Fingers crossed

Still cold but a heatwave apparently is on the way. A few days at 1C. Then after that it’s either wet and windy or a plunge back into the freezing stuff again. Think I will take the freezing stuff. We get far too much of the wet, gnarly stuff and that’s just in summer.

I’ve just finished the morning exercise. Been trying to drag out the workout for as long as possible. It’s so much better than what is to follow…..

I’m trying to work through a 56 page application form. Having to reapply for a small benefit which we get. Only small but it currently makes such a difference. Especially at a time when work is so thin on the ground. Likely to be thin on the ground for some time. Had hoped it would start to pick up in March but that is looking over optimistic. Maybe the Summer. But on the bright side I still do have a job, many have lost theirs. Work is at such a premium.

It’s ironic to look back before the pandemic. I was trying to find a new job that would better suit the homeschooling role which might be needed down the line. I was looking at so many options. Well that homeschooling gig crashed into effect and not in the way that I had envisaged. Due to the pandemic suddenly all the alternative work options have disappeared. It’s now about hoping that I can keep my current job that at least partly fits the homeschooling role. The current full time homeschooling role which may become permanent.

So at present this benefit form needs completing and it’s taking seemingly for ever. Question after question. Trying to find evidence to justify the answers. The problem is that the government has tightened up the eligibility criteria. It’s requiring more evidence. Adding more steps and hurdles. Up to date clinical opinion is required. How does that fit with waiting more than two years to see a paediatrician. Unable to access services due to cut backs. A pandemic. It doesn’t….

So just got to wade through the form. Submit it and see if the benefit continues in March. Fingers crossed.

Really

Another school deep sigh moment. Time to look at the view for a few moments and breathe.

All parents have different takes on life and schooling. No one right answer. Parents can fundamentally disagree on things like schools. So I am fully aware that what O might say now won’t strike home with many. It’s just me.

These are tough times. So much stress, anxiety and fear. It’s bad enough for adults , what’s it like for our children. It must be a nightmare for them. It’s robbing them of a large chunk of their precious childhood. So I’m my opinion it’s time to cut them some slack. Clearly that view is not shared.

Late last night Hawklad had an email from one of his teachers. Sent to all the class. It was a reminder that the homework that had been set over Christmas was due tomorrow morning. The teacher wanted to remind all the class that the large piece of work had to be done on time. One quote stuck with me. The homework is due regardless of the pandemic lockdown, negatives will be issued.

Ok some parents will be happy with that. This one isn’t. For a start why are we giving out homework over Christmas? Really. It happens every holiday. Can’t we just let children enjoy the time off. Especially at this dystopian time. And then those words regardless of the pandemic lockdown. Really…. For me those 5 words sum up everything which is wrong with the school system.

For me it REALLY needs to change.

Rollercoaster

The next bit of bad weather is blowing in. Yes that lake has sneaked in again…. Admit you will miss it when it’s gone.

The online schooling system is kicking back into life. Will it bring more support for Hawklad? Well if it’s like the last lockdown then it will certainly become a lot more structured. The day will follow the school timetable. The pupils need to sign in at the start of the lesson and work through the online tasks. A teacher ot teaching assistant is online to help and monitor work. Pupils then have until 7pm to complete all tasks and submit them. Failure to do so gets an automatic negative.

So on the bright side the chances of Hawklad being missed are reduced. But then the downsides. Increased timetable pressures. Often it feels more like monitoring than support. Lots of checks of work being submitted on time but often no feedback after that. Oh those pesky interactive video sessions. He hates them. I’m not far behind him on that. It just doesn’t suit him.

On top of that the one teacher who seemed to understand this has now left. Will someone else step up to the plate?

So here goes then. The rollercoaster is back in operation.

Right minds

The sun shines down on a land run by a PM who is a complete and utter …………

So two week ago the so called PM castigated the leader of the opposition (probably one of the few adults left in Parliament) for saying the country needed to go into stricter controls to stop a crisis turning into a disaster. Now two weeks later the hospitals are on the verge of collapse, at least 7000 more people have lost their lives due to covid and a mutated virus is out of control. He complains about a mutated virus from South Africa yet Britain is still one of the few countries not doing any regular covid checks at airports. Most flights check in without even any guidance being available. But tonight the PM decided to kind of act. Actually it’s hard to tell amongst the bluster, lies and false promises. Far too many IFs for my liking. Again we got the ‘we are on the final stretch, it will be great in a couple of months’ line. He’s said that every week since February.

For 6 weeks we are basically allowed out of the house once for exercise, to food shop, to work.

Schools are closed until well into February just 8 hours after he told parents they were completely safe and they had an obligation to send their children into those very schools.

I’m open minded but who in their right minds would vote for this clown.

Lake

The winter farm lake is starting to form. Wow it was wet feet trying to take this photo.

So again today the Government is telling parents that they must send their children to school if it’s open. It’s a mess. Some schools have been closed. Some are opening soon. Some partly closed. Some are opening today. The PM again is saying schools are perfectly safe. He must have evidence that shows children, teachers, teaching staff, parents and carers cannot catch the virus. Wish he would share that so it can all be cleared up. Maybe he could share that with his own scientific advisers as well. The Government is again threatening parents with legal action and fines. The teacher unions are taking the Government to court over its failure to operate safe working environments. It’s such a mess.

So where do we stand? Hawklads year group is kind of homeschooling for the next two weeks then after they have had one covid test they are back in the classroom on the 18th. Well not Hawklad.

His call is that he can’t go back yet. He will look again at the end of the this half term. I’m trying to get another medical exemption letter from his Key Health Worker who is due to come and visit him this week. If they won’t issue one or are not allowed to by the Government then they can see me in court. I’ve seen enough Perry Mason episodes to look after myself. I won’t be the only parent there.

Heres the thing. Put the Aspergers severe anxieties to one side. Each parent and child has to make a judgement call on if attending school is safe. Well clearly safety cannot be guaranteed. More so now than ever with this virus. Children, teachers, parents, grand parents are ending up in hospital with it. The Government might try to hide that information, but it is happening. The virus can infect all age ranges. So it is an individual judgment call. Is the benefits of classroom education and socialisation worth the inevitable risk. That’s not a call for Johnson or his inept Education Minister. They have a track record of lying, not caring and making the wrong disastrous calls.

Each family will have a view. All as valid as each other. Even without the anxieties and present fears, OURS would be no it’s not worth the risk. It won’t until the virus is under control and schools are allowed to put in the necessary safety mechanisms. The first has to be opening up home online schooling. That reduces the numbers in school at any one time, creates space, starts to build a safer more inviting learning environment.

To be or not to be

So finally an announcement on schools. Then follows the inevitable confusion, lies and burying heads in the sand. Best summed up by

  • The independent expert scientific panel urging schools to not open as it is not safe,
  • The governments own expert scientific panel demanding schools to be closed as they are not safe in the current environment,
  • Then our so called PM announces that schools are completely safe, it’s people mixing outside of schools which is the problem.

The upshot appears to be that secondary schools will stay shut for a few more days. Most secondary children are expected to be back by the 18th January. By that time a team of volunteers will then oversea a mass virus testing exercise for all pupils. Some schools will stay closed longer but the government won’t say which ones. Most Primary schools will open on the 4th January as normal.

Ok…. I would not be filled with so much cynicism if any Government announcement wasn’t worked out on the back of a cigarette packet and it wasn’t accompanied by a tirade of lies.

Anyway different people are saying different things. Clearly some of the Government including the PM haven’t read the Government’s own policy. So many questions are being ignored. For example why are the schools for younger children staying open when others are closed? Are those children and teachers somehow mysteriously protected? Why are face masks required in public places but not in the classroom? Any person working with children has to be officially vetted yet that’s been dropped for the Covid testing programme. Is that safe? The covid test that will be used is problematic, doesn’t have the greatest accuracy and is difficult to self administer. So how is that going to work with pupils self administering the test in a large group with unqualified volunteers and teachers who have little medical experience? No mention of Special Schools – what do they do? How are schools going to fund the infrastructure required to set up the covid testing. Why are the Government refusing to promote online education for those that it would suit?

Many more questions but you get the picture. It’s a mess…..

Well that’s going to be fun

As it stands Hawklad is due for his first home counselling visit in months. Sometime next week – maybe….

If the visit happens then it will be very different. We have already been warned that even though the visit is outside or in separate cars then extra precautions have to be introduced. The nurse will have to wear gloves and a full face mask at all times.

A big part of me is tempted to cancel the visit. The site of protective gear is not going to do anything for Hawklads anxieties. It might even make things worse. But here’s the problem. Under the Governments cost cutting agenda, a cancelled visit can lead to the service being removed. So the accepted term is prioritised.

Going to have to think about this.

Who knows

Dog really wants to walk through that. I’m not so keen. Who wins the battle of minds.

I’ve got wet feet….

So the schools are here are due to go back next Monday. The hospitals are full to busting. Infection rates are rising fast.

The Government says the situation is in hand. The scientists and doctors are pleading for more action. They want schools to stay closed and use online education for a few weeks. The Government is resisting the move to that. They might stagger the return over a week with a good portion of pupils back in 7 days. They want to test all pupils with the unreliable, quick results method in the first week. That’s the answer apparently.

So as I’m writing this most parents just don’t know what’s happening next week.

I guess it doesn’t effect our little family that much. Hawklad is not starting back next week anyway. He just can’t. Maybe more online support will be opened up. How knows. We just have to make the best of it. Go with the flow.

It’s all such a huge mess.

No one ever asks

It’s been a little wet over the last few days. The sheep have got themselves a couple of paddling pools. We might give those a miss. I guess no one will be to upset about that.

I have a questionnaire to fill out about school and it’s services. Looking at lots of areas.

Teaching quality, subject material, classroom facilities, school meals, communication, discipline, bullying, uniform, school transport, sports facilities, IT, websites, outside clubs…..

Lots and lots of areas. So many questions.

What’s revealing is not the questions being asked but those which are not asked. Ones which are never asked. Questions about Autism and Aspergers support. Dyslexia support. Learning Disability support.

No one ever asks. It’s not just our school. It’s across the board. No one ever asks. We live in a world driven by performance measures and league tables. Yet no one ever asks….

I wonder why that is.

Worn out

It’s a cold, bleak start to the day. Kind of feels like a black and white photo is the way to go.

I was thinking about how a break would be most welcome. Especially today.

We all need a break every so often. Either a change. Or a time to relax. Or a chance to really let the hair down. A chance to experience new lands. Or just a time to breathe.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I am so fortunate with my life. Far too many have so little and are in such dark place. But today I’m feeling just a little worn out. Tired. Thinking back to my last break back in 2015. A lots happened since then. Some good but some really bad. Since 2016 it’s been single Aspergers parenting, fighting the system for our son and trying to eke out an income to pay the bills. Feels like it’s been non stop. A few concerts with Hawklad and taking him to see the occasional sport event. A few walks and up to this year, trail runs. So yes things to be thankful for. But…

But today I just feel worn out. In need of a break. Even just a night away from the house. A different bed. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve done that. But deep down I know that’s not happening any time soon. Asperger parenting is something that you can just can’t drop. Certainly not for a few more years. Maybe longer. So it’s about finding other ways to feel less worn out. Exploiting the options that are open to me and also being thankful for what I have. There are such beautiful things in my life.

We can do this.