First published in the East Anglian Daily Times
In a few days it begins again. The mad morning dash to the school gates, the multiple bags, projects, permission slips, payments and nit combs. We can hardly wait.
Don’t get me wrong, this summer (the first summer holiday proper for my five-year-old) has been brilliant – in parts magical. We’ve paddled in rivers, fished in streams, hacked over fields on horses and climbed trees. There have been days when we didn’t get dressed and just gorged on popcorn in front of cartoons. During that time I’ve been amazed at what both my son and three-year-old daughter have learnt in school and pre-school – from reading skills that stretch to inappropriate news headlines to a mastery of Spanish that would have Dora the Explorer thumbing her dictionary.
So why look forward to the term-time hustle and bustle? Of course, there is a sense that I’m selfishly missing the routine and rewards of my working life. After all, it’s so much easier sending emails than whittling swords and explaining why a rainbow is and a rainbow’s end isn’t. But, and more to the point, I know my children are also quietly missing the structures that come from their school environment; their friends, games, lessons and ultimately their freedom.