So. Since we’ll be away for a while, obviously I decided that I would home tutor the children. Actually, we came to this decision after a roundabout consideration of the alternative ways of educating the kids, e.g. putting them in an international school or having a tutor come to our home.
But my initial, instinctive desire is the one we have settled on. For a start it is too extortionately expensive and awkward to get the children into an international school. We’ll be away for only 32 term time days, as it happens, since the Spring half term and Easter holidays fall while we’re gone. And no school will be bothered with the administration or holistic care for just 32 days.
As for a home tutor? I can’t pinpoint why I wasn’t comfortable with this idea. I’m not sure how easy it would be to book a tutor for just 32 term-time mornings but also I wasn’t entirely certain about the idea of having a stranger in the “home”. The apartment we’ll be staying in will be very much our bolthole, our territory, base and safe space while in a foreign land… So. This odd territorial aspect of my personality means that I have decided to tutor the children myself.
Right. Those of you who don’t know me will appreciate the difficulties inherent in tutoring one’s children anyway. The fact they can’t hear you. The fact that when they can hear you they ignore you. The fact that, despite their absolute competence in all things academic at school, when you ask them to read something or perform simple addition, they suddenly affect the intellectual capacity of a trepanned chicken, squirming with feigned ignorance and a general antipathy to making you happy.
Those of you who do know me will understand that when faced with this trepanned chicken, I am not likely to tolerate it. I can’t stand faffing. I’m unforgiving of misbehaving children. I have no patience. Zero. Nil. Nuru. I’m not sure who will come off worst from all this, my poor children or their militant¹ mother.
Anyway, I am writing this post as a distraction technique from the home school plan I’m trying to put together. A wonderful friend and neighbour, who home schooled her own children while away for a couple of months, has lent me her plan notes, and quite frankly I’m considering asking her to come with us to Japan. She seems much better equipped for this home schooling lark. She put together an 11-page, day-by-day, week-by-week schedule for teaching her children. I’ve come up with one side of A4 so far today. However, this is probably due to the sudden necessity of phoning my mum, putting in a load of washing and cleaning the kitchen, all of which kind of delayed me… Ho hum.
Right. I should get back to it. I have various tabs open on my laptop right in front of me, from the Khan Academy, BBC Education, Pearson, Collins and Usborne, and it is my mission, should I choose to accept it, to gather all the material necessary to enrich my children’s academic lives.
The long and the short of it is, at the end of the school year, your children’s teachers deserve darn sight more than an apple 🍎
¹ Obviously I’m joking. Violence will have a very small part to play in their education. Okay, okay – no part at all.