One of my Smalls (aged 9) is half way through her half term break. I say ‘break’ because that’s what I thought it was. But, as far as I can work out, she’s mixing any relaxation with some hard core work. Yes, WORK. Science exam revision, a Beethoven written project, a poem to be learnt, music theory papers to be completed and some good old fashioned piano practice. And I’m left wondered if the 9 year old (one of life’s true grafters) deserves a REAL break?

Which leads me to my question: which skills do these kids actually need? I mean, what do they really need to know under the age of 10? How to speak Mandarin? Which materials make effective thermal insulators? How many flats B flat minor has? I suspect not.

While I’m mildly interested in the temperature of the hottest part of the sun (16,000,000 degrees Celsius, if you’re wondering), I’d rather give this traditional curriculum learning a miss. At least for the week. Instead, I’m fantasizing about teaching her the following:

1. how to read a map of London
2. how to draw happy, quirkily-dressed people
3. a little Brit history – maybe a king or queen from years gone by
4. a mean bolognaise which includes more than 4 vegetables
5. how to change a plug

It would certainly feel a whole lot more fun, less pressurized and might leave her better refreshed for next week’s exams. But I fear that by doing so, I will let her down. And so we dive back into electrical conductors…

You can read more musings from Emma at