Tuesday, 5 February 2013


With the art teacher who I couldn't care less whether she's state sanctioned, criminally investigated, double checked, or damp-proofed against rot.

She's one of us, home educator, and meets with my approval. First for being passionate and committed about what she does, and second because she communicates that passion while bestowing a quiet calm upon a table filled with kids and paints.

After two hours with Cat the Artist, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger come away with inspiration and aspiration, which in no time at all sees them set about another piece of sliced fruit.

I pay her, of course I do, and I consider every penny worth it, if only to put into my child's life the significant other. This is the person from your child's psychology who influences them more than you, stupid parent, ever can. The significant other may communicate exactly the same as you, but the difference is, when you say it, the kids ignore you, and when the influential and role-modelling other says it, the kids fix on every syllable like Disciples to the Gospel of the Almighty.

Anyway, it's long been overdue for someone else to lead Shark, Squirrel and Tiger to contemplation of what GCSE Art could mean.

I spent the toddler years destroying my own house with buckets of artncraft, alternating between my control freakery and my utter resignation to the plate of soil we are now embarking on painting, because so what? At least it's not headed for the freezer like last time. But now we are older. Toddlerdom is long gone. I am repairing my house and beyond offering much advice with my mini artists, so it's time to fall into instructional order with the significant other.

Cat, then, leads by example with her quiet understated knowledge, her intuitive understanding of pencil and paint, and her deft handling of politics around a table full of kids without much elbow room or paint-pot space.

I know, from these quiet sessions over the coming year, we will benefit far more than another drawing to pin to the wall. With Cat to model what's hopefully before us in the studious years, we will be able to use her example to talk practicalities, both of Art in Life, and what it would mean should the GCSE arise: preparing sketchbooks, development of ideas, and (for Tiger), the answer cannot always be a horse.

So here it is today. Three cheers and a hip-hip-hooray. For Art, for the community of home ed sorting it out between ourselves, and for Cat, significant other.

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