In normal times, my cheery “So, how was school?” rarely receives more than a grunted “OK.” But homeschooling is revealing what my children actually do all day. And the discovery has come as a shock.
My 11-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter go to a perfectly decent state primary, which has valiantly provided worksheets week by week throughout our successive lockdowns. But I read them with incredulity, hilarity—and horror.
My daughter is told to improve her writing using “PUGS (Punctuation, Up-levelling, Grammar and Spelling).” (“Up-levelling,” I gather, means “improving.”) Meanwhile, she is left finding comprehension incomprehensible: “Use evidence from the text to justify your thinking!”—the exclamation mark failing to animate the task, which involves describing the appearance and personality of protagonists; or spotting expanded noun phrases. (I kid you not.)
Suspicious, I took out their old exercise books, which I’d shamefully only ever briefly glanced at in…
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