Written by Hazel Davis


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

Hazel Davis and her fella have decided to home-educate their kids. This week she’s thinking about future careers and how they’re decided.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

At what point do you start worrying about your child’s future career? When they’re in the womb? Before you’ve even conceived (*raises hand*). Or do you wait until they’re 40 and back sleeping in your spare room, having tried their hand at teaching/fashion/care work and still not ‘found themselves’?

It’s a tough one. On the one hand, all the talk of SATS and options makes me want to heave and is one of the reasons we’re doing this in the first place. On the other hand, we are both dead set on not limiting our children’s future choices. On the third hand (OK, maybe we’ll outsource the maths tuition), I can’t help but feel that the blank-canvas nature of home-edding means the possibilities are endless.

I try not to think back to my own childhood too much but, as I have written before, I was very musical. I still am. Had anyone suggested to me way back then that if I actually put some graft in, I might have actually been able to go to music college (*adopts Marlon Brando voice* I actually could have, you know).

But nobody did. Had anyone noticed that more or less all I wanted to do as a child was listen to music or play the same songs over and over again on the (out of tune) piano they might have steered me down a different path.

But then is it the parents’ job to steer? Maybe it’s the teachers’ job, although most of mine sure as hell didn’t rise to that particular role with any great enthusiasm. There was none of your ‘carpe diem’ shit with them. The message was less ‘make your lives extraordinary’ and more ‘If you’re really lucky you’ll turn out like Cassandra from Only Fools and Horses.’

“The oldest was furious when she discovered the youngest had Actual Career Plans, ‘No!’ she screamed, ‘You’ll be busy looking after my children while I write films and run my cafe!'”

Working as an office manager seemed to be the thing to aspire to around the time of my ‘options’ (I remember one sixth-form teacher telling me with utter glee that I wouldn’t be able to wear DMs when I entered the workplace. Actually, I have never had a job where I couldn’t wear DMs. In fact it’s sometimes been compulsory).

That’s not to say I haven’t had good teachers, there were one or two, but from none of them did I get that special, ‘This. This is your calling. This is what you should be doing,’ that you see in the movies.

As home-edders we have to teach the stuff AND provide the inspiration. We have to be parents, educators AND inspirers. But when do you do that? Naturally, we already idly ask them now and again what they want to be when they grow up, just for the lols. The nearly-five-year-old currently wants to be a screenwriter and own a cafe and the three-year-old wants to be a teacherwriter (yes, one word).

Hilariously, the oldest was furious when she discovered the youngest had Actual Career Plans, “No!” she screamed, “You’ll be busy looking after my children while I write films and run my cafe!”

Despite her protestations that her future job is as some weird Jamie Oliver-Nora Ephron hybrid, the oldest loves drawing. She REALLY loves drawing and would do it all day long if she could. I could watch her do it all day, if I’m honest. So do we pour our energies into making like art is her ‘thing’ and that everything else can knob off, and risk her growing up to resent it?

She can sing in tune, sings in a choir and is constantly making up songs. Does that mean we should be packing her off to the Brit School as soon as she’s old enough (*tries to pretend that wouldn’t be THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER* *remembers that was MY dream, not hers*)? What if their passions lie in retail or football? Do we help them set up a banana stand or send them to a Beckham academy?

Maybe we should just chill out, let them be children for a bit and make sure we present them with ample opportunities to discover their true passions along the way. And hope they don’t come downstairs at 16 asking why the graphene production plant in their bedroom didn’t give us more indication they’d quite like to learn some chemistry.

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


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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".