How I start the day makes such a massive difference to me. My day seems to go better if I exercise early in the morning rather than after lunch. Get my breakfast right and my dieting becomes easier. Avoid caffeine first thing and I feel less on edge for the rest of the day.
But there is one morning thing above anything else that has the biggest impact on my day.
How I wake up.
Do I wake up under my own steam or am I suddenly woken by some external factor. The pesky alarm…..
If I wake up naturally, even if that’s after a night of little sleep then I’m usually good to go. The day seems in synch. Even nights without any sleep at all, I find work ok for me. I can do this single parenting gig.
But if the alarm brings me abruptly to life and it’s all so very much different. Today was like that. Not much sleep until after 5am and then I crash out. All too soon the noisy alarm ends the dreams. But it has not brought the real me to life, it’s the zombie version of me. I can barely function, certainly can’t think straight, parenting is seemingly beyond me. That feeling of being completely out of synch stays with me all day. These are the days I really struggle to overcome depression.
Somethings you can ignore and other things you simply can’t. You can can’t ignore how you are feeling but it’s very easy to ignore how someone else is feeling. You can ignore the ‘do not enter sign’ but you can’t ignore the large, foaming at the mouth guard dogs stood behind the sign. You can ignore a bit of rain but you can’t ignore a thunder storm. Well it’s not easy to anyway….
Last night was a massive, noisy storm which went on much of the night. No chance for sleep until the storm blew itself out, sadly well after dawn.
Hawklad received two emails from the same teacher this week. Both saying effectively the same thing. The teacher couldn’t open the work files Hawklad had submitted this week. In addition the teacher moaned about where he had saved the files.
Well here’s the issues which kinda made me reply in a slightly tetchy manner to this teacher. First of all these are the first communications Hawklad has had with this teacher in over a year. Secondly he is saving the files in the same way he does for all the other subjects. Thirdly Hawklad has been diligently saving all the work and homework for this teacher for over a year in exactly the same way, in exactly the same format and in exactly the same location – all in line with school instructions. Fourthly Hawklad has never had any feedback, marks or comments about any piece of work submitted to this teacher since a certain pandemic appeared. The only thing approaching feedback was a couple of random assessment numbers appearing on the quarterly school report. Numbers which unlike other subjects have never changed.
Call me cynical but I don’t think the teacher has looked at any of Hawklads work until this week. Ok class work may not always be marked but surely homework should be marked. Marked and feedback provided.
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.
Hawklad was trying to do some French school work. I’m not that much use, especially when I’m tired. So when it came to translations I secretly backed up my limited expertise with some discreet finger work. Can I use Google Translator to make me look awesome. All going well. With the iPhone hidden on my lap, I amazed Hawklad with my almost perfect knowledge and interpretation of French phrases.
Then it all went a bit mental.
All over a simple looking translation. I had covertly typed into Google what appeared to be an innocent phrase….
Je veux un bain
Clearly it was ‘I want a …..”. I think it was BATH. Problem was that I misspelt the last word. Easily done on a small screen and when you are trying to hide exactly what you are typing.
Je veux un baise
So I was a little taken back by the translation.
I want a f##k
Sorry….. You what…..Double take…..Until I spotted the typing mistake my parenting world had become very confusing and just a little unsettling. I definitely aged several years. See parenting is bad for you.
Wind back the clock 20 years and a couple walked along a country lane and thought we must try that narrow path that runs along by those trees. Where would it take us.
Virtually every single time that couple walked that lane one voice would mention the need to walk that tree lined path.
20 years, 15 years….
Then it became a family of 3. Still they walked that lane and pondered that mysterious path.
10 years, 5 years….
The TIME ran out. Time ran out for that couple, that family. Since then the bereaved partner has finally run down that path. Found out where it led to. Definitely beautiful but such a powerful symbol of missed opportunity. The dangers of thinking that you have plenty of time. in reality the clock is always TICKING.
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….
A British bank holiday and its chucked it down. This is not today. This is today….
Not really perfect outdoor table tennis conditions.
We played footy in the garden, in the rain. Great fun. Then I noticed something. Maybe it’s the effects getting older. Hawklad took a shot heading towards the top corner of our goal. A cat like goalkeeper launched himself to tip the ball over the bar. I landed. And wow did I land …. Gravity was definitely working well. It didn’t hurt but here’s the thing. Years ago as a goalkeeper I never dented the ground on any of my dives. Today I did. A huge indent in the lawn. Think ‘The Great Rift Valley’. Maybe I should stick to table tennis.😂😂😂😂
As part of the long process of helping Hawklad building bridges back to the wider world, we ventured out in the car. Further this time. In to the city. To get a take out burger.
All went well until we hit the city. More car, more people. Even though he was in the safety of the car he was on edge but willing to push on.
Finally we arrived at the burger place. You will know the one. It’s got some whopper burgers. The plan was Hawklad to stay in the car while I ventured out to get the takeout. As soon as I left the car Hawklad panicked. So plan B. The drive through. I’ve never tried one of those but they seem super cool in the movies.
We joined the queue of cars and and snaked our way towards the intercom. With excitement we finally made it to the marked intercom bay.
I started to patiently wait for the helpful voice.
“Dad what are you waiting for.”
I’m waiting for the person to speak to me,
“Dad you don’t wait you just say the order out. Come on Dad the cars behind will start to get annoyed”
####Pants so I blurted out the order. NOTHING. Is that it. Do I drive off now####
“Dad they didn’t hear you, shout the order louder”
#### So I did, really loud this time. This time Hawklad got the giggles####
“Dad you are a muppet”
####And suddenly the intercom whirled into life – ‘afternoon can I take your order’.####
Time does slip by. Sometimes as fast as those clouds wizzing across the Yorkshire sky.
As a kid one of the things I wanted to be was an Astronomer. I remember the look on the career advisors face when I would mention that. It was definitely a ‘that ain’t happening so stop being silly’ kinda look. Actually the career advisor only ever had a few options to suggest. Work in the local steel works, work in the local chemical plant, work in a factory, work in a shop, join the army or the truly gifted might even pushed towards a job in the local bank branch.
Ok no Astronomy job did turn up. But I did eventually buy myself a small telescope. But the Yorkshire clouds, sleep and then parenting restricted the times it was used.
The telescope is still with me. Battered and a bit out of focus. Now is that describing the scope or its user….. If I’m not using the scope much so there is no point buying a better one. But I did set myself a goal of using it a bit more over the winter months. When the skies get darker for longer. The best time to gaze up.
Time slips by….
That telescope has not been out all winter. I thought about it a few times but there was always an excuse. There was always a tomorrow. Now winter has gone.
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.