More rain

And still it rains. And rains. And rains.

And still it rains at school.

French Homework is to complete a crossword. A French Crossword. Marks will be deducted for incorrect spellings.

Dad I can’t even do a crossword in English never mind French. I can remember the sounds but I can’t spell the words. The Teacher knows this but just says I have to try harder.

And we have more…

Drama Homework is to complete an acting related Word Search Game. Really. Very early on his previous school it was identified that he could just not do Word Searches Tables. The Psychologist who looked into this established that for some reason he was not able to visualise letters and collections of letters if they were printed diagonally or backwards. On top of this his dyslexia just made identifying words difficult. As this was stressful for him it was strongly recommended that his education did not use word based games. Fast forward a couple of years and his current school now requires him to do word searches as it’s the set task for the class.

I can see the point of a French Crossword for some kids but how is a dyslexic kid expected to complete this. Has our school system become so inflexible that we can’t just vary the teaching programme a little for each individual child need. Clearly not. The Government is committed to this Factory/Production line model of education. That’s for State Schools. Private Schools have more scope to flex the teaching programme. Unfortunately many can’t afford to go Private. But that won’t bother Boris and his buddies. As long as the chauffeur driven car turns up and the expensive wine keeps coming.

Ok I can see the point of a crossword for French for some BUT… What is the pigging point of a word search for Drama. I guess it’s all part of the Government’s drive to make every kid spell correctly the defined key words. Spelling is given a higher profile that actually understanding what the word means. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the best way to develop the next Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Tom Cruise is to focus on spelling. Oh hang on a minute these have dyslexia as well. So no I don’t see the point.

We just set too many of our kids up to fail. They see other kids repeatedly praised for great spelling or neat handwriting while at the same time they are just told to try harder. How demoralising is that. A phrase you hear often is that kids with learning difficulties have to try super hard just to keep the perceived learning gap from widening. DAMM RIGHT THEY DO. Too many kids are forced through the same stereotyped classroom hoop. Never given a chance to demonstrate their unique skill sets as these are not in the areas deemed valuable by the Government.

Too many kids have been failed by our society. It’s not as if our society is particularly successful or sustainable on the back of this. This has to stop. When it does stop and we start allowing all our kids to grow – just take a few minutes to think how good this world will become. That is a hope worth fighting for. That is a hope worth voting for.

Thespian Advice

First up apologies for yesterday’s school rant. Probably suffering from Toffee Appleitis. It was heart felt but probably did come across as a bit of a winging parent. I suspect it might not be my last moan but I will try to keep a lid on it for the post.

The Toffee Apple update was quite positive. I did manage to find one rather sad looking specimen which apparently was quite tasty. While he was at school I moved away from the high science of Toffee to the more accessible chocolate approach. Chocolate is so much easier than Toffee – it falls within my very limited cooking range.

Chocolate Apple – success. Then the success went to my head – chocolate dipping anything I could find. Grapes, strawberries, banana, pineapple and melon. At one stage we had chocolate spectacles – but that was just an unintentional fumble. With the exception of the glasses – all chocolate covered items happily consumed.

After the chocolate eating fest our son brought up school and in particular drama. Apparently the class had a drama test which consisted of reading a script. No reading help was provided. When I asked how he coped his response was

“I couldn’t read the words but I didn’t panic, I just remembered the advice you gave me about drama”

This worried me on two counts. One I can’t remember any such advice and secondly the only thing I’m worse at than cooking is the performing arts. My only two ventures into the performing arts during my life have hardly been inspiring.

1) At school my class was entered into a singing competition. My signing was so bad that the teacher told me to stand at the back and just mime. I remember how he put it “for gods sake don’t sing or were buggered”.

2) A bit further down my educational journey I “performed” in the year end play. That year it was Julius Caesar. I was given the role of a centurion with one job. Stand on a podium (chair) and shout “hail Caesar”. Unfortunately on the big night I got a tad excited. I managed to let out a bellowing “Haiiiiiiiiiii” as I feel backwards off the chair, pulling most of the back curtain down.

So with trepidation I asked my son exactly what advice I had given him.

“You told me that if I had to do any acting and I didn’t know what to do then you should pretend to be a famous actor. Pretend to be someone like Christopher Lee playing Dracula”. ### he once watched a documentary about Christopher Lee’s career when he was appearing in Lord of the Rings and loved the Dracula bit ####

“So I just pretended to be Dracula stalking round the stage not saying a word. I later found out that it was some romantic stuff I was supposed to read”.

I couldn’t get the image of this vampire like figure stalking round the stage when they were expecting something more akin to Laurence Olivier or Colin Firth. Seconds later we were both in tears of laughter.

So in summary I can’t rule out future blog moans but I can categorically rule out any form of thespian advice.