Home ed in the summer holidays
No, we're not taking a break from normal life, following our interests and gently meandering or frantically galloping along the paths of our curiosity, as the mood takes us.
We will not stop wondering as to the meaning of things, reading books or Googling answers to queries that come up in thought or in conversation. When Lyddie gets paper and pen and comes to copy the words on my screen again, as she did this morning, to practice forming the letters and to work out what they are, I won't be saying: "You mustn't do that! It's the summer break!"
When an unusual insect crawls on the ground, or bird lands in our garden, we won't stop watching to see what it does or wondering why. And when someone says: "I'll go and find a book to see what it is," I won't hold my hand up and say: "STOP! You can't! It's the summer holiday! Wait until September to do that!"
As for the teens developing their chosen vocational skills with single-minded obsession, I won't be marching into their rooms or their lives with a compulsory beach towel and insisting they immediately cease their activities and go and sit on it, just because it's August. (Though we are planning a day trip to the coast this summer, and no doubt some learning will inevitably take place on it - not least the sums to work out whether and when we can afford the petrol. And we're waiting until September to avoid the crowds and to get the best of the weather.)
I will not be covering anyone's mouth when they ask about anything interesting, or locking away the chess set in case anyone fancies a game. And running across our field will not be banned because 'it was Sports Day last month, not this!'
We learn all the time, just as we breathe all the time. We like learning. It's what makes us feel alive. Why would we stop doing it, for the month of August?
But when I try to explain this to some people, I can see their thoughts written all over their face. "You cruel woman. Can't you even give them a break in the summer?"
Yes, the aliens have already landed on our planet and are speaking a language that's unintelligible to human beings. I just can't work out whether that's them, or us.