Written by Hazel Davis

Lifestyle

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

Hazel Davis and her fella have decided to home-educate their kids. This week, she dares you to ask how it’s going. Go on, just try it.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

There are questions people always ask you when you home-school (yeah I’m happy calling it that now). The first one is the inevitable socialisation one. “BUT HOW WILL THEY KNOW TO MAKE FRIENDS?”

I have heard it so many times I can’t be bothered to address it again here (suffice to say, Clem goes to choir, musical theatre and gym class every week). Then you get this: “But what do they DO?”

The most annoying one, though, is “How’s the home-edding/schooling going?” It’s such a polite question and you can’t really expect anyone to ask anything different but somehow it’s REALLY REALLY annoying and makes me feel like I have to have a list of achievements ready when really the answer is, “Yeah, it’s OK thanks.”

‘Cos that’s the answer. Well it’s great. We are all enjoying it, I think, but it’s not like this grand experiment has specific outlays and returns (yet); it’s more that we’re jogging along nicely and everything’s fine but there’s nothing to report because that’s not really what it’s about. SEE THE RECENT SATS DEBACLE.

“How do you measure how it’s going anyway? When people ask my child how it’s going she looks at them like, ‘Dude. I’m not yet five. I literally know no different.’”

One of the points of doing this is precisely because we don’t want to constantly have to demonstrate ‘How we’re doing’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m armed and ready if an LEA bod wants to sit down and ask us what we teach. I am fairly confident that our child is learning at a decent rate. She’s writing, reading and numbering quite happily.

She’s interested in the world and she’s happy to learn how things work, so I think it’s going OK. She even proudly tells anyone who can listen that she LOVES maths (I know, right!?), though to be fair she’s only done adding and subtracting – if that’s all I had ever had to do I’d love it too.

How do you measure how it’s going anyway? When people ask her how it’s going she looks at them like, “Dude. I’m not yet five. I literally know no different. I’ve not even entirely grasped the idea that everyone isn’t home-schooled.” “Do you like it?” they ask. “Do I like what?” she says (with her eyes).

Recent events have made me even more determined that we’re doing it the right way. As a friend pointed out to me recently, there’s been a significant change in attitudes towards home-edding in the last couple of months. On the day of the SATS strike, the mood was ‘Good for you!’ rather than ‘Oh! Aren’t you worried they’ll be unsociali…’ (too bored with writing it to finish the sentence).

The country has got wise to the idea that constant and unrealistic testing has nothing to do with children’s development and more to do with schools and teachers justifying their existence. If I thought too hard about the question, “So how’s it going?” I would start devising ways to demonstrate the efficacy of our teaching.

Luckily, because it’s currently (thankfully) none of Ms Morgan’s business, I am at liberty to smile enigmatically and say, “Yeah it’s OK, thanks.” And for that I am eternally grateful.

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".