Summer

Cold, cold, cold but sunny.

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.

Grim

Just let this research finding sink in (press on the link for the details)

Autistic people are four times as likely to experience depression over the course of their lives as their neurotypical peers

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 The fortunate ones who get some support find out all too frequently that support starts to be withdrawn around the teenage years.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 This is the only support he gets now as all the other services have already been withdrawn.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.

This is grim.

Whip

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

Back this week!

So much space…..

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.

Please tell me how this is a good idea.

Frustrating

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.

More frustrations……

Sweet Spot

The lake is going, going, gone….

It’s been a busy old day. Much multitasking.

  • Cleaning out the cat tray,
  • Darning holes in jeans,
  • Trying to reassure,
  • Baking bread and some small buns,
  • Cleaning the toilet and bathroom floor,
  • Explaining probability to Hawklad,
  • Hair cutting,
  • 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….

Zombie

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.

That is a recipe for Parenting Zombies.

Back

Everyday our little lake shrinks just a little bit more.

It’s Sunday. The last day of the Half Term break. Tomorrow the next leg of the school at home project commences again. Does it sound bad that I’m not looking forward to it.🤓🤬😱🤯

The delights of Zoom meetings and lessons. The word Zoom has replaced Cauliflower has the one that makes my stomach churn the most. The mandate to use Microsoft Teams then trying to work out which teachers are not using it this week. The soul shattering tiredness which ensues from the daily 630am alarm call. Trying to get my head round chemical reactions, tectonic plate theory and trigonometry. Trying to help with French while being unable to stop helping in German. Trying to explain coding to so dine with dyslexia when I don’t see the point. Not being able to find the right coloured pens and stationery. Failing to get Hawklads homework to submit by the deadlines. Emailing teachers to remind them that Hawklad is still here and still a member of the class. At home but not having the time for housework. Constantly fighting the urge to drown in a swimming pool of extra strength coffee and gorge on every cookie within a 10 mile radius.

Yep not looking forward to that starting again.

But it will be done, I just might go a bit grouchy….

Shrinkage

The snow has gone. The temporary lake is starting to shrink. Signs that Spring is on its way.

Another work call confirming that the work plans involving me are as empty as the tyres on my bike which hasn’t been used since 2019. Thats completely airless. Not going to loose any sleep over that. No point. Maybe next year. A quick scan of the new job situation indicates a job market that is as fiat as my last loaf of bread which actually reduced in size when it should have risen. It really is just a case of battening down the hatches until things pick up again.

In our case that is not a band thing.

Hawklads fears are still there. If anything a bit worse. Absolutely zero chance of him being able to cope in the outside world any time soon. Getting through the front door is too much at present for him. Even me venturing out into the front garden really spooked him. So that’s stopped. The Front Door has not been unlocked in days. Once a day I sneak out the back gate and feed the birds, check on the rust bucket car, put the rubbish into the bin and pick up any deliveries that are sat on the front step.

Our world has shrunk further. The house and the back garden now is all that’s left. So no work allows me the time to focus on Hawklad. Try to give him the support he needs. Try to give him a reasonable quality of life and as much fun as can be found.

Hopefully Spring will arrive and the garden will become more enticing. It will be nice to sit outside with a coffee without 25 layers on. But I will miss our lake…. miss the world.

Forgetful

Do you get those moments when you realise that you have clearly lost the plot. I’ve been telling Hawklad that the school half term week off is the last week of February. It always is….

I couldn’t work out last why a few of the teachers kept talking about end of module lessons, need to get things finished this week, we start something new in a couple of weeks…. Still the obvious didn’t sink in. Not until one teacher set an ‘end of half term test’.

Ok the week off is this week. This is completely down to me. School emailed parents after Christmas with the correct dates. The school calendar is clear. Basically the muppet gauge is registering ‘off the scale’ currently with me. That might explain why I put my coffee cup into the tumble dryer with the towels. That might explain why I filled my bath with cold water. That might explain why I lost my mobile so I tried phoning it on the land line – kept getting the engaged sound and didn’t work out that I was repeatedly phoning the landline. Might explain why I couldn’t find the toothpaste and strangely found that it was in my hand all the time. Might explain why I put Deep Heat on a hand cut rather than Sudacrem.

Everyday I move further away from George Clooney and ever closer to Homer Simpson. That’s both in looks and thought.

Wish I could forget that bit.