Why do we have to go to school?



It’s official. No-one wants to go back to school. Everyone in our house, bar the smallest member, wants “internet school”. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to explain the legal position on schooling in response to the question “why do we have to go to school?” Each child resorts to different tactics. Daughter one explains in detail why school is a deeply stressful place and that’s not even mentioning no school uniform day, which is so dreaded that it appears on daughter two’s bad list. Daughter two just groans and daughter three sobs quietly and tells me I would make an excellent teacher.

Daughter three and only son had a staggered return to school since Monday was an inset day. Daughters one and two had to go back cold turkey first thing and they looked slightly ashen faced and in shock when 7am dawned. “They should let us have at least five weeks off at Christmas,” said daughter two. I pointed out that it would still be difficult to go back after five weeks, even perhaps more difficult. Daughter two suggested that one way round the whole homeschooling thing and me having to earn money was for the whole team to learn through helping me work. I briefly considered the idea.

Daughter three spent much of her inset day researching holiday ideas for half term, inspired by all the ads on tv. She has a yearning to go on a plane since we haven’t been since only son turned two and had to pay the full cost. I have recommended some day trips to airports so she can simulate the whole experience without us actually having to pay for it, bar the exorbitant car park costs.

Daughter three presented her holiday plan [a week in Barcelona courtesy of Easyjet and Housetrip.com] to her dad after we decided to pay him a surprise tea time visit.  We were ushered into his office, but he had gone on a late lunch so I texted him. “Guess where we are?” No response. “There are lots of bananas.” My partner is on a health drive, running and eating bananas. 

He appeared five minutes later and showed us around the office. Only son hid behind my back. On the way home we tried to ring daughters two and one who were on the bus home. As usual, no-one picked up. Ten minutes later we rang the home phone and after it went onto answer machine, both daughters picked up, one upstairs and one downstairs. “There’s absolutely no food in the house. Bring us food!” demanded daughter one. “Get me some blueberries for a smoothie please,” said daughter two, who has become excessively health conscious. The fruit shop in our village has odd opening hours which are unfathomable by my small brain. It was closed so we didn’t stop. I made daughter one a stack of peanut butter pancakes because I have been told peanut butter is rich in iron. I put on some veggie mince for daughter two who checked the packet for its salt content.

“How was your day?” I inquired of both older children. No-one had had a good day. “I had a really boring lesson, followed by another really boring lesson, followed by some really really boring lessons,” said daughter two. Despite the fact that they were exhausted by the whole boring experience, no-one wanted to go to bed at the appointed hour. Particularly the younger section who were still on a holiday timetable despite my best efforts. I cuddled up only son, but he refused point blank to sleep. Daughter three was sniffing loudly in her bed about internet school. I went downstairs and told them to get to sleep. Ten minutes later only son appeared. “You promised to cuddle me up,” he said indignantly. “Daughter three is crying.” Daughter three appeared 10 minutes later. By the end of the week I plan to have this whole school thing back on track. 

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