Mothballed

This is a mothballed Coal Power Station that is right on the furthest horizon we can see. We can only see that far as we are on top of a hill. It takes an effort to find it from here. Can only see it from one extreme corner of the garden. This is also at my poor old camera’s maximum zoom. I guess it’s a reminder of a rapidly receding age and will be getting demolished soon.

Last school week and it’s trying to end the year on a most vexing high….

Let’s see how many assessments we can squeeze into 5 days. The answer ….. TOO MANY.

I had spoken to school and told them that son was still not 100% following his hospital visit but would give the last school week ago. However he wasn’t firing on all cylinders. School assured me that they would go easy on him. ASSESSMENTS are clearly easy on him. That’s so how I remember school tests in my day. Then we come to English. He completed the online lesson and submitted a rather fine gothic story. I was impressed with the storytelling and especially the writing. It was grammatically very good. Whisper it, spelling was almost perfect. That is some progress for him. So I was a little surprised to receive an email from school at 11.30pm to inform me that his work in the lesson had been below standard and incomplete. Really. The teacher has not responded to my query as the email failed to provide any details. Well that’s helpful. Having reviewed the lesson material several times I can only assume that he failed to respond to one rather vague question. A hard to spot question requiring a one sentence answer. Son had actually answered it but forgot to upload a photo of the one line answer. Unsurprisingly not a mention of the story he had submitted. If I wasn’t already convinced about the failures of mainstream education then this has finally clinched the deal. Well stuff school. I’ve assessed his work as brilliant and he will be getting a reward for it.

Maybe it’s time to mothball our countries factory farming educational approach…

Differences

Wild Strawberries growing under the blueberry bush. Certainly wasn’t expecting these to grow here but with an open mind, this is such a result.

The decision to abandon mainstream schooling is in our son’s hands. It’s his life. His risks. His anxieties. His dreams. His future. So ultimately he decides. If it was my call then I’ve made my mind up. It would be homeschooling from September. That viewpoint has hardened with the last two communications from school.

The first was a summary of the schools position. Basically son is low attainment and has significant educational needs. Progress will be difficult. His educational needs are best met in the bottom set. With effort he may still be able to get a few qualifications. He is best following the normal teaching programme with no specific interventions (which would eat into tight school budgets).

Ok….

Then the next communication was his school report for the year. It painted a slightly different picture. To quote a few phrases from his individual teachers

  • Strength for creative writing,
  • Worked hard to produce some fantastic work,
  • Excellent attitude,
  • Will progress very well in subject,
  • His remote learning has been great,
  • He is a star,
  • Class work of the highest standard,
  • Superb young historian,
  • Considerable talent in the subject,
  • Very good understanding of the subject,
  • Pleasure to teach.

Ok….

Two conclusions here. One is that the report comments are standard across all the kids and so they mean nothing. Just a way to keep parents happy.

OR

The report comments are the reality and something is seriously wrong with schools overall assessment.

I strongly suspect this is a common pattern across the country. It mirrors current government thinking. If thinking is the right word to use. Basically kids with educational needs do not fit neatly into the factory production line educational approach. Minimise input costs to generate a set and limited output. Discard those items which fall out of the narrow design specification. Educational needs equate to additional teaching costs which will not be funded. Thus the best approach is to dump kids with Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, disabilities and mental health issues into the bottom set. Conveniently forget about them. If these kids then get the odd qualification out of the system then the authorities can pat themselves on the back after a job well done. Let’s not forget the important thing, all this delivered all so cost effectively.

Maybe I am being cynical but that’s the reason I am definitely falling into the homeschooling camp.

Wembley

The Yorkshire version of Wembley Stadium. Can you spot the pet trying to once again sneak into the photo.

Even comes with a discerning crowd.

If Aspergers Parenting was a football game, well today feels like we have had a key player sent off….

I always naively assumed that if and when son got an official diagnosis then a support package would be out in place to help with his life chances. How silly of me. I didn’t count on year after year, having to fight the system. Trying to prize just the hints of support from a system which has been hammered into the ground by a Government which only looks after itself and it’s friends. To summarise

  • A school system repeatedly fails kids who do not fit into the factory production line which is the UK school system. Two options, either fight for a place in one of the few special schools or accept your child being bracketed as ‘low attainment’ and consigned to the bottom set. The school will then forget about the child and then pat itself on the back if the child gets just one certificate.
  • Letter after letter, call after call trying to find a clinician who is prepared to look at your child’s case.
  • Passed from specialist to specialist who don’t have the time or resources to add your child onto their case load.
  • Service after service cut by a Government which believes that only the rich should be able to buy access to essential healthcare. A Government that sees Mental Health as no more than an excuse to avoid work. Let’s not forget they described a child taking time off from school after a bereavement as an extended holiday.
  • When you do finally get access to a service you then join the growing waiting list. Finally when your child is seen it’s virtually always by someone new, with no understanding of the back story.
  • Finally your child starts to get older and the few services he has had access to are withdrawn as he is now above the age threshold. You see the Government likes to think that after 13, services are pointless and far too expensive. Adults have to sort themselves out.

We have had three brilliant exceptions to this.

  • A Clinical Psychologist who worked with out son consistently for three years. She even delayed her retirement to ensure son’s diagnosis was officially approved.
  • An Occupational Therapy service that worked with him every few months to help with things like coordination. A service which was cut when he reached 13.
  • A wonderful Nurse Counsellor who worked with our son for 3 years helping with his anxieties and joining the fight for additional help.

We entered June 2020 with just the Nurse Counsellor left from his entire care package. And now the player is sent off.

The Nurse phoned today to let us know that she had been reassigned. She is great and some other kids are really going to really benefit from her time. We are eternally grateful for everything she has done. She is going to desperately try to find another clinician to take over from her. I know she will really try. We may get a replacement. The Nurse was the only clinician he really has connected with. Those connections are rare for him. Making a new connection is going to be tough and most certainly not guaranteed. As the Nurse said it feels like we have lost the progress made over the last few years.

Today feels like one of those tough parenting days. As a friend wrote recently we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and start again. We most certainly do. But it feels like it’s a much depleted team taking on the struggle. Forgive me I’ve not used a Lord of the Rings metaphor for a while. It feels like the heavens have opened. The hordes are massed outside the walls and I’m stood alone on the Battlements of Helms Deep. Just me protecting our son now. Doesn’t feel like Gandalf is riding over the horizon in the morning. I’m going to have to just find a way of doing this myself.

I’m off now to kick the ball into the net a few times. Maybe with a bit more force than usual. Then the fight starts again.

Break

A little bit of a break between the rain clouds. Apparently the sun has been replaced by the moon.

I was looking at the view and getting some much needed fresh air when a thought crossed my mind. A strange thought began to rattle around in my brain. I love astronomy. As a kid I so wanted to be an astronomer. As most kids wanted to be the new Pele or Bobby Moore, I wanted to be just like the TV astronomer, Patrick Moore. Alas that dream never happened. I never got that job as a stargazer. But the love never stopped. I can still here the words of Carl Sagan inspiring me to get my dads old binoculars out and look to the heavens. Over the years the dream changed to just have my own small observatory with a biggish telescope. I did buy a scope eventually, but it was small and second hand. Not much more than a toy one, but it’s better than nothing. It will tide me over until one day……

Anyway back to my strange thought. I had never tried to look at the moon in detail during the day. So I ran inside to find my little telescope. Yes it’s still going mainly thanks to generous amounts of glue and heaps of gaffer tape. Gently I carried it outside to find the sky was completely cloud covered and it was raining. Oh Pants.

Maybe another day. Maybe tomorrow. You never know what this crazy world will throw up. That is so true of school….

There is a subject that whatever Son has tried to do, he can never seem to get any credit. This year he must be about the only pupil in the class without a house point in that subject. It’s slowly ground him down to the point that he hates the subject. Can’t wait to drop it. Putting aside the decision about homeschooling for a few weeks, he was asked by school which two subjects he would be dropping for next year. With the speed of Usain Bolt, this subject was almost instantaneously dropped. Then a very strange thing happened. Within hours an email from school was received. His dreaded subject had awarded him two house points, a really positive comment about his last test and a really high work assessment. Couldn’t make it up could you.

It’s a crazy world. Now I’m going to get back to dreaming about having an infeasibly big telescope in our small garden.

Speaking

I have always hated speaking. It’s fine if I am amongst friends and people I trust. But put me in front of strangers then it becomes a completely different ballgame. I have to find ways to get through it. Ways to avoid tripping over words. Trying to stop the stammering returning. Public speaking becomes a mechanical task which needs a process. I significantly cut down my vocabulary range. I never use a planned written speech (I just can’t find any rhythm when I’m speaking from prepared text – I even struggle to read a book aloud). I plan and memorise the first two lines that I will say. I work out exactly how I am going to greet someone. I never make direct eye contact, rather I tend to look at eyebrows or foreheads. Even then it’s a bit of a lottery. I’ve delivered a perfect conference speech to 500 yet completely collapsed in front of just 2 people. I guess the secret is to try forget about the inevitable mistakes or just smile at them.

I remember speaking to the medic who mentioned the word Aspergers first in connection with our Son. She was an autism expert – one of only two we have ever met, which is kinda scary. Anyway I remember her saying something like

I suspected that he was on the spectrum almost immediately. It was the way he walked into the room. They way he struggled to sit and make eye contact. He confirmed my diagnosis as soon as I heard him SPEAK.

Son was very like me in that he started to talk pretty late as a toddler. As soon as he did start talking then his vocabulary rapidly expanded. At nursery he was absolutely flying with his speech. But then at about the age of 5 he started to struggle with a number of factors

  • His speech suddenly become extremely monotone,
  • He would either speak far too quietly or far too loudly,
  • He struggled to pronounce many sounds correctly,
  • He would always get the use of plurals wrong,
  • He was definitely using language which was well beyond his age.

The final one was not a problem but it did lead to some amusing incidents. In his first year at school the class was about to start a series of lessons trying to teach the kids about animals eventually after a number of weeks leading to touching on evolution. Within a couple of minutes of the first lesson our boy put his hand up and then proceeded to explain evolutionary theory to the class. The lovely teacher said she had to later go and look up some of the terminology he had used.

But as the months went on his speech issues became more pronounced. Eventually his Aspergers Expert managed to arrange speech therapy for him. Slowly the therapy started to work. Certainly his pronunciation and his control of his voice levels improved. Unfortunately after 6 months the speech service was cut by the Government to save money. It’s never restarted. The therapist gave us a number of exercises to practice but did leave us with a message

Constant practice will help manage any speech issue but they won’t solve them in your son’s case. They will be underlying for the rest of his life. They may become more pronounced as he gets older. He needs to develop his own way of coping with that.

That’s where we are today. He still can’t get his head around plurals. He is still struggling to pronounce certain sounds. No help is available for him. But rather than trying to cope with the issues, it’s more about him developing his own unique communication style. One which suits his personality. That approach I’m pleased to say is working. The other key thing is to stress that we all struggle with speaking at some stage. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s who we are. It what makes us unique.

Son always likes to hear one of my most embarrassing speech incidents. I have a niece who when she was very young would not say big or large, rather she would have to say really really REALLY big. That was pronounced wheelie wheelie WHEELIE big. Anyway many years ago I was delivering the organisation’s annual report to The Council. Representative of the Government was there as was the local press. Talking about the financial position I meant to say

In terms of of our Operational Budget and our Tax Revenues we have a significant underspend.

Unfortunately that was delivered by this prize muppet as

In terms of of our Operational Budget and our Tax Revenues we have a wheelie wheelie wheelie WHEELIE big underspend.

Not sure that key message was delivered with quite the gravitas I was hoping for. Still at least we can laugh about that now….

Look what’s cropped up

Some call it a weed. Some call it a flower. I’m definitely in the flower camp. It’s amazing where these things crop up in the garden every year.

Now we have had several weeks of schools version of homeschooling, I guess it’s time to look at the parent side of the process. What have I learnt during these weeks. The first thing to say is that it’s NOT been impossible. That was my fear when I always thought about homeschooling. I’m going to mess this up. I just won’t be able to cope. Well I’m still here. Son is still here. No huge disasters. Son doesn’t hate me. School haven’t demanded my sacking as a parent. So yes I kinda must have coped with this homeschooling lark.

Another thing I’ve learned is this IS NOT TRUE HOMESCHOOLING. This is schools version of teaching when the classrooms are locked up. Some lessons might come close to true homeschooling but others are just the same classroom lessons delivered in your living room. The Government and the Schools set the agenda, decide on what areas are covered and how they are delivered. The children and parents largely do what they are told. The point about true homeschooling is the freedom that it offers. You can tailor the education to suit the child. This version of homeschooling feels more like forcing the child to fit the needs of the system.

So what have I learned as a kinda homeschooling parent then

  • I know diddly squat about Art, Music, Religious Education and Drama.
  • I can look like the worlds most intelligent parent when I hide my iPhone in my shirt pocket and find a way of discreetly typing in questions to google.
  • Homeschooling is far more tiring for the parent than the child.
  • My spelling is worse than my dyslexic son.
  • For homeschooling to work really well you have to engage the child. Focus on the things that make him or her tick. What seems to work for me probably doesn’t work for our son.
  • I need my own school stationary cupboard. The amount of time I waste hunting in draws for things like pens, paper, paints and art materials.
  • Science hasn’t half changed since I got my A-Levels in Physics and Chemistry. Was Quantum even a word back then?
  • I might have a master degree in computing but that counts for nothing when you are trying to get the iPad to talk to the school computer.
  • Things like housework and working for money are really not going to happen during the homeschool day. For the parent homeschooling is as time consuming as it is for the child.
  • I’m so lucky just having one child to homeschool.
  • Me trying to explain French pronunciation is a complete waste of time. Maybe investing in something like Rosetta Stone is the way forward. But that’s a key point. Some of the homeschooling will be beyond me. I will need to invest in online support, book tuition time and additional help so as to make this work.
  • Getting son to just read a textbook is not the best approach. If homeschooling is going to truly work it will mean doing things like taking son out to historical sites and geographic locations. The parent needs to fully commit to this.
  • As the home school day has to replicate the normal school timetable I have learnt to be fairly strict on the time Son spends on each lesson. Trying to avoid overruns. Once these start they just accumulate and that just drags the day out for Son and ME.
  • Homeschooling increases the urge for things like strong coffee and biscuits.
  • I don’t care how many weeks I do this – I still can’t remember the school timetable.
  • Broadband failure just as work is being submitted is seriously stressful.
  • I’m very good (as are the PE teachers) at reminding the kids to warm up before the do exercise. I of course forget to warm myself up. Although I like to think of myself as fairly fit, I also tend to forget that I am basically an old fart…. So without warming up and then trying to do something like a forward role is basically asking for trouble.
  • How much paper does schooling use ….. far too much.
  • Homeschooling is tiring. But it doesn’t help with nighttime sleep. Too many school things to think about.
  • If I pick up the courage I can make things like homemade play-doh without the need to panic buy off Amazon.
  • As the homeschooling week unfolds my dress sense deteriorates. By Friday I look like a badly chewed dog rag doll. Don’t even start me on my hair.
  • Just go with the flow. If Son wants to learn outside, or walking about or stood on his head or whatever … work with that. I need to keep telling myself that what works for me will probably not work for him.
  • Over the years I’ve often had sleepless nights wondering what mystical substance has the chemical formula C12H22O11. Now I realise it’s Sucrose.
  • I’ve also found out how difficult it is to try and type chemical formula properly. Surely in 2020 we must have found easier ways of typing numbers which are littler than letters. AND Don’t start me on trying to do French and typing things like acute accents and circumflex’s. The process extends writing an answer from seconds into months. On these I have been no help to our Son.

So basically I have survived this form of homeschooling so far. Yes it’s not always easy. Yes I’ve resorted to pulling my hair out in some lessons. Occasionally I have sworn. It’s demonstrated that homeschooling and work don’t really go together. But actually I have also smiled quite a bit. Sometimes even had fun. That’s just for schools version of this. How good could we make proper homeschooling.

Week whatever of school at home

Ive been thinking about what I will do if my job doesn’t survive the shutdown. The longer this goes on then the little company I work for will struggle. What’s hurting it is not the lockdown but it’s the lack of a national plan. What’s going to happen whenever things are safe to reopen. Currently the Government is clueless. Lots of words but a complete lack of willingness to think things through. Wearing a little NHS badge, slagging off the money footballers make and a smug smile DOES NOT COUNT AS EFFECTIVE PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT. So like many people we just don’t know if it’s May, August, November or 2021 when the company might start operating again. We don’t know what the regulations will be when we open. We don’t know what changes we will need to make. My head is telling me that I will stay furloughed until the end of June and then the reality will hit the company and it will have to fold.

So if our company is killed off by Government incompetence (not the virus) then what do I do next. Because of our Son it will need to be a largely home based, part time role. So what can I do? Well how about this as a niche market. The first Yorkshire home based wildlife photographer with a hint of Muppetry. I won’t be using any expensive photographic kit, just my very old iPhone. I can see a hit TV series to rival the excitement of Bear Grylls. Today’s action shot is an out of focus bird. That’s enough bird excitement for one day now. So it’s time to get back to homeschooling.

It’s week whatever of the enforced school at home project. Apparently it’s Friday. Only know as the school timetable is telling us that it’s Day 5. It’s been another mixed bag. Some subjects working well and some not so well. Some teachers are really embracing new ways of delivering the subject. One request – can we provide health warnings for parents trying to do some of the PE exercises – our bodies don’t naturally bend like those of our kids. A number of teachers are finding ways to build confidence and reward effort. Others sadly are still focusing less on the positive and more on wielding a giant stick. Consequently a clear pattern is developing on which subjects Son enjoys and which fill him with dread.

I have noticed a couple of clear strands underpinning our particular schooled at home process.

  • Where he does his work makes a huge impact on its outcome. Some subjects like History he actually thinks better by pacing about the house. He finds reading easier when he’s lying on the sofa rather than sitting up. Science works better for him when he’s outside in the garden, while Maths works best when he’s sat in the Lounge. Setting, room layout, wall patterns, temperature, space, background noise can have such a huge impact on concentration and mental wellbeing. It’s about what works best for each child and each subject.
  • He is benefiting from asking more questions. He feels constrained in school. Teachers have such big classes that they struggle to field the questions from the class. At home he can freely ask his Dad or look it up on the internet. In the classroom he is reluctant to ask any question which relates to not being able to read. At home he will ask for help.

These points are all pushing the virtues homeschooling offers in terms of flexibility and security. Virtues which have been sadly lacking in the current UK school system. As a household we need to find a sustainable way of maintaining those virtues. Sadly I suspect that can never be within the confines of our current school classroom setup.

Stay safe and happy my friends.

Return or not

WARNING: This is a covid related post… it may contain grotesque examples of confusion.

This friendly bird is a frequent visitor who keeps returning for a daily meal. A visitor who doesn’t bother with social distancing rules but is far too fast for my poor mobile to get a truly in focus picture. On the subject of RETURNING.

The school return question is starting to be vexing again. When the schools closed down a few weeks back the advice was that they would be closed indefinitely. Exams in June and July cancelled. They would certainly remain closed until the virus was under control and the country had implemented systems to keep track infection rates. A return was not going to happen until it was safe to do so.

Let’s set the context in the UK.

  • Each day a 1000 people are dying in hospitals as a result of the virus and the numbers are continue to rise. The UK is likely to have the highest mortality rate in Europe,
  • That horrendous number does not include the many deaths occurring in care homes and in household settings. Up to half of all deaths could be occurring in care homes,
  • Medical staff, care workers, teachers, bus drivers, people who have attempted to self isolate are continuing to die,
  • 5 under the age of 20 have died,
  • Each day something like 40 people die from this virus who have no underlying health issues,
  • The official ‘those at most risk’ list has clearly missed off many thousands of vulnerable patients,
  • Currently the UK can only perform 18000 virus tests per day. That’s not even enough to cover the urgent requirements of our front line staff,
  • Unless your the daughter of a government cabinet minister you are unlikely to be tested if you are self isolating at home,
  • We are still to introduce a virus contact service or app,
  • Even based on the country’s inadequate testing regime we officially have 84000 cases recorded.

That doesn’t strike me as under control.

This week the governments’s appointed scientists and will meet with the Cabinet to consider the lockdown arrangements. The government are keen to reopen the economy as a matter of urgency and revert back to the original herd immunity strategy. Even though growing evidence is developing that people can be become infected more than once. How long any acquired immunity lasts is still uncertain. As part of demonstrating that we are getting back to normal many in the government want schools to reopen ASAP. Certainly well before the ban on mass gatherings are eased. The argument is that kids are at a lower risk of serious complications.

Ok I fully understand the need to start living again. I hope it’s done as quickly as it is safe to do. If decisions are truly based on the best and broadest scientific advice then I think many of us will support that. But then I put my parent’s hat on.

Parents potentially are going to face a decision in the coming weeks. A decision where there is no right or wrong answer. If schools opens early, do I send our kids in. That is a personal decision and not one that I will allow the Government to take for me. Personally this revolves around a number of factors

  • Kids may be at a lower risk of serious complications but that it not NO RISK. Already 5 under the age of 20 have horrifically died,
  • UK schools are not designed for adequate social distancing or effective hygiene. Too many kids, teachers and support staff are crammed into out of date, inadequate facilities,
  • Homeschooling v Schooling – not planning to go there today,
  • The anxiety and stress the return may place on our kids. Some kids may be busting to meet up with friends again and start being a school kid again. But equally many will find the return stressful. With our Son’s Aspergers he struggles with many social and health anxieties. He has a huge issue with the fear of hygiene, illness and death. Co-vid has sent that off the chart. To the extent he struggles to leave the confines of our front gate these days. If we do venture out then it’s a quick walk, keeping at least a field distance between others and not touching any surface. That’s walking a dog in a quiet village, what on earth will it be like when we are talking about a confined building with a 1000 people. The medical support we might be able to tap into to help with this has been cut back by the government. The service is stretched and is currently not able to do face to face counselling until later in the year – currently it’s not deemed safe to do so.

So it’s a personal decision. No right or wrong decision. We all are just trying our best to navigate this mess. For me (with my parent hat on) I can’t see any foreseeable set of circumstances where I would be willing to send him back into school this side of September. But it’s a personal decision. It’s his decision. So when the times comes that the school is open then it’s his call completely. It’s his risk, his stress, his life.

Stay safe people.

Moon

A few nights back we had the most glorious full moon. Appearing to be much larger than normal but what took the breath away was the colour. For about 20 minutes it was a free cosmic air show. Almost like a second sun. My poor mobile struggled to capture it but I did my best.

While talking through the show our Son misspoke a common phrase. It’s always a dilemma whether to correct him or not. We’ve had conflicting advice from a number of professionals on the best way to handle communication skills and Aspergers. The approach I’ve taken (certainly not saying it’s the best) is to quietly point it out then immediately reinforce that everyone does these things AND his Dad is as bad as anyone. This is so important with our Son because the slightest thing can effect his confidence. After I pointed this one out he immediately stumbled over his next few words. So the Silly Dad stories got trotted out.

The time I was supposed to say Area and said ARSE.

The time I was delivering a team talk and my stammer crashed back into operation over the word Operational. After seconds of not being able to say Operational I did my normal trick of replacing the word with something easier to pronounce. Unfortunately this time the brain decided to replace it with OCTOPUS.

As a kid I was playing cricket and I got struck in the balls with the very hard ball. Absolute agony. To make things worse I was given detention for saying my balls really hurt, maybe I should count them’. Apparently this was inappropriate language. So later I asked the sports teacher what was an acceptable phrase. He kindly told me that the ‘nether regionswas the phrase I should use. Unfortunately I misheard him and for years I called them ‘my Netherlands‘.

Thankfully this made Son laugh and his little bit of mispronunciation was forgotten. Then it was back to the Moon show.

Random Tree

A random Yorkshire tree. When it snows, a random Yorkshire Tree positioned at the end of our sledging run. So a random Yorkshire tree with a very hard trunk which I have collided with on more than one occasion. It’s like a Rome. All the sledging runs seem to abruptly end at this tree.

So this morning’s fight with WordPress was a bit of a score draw. On the plus side it went remarkably smoothly and very quickly. On the downside my attempted fix – didn’t pigging work. So the app is still possessed. My comments on many sites just disappear. One explanation is that I’ve upset one of the Spam filters. I might have used a naughty word on a comment (or two ). See kiddies swearing is not big or clever. Anyway until it’s resolved I will keep trying to comment on your sites – a few comments are still sneaking through. Enjoy the peace and waffle free time while it lasts.

So the school version of homeschooling has ended for another week. It’s now the two week Easter break. A break which will probably look very like the last few weeks. Normally we look forward to these two weeks but this time it feels like just the same as the last few weeks. No real change except the school iPad can remain switched off.

But as everyday is FUN DAY let’s try to make the most of them.

It’s good to see school is getting into the celebratory mood. The kids have been set homework and have been given plenty of revision to complete over the holiday. After Easter it’s straight into online exams and YES the delights of spelling tests. Deep joy.

But we are not going to let school put a dampener on life over the next couple of weeks. So at lunchtime we reverted back to one of sons favourite games. Bouncing on a trampoline while holding a bucket filled with water. It’s amazing how even Son’s bucket of water ends up over his Dad. Maybe that’s why the game is so much fun. Then it was back to online lessons and trying to explain to a bewildered son the finer details of love poetry. You might have seen my sledgehammer writing style in Thursdays Terrible Poetry submissions. Me advising on poetry is like asking a pheasant to operate a pedestrian crossing. Some lessons are about personal growth and development. However this one was just about survival.

After the last lesson of the day the Easter break started with a dog walk. A walk to our sons self imposed world boundary. And a look over to a distant random tree. A tree beyond our little world. Let’s hope that when we get snow again, once again all our sledge runs will be able to meet this tree again.