Life, oh life, oh liiiiife, oh life… lessons

Woman singingSinging my daughter off to school

My elder daughter started high school in September so she had to get used to going from sitting in one classroom all day at junior school to having a timetable of different subjects and having to take in the right books, equipment and kit for those lessons. To help her manage this she asked that I go through her timetable with her in the mornings so she can double check she has everything she needs.

Obviously I’m happy to do this but I wouldn’t feel that I was doing my job as a parent if I didn’t make the process fun as well as practical. It all started with one particular lesson called ‘Life’. Yes, that is actually the name of the lesson but ‘tis really just RE masquerading under a pseudonym. Abiding by my personal mantra of ‘why say it when you can sing it’, it naturally came to me to belt out the chorus of the song Life by Des’ree instead – “Life, oh life oh liiife oh life”. My daughter was so delighted with my wacky, fun approach she gave me one of her extra special eye rolls and exclaimed in delight “seriously?”.

After that, all the other subjects seemed so dull and uninspiring. There was nothing else for it but to find a suitable song for every subject on her timetable. The challenge was on.

Some lessons are easier to score than others: PE is accompanied by Let’s Get Physical by Olivia Newton John; English is Englishman in New York by Sting; History is either You’re History by Shakespeare’s Sister or Little Bit of History Repeating by Shirley Bassey (mainly depending on whether I’m feeling the falsetto or the sass on the day); and, my personal favourite, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross for Geography.

But some are more tricky. I use ABC by the Jackson 5 for Maths due to the ‘123’ bit but I do feel that this one is ambiguous and could be interpreted as English (I was banned from stating the actual name of the lesson in game show host stylie with pointed finger quite early on in the process). The best I have for Science is Biology by Girls Aloud and my original trial of Hitler Has Only Got One Ball for German proved early on to be inappropriate to sing to an 11 year old. I have now replaced this with 99 Red Balloons by Nena, sung in German (Neunundneunzig Luftballons).  I’m still searching for inspiration for Art and IT (answers on a postcard please).

To switch it up a bit I have now incorporated some dance moves into my performance: faux star jumps for Let’s Get Physical (not real ones obvs, they require Zumba-grade Tena Lady); and expressive dance representations for mountains, rivers and valleys for Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. I can tell when she really enjoys it by just how withering the look she throws at me is and the ways she says “Mum, you’re so inspiring” (or words to that effect – I’m usually too lost in my performance to really listen).

Obviously I don’t want her to get complacent so I will be looking to refresh my repertoire at some point so all suggestions for an appropriate soundtrack are very welcome (would particularly welcome tracks I can choreograph some interpretive moves to). Thanks in advance.

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