Someone once asked me if I had ever considered homeschooling. I clarified “What?! Have the boys at home with me? All the time? I teach them stuff? I would be their teacher?” I was speechless and utterly confused. Exactly what part of this equation would be in the least bit tempting…? Do people actually do this?
I mentally began to tick off my teaching credentials.
Truth is, my heart sinks when the homework is sent home. Oh look, a fun ‘craft project’ to complete. A 3D model of a volcano using any materials that you have at your disposal. As I raid the recycle bin for washing up bottles and old newspapers, I realize that the one soggy cereal box isn’t firing anyone’s imagination. Panic rises as I race over to pinterest to steal some ideas. I am bombarded with images of papier mâché, rice paper cones and volcano cakes billowing with dry ice. That washing up bottle isn’t going to cut it… I then remember that this is my 7 years olds project and not actually mine. He actually makes a better of job of it than I would have done. Respect.
Red book 1, yellow, lime, green, white – the national reading levels, or, as I like to call it, “The Rainbow of Hell”. It starts at 4 years old. Each word painstakingly broken down into letter sounds and then squashed back together again as a word. Except, of course, if it is a ‘tricky’ word and then the whole ordeal is rendered pointless.
Page 1: “I went to the zoo”, or
Boy 2: is it I?
Me: Yes darling, well done
“w – e – n – t”
Boy 2: is it went?
“t – o”
Boy 2: don’t know… a?
Me: No, sweetie, it doesn’t quite sound out, it’s “to”.
“t – h – e”
Boy 2: ter her e.
Me: Oh no, the ‘th’ make a different sound together. It’s “the”
Boy 2: erm…
Me: IT’S ZOO!! I mean, it’s zoo darling, you need an “oo” sound.
Deep breath. Only 6 more pages to go.
2 pages later and I have lost the will to live.
OK, how about some maths then. Having hated all maths as a child, I feel a little rise of bile in my throat as the worksheets are arranged around the table.
10 + 5 = ? (Phew, even I can work that one out! )
Boy 1: 15! (Yes, yes! We have a maths genius on our hands.)
17 – 3 = ? (A little trickier, I use my fingers.)
Boy 1: 12? No, 11? No, 13! It is, it’s 13, you’re wrong and I’m right! I hate you!
I reach for the vodka.
8 x 4 = ? (I subtly open my calculator on my phone. Well, words are more my thing…)
Computer Science, ah ha, now this is more my specialism. I can actually get out the iPads without feeling an ounce of guilt. I am not sure the Power Rangers game is totally educational but they do have to pick their weapon (logical reasoning) and work out how many aliens they have killed (counting). Computers are the future after all and with 3D printers, spell checkers, and calculators, they really don’t need any of the above skills anyway.
I think I shall leave the homeschooling to the more nurturing parents. After all, when would I have time to clean the house, do the washing and drink coffee with my friends? It’s important we understand our limits.