Can you believe it. 14 months of school at home. Just over half of that time has happened with most of his classmates back at school. Trying to maintain a remote link with his class was always going to be difficult. It can never be perfect. Especially when the Government’s attitude has been to try and force all children back into classrooms as soon as possible. Schools instructed to make it more difficult for children to work remotely. Schools and parents threatened with legal action if pupils are not back in the class. Our school wanted to offer a remote learning option. Wanted to change the school week with most pupils spending part of the school week, remote learning. Wanted to tailor education and create a better school working environment. Unfortunately that was not allowed so the remote learning option had to be largely turned off. That makes things much harder…..
Revision is supposed to start for the upcoming school year exams this week. No idea how they will work for Hawklad. But the individual subjects are now issuing revision guides. Indicating which pieces of school work have to be revisited and revised. In a couple of subjects there are no surprises – we have covered those areas, undertaken the work required. But then there are other subjects. Areas that the class have undertaken that Hawklad was not aware of. In a couple of subjects clearly large tracts of class work, entire areas have not been shared. Is it ok to call it revision when he’s visiting an area for the very first time.
It’s such a mixed bag. Yes a couple of subjects have exceeded expectations, Hawklad has done the entire teaching requirements. A couple have been kind of as expected, covered most areas but with gaps. And some subjects have gone so much worse than expected, with Hawklad being so far behind his classmates.
Surely in the modern world, with everything that technology has to offer in terms of keeping connected, surely my country should be so much better at remote learning. So much better at EDUCATION.
Have we transitioned to home schooling without thinking.
Another week of family lockdown. Another week of school at home. But things are changing. Increasing amounts of the school day being unsupported. Yes a couple of lessons still try to provide good teaching support but…… The other subjects provide support which is at best patchy and often not there at all.
So what are the scores on the school doors this week….
Lessons this week 20
4 lessons well supported
7 lessons providing a little support, enough to allow us to try and fill in the missing sections
9 lessons absolutely NO support, no idea what was done in the class, don’t even know which area the teacher looked at.
So the amount of classroom radio silence is creeping up every week. Some subjects have gone weeks without any feedback or guidance. Without support we are having to do our own thing. No idea if Hawklad is working on the same areas as his classmates in a range of subjects. So increasingly what he is learning is determined by him and his hapless dad, not be his teachers. That’s starting to feel like homeschooling. With no classroom return imminent, maybe we have transitioned to homeschooling by accident.
I was reading a news article about home schooling during the lockdown. A government politician was quoted as saying basically that all children needed to be in the classroom. No exceptions. Pupils discipline and grades had deteriorated during lockdown. Homeschooling could never work properly.
Ok so the last year must have a write off for Hawklad
Well let’s think about that…… Over the last year his grades have gone UP. So well that he was moved up sets. Look at his best subject. A year ago he could talk for days about British medieval history. He could name and describe every English monarch. He could talk well about Roman history. A year later he can still do that but now listen to him confidently talk American, European and Chinese history. Listen to him talk about recent world history, Classical Greek times…. you get the picture.
He’s expanded his knowledge on the animal kingdom.
He’s getting great marks now in English Literature. Macbeth, Animal Farm are well within his grasp.
A year ago we were fighting to get him support for his dyslexia. He needed assistance to read even the simplest text. A year at home and he hardly ever needs to ask for help with reading. He can do it himself. Yes he has to skip some words but now he can read articles on line. He can read books now. Slowly yes, but read definitely. 7 years of classroom teaching and he’s made the leap forward at HOME.
I’m no superman. No Yoda. No expert in teaching. Watch me look blankly in most subjects. I’m a bang average parent. Homeschooling has just suited Hawklad. He’s more relaxed. Can pace around. Can jump around subjects. Take breaks. Look at things he wants to. No pressure asking questions, no anxiety putting his have up in front of an overcrowded classroom. It just works for him.
Here’s the thing, the traditional classroom will suit some children. But not everyone. So why do THEY force all kids through the same hoops. Through the same moulds. Through the same exam routes. If the last 12 months has taught us anything it’s that we need to cater for all children. One path just isn’t enough.
It’s a grey morning definitely in need of a few smiles.
We have both just sniggered a bit. Trying to help Hawklad with his school at home day. It’s French. I’m not much help really. German yes I could help. Speaking gibberish certainly could help. French not really. It doesn’t help that French is one of the subjects that he isn’t getting much support with these days. So he often just has to look at the online class chat system. It’s sometimes used in class and can give at least an indication of what the lesson is supposed to be all about. Maybe even provide some of the questions the class are working on. Well that’s the theory…..
This morning no set work provided so all he can do is crack on with other subjects or find things to learn about and wait… Today he was researching the American Civil Rights movement while waiting for anything from French. Then a class comment was posted.
ma belle-mère a bu trop de champagne et ma grand-mère est tombée du cgair.
“Oh my….Dad. Whats that supposed to be”
Wow is there anything else.
“No Dad just that. Any ideas apart from it’sabout a GrandMother and a Step Mum”
It surely can’t be what I think it means. Have a go at translating it with your dictionary
“Dad it means thanks to Google “My stepmum has drunk too much booze and my grandmother has clearly been at it as well and fallen off the chair…. “
Yes I thought it kinda did mean that.
“Ok Dad as given my familyworld I am unlikely to need those French words, can I ignore it and get back to Martin Luther King.”
Always something to look at. Just need to take the time to find things to raise the spirits and lift the soul.
So far this week it’s been 8 lessons. 8 lessons of school at home. So what has been on the educational menu so far
Two lessons thankfully did deliver interest in the form of The Scottish Play and learning about some geographical features in Africa. But THEN…
An abstract artist he will probably never hear of again, some random French words relating to reality TV which he is unlikely ever to use again, drawing out a family tree, cutting an pasting some bible quotes onto the tree, learning about a computer app that he will probably never use again, looking at classroom comments in one class with no idea what was going on and three lessons with zero work provided.
The upshot of all this is too many lessons just missing the point with Hawklad. Just not connecting with him. Is he really learning enough. Is he really learning what he truly needs. Is he really enjoying learning.
That’s why you frequently catch him multitasking in many classes. Kind of following what’s happening in the class. Doing just enough. But then at the same time watching videos on things that do interest him. History, politics, geography, climate change, animal science.
Ok which version is better Bruce Springsteen or Manfred Mann…..
The home at school project is rapidly feeling like it’s blinded by something. More lessons with no support or materials provided. More time spent trying to find any educational resources hidden on the confusing school system. Far fewer teachers making contact and trying to explain work requirements. When class materials are sent they are often only arriving at the end of lessons or hours late. Hardly any work feedback being sent back. Very few teachers checking in on Hawklad to see if it’s going ok.
Contacting school occasionally improves things for a lesson or two then things fall back again.
With national lockdowns, local school closures and family lockdowns its been over a year since Hawklads last in school classroom day. Maybe school have decided enough is enough. Falling in line with Government thinking. So with an imminent school return looking most unlikely, the educational future is so unclear. Blinded by something……
It took too many years to get any support and help for Hawklad. A lot of important time during his key development years were missed. He was labelled with the following tags and descriptions…
Below average attainment
Some discipline issues
Can’t sit still
Behind national targets
Needs to work on the basics
Does he need better discipline at home
Then it all changed when a group of Doctors and education experts finally issued a medical letter confirming
To get there was a nightmare. Yes it felt like a never ending slog. An ordeal. Constantly fighting the system. You end up doubting yourself. Are we just being pushy parents. Should we just fall back into line.
In the end our son was one of the lucky ones. Too many great kids don’t get the chance to shine. Wrote off. Misunderstood. They never get the support they need because they fell through the cracks in the system. A system which still has such poor levels of awareness, too many stereotypes, too few resources in specialised services.
I think lack of sleep does something to my psyche. Normally I’m pretty much good at compromising. Finding the middle ground. NOT TODAY.
School has a weekly extra 90 minutes of schooling. As our beloved and apparently never corrupt Government imposes it’s esteemed will on schools, headteachers have very limited scope to vary the teaching. To add new stuff. So our school brought in a longer school day once a week. This would allow for dedicated non-curriculum learning. Pupils get to choose from a range of options. It’s all about learning different skills, building confidence, developing interests. Completely behind the principle here. Especially when the options are varied enough to allow each child to find something that interests them.
Although Hawklad is not in school at present school want him to take part in the scheme. Which he has done so far. So it’s time to pick this terms option. The pupils got to pick options in the classroom, then a couple of weeks later Hawklad was approached for his selection. Sometimes (and understandably) he is forgotten about in a process. So the best options have filled up and are fully booked. So what’s left?
Everyone can create music
Everyone can create video
Everyone can create drawing….
“Just NO Dad. I would rather do French than those. I’d rather wash your car than do those. The animal management course would have been ace. As would Astronomy. As would the archeological dig option. Those last 4 options are still not fully booked for a good reason…..”
I phoned school to see if we could find another option. Could he be fitted into one of the full options. NO….. THOSE ARE THE ONLY AVAILABLE OPTIONS.
Ok normally I wouldtry to work with school to find some middle ground. Today NO. Just told school that he isn’t doing any of those, so TOUGH…You will just have to mark him absent for that part of the day.
I think he is much happier with the new range of home based options. Xbox, football in the garden, table tennis, watching The Simpsons…..
Still that kind of weather. Might leave the sunbathing for another day or so.
So school is open. Here we go again.
Four lessons today. Two with work provided. Two without.
“Ok Dad I’ve emailed the teacher to ask them what I’m supposed to be doing but haven’t received anything back. So I’m going to look at History. I know what they are looking at next year so might as well focus on that. “
What are you going to look at then.
“It’s Crime and Punishment from Victorian times. So might as well start with Jack the Ripper, hangings and Victorian prisons.”
What happened to the days of watching The Tellytubbies……
Can’t believe the break from school is almost over. As Hawklad isn’t ready to go back we go again on the school at home project. Wait for it. Using my fingers to count past 10 I think Monday will be the 212th home at school teaching day. Does that make me a proper teacher now…..
I must admit there feels like there is quite a lot of schooling fatigue on both the pupil and the parent now. If this was true homeschooling then now would be the time for changing things up. But it isn’t so lessons start again at 840am on Monday. The weekend will be spent trying to complete holiday homework.
It might just be about limping through until the summer break. This summer feels like it’s the crucial time. Can’t see him returning to school before then. So summer is when we either fully commit to homeschooling or we try to move closer to a return to the classroom.
The process will be tough enough….
The last thing we need is a self righteous horse whip clown determined to use children as a way to become PM. To appear the hard man. Wanting to take schools back to Victorian values. A clown who is trying to now push through changes to extend the school day, reduce school holidays, increase homework and drive through increased discipline.
If I’m honest I’m not looking forward to the next few months.