Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which means so much to our family and is also close to our hearts.

A country which has just the most amazing views.

Ok we haven’t managed to make it back since 2015 but each year that goes by the urge to return keeps on growing. It won’t be easy but we will find a way. Create some new wonderful, life changing memories.

It’s a breathtaking place. That just keeps on giving. If you have never been then it needs to go to the top of your wish list. You won’t regret it.

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.

Warning

Warning. In some countries the self absorbed, moronic idiots are still in charge.

Photo from The Guardian

Remember this PRAT. He is in Secretary of State for Education. Yes the idiot with a horse whip on his desk. A bloke who has been recently described by a respected former member of the Government as a ‘venomous, self seeking little s**t’.

Well the Prat has spoken again. Apparently ‘a generation of children have lacked discipline and order during the pandemic’. So he will be launching a crackdown on behaviour in schools……

Is he going to bother revealing his evidence for his claim. Or as usual is he just getting his views from the a couple of extreme right wing political lobbying groups that he follows.

It’s odd as every teacher and parent I have heard have been praising just how good school children have been, how well they have reacted to the pandemic. They have been brilliant. An unprecedented time of disruption. Schools open and closed. Exams on and off. Exam results messed up by the actions of this prat. Not being able to meet with friends. Holidays cancelled. Sports and leisure activities curtailed. Living through such awful times. AND TOO many going hungry as families struggle.

But this prat thinks they need discipline. Has he forgotten that he was sacked by the last PM when he was the Defence Secretary for leaking official secrets. He broke the Official Secrets Act, behaviour that ends up in prison for mere mortals. Clearly someone with high personal behaviour standards.

How did my country go so wrong. So wrong that someone like him ends up running our schools. Now people will vote for him, it’s currently still a free country. They might agree with him. Fine but if that is how they view our younger generation then I have the same contempt for them as I do for this prat. The children aren’t the problem, it’s the people who think the way this prat thinks who are the real problem. The children are the future, the hope, the solution to this corrupt mess.

Terminator

Kinda feels like the type of sky you get just before it all goes horribly wrong in a Terminator movie. This time no coming storm. Just me in the kitchen making a curry. Actually very similar when you think about it. Especially if you have ever seen or unfortunately tasted one of my Saag Aloo horrors.

As I watched that cloud formation role through my thoughts had moved from terrible cooking to more important stuff. Doesn’t that cloud look like a polar bear lying flat out on its tummy. Well it did to me….

We spent an hour or so playing the cloud spotting game today. Fantastic free garden entertainment, the kinda stuff you need during a prolonged lockdown. While we were cloud spotting I kept hearing a nagging voice in my head. We could be so easily playing this in a years time. It’s not unreasonable to assume that Hawklads anxieties and phobias will still be here in a years time. If so then our lockdown will still be in place in March 2022. That would make it TWO years. TWO years. Maybe that is what the clouds are telling me. There is a storm coming. A long protracted one.

Schools Out

Schools Out, Schools Out for Easter.

The last day of term was marked with another school letter. Another positive pupil case with 45 other pupils in isolation for 10 days. Across the country infection rates amongst the 5 to 14 age group are rising since schools returned. On Monday some of the country’s lockdown rules are eased.

Well at least everyone is still wearing masks…..

On the way back from the vaccination centre yesterday I stopped off for petrol. Straw pole. Me and the person behind the till had masks fully on. One lady appeared to have a mask but she was carrying it in her hand. Another guy had a mask hanging loosely around his neck. Everyone else, no mask.

Lockdowns Out, Lockdowns Out for Easter

So the two week break has started. Started with sitting out in the baking sun. Talking with Hawklad on what he would like to do over the next few days. First ice creams of the break. Sat outside in the freezing wind.

Wooly Jumpers Out, Wooly Jumpers Out for Easter.

Hills

I know the lawn needs sorting out….. I will try as our gardener is clearly lying down on the job.

After ‘school at home’ had finished for the day I managed to drag the broken toe Hawklad outside for a while. Normally that means him pacing around the garden. So it’s an odd feeling just getting to sit in a garden chair. I was starting to worry about Hawklad getting bored and frustrated with being so immobile WHEN….

Dad did you just see the mole hill move…..”

And yes it was. The mole was clearly active and soil was being pushed to the surface. Lots of soil. It went on for about an hour. How exciting. That hour rushed past. It almost felt like we were observing some majestical big wildlife event. All we needed was a camera crew and the wonderful David Attenborough. Even Captain Chaos became transfixed for a time until he was sent inside as he had decided to help out the excavation work.

Just goes to show. You might feel hemmed in by life but if you keep looking you just might start to see some of that real world come to you.

Somersault

Almost a summer sky and most definitely a winter wind – it’s freezing. Definitely a two jumper day…. But still nice. Would have loved to be outside more but pesky school got in the way of that plan.

After two hours of trying to figure out how to insert graphs into an online test document…

Dad I thought you had a degree in computing.”

Well kind of.

Well it’s not much use here. Admit it you spent those university years in the bar…”

And on the sports pitches. Don’t forget in bed as well.

Well that’s not helping with this is it Dad. Might as well ask the toilet seat for help.”

To be fair I focused on Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems, not stupid school packages. What you sniggering at Son….

You. Muppet Dad. Are you sure it wasn’t Artificial Incompetence. Useless. Looks like you’ve just crashed the system now.”

Yes definitely crashed. Think it didn’t like me pressing all the keys at the same time in a slightly angry manner.

How on earth did they let you into a university.”

I think they were desperate. I was late for the entrance interview as well. I got lost and ended up at the wrong university, in the wrong city. When I did arrive i was 3 hours late only to find out that I had the wrong day as well. I had come a day early.

No wonder as a toddler I would talk with mum and just bash you over the head with anything I could find.”

I’ve still got the bruises.

“No Dad those are from last week where you tried to show me that you could still do a somersault on the trampoline. “

I almost did it. Just my bum got in the way.

Report

The end of term report landed today. Whatever happened to the old paper report books I got as a child. Now it’s downloadable content. Handwritten teacher narrative replaced by numbers and symbol targets. My report was easy to follow. Just look out for the telling teaching phrases

“Must try harder”

“Falls asleep in class”

“Daydreamer”

“Always looking out of the window”

“Distinctly average”

“Oh dear, where do I start”

Hawklad’s report is much harder to fathom out. After several hours of review I’m still not entirely sure what it’s telling me. Maybe it’s telling me to dig out the chocolate and watch Ice Age.

At least the arrival of the Term Reports does reveal one fact. A pleasant fact. In just a couple of days the Term will end and it’s a couple of weeks off. Hawklad gets a break. I get a break. A break from school at home.

That’s a report finding I can fully get behind.

Toe

Some things in life are naturally beautiful and guaranteed to make you smile.

One of those days. Not enough sleep. School at home was a pain in the buttocks. WordPress continued to act like an incompetent evil overlord. An upcoming concert I was really looking forward to (which had already been rescheduled from last year) was cancelled. Smashed some cups (unintentionally). THEN Hawklad decided to walk into wooden table and clearly has broken his little toe. At least I can see evidence that some of my genes have passed down the family line. Nothing we can do except get him to rest up for a few days.

So in need of distraction I decided to strike one item off the growing DIY list. Let’s put the external mail box back on the wall. Much drilling, much banging, much muttering, much screwing. The mail box was up. Not a bad job at all. Level and well secured. Shame it was upside down…… Not sure what the Postman would think of a letter slot at the bottom. Not the first time my DIY has taken a walk to the a Southern Hemisphere. Summed up the day…..

On days like this those things that make you smile are even more important. Even more treasured.

Homework

Let’s be honest I’m not the biggest fan of school homework. Not a fan all those years ago when I suffered it as a child and certainly not now as a parent. Occasionally the homework I’ve encountered has had some learning merits. On a few rarer occasions it’s been interesting even wait for it – FUN. Sadly in the vast majority of cases it’s unremittingly dull, of little value to the child and no better than parrot learning dross. A desperate attempt to tick off parts of the government curriculum. I’ve lost count of the times Hawklad has put so much effort into a piece of homework and then gets zero feedback. Too often it’s probably not even marked.

What is the point….

Hawklad has a number of such seemingly meaningless pieces of homework to complete this week. Let’s just look at one of those. How about Religious Education. To paraphrase

Look at your last classroom assessment. Examine your answers and look at the comments. Make corrections to your answers in green pen (must be in green) so that all the teacher comments have been clearly considered. Now fully re-answer two of the assessment questions in your book ensuring all teacher comments are addressed. Homework must be submitted before the start of the next lesson.

That’s RE…. I might be missing something but is that really how you teach this subject. How you teach any subject. How is that approach doing anything positive. Talk about draining the FUN and ENJOYMENT out of school. And guess what.

Dad can I drop this subject….”.

Homework – don’t you just love it…. Well the Government does as it fits in with their schooling vision….How depressing is that.