Five things I can learn with a kid at secondary school

A man attempting to put on a tie - because he didn't learn how to at secondary school.

Oldest starts at secondary school next week. I can’t believe we’re at this stage already but there you go. Time flies.

Over the summer break, we’ve been helping him prepare by getting everything he needs and it has been quite the learning experience for me as well as him.

Here, then, are five things I may finally learn now I have a kid at secondary school.


I’m seriously impressed by some of the lessons on laddo’s timetable. Especially philosophy. My knowledge on the subject is limited to Monty Python and Horrible Histories sketches and songs.

Plus one line in Ebeneezer Goode by The Shamen. I’m looking forward to finding out which great philosopher once wrote: “Naughty, naughty, very naughty.”

How to do a tie

Yes, I’m 41 years old and still don’t know how to fasten a tie. I never had to wear one at school and had a clip-on one for my first job stacking shelves at a supermarket with delusions of grandeur.

I suppose I should take this opportunity to learn properly and stop asking my wife to do it for me for weddings and job interviews.


Another interesting subject on the timetable is Spanish – a language I’ve always wanted to learn. I can speak French and German plus odd snippets of Italian, but can only say hello and order a beer in Spanish.

In fact, the only time I ever got to do the latter – on holiday in Tenerife – the lady behind the bar responded “All right, love, which one would you like?”

Local knowledge

Oldest’s secondary school is on the side of town we’ve never had reason to visit before. Despite living here for 11 years and growing up just three miles away, I’m entirely unfamiliar with it.

So it’ll be nice getting used to our surroundings slightly further afield. Plus it’ll make the creepy monthly ‘where you’ve been’ emails Google sends me a bit more interesting.


I’m surprised and delighted in equal measure that this is an actual school subject. And I wish it had been a thing when I was at secondary school.

We could all do with a few coping strategies for when things get too much and the last year or two have been soul-destroying. I think I’m going to benefit as much as he does!

What have you learned thanks to your kids’ school experiences?


  1. Damion Founde

    I’m lucky in the sense I have 1 in 2nd year 6th form and one in year 8 secondary.

    I must admit I have learned loads since my kids have gone into secondary. Philosophy is one of them!

    Computer programming seems to be a new compulsory subject though… but odd!?

    Great read Tom!

  2. Aaron Hall

    Great read, Tom!
    I’m a dad of 3 boys (5 years old and younger).
    I don’t know how to do a tie, haha and I do ask my wife for help as well.
    Maybe I should learn this before my boys get to high school? lol

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