off how clever he is. Our hobbies are books, films, music, art. The arts. Arts. Arts and books. And music. And art. Arty things. Pictures.
But from our reading around the National Curriculum we know that kids these days need to know the names of shit, unlike in our day (I remember from my first year at university, someone in my class WHO WAS ACTUALLY STUDYING LINGUISTICS wasn’t entirely clear on what exactly a proper noun was).
These days kids call things ‘verbs’ instead of ‘doing words’ because these are the things they’ll need to know when they’re out in the world of work rather than how to bake a loaf, change a lightbulb or rewire a house. Oh, wait.
As I love nothing more than casually calling out a gerund or pointing out relativising conjunctions, the idea of teaching my children to precociously know (or ‘to know precociously’, if you disfavour a split infinitive. I don’t) the names of grammatical terms is bloody thrilling.
It’s way more fun than actually teaching them anything of worth, in fact, and I’m slightly aware we might be doing this to the detriment of Other, More Important Things. Especially in the case of homophones that are spelt differently, when our child has only just got her head round the idea that there is ONE spelling for a word.
However, like me, of course she much prefers to run before she can walk, and rather than waste any more time learning how to read more fluently or using her resources on improving her handwriting, she’s spending most of her time going round identifying homophones and adjectives with gay abandon.
Oh well, if I’ve learned nothing of note in my nearly-40 years on the earth, I’ve learned that if you use big words often enough people will assume you’re clever and give you jobs and completely misplaced respect.2286 Views
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".