Do you remember when school holidays meant time off for our kids….
Hawklad and I received emails from school this morning. The emails set out the times of the upcoming year exams. Straight after the half term week holiday. The emails listed all the areas which each pupil are expected to cover in revision. The revision also includes mandatory online tasks that won’t be marked but will be monitored by teachers. All tasks are expected to be completed. The email stressed that they are expecting pupils to undertake significant work levels over the week off…..
To be fair to school they are only following Government guidelines and instructions. The Government has repeatedly spoken of its desire to increase the length of the school day and reduce the number of school holidays. It believes children have too much time off. They have it too easy…..
Parents will have differing views on this. I think you might be able to guess my take on this. I think it’s all BS…… Making pupils work harder and longer is just a smokescreen for covering up the failings of our current school system. Too many trumped up experts getting jobs as politicians, thinking they know best. It shouldn’t be about the quantity of teaching, it should be about the QUALITY of the education.
Ban politicians from education. Let teachers teach… Let Headmaster run the school. Involve the pupils and parents fully. Reverse the trend to test at every level just to populate government performance league tables. We are even testing 5 year olds for pity sake. If the politicians want to do something useful then they should concentrate on finding the resources to help specialists deal with the growing mental health crisis amongst our children.
And above all. Let children enjoy their childhood.
That’s some dinner plate. Newly planted vegetable seeds. What to start with…..
It’s been one of those school at home days. Only one communication from a teacher about lessons today. That was ‘just revise’ for a test which is coming up. The other lessons it was just about trying to see what bits we could find on the online system and then trying to fill in the blanks. Which is quite apt as alongside the homeschooling I was also trying to get work done for the company that bizarrely likes to employ me. Apparently I’m a ‘valuable asset’. I’m sure that has been autocorrected at some stage from the original description.
Apt because today I was scratching my head at WORK and blankly trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. Yes definitely filling in the blanks. I can’t have been doing very well at either tasks as I ended up watching our garden pigeon and his dinner plate.
At least somebody knows what they are doing today….
So each night Hawklad tries to walk a few more yards. To extend is external walk. To slowly start to build bridges again. Last night he bailed out early as he saw people in the distance. But it is progress. It’s a start. At some stage he will be ready to even face people again. But in his own time. Whether that happens before he leaves school, who knows.
I do worry that too many countries are just thinking vaccines. No other permanent changes required. The vaccine will beat the pandemic and return us to that wonderful former world….
But surely with a mutating virus which is still spreading and still so endemic, all a vaccine does is buy us time. It gives us a chance to make changes. To find ways to live safely. To get support out to the people who need it. To increasingly try to make it harder for the virus to spread and thus mutate.
But here’s the thing. The vaccine doesn’t really help with the growing tide of mental health issues facing our society. Speaking with the team trying to support Hawklad. They are being swamped by rising child mental health problems (and the identified problems are just scratching the surface of the real volume of problems out there). Plus was the old world that perfect. Even before a pandemic there was a mental health crisis.
Society and Governments need to quickly wake up to this. There are somethings a vaccine can’t fix for them…..
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.
In the UK the approach is that parents have to fight tooth and nail for any kind of support. The fortunate ones who get some support find out all too frequently that support starts to be withdrawn around the teenage years. Adult autism support is basically non existent for the vast majority.
In our little family world Hawklad is struggling. His anxieties are on the rise. He is stressed out. Trips outside of the house and the garden are currently impossible for him. We are fortunate in that we do have access to some psychological support. Sadly from a Team who are stretched to breaking point. But we still have some support. For how long that support continues – who knows. He’s a teenager. This is the only support he gets now as all the other services have already been withdrawn.
How many other of autistic families are facing the same challenges. TOO MANY. How many autistic adults have been let down by society. TOO MANY.
The sun almost shines down on a Monday morning. So the schools are now open again.
A real media blitz is underway telling parents just how safe things are and also reminding them of the fines that can be given out for keeping children off school. The Education Secretary is talking about change. Changes he thinks are necessary. Ways to extend the school day so children learn more. Changes to the school year drastically cutting back on school holidays. Finding ways to get pupils to keep studying during weekends and those reduced holidays. Changes he thinks are long overdue.
Strangely no mention of changes to make schools better places to learn and have fun. No mention of changes to the Government’s dogmatic national curriculum. No mention of investment in home schooling. No mention of changes to the funding cuts the Government has made to child mental health services. No mention of more input from pupils, teachers and parents in shaping a better future. The only change required is clearly to make children work longer.
But what do we expect from a politician who is supposed to be in charge or our schooling system and who makes a point of having a horse whip on the front of his desk. Photo from The Guardian
So all the schools are back this week. With some changes. A bit more of an encouragement to wear masks. All pupils to get a couple of rapid Covid tests per week. A test which gives inaccurate results in potentially 1 out of every 5 tests. But let’s not mention the giant elephant in the rather cramped classroom.
Most children and staff will be returning to classrooms in a country with rapidly emerging virus mutations without mandatory masks, in rooms likely to have really poor ventilation, with pupils definitely and staff probably without the security of a vaccination. And here’s the elephant entering the already cramped room. The PM has been doing repeated photo opportunities in classrooms. In carefully selected modern classrooms containing only a handful of children. Lots of space. But that’s not the reality for most schools. Too many are squeezed into small spaces. Nothing has been done to reduce the high classroom numbers. Not one thing. If Hawklad was returning then it would be to a class size which is between 30 to 32 pupils and 2 members of staff. In a building which is well over 50 years old.
The sun goes down on another school at home day. It was one of those days where it feels like for every step forward we took two giant steps back. Such hard work.the really frustrating thing is that it wasn’t the actual learning which was the issue today. No the frustrations came from repeated system crashes, missing content, confusing instructions, formatting disasters and online tests that will only work with exactly the right spelling and format.
We can make home schooling so much easier for the pupils than this…
So with the frustrations still ringing in my head another school communication arrived. All about the required Covid testing to support the schools reopening next week. Each family will be required to self test families using the rapid result kits TWICE a week. On top of that all pupils will be tested with the same kits once a week in school.
My one question is that if our schools are completely safe and not hubs for virus transfer (according to our PM) – why is this level of testing required…..
The school letter also apologised to parents for the confusing over masks in the classroom. A few days ago the PM told schools that masks had to be worn in the classroom. Our school wrote to parents to inform them of the new rule. Unfortunately the rule has now changed again. The PM has now said they are only recommended and school can’t enforce them.
Trying to figure out why the dishwasher had stopped cleaning,
Putting a new belt onto the hoover,
Removing a pet related stain from the sofa.
Changing the bedding,
Ordering ingredients for next weeks school at home cooking project,
Trying to measure Hawklad for new clothes,
Trying to make an omelette which is approaching edible.
At work multitasking was so valued. Multitasking usually in areas you might be good at or at least competent. Maybe backed up with some training and clear process guides. At home, my home, it feels very different. Yes it’s multitasking but never in areas I’m good at. Often feeling like I’m not even vaguely competent. Constantly having to refer to incomprehensible instructions, Google searching for help videos or just looking blank as I kinda just wing it.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have things I’m good at. I’m ace at saving Football penalties. I can smash into Rugby tackles. I can bowl a mean leg break. I can climb rock faces. I’m an expert on Godzilla and the X-Files. I can recite almost word for word every Fawlty Towers and Captain Scarlett episode. I rock cycle shorts (ok I made that one up). I can balance unfeasibly large numbers of coins on my elbow and then catch them one handed. AND I’m one of the worlds great air guitarists.
These are all great talents but strangely have not yet been required in my single parenting career. I wonder why? 🤣😂 But I live in hope. One day one of those skills might just be required. Then I will have found my parenting sweet spot. A task I can excel in. No need for instructions or help. No vacant look or red mist descending. That reassuring feeling of ‘I’ve got this’. How good will that feel….
Wow how tired did I feel this morning. Definitely the Yorkshire Zombie. I just couldn’t wake up which is just perfect on the first school at home day for over week. I could just about manage walking into walls, nothing else. In a desperate attempt to wake up before I might be needed to check Pythagorean calculations I crawled outside. The fresh cold air and a coffee would spoon the business. It was only after a couple of minutes that I realised that the mug with the steaming hot coffee was still in the kitchen. I had brought out the jar of instant coffee……
Clearly under 3 hours sleep is not enough. The frustrating thing is that my mind is whirling too fast at night and virtually not at all in the morning. If only that was the other way round. As hard a I try sleep is will only come to me around 4am. Sadly on a school day the alarm goes at 630am.