Yes it’s another one of those massive, multi lane Yorkshire motorways.
We are a couple of weeks into the start of trying to help Hawklad build bridges back towards the wider world again. It started with us taking the mad dog for a walk at night. Nighttime as it would be quiet with no other people out and about. Small steps in breaking out of walls that surround our little house and garden. The isolation which started 15 months ago.
We quickly realised that actually it’s always pretty quiet here, not just at night. So we started going for the walk a little earlier. Now nearer 7pm. Guess what. We still hardly see another soul. Currently that’s perfect for Hawklad. Very rarely we see a farmer or another dog walker. When that happens Hawklad immediately turns on his heels and heads quickly home in the opposite direction.
The other thing is that Hawklad doesn’t like to walk on the path. Just doesn’t feel comfortable doing that. So we walk on the road. Our massive and very busy road….
Well you can see just how big our road is. Just how busy it really is can be gauged on one fact. We have been walking every night straight down the middle of the road. Not once have we encountered a vehicle. The road is ours….
That’s such a cool feel. Such a cool feel for both of us. I can concentrate fully on talking and in the quiet bits, on dreaming.
Can you believe it. 14 months of school at home. Just over half of that time has happened with most of his classmates back at school. Trying to maintain a remote link with his class was always going to be difficult. It can never be perfect. Especially when the Government’s attitude has been to try and force all children back into classrooms as soon as possible. Schools instructed to make it more difficult for children to work remotely. Schools and parents threatened with legal action if pupils are not back in the class. Our school wanted to offer a remote learning option. Wanted to change the school week with most pupils spending part of the school week, remote learning. Wanted to tailor education and create a better school working environment. Unfortunately that was not allowed so the remote learning option had to be largely turned off. That makes things much harder…..
Revision is supposed to start for the upcoming school year exams this week. No idea how they will work for Hawklad. But the individual subjects are now issuing revision guides. Indicating which pieces of school work have to be revisited and revised. In a couple of subjects there are no surprises – we have covered those areas, undertaken the work required. But then there are other subjects. Areas that the class have undertaken that Hawklad was not aware of. In a couple of subjects clearly large tracts of class work, entire areas have not been shared. Is it ok to call it revision when he’s visiting an area for the very first time.
It’s such a mixed bag. Yes a couple of subjects have exceeded expectations, Hawklad has done the entire teaching requirements. A couple have been kind of as expected, covered most areas but with gaps. And some subjects have gone so much worse than expected, with Hawklad being so far behind his classmates.
Surely in the modern world, with everything that technology has to offer in terms of keeping connected, surely my country should be so much better at remote learning. So much better at EDUCATION.
Have we transitioned to home schooling without thinking.
Another week of family lockdown. Another week of school at home. But things are changing. Increasing amounts of the school day being unsupported. Yes a couple of lessons still try to provide good teaching support but…… The other subjects provide support which is at best patchy and often not there at all.
So what are the scores on the school doors this week….
Lessons this week 20
4 lessons well supported
7 lessons providing a little support, enough to allow us to try and fill in the missing sections
9 lessons absolutely NO support, no idea what was done in the class, don’t even know which area the teacher looked at.
So the amount of classroom radio silence is creeping up every week. Some subjects have gone weeks without any feedback or guidance. Without support we are having to do our own thing. No idea if Hawklad is working on the same areas as his classmates in a range of subjects. So increasingly what he is learning is determined by him and his hapless dad, not be his teachers. That’s starting to feel like homeschooling. With no classroom return imminent, maybe we have transitioned to homeschooling by accident.
That’s some dinner plate. Newly planted vegetable seeds. What to start with…..
It’s been one of those school at home days. Only one communication from a teacher about lessons today. That was ‘just revise’ for a test which is coming up. The other lessons it was just about trying to see what bits we could find on the online system and then trying to fill in the blanks. Which is quite apt as alongside the homeschooling I was also trying to get work done for the company that bizarrely likes to employ me. Apparently I’m a ‘valuable asset’. I’m sure that has been autocorrected at some stage from the original description.
Apt because today I was scratching my head at WORK and blankly trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. Yes definitely filling in the blanks. I can’t have been doing very well at either tasks as I ended up watching our garden pigeon and his dinner plate.
At least somebody knows what they are doing today….
I was reading a news article about home schooling during the lockdown. A government politician was quoted as saying basically that all children needed to be in the classroom. No exceptions. Pupils discipline and grades had deteriorated during lockdown. Homeschooling could never work properly.
Ok so the last year must have a write off for Hawklad
Well let’s think about that…… Over the last year his grades have gone UP. So well that he was moved up sets. Look at his best subject. A year ago he could talk for days about British medieval history. He could name and describe every English monarch. He could talk well about Roman history. A year later he can still do that but now listen to him confidently talk American, European and Chinese history. Listen to him talk about recent world history, Classical Greek times…. you get the picture.
He’s expanded his knowledge on the animal kingdom.
He’s getting great marks now in English Literature. Macbeth, Animal Farm are well within his grasp.
A year ago we were fighting to get him support for his dyslexia. He needed assistance to read even the simplest text. A year at home and he hardly ever needs to ask for help with reading. He can do it himself. Yes he has to skip some words but now he can read articles on line. He can read books now. Slowly yes, but read definitely. 7 years of classroom teaching and he’s made the leap forward at HOME.
I’m no superman. No Yoda. No expert in teaching. Watch me look blankly in most subjects. I’m a bang average parent. Homeschooling has just suited Hawklad. He’s more relaxed. Can pace around. Can jump around subjects. Take breaks. Look at things he wants to. No pressure asking questions, no anxiety putting his have up in front of an overcrowded classroom. It just works for him.
Here’s the thing, the traditional classroom will suit some children. But not everyone. So why do THEY force all kids through the same hoops. Through the same moulds. Through the same exam routes. If the last 12 months has taught us anything it’s that we need to cater for all children. One path just isn’t enough.
How bad must I be at table tennis if I managed to hit one ping pong ball out of the garden. Bearing in mind the next garden is about 5 yards behind where we had placed the table. AND there is an 8 ft hedge in the way as well..
Seriously this ball was travelling with such a trajectory that NASA gave it a spacecraft name and it had to re-enter the earths atmosphere on its way down….
“Dad are you going to get that ball from next doors then”
Yes I am
“I’m really worried. Some of my genes came from you”
One or two. You know who to blame if you get a hairy backside.
“Are you sure your not related to Homer Simpson….”
There is a striking resemblance. Especially from side on… Homer is way better looking and shades the intelligence
“If I ever get a DNA test it’s going to show 25% English, 15% Welsh, 10% German and 50% muppet…..”
The mobile phone is leading a charmed life. Yesterday it found its way into the garden refuse bin. Today as I weeded suddenly the little bucket next to me I was filling with weeds started playing music. Never been so thankful for one of those nuisance marketing call.
With the mobile safely back in my pocket. I got back on with the job of weeding.
Then another call. A work call. 60 minutes worth of …… what’s the word I’m looking for. I can think of a few, some I can even safely write down…
After 60 minutes I was so tempted to switch the mobile off and voluntarily drop it back in the garden waste bin. I’m old enough to remember a time before mobile technology AND today I vote for going back to then….
Ok which version is better Bruce Springsteen or Manfred Mann…..
The home at school project is rapidly feeling like it’s blinded by something. More lessons with no support or materials provided. More time spent trying to find any educational resources hidden on the confusing school system. Far fewer teachers making contact and trying to explain work requirements. When class materials are sent they are often only arriving at the end of lessons or hours late. Hardly any work feedback being sent back. Very few teachers checking in on Hawklad to see if it’s going ok.
Contacting school occasionally improves things for a lesson or two then things fall back again.
With national lockdowns, local school closures and family lockdowns its been over a year since Hawklads last in school classroom day. Maybe school have decided enough is enough. Falling in line with Government thinking. So with an imminent school return looking most unlikely, the educational future is so unclear. Blinded by something……
The scene from last nights late Hawklad walk. A scene of apparent calm. It doesn’t paint the mayhem which accompanies taking Captain Chaos for a walk. Someone gets hyper on his walk. As he is the most hyper dog in Yorkshire at the best of times, that’s a shed load of hyper….
But it’s not just walks. Most things can send him hyper.
Me trying to tidy up the garden is up there on the hyper league table. Maybe it’s the novelty factor, the garden doesn’t get the attention it deserves….
So today as I tried to weed it was the usual pet mayhem. Helpful frantic digging. Burying anything he can find. Rolling in anything resembling dirt. Crazed running around in circles. That kind of thing.
Then a break. A dog walker walking across the distant fields. A distraction. Much barking. So I had better make the most of this. So I did 5 minutes of rapid weeding, manic digging and rushed raking.
One slight problem. Don’t let your mobile fall out of your pocket when your doing speed gardening. Finally only located when I phoned it. Couldn’t hear it ringing inside. But the second phoning attempt, and an usual ringtone coming from the garden rubbish bin.
That could have been a disaster as the bin collection day is tomorrow. Just goes to show the risks inherent in gardening. Might give it a miss for a while now.
Had one of those moments last night. One which seemed to contradict the very fabric of scientific thinking as we know it today. Could this really happen to someone after millions of years of evolution of the species.
I couldn’t sleep. 4am in the morning. Sleep wasn’t coming tonight. I had given up trying and had headed into the kitchen to make a hot drink. I started singing a Beatles song to pass the time as the tea bag brewed away. Suddenly a woman’s voice. Am I going mad. Must just be me. I started singing again and there again was that woman. A definite female voice. This time asking if I was alright. A secret lover (that secret it would have been news to me)…. A ghost!!! I ran out of the kitchen and slammed the door shut.
This morning looking back. What a pillock…. Spooked by the helpful Amazon Alexa app.