Quarantine. Week One.

So, homeschooling eh? Who knew? Who knew?

At first you are enthusiastic. The school sets a little video on baby animals for the children to watch and you whack an episode of Planet Earth on for extra credit with a cheery, “Hey, if you want to see baby animals check this out!” And you and your child watch a polar bear slide down a snow bank and everything is laughter and joy. Then you gaze in wonder as the scene shifts to millions of caribou migrating across the North American landscape. The camera zooms out, and out, and out, and look at all the baby caribou! Aren’t they cute? And then…

And then David Attenborough has to open his big mouth.

Because caribou aren’t the only thing on the frozen Canadian wastelands, says David. Oh no no no. There are wolves as well. Look at these wolves.

And of course there are wolves, David, but would it have hurt you so much to keep that to yourself? If you had let it go? If you had, say, kept your big gob shut about the wolves. Would that have been the end of the world? Of course not. But you couldn’t even give my seven-year-old a moment with the caribou without showing a massive wolf chasing one of them for a mile and then chewing it to death in its massive wolf mouth? Could you?

No. Yeah. Cheers mate. No. Really. Cheers. No, you’re right, they do have to learn sometime. There is no time like the present.

You wanker.

I struggled with phonics too. It’s basically the first thing you learn in school after where the toilets are but I’ll be buggered if I can make head or tail of it. The school sent us a link to a website that showed you flashcards of sounds. Phonic sounds, I guess, whatever they are. Anyway, the child is supposed to say the sound on the card and then the teacher (or in this case, idiot parent) tells them whether they are right or not.

Sounds easy, yeah?

OK, then. What sound is ‘Ou’ Is it ou as in sound? Or ou as in you? Or ou as in your? Or ou as in cough? or ou as in dough? Or… you get my point.

I mean, she can read anyway. I’m not even sure what phonics are for if you can read. Presumably we don’t need phonics any more? Who needs partially accurate noises when you have books?

So, next week I am going to be adding some of my own methods and ideas to the curriculum because why not, eh? We’ve got weeks of this, maybe months. Not long enough for me to grasp the basics of phonics, sure, but plenty of time to go mad trying. A change is as good as a phonics test, or something.

I’m thinking about doing a sort-of ‘Country of the Week’ thing. Draw the flag, find it on a map, (virtually) walk around bits of it on Google maps, cook some of the cuisine, do a little project on somebody from the country. When you add in the maths stuff from school, and some reading, well, Bob’s your pleasantly surprised Ofsted inspector.


I’ll let you know how it goes.