Hazel Davis and her fella have decided to home-educate their kids. This week, they’ve learned to relax and embrace those #nevergoingtoschool moments.
For every oh-shit-they-won’t-get-that-at-school-we-are-going-to-have-to-do-it-ourselves (school nurse checks, for one), there are at least two thank-goodness-for-that-they’re-never-going-to-school-so-we-don’t-have-to-worry-about-its.
In fact we’ve even coined a phrase in our house (because we are in our late 30s and have to use the full words for internet things): ‘hashtag-never-going-to-school’.
Though there’s a chance they might go to school one day (noooooooo!), it’s become a handy mantra for when the children are challenging or, usually, embarrassing. Like the other day when Clem (the oldest) got angry and called her dad: “You little bollocks”.
If she’d been trotting off to primary school the next day we’d probably have to sit her down and explain that she should NEVER EVER SAY THAT WORD EVER and wait for the Letter Home. But because she isn’t going to school we could piss ourselves laughing first and THEN tell her not to be such a bellend.
“Sometimes my youngest child has just got to march around the room with a lampshade on her head and to hell with what everyone thinks.”
No, obviously, we don’t actively encourage swearing, of course not, but it’s far more important that they learn to be nice to people and not call their dad names and if they say “shit” when they stub their toe, I really can’t bring myself to expend that much energy on it. Especially when, well, hashtag-never-going-to-school.
Me: “Clem, what are you doing?”
Clem: “I am LOOKING. FOR. THE. BLOODY. HALLOUMI.”
Me and her dad: #nevergoingtoschool
Gilda: “Oompa, oompa, stick your parts up your jumper.”
Me and her dad: #nevergoingtoschool
Both of them, nude with jumpers on their heads, leaping around the lounge: “He’s a STAAAAR MAAAN WAITING IN THE SKY!”
Me and their dad: #neverleavingthehouse
Don’t get me wrong. We’re definitely not in the business of raising little freaks who can’t function in society or who know no boundaries (see previous columns for details). Far from it. But the whole #nevergoingtoschool thing sort of reduces the administrative burden a bit.
“It’s far more important that they learn to be nice to people and not call their dad names and if they say ‘shit’ when they stub their toe, I really can’t bring myself to expend that much energy on it.”
I am reminded (quite a lot, actually) of the time I spent an entire breaktime walking round the playground, arms outstretched, chanting, “I am a robot.” I was about eight at the time and, well, it wasn’t what eight-year-old girls in my school did (or, possibly, any children in any school).
I seem to recall one of the dinner ladies taking me aside and telling me gently that I was being a bit strange. Well, yes, I was BUT did it matter? I was obviously getting something out of it. My youngest child reminds me of me in this respect. Sometimes she’s just got to march around the room with a lampshade on her head and to hell with what everyone thinks.
The idea of hashtag-can’t-do-that-when-you-go-to-school fills me with all sorts of sadness for lost moments of bonkersness. And I can’t help but feel it’s worse nowadays too (based on no evidence whatsoever). I was chatting to some very sweet girls at the place Clem does her acro class at the weekend. At the age of seven they were already SO image-conscious, so aware of how they looked to each other and me and so careful, so controlled.
I felt instinctively that it was unlikely they would be seen dead making monkey noises in the nude sitting (and quite possibly farting) on their dad’s head (hashtag… etc). If going to school means worrying what everyone thinks of you or not being able to make robot noises, then #bollockstoit.1235 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".