Hermione

On the other side of this Bush is a stunning view yet it’s blocked by plant beauty.

Our Son loves history. You often see him watching very in-depth documentaries about a vast range of historical subjects

  • Romans
  • Viking
  • Pharaohs
  • Greeks
  • Persians
  • Incas
  • American Presidents
  • British Kings and Queens
  • Battles and Wars
  • and on and on

Unfortunately he doesn’t get the chance to extend this knowledge at school (yet).

It’s probably due to being put in the bottom set due to his dyslexia but the teaching is at such a low level. Son says he will keep watching historical videos as it’s the only way he learns anything new. He smiles when he calls himself the Hermione Granger of the History class. If the teacher asks a question he is always the first hand up but is never selected to answer.

I think one incident really sums up the problem.

In a test the class were asked to name facts about King John. Our Son then provided an in-depth answer which talked about

  • When King Richard the Lionheart was captured on the third crusade John (his brother) negotiated with the captors to keep him imprisoned
  • He lost most of his fathers empire
  • After he was forced to retreat from France he alienated himself from the many of the barons and a rebellion started
  • Eventually the two factions started negotiating after months of conflict. The end result was the Magna Carta which limited the power of the crown.
  • He then got the Pope to declare the Magna Carta invalid sparking more civil conflict which spilled into the reign of the next king – his son Henry III
  • He may well have killed his nephew (Arthur of Brittany) a potential rival
  • John was excommunicated when he refused to let the Pope have a say in the selection of a new Archbishop of Canterbury
  • He probably died of dysentery

That is my son speaking not me. My knowledge of John ends with the Magna Carta being signed under his rule and the stuff in Ivanhoe.

His teacher spoke to our son and basically told him that he provided too much information. That he was in Year 7 and he shouldn’t know this stuff until Year 10. That’s a way of inspiring his love of the subject. To be fair to the teacher her approach to learning is what the government wants. Sadly the government understands as much about education (and actually most other areas) as does that Bush in the photograph.

Kinda sad

It’s been one of those days. Slightly sad that those lovely Swiss Sunday Mornings are gone. Don’t get me wrong I am eternally thankful to have had those opportunities in the past.

Normally I try to keep the school holidays free to focus solely on our son. It’s the least I can do given what he’s been through.

But this Easter I need to get some cash in so I am going to have to work a bit. One day might be a 10 hour day. I don’t have any cover for our son so he is going to have to come with me. Yes he will still get time with me but it’s going to be so boring for him. It’s such a waste of his holidays. This makes me so sad and so frustrated. He deserves better than this. Will have to find a way of making this up to him.

Decibels

Currently the mad dog is being completely bonkers. It’s a kinda let’s bark at everything type of day. Currently the apple tree is getting it. But as the decibels rise my mind wanders to that quiet little pup. What happened…..

Son is not impressed. If you look closely at the photo you will notice that the duvet cover is Peppa Pig themed. It’s a perfectly good cover so is still used today when his Jurassic Park one is being washed. Son doesn’t really see the practical benefits.

You do know Peppa Pig is for little kids. It’s not as if I’m watching it. I know you do when you get the chance, but not me. I was watching about the Black Death last night..”

I do have to admit that a quick bit of Peppa Pig, or the Clangers or In The Night Garden is strangely therapeutic. And yes I can’t remember the Peppa Pig episode which featured the Black Death.

All my parenting waffles are subject to a major caveat. As statisticians would say – it’s based on a very limited sample size. Like one child. One child on the autistic spectrum with dyslexia. So when I see something I can’t be sure if that is just particular to our son or is a common thing. The only other benchmark I can use is my childhood. That seems a long time ago…..

Son has a lot of areas where he is more developed and refined than his Dad. Seemingly way beyond his years. But also in a number of areas he probably still reverts back to the Peppa Pig years. Cuddly toys. Not wanting to leave the safety of the family nest. Mr Men stories. Petting Zoos. Toy cars….

Maybe it’s a fear of growing up.

But I can relate to this. Not wanting to completely forget your early childhood days. Now where is that Peppa Pig dvd….

Speaking about not forgetting things.

It’s the Great Bloggers Bake-Off this Sunday. It’s all about having a bit of fun. Pop over to Mel’s blog – Crushed Caramel (Learner at Love). She has done so much work to set this up.

Our special judge is A Jeanne in the Kitchen.

Let’s go Sunday Spongecake mad.

Please send photos of your creation(s) to crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Tenacity

This was the Yorkshire summer last week. It’s now over for the year. We are now in Autumn.

Son told a story from school today.

A couple of weeks ago one of the kids in his class got an exclusion. Repeat rule breaker. Before the exclusion he racked up 110 negatives. So he was shown the big red card. Banned from school for 5 days. It was really convenient for the kid as it came immediately before the half term holiday. So he got two weeks off.

On his return the teacher confirmed that he now had a clean record and all his previous negatives had been wiped from the record. He then asked if that meant that his newly created clean record entitled him for the end of year clean record reward. Kids with clean records are entitled to go an a trip to the local amusement park. After checking it was confirmed that as long as he didn’t pick up another negative then yes he was eligible. He punched the air and shouted “get in”. Unfortunately the teacher took offence to this and gave him a negative.

After the class the kid apparently told the group that he now had 4 months to pick up another 109 negatives so he could get another isolation and have his record wiped again.

It’s a kinda tenacity. But you really couldn’t make it up….

Multitasking

Some can multitask some cannot. I am certainly in the latter camp. A few examples from yesterday to evidence the point

  • Attempt to make breakfast and prepare a pack up for lunch. Ended up pouring fruit juice on the cornflakes and using cold water in the coffee,
  • Driving to Doncaster and son asked my opinion on King James II. Two minutes later I had demonstrated a complete lack of historical expertise AND I also realised that I had missed our motorway junction,
  • I tried to pay the zoo entrance fee while holding a bottle of water and a cup of coffee. Although I did manage to purchase two tickets I also managed to drop the water and spill the coffee down my leg,
  • Trying at the same time to make soup, grill some vegetables and cut some carrots. Unbelievably I managed to not turn the cooker on the stove so the soup didn’t heat up, burn the vegetables and almost slice my finger off,
  • Tried to send a relative a birthday card while trying to make a telephone complaint to our broadband supplier. After posting the envelope I discovered the card still sat on the desk.

So I can’t multitask however our son…..

During the evening I found him sat with both iPads on his lap, while at the same time the TV was on. When I asked why the response was

“Somedays just don’t have enough hours to do all the stuff. Had three things I still really needed to do so I am watching a video about William Shakespeare on your iPad and a video about caring for gerbils on my iPad. Plus I am listening to a documentary about the Dinosaur mass extinction on the TV.”

Clearly from our later discussions he managed to absorb an unbelievable amount of detail from all three information streams. I could only dream of that.

Having said that if someone is so good at that how difficult can it be to put his dirty clothes in the washing basket…….

Fight Club

When you set your children off on their educational journey you have dreams of an idealistic life of happiness, development and fulfilment. Then you wake up…

On todays episode of Fight Club.

An argument broke out on the morning school bus. Several kids got involved in a heated exchange. Resulted in one of the protagonists being hit over the head with a bottle. Thankfully a plastic one.

In the first lesson a boy accidentally bumps into another boy. Quickly a pushing and finger pointing encounter develops. This is broken up by the teacher and negatives are issued.

In the next lesson boy X makes a not very nice comment about boy Y. This escalated into a missile exchange. Pens, rulers, calculators and books are launched. Again the teacher breaks this up and more negatives are issued.

In the final lesson of the day boy Y makes a comment about boy X. Suddenly a chair is hurled and a full fist fight breaks out with a few other kids getting involved. Teacher issues negatives and a couple of isolations.

On the afternoon school bus one boy accused another one of being unpopular and without friends. Quickly punches were exchanged. Several other kids got involved. Ended up with one boy in tears with a bloody nose.

Thankfully our son was just an observer in all these incidents. He did get hit by a stray projectile but it wasn’t intended for him and absolutely no pain inflicted. Not really sure how he views these incidents through his Aspergers filters. I suppose it teaches him about life. It might encourage him to start a martial arts club – these can really help with confidence and coordination. It highlights the issues many kids face when they are assigned to the bottom set. It’s certainly makes homeschooling look more attractive.

Back to school

Warning this post contains bad language and monumentally pompous stupidity.

In 2018 the Switzerland Glaciers lost 2.5% of their volume. It’s expected that they will have disappeared by 2090 – at the latest.

On Friday thousands of pupils walked out of UK School’s to protest about our Governments inaction on climate change. Good to see the positive response it got from our Leaders.

“It is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for,” a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said. “That time is crucial for young people, precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates we need to help tackle this problem.”

Our countries so called Education Secretary “let me be clear, missing class won’t do a thing to help the environment; all they will do is create extra work for teachers.”

The Conservative Leader of the House of Commons “It’s called truancy, not a strike“.

Well if you got your head out of your arses and took meaningful action then the kids wouldn’t need to walk out. If you didn’t pander to the fossil fuel companies, actively promote the disastrous fracking industry and cut renewable energy investment…. then you might be taken seriously. What trust do you expect the next generation to have in you when they see the monumental f*****g screwup you are making of Brexit. The entire political system has abjectly failed its primary roles of protecting the world and securing the futures of the upcoming generations.

This has to stop. The kids get it. Unfortunately our dim witted, self serving leaders don’t. It’s time for the next generation to take over and time for our politicians to go back to school. Maybe then they would see what a gigantic mess they have made of the education system as well.

No more than four words

We tried a new game a few hours ago. We had no more than 4 words to describe someone. It initially started as purely a wrestling game but spread out into the wider world. It sounds easy but I found it extremely testing. Just shows how verbose I have become.

Anyway it started off with Wrestling.

AJ Styles – Son (Best Wrestler on Earth), Dad (He has lovely hair)

Becky – Son (The Man) *** that’s on all her T-shirts

Undertaker – Son (A bit creaky now) Dad (Older Than Me)

Edge – Son (Best Entrance Music Ever)

Kane – Son (Still my favourite)

Brock Lesnar – Son (Paid Too Much) Dad (Scary but very boring)

Vince McMahon – Son (Likes Pretty Women) or (Likes Big Sweaty Men)

Then we went outside the Wrestling world

President Trump – Son (Sneaky and not nice) Dad (Plays too much golf)

Stephen Hawkings – Son (Science GOAT) *** GOAT stands for Greatest Of All Time, Dad (Appeared on The Simpson’s)

Einstein – Son (Science Second GOAT)

Homer Simpson – Son (Dad)

Hillary Clinton – Son (How did she lose)

Barack Obama – Son (Very Nice Clever Man) Dad (Can We Have Him)

Bill Clinton – Son (Cheeky and Naughty)

Bono – Son (Dad hates him) Dad (I hate him)

Gordon Ramsey – Son (Never heard of him) Dad (###@### f### off)

Bear Grylls – Son (Too mean to Bugs)

Squidward from Spongebob – Son (Dad)

PewDiePie – Son (YouTube Sensation) Dad (Who ???)

JK Rowling – Son (Made Money from Magic)

Patrick from Spongebob – Son (Dad)

Messi – Son (Footballs GOAT) Dad (Sign for Newcastle Please)

Arnold Schwarzenegger- Son (Terminator) Dad (Get Into the Chopper *** with an Austrian accent)

David Attenborough – Son (Mr Wildlife, Legend)

James Bond – Son (Drinks, Women, Guns) Dad (Sean Connery)

Prime Minister May – Son (Useless and Not Nice) Dad (Worst Ever PM)

Angela Merkel – Son (Proper Leader) Dad (Better than ours)

David Cameron – Son (Useless but almost nice) Dad (Caused this Brexit mess)

David Beckham – Son (Overrated) Dad (Never Liked Him)

Bill Gates – Son (Very Clever Very Rich) Dad (No More Updates Please)

Made up

Today I was thinking about how nice it would be to have some colour in the garden again. I tried to picture some flowers. The flowers I could see in my mind were last years plants. Couldn’t imagine any new flowers.

Our son’s school does ask the kids to do an awful lot of homework. Too much really. One of his assignments was to start putting together his autobiography. Red flag alert. This is a recipe to just reopen old wounds. Son was equally apprehensive. So I contacted school and expressed my concerns. We agreed that rather his own biography he would come up with a fictional one. As his hand is still not fixed I was going to scribe his thoughts.

“Ok I am in my 70s”

“I was born in the South of England”

Good start.

I like music”

“My best friend is called Keith and he also likes music”

“I have another friend called David who I often share clothes with”

Not sure where this is going.

“I joined a band with my friend Keith”

“We played our first concert in 1962”

This sounds a bit like Mick Jagger.

“Well it is Jagger”

No you can’t use him, it’s supposed to be made up.

“Oh, Ok.”

“I am middle aged and I am a lecturer”

This sounds more like it.

“My father is very religious”

“I am an archaeologist”

“I’m scared of snakes and I am also an adventurer”

By any chance does he go looking for the Holy Grail.

“Yes, how did you know?”

Because its Indiana Jones. You can’t use him.

“Why he’s made up”

You just can’t use him, make one up about a child not a famous adventurer.

“Alright can I be an 8 year old boy”

Yes much better

“I am a bit cheeky”

“I live with a large family with many kids. I have a really annoying older brother and uncle”

“I am always getting shouted at”

This will make an excellent biography.

“Every Christmas my family go on holiday but they always forget me, so I am home alone”

Deep sigh…. Fine you win, you can be Kevin….

What works

Anxiety, sadness and fear. Three words which unfortunately are too often near the top of our household vocabulary. Along with fart, burnt food, turn the music UP, where’s the remote, sorry I forgot and Dad you Muppet.So what have we found that actually works for both of us. Here are some of the winners.

5,4,3,2,1

We have found that this technique is really good at taking the edge off panic attacks. It doesn’t work on any underlying problems but buys some time. At the first sign of increased anxiety:

Think of 5 things you can currently see,

Think of 4 things you can currently hear,

Think of 3 things you can currently touch,

Think of 2 things you can currently smell,

Now do 1 large breath.

The Sweetie Jar Oracle

If our son is going through a period viewing the world through unhappy filters we start the Sweetie Jar Oracle. Find a large clear jar and a bag of brightly coloured sweets. Not sure about the rest of the world but in the U.K. smarties, fruit pastilles or Skittles work well. Sort out say the red and yellow sweets. Then identify one of the colours as good and the other as bad. Then over a period of a few days, maybe a week start to fill the jar with the appropriate coloured sweet every time a good or bad thing happens. After a few days hopefully you will see more good sweets than bad sweets. This usually convinces our son that although bad things do happen, good stuff happens more frequently. You can then eat the sweets….

Good Memories Store

We have an old small suitcase which we use to store good memories in. It’s full of old photos and handwritten notes. Every time we remember a good memory I write it down and put in in the suitcase. When times are bad we can then dig out the memory store and hopefully receive an instant boost to the soul. Has the added advantage of making sure you don’t forget those all important wonderful moments in time.

YouTube

Just losing himself in a YouTube documentary works somedays. I remember one occasion when he had an awful day at school but after 45 minutes of YouTube watching he was a happy little bunny. Worryingly he had found solace in documentaries about Caligula. What happened to Peppa Pig…

Wheelbarrow Train of Pain

Talked about this in a previous post. It stops my sudden urge to punch the wall with frustration. Basically load up a wheelbarrow with heavy stuff then push it round the garden. The number of circuits depends on the severity of the frustration.

Lego

Found that building a Lego set really helps take our son’s mind off his anxieties. It’s also good for his fine motor skills. It’s often frustrating for me as it just reminds me that I never got round to buying the Star Wars Death Star Lego set. Now it would be cheaper to buy a real Ghostbusters Proton Pack and get Bill Murray to personally deliver it to us.

Trampoline

Almost everyday on his return from school our son heads for his trampoline. 20 minutes later many of the frustrations of the day are put to the back of his mind.

Late night dog walking

Walking the dog never really helped our son. He was often too concerned about bumping into others. We would be having a happy conversation but suddenly someone would appear on his radar and he would be lost to anxious social thoughts. Almost by chance we then found the delights of night time dog walking. At night no one is about in our village. We have the fields and lanes to ourselves. Now it has become an excellent stress reliever. We frequently use the walks to plan out in detail the next days schedule.

Bad things league table

Every so often we run the bad things league table. We both list all the things worrying us. We then work together to rank them in order of how much pain they are causing us. Points are awarded for the severity of the issue, it’s frequency and how difficult it is to solve. It quickly identifies the stuff we need to focus on or prepare for. Because it’s done as a league table our son finds it easy to talk about and work with. For the issue which is the league winner we then spend a few minutes working out a couple of actions which might help knock it off its top spot for the next league table.

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One of the activists 100% guaranteed to raise our spirits will feature in the next post…