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, it’s not off to the best start…

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

I’ve had second thoughts. I don’t want to do it any more!

Just kidding. We’ve told too many people now to go back, plus Clem has gone to no school settling-in sessions, got no uniform and, more or less, has no idea of the fate that isn’t about to befall her.

Well, in some ways at least. Some of her key friends from nursery (where she now goes one day a week) have all moved up. The nursery is too far away from where we live anyway for her to be going to the same school as any of her friends, so we don’t feel too bad about this.

SO FAR, she seems quite happy to confidently tell people, “I’m going to home school!” Of course, every time she says this, her two-year-old sister says, mournfully, “Aren’t I going to home-school?” and then we all enter into an existential debate about what school even is and whether we can be said to be starting it when there’s nothing to start.

But we have started. In addition to the WH Smiths books haul and a continuation of the endless gallery visits we’d be doing anyway, we’ve procured a few special educational games, determined that any formal learning that happens, happens in a fun environment.

To wit, we are the proud owners of two Zingo maths and word games from Coiledspring Games and a Match a Pair of Birds memory-testing card game from Laurence King Publishing. We also got some special personalised ‘home-ed’ pencils with Clementine written on them (thanks to Dorothy and Theodore). Try telling me you miss out on back-to-school stuff when you’re home educated.

” How about you ACTUALLY learn to read properly before wasting my time with… oh, wait…”

And so last Wednesday afternoon, a Wednesday afternoon I’ll never ever get back, I tried to play the Zingo word bingo game with both girls and learned a valuable lesson about age-appropriate learning.

It went like this.

Me to the girls: This game has two levels, easy and hard. We’ll start with the easy one. That’s the red side of your card.

The girls: *choose one colour each*

Me: No, no. We’re ALL on the red side for this game.

Clem: But I don’t like red. I like green.

Me: Let’s shuffle the tiles so they’re not all the same.

The girls: *spreading the tiles all around the table, using them as food, earrings and dominoes*

Me: So, tile number one has the word “Who” on it. Who else has the word “who” on their card?

Clem: F.O.X. spells fox!

Me: Er yes, but do you have the word “who”?

Her sister: I do!

Me: Do you? Really?

Her sister: *points to the word “of”*

Clem: I can see it! *points to the word “where” on her sister’s board* Now give me a tile!

Me: No you only win the tile if you ACTUALLY have the word. And it’s not even your word that you haven’t got, it’s your sister’s. GIVE ME STRENGTH. How about you ACTUALLY learn to read properly before wasting my time with… oh, wait…

Her sister: *piles tiles into a tower and karate chops them across the table*

Seriously, how on earth do teachers do this day in day out? She’s unteachable. I am sending her away to Mallory Towers at first light. Actually, make that both of them.


Click here to read all of Hazel’s home-edding columns.

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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".