“Dad in one day I will be sat in school. In the bottom class trying to avoid getting any negatives. Being sad. Being hungry. Probably wanting to go to the toilet. Trying not to be different. That tree can just be itself. Doesn’t have to try and fit in. Even when bad stuff happened to it, it still was allowed to be a tree”

The tree was hit by lightning a few years back. A fair chunk of the tree ended up on the ground. But it’s still going strong. Still doing it’s tree stuff.

After a week free of school worries we return to normal service. Someone so young riddled with self doubt and anxieties. Trying to learn without dyslexia support in a classroom environment which you really couldn’t make any less welcoming for autistic kids. It doesn’t help that this week adds the pressure of two further tests. That’s 6 in 5 weeks. Government set targets gone mad. Apart from feeding the system what good does it do the kids. As my dad would say – it’s doing diddly squat. Dad would always say that. Normally in connection with how he thought Yorkshire was doing in the County Championship. For years I thought he was saying dinky squid. Maybe that should be my Disney character name.

Sorry I digressed. So on Monday at 8am son will get onto his school bus. Back into the big scary alien education world. Full of pedantic rules and prohibitions. Set dress patterns and echoing Victorian corridors. Formulaic Government set teaching and stress inducing testing programme. Institutionalised discrimination for too many kids. Tell me why I don’t stop him getting on the bus on Monday. Make a couple of cups of hot chocolate and walk hundred yards. Sit underneath that tree and just see what nature shows us. A better use of our son’s school years?

74 thoughts on “Tree

  1. My heart breaks for him having to go through so much and I’m praying for him. Praying for you also. I know it’s hard trying to know what the right call to make is. I’ve been noticing more, just how anxiety filled my son is, especially as we finished out the school year. There have been meltdowns multiple times a week and you want to do what you can and sometimes feel so helpless. There have been tear filled pleas to stay home from school. Many times, I made him go and drove away crying. Hang in there. I hope this week goes as smooth as possible for you both. Hugs.

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  2. How very very sad Gary. I am so sorry that your son is having to go through all of this. Iwish with all my heart it were possible for you to school him yourself at home, as they can do in America. This is so sad. I will be thinking of you both this morning, as your son gets onto that dragged school bus. Hugs. Xxxx

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      1. I would imagine that in England it is much harder than in America because we are not set up for it. Mine was just a general question because I did not know if it was even possible here. I meant no offence

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No offense taken!

        I think that there is a system here to help parents homeschool – it’s not something that a parent has to do by themselves. But I don’t know what it is like in the US to compare.

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      3. From what I know it is more commonly done in the US but I have not heard of it being done here., but we are only talking hypothetically anyway. I was just interested though

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      4. I come across people from time to time who homeschool. There is also the option of part homeschooling and part sending your children to another school.

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      5. Hi. Hope your ok. It is possible and currently don’t need to follow government teaching programme. But for us it’s not so much the schooling side which is the problem it’s more to do with trying to balance it with one variable income.

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  3. I was thinking about you and your boy’s education dilemma this morning before i read your post.
    I was thinking that the world is changing at an increasingly faster rate year on year, and that our government education ‘system’ lost pace with it sometime in the 80’s or 90’s maybe?
    The system was designed in a previous century – probably not the one before this one – and has not changed significantly since then.
    It was only ever designed to help the ‘middle’ 90% of kids to get employment in the wider workforce and did not benefit the outsiders that were considered above or below ‘average’.

    In this century the ones who will do the best in life will be the ones who are best able to adapt to new ways of thinking and new ideas – the ones who can ‘keep up’ with the rapid pace of change and not get tied down into orthodox thinking or behaviours(ruts).

    Train your son to be adaptable, not afraid of change but to welcome it as a new challenge to overcome or to rise above. I know how incredibly difficult that sounds, but it is the thing that will let him thrive in the years that are to come, to be independent and self-reliant and not be swallowed up and spit out by unstoppable changes we will all have to face and deal with very, very soon.

    Best of luck and big hugs to you both.

    (He should get on the bus with the understanding that this one sacrifice for today will have a definite and agreed to reward as a result (your/his choice). – if there is a better practical alternative then go for that!)

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  4. Your son seems very astute, so clearly he needs intellectual stimulation and thus in the future a fulfilling career. Reflecting on the current educational situation, it seems to me if your son can keep his pecker up till he is through compulsory education, he will have choices at 16. Which subject areas does he enjoy most?

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      1. Well, I don’t think he needs to make a firm decision right now 😊 I was thinking along the lines of supporting him in it in a non-school way to maintain that and any other interests, so that he can see the hope.
        Are you aware of York Festival of Ideas? Or events run at various universities in the region for younger members of society? (Two examples off the top of my head)

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  5. Gary, this is so hard on him, on you, because it’s compounded by grief. But just keep going. Stop and sob anytime you need to but keep busy. One task at a time. Keep telling yourself, Just one more thing to do, just one more,… and keep going. Don’t look too far ahead, though. Keep strides just big enough. Just.

    Perhaps we could try and get your son to focus on just one thing a day at school, never mind the other 100 avalanches just waiting to happen. If he sees you doing this at home, over time, he might be able to achieve this too. Then, hopefully, school would be one thing less overwhelming.

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    1. Thanks. At the moment we go week by week. It’s funny as in the last conversation with the education authority they said I could consider sending him to a private school. Very helpfully they didn’t mention how we would pay the £20k per year. Plus I am fundamentally opposed to the idea anyway.

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  6. Awwww … poor guy. 😥

    Sounds like you might be considering homeschooling. As a grannie who homeschooled her granddaughter for the entire twelve years, I can tell you that: a) it is all-consuming, time-consuming, and exhausting, and b) the most rewarding thing I ever did. Of course, only you know if you have the time and energy, for it requires massive amounts of both. But it sounds like it might be worth a shot for a year or two, anyway, they you can decide from there. Whatever you decide, you are both in my heart.

    Hugs!

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  7. “Childhood is what we spend the rest of our lives getting over” author unknown. I would be willing to bet that author had a lot of bad experiences through the school system too. Wishing you and your son much better days ahead – hopefully under that tree!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought it was so well written and such great advice. Taking care of yourself while being responsible for meeting the needs of a loved one can be so difficult to achieve, but well worth the effort.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. a wonderful piece of writing; I love the metaphor of the tree; I feel for your son and all children who are put through these seemingly endless, pointless tests. We have something in Australia called Naplan which constantly gets bad press; my granddaughter is often anxious about it

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  9. Your son’s heart and imagination haven’t been squashed by the school yet. If they haven’t yet, then I don’t think they will. If he continues attending there instead of homeschooling (which again, is up to you and has its own pros and cons), you two keep making the most of your time when he’s home. He could even see school as a sort of role-playing game, like Legend of Zelda. That’s full of treks all over the place to acquire little things in the overall quest of…whatever the reason is, I never played the game. Gah! Rambling. My point: School is definitely a test of endurance on the imagination. And his imagination is winning.

    He is winning. xxxxx

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