Routine and familiarity is so important to Hawklad. Change is best approached with planning and preparation. Especially when he is under so much additional exam stress. As a result we have been trying to map out a course that has been as smooth as possible but sometimes all we can do is whisper “REALLY…..”
Been so many instances just over these first few exam days that have put obstacles in the smooth path.
After the first exam, Hawklad getting stuck in the classroom for an hour due to a faulty printer and national rules. Then having his invigilators changed at the last minute. Then being given teacher tips on banker questions that always come up and then they don’t this year. Or finding the day before the exam that he hadn’t been given part of the course. Or the cat and dog having a fight for the first time ever, a proper full on fight, just before another exam. Or other things…..
And then we got those extra days. A day mapped out to just focus on revising for his weakest subject for the upcoming exam. Minutes into starting work and this happens to the conservatory where he was sat.
Yes a shimmering sheet of supported roof glass shattered in seconds. I think that’s a bit of ‘s’ alliteration – I’m clearly learning as well. The end result….
Randomly one inner roof glass sheets turned into a glass rain.
I have never seen so much glass pieces. On the floor, on furniture, in revision papers, in Lego sets, in clothing. Everywhere. Thankfully the safety glass did its job and no injuries, well apart from my hands trying to sort out the mess. Spooked Hawklad, Spooked Muppet Dad, Spooked Pets. We could have REALLY done without that. So his favourite revision spot is not so favourite now.
The Poor Daffs are taking a right weather pounding and yet they are still going strong. Definitely hardy souls. A varied learning/revision day for Hawklad.
UK River Landscapes,
Romeo and Juliet,
The 1846 Mormon Migration (Revision)
All in just over TWO HOURS…. If you read the blurb that school sends out, Hawklad should be doing a minimum 4 hours revision on every school day and a minimum 7 hours on a non school day.
****some parents might disagree with the next bit****
Learning and revision surely needs to be tailored around the individual needs and characteristics of the pupil. Some might suit the 7 hours of academia each day, others not so. The homeschooling of Hawklad over the last few years has revealed many things, one of which is…
Hawklad has a sweet spot for learning of up to 3 hours a day. Up to 3 hours and things go in, but quickly after that and his learning potential drops off a cliff. He gets rapidly tired and frustrated. His anxiety levels begin to spike. Connections aren’t made, facts don’t go in and they certainly don’t stay in. He even starts to struggle and get confused with the information he had earlier learnt so well.
7 hours of revision slog would just be counterproductive for him.
So we made a decision, Hawklad works for 3 hours max each day. Yes it limits what we can cover but surely quality is so much more important than quantity. Surely his well-being has to be paramount. Exams cannot be everything.
Hawklad’s final school exams are fast approaching, they start in a months time. School are now providing a weekly one hour teaching assistant session to help with English. Another subject teacher is providing revision instructions which help. The rest is down to us now. The REST means revision and subject learning.
It’s a real mixed bag across the subjects. In History (his best subject) we have just about completed the course and can start to revise. This is the subject which has consistently provided teaching materials for Hawklad to work with and marked his submitted work. But in the other subjects we are still scrambling around trying to cover all the topics. It’s clear now that he has missed out significantly being at home. The school and the national education system isn’t setup for pupils who miss significant portions of classroom teaching on health grounds. On top of that teachers are having to cope with class sizes of up to 30 with increasing pressure from Government to stick to prescribed teaching methods. They just don’t have the time to teach outside the box now.
The end result is that Hawklad is having to learn new material when he is supposed to be revising old material. The dilemma now is do we try to cover all the missing topics which would effectively rule out any real revision in most of the subjects OR do we take a punt on just covering some topics and revising these. Cover everything thinly or cover some of it a little more in depth….
In Geography and Sciences we are going to try to cover the entire subject and see if we can squeeze in some crash revision over the last few days. In these subjects we are dumping all the school material as it is so incomplete. We have bought into an online science teaching site that was recommended by a fellow blogger ❤️. For Geography we are finding teaching videos on YouTube.
We have also largely dumped the school maths materials and I’m reteaching the entire subject. Again we hopefully will get a couple of days to crash revise at the end.
With English and Literature we will cover some of the course using the teaching assistant weekly sessions and by watching teaching videos we find on YouTube. Here we just can’t realistically cover all the required reading content in the time left, so we intend to cover and revise just part of the course (and hope we get reasonably lucky in the exam).
The other factor is the actual exams. School haven’t been able to organise a mock exam for Hawklad, so he won’t have sat any practice exams at all before these main ones. In addition, with the time constraints it’s unlikely we will be able to spend too much time practicing exam questions at home. That is just so not ideal. The knock on effect of no exam practice is that we haven’t been able to test whether Hawklad will be able to write his own answers, or whether he needs to type them or if he needs a scribe. All we can do is have a stab at guessing which way will suit him best and then see who it goes in the first exam. If it doesn’t work out then we will have to switch approach for the second exam.
As Hawklad says ….. what could possibly go wrong ……
Sometimes you need to get out to breathe, take stock, maybe even forget a few things for a while.
In less than 2 months Hawklad’s final school exams begin. I kinda gave one of those Paddington Bear penetrating LOOKS to someone from his school when they referred to Hawklad having an easier exam ride than many other pupils.
Some won’t see a problem with what comes next and what do I know anyway.…
When the exams start, Hawklad will have 20 exams and one video assessment to complete in just under 4 weeks.
And that’s an EASIER ride. Doesn’t seem very easy to Hawklad.
It’s a hard life on the pet sofa. Boys will be boys.
I’m writing this in my so called car listening to a bit of deep and meaningful art, an art form called Whitesnake. Here is a random fact, that band’s lead vocalist worked in a fashion clothes shop which was next to my Dentist torture site. That Dentist was an ex army, old school medic and it showed. The caring nature of Rambo who has just found out that Arnie has much bigger biceps than him. That Dentist practice was horrible. But to be fair to him after every horrible, painful appointment he would make his one allowance to being a member of the human race. It was his attempt to be nice, to be caring. He would let you pick out a lollipop from the sweet jar, I guess it was all about keeping business healthy…
Anyway I’m parked up in a community library parking place. Hawklad is having his FIRST one to one, direct bit of teaching since March 2020. We have been after this since then but school just haven’t been able to free up teaching resources. Well now, two months from Hawklad’s final exams it’s happening. Unfortunately it won’t cover all the subjects due to teaching resource constraints, the sessions if they can continue will be sporadic. After Science, History and Geography were excluded from these sessions the focus was supposed to be on both English and Maths. Unfortunately school have dropped Maths now. Apparently someone has walked out on school and they won’t be replaced until after the exams.
But at least it’s something. Any helping hand is a good hand.
A Teaching Assistant will be providing a short session covering a bit of English and a bit of exam techniques. I wonder if they will cover any of the areas we have requested. I really hope it helps Hawklad.
Looking at Hawklad’s face as he went into the Library he had the same terrified look that I must have had visiting that Psychotic Dentist, just WAY WORSE. This is so not easy for him, he is so close to an anxiety meltdown. It shows just how little contact he has had with school staff, zero relationships have been established. It’s probably also a reflection of just how painful an experience this school has been for him.
Let’s just hope that like my trips to the dentist, he can put this behind him and actually he gets something out of it. In my case with the Dentist at lease I got some dodgy chemical filled fillings and a sugary lollipop. I want so much more for him. I just want him to feel at ease with life and be happy.
A new walk for the two of us in North Yorkshire, we are so blessed to live here. So many places to breathe.
Although I think these shelters aren’t going to be much cop against our tropical weather….
Three days since school returned from a week off and not one single communication from a teacher. Nothing. Maybe School has given up any pretence of supporting Hawklad now.
I was thinking back to how naïve I was just a few years ago. I kinda still assumed that life, parenting, everything, was perfectly logical, straightforward, fathomable.
Did I really think that.
What a monumental muppet.
Now I know. I know how I feel. Tired, confused, battered, walking through life’s avenues seemingly wading through unremittingly thick, bucket loads of treacle – seriously hard work.
Why was all this such a surprise to me, I just needed to look back at my parents. Bringing up 5 children, both parents having to work to try and make ends meet. Trying to maintain an old battered house which had an outside toilet and one coal fire for heating. The only holiday they enjoyed was the very rare day trip to the beach at either Saltburn or Whitby. I’m not sure they ever truly figured out their youngest child, ME, I was baffling to them. My parents trying to do all this while coping with a failed, dysfunctional marriage.
I bet they felt a lot like I do, like many of us do. Worn down, tired, disillusioned, perpetually bewildered.
Still no snow has shown up at our little hilltop village. It’s getting harder apparently to get the perfect conditions for snow in this part of Yorkshire. But just thirty minutes drive and we can get into the Moors. These Moors do get snow….. So a couple of weeks back we headed over to get some of that elusive white stuff. Night time is perfect, Hawklad gets the place to himself.
It’s only a short drive but you do feel so far from civilisation. No school here. These places are so special and wow the night sky. No light pollution.
This is what this looks like during the day and much later in the season. Perfect.
Perfect location for wonderful literature like The Secret Garden. The Secret Garden’s themes of rebirth and healing, we could all do with some of that.
As we wandered across the snow covered ground with just the light from our head torches to illuminate the way, it’s much easier to forget the trials of the day, well at least for a few moments. The school journey isn’t going well……
Minimal support, so it does feel like it’s a never ending fight against the system. What’s crystal clear now is that school has only given us access to a fraction of the course material over the 2 years Hawklad has been away from the classroom. With just a few months until his final school exams and he has so much to do just to catch up never mind revise. I genuinely fear that there is just too much to do in those few months. He simple isn’t going to get a fair chance in those exams through no fault of his own. He so wants to start college in September, to take the next step. Why is this so hard. Why is the system seemingly so keen to write him off without given him a chance.
Just a few moments walking across the desolate moors, forgetting all this, it does feel good. Sadly that feeling doesn’t last long enough. Two weeks on from that snow adventure and this schooling struggle is just getting harder and more frustrating. We could really use another snow adventure, find our own SECRET GARDEN.
Is it really 7 years since we were last in Switzerland. SEVEN YEARS. That’s a crazy and seriously sobering thought.
Is our much smaller family any closer to returning? Well we have various plans to get there but ultimately it all depends on how Hawklad is doing and feeling. It’s just about keeping the light burning brightly and being patient.
Patience is the word.
Before I started visiting this wonderful country, I desperately wanted to see two massive Swiss Treasures. The mighty mountains, The Eiger and The Matterhorn. The Eiger was an immediate success. On my first trip, I could see the mountain as the train carried us away from the airport and towards Spiez. Then the next day, a trip in Spring snow to Grindelwald, the clouds parted to reveal its awesomeness. Every holiday seemed to bring more and more epic Eiger encounters.
Then we come to The Matterhorn, the PESKY mountain. The clouds never seemed to part, the mountain never made an appearance. For years it was like that. Summer, Autumn, Spring, Late Winter, always the same result. Arrive at Zermatt and the thickest of clouds had rolled in. But with patience, eventually the clouds did part. That first time as I pushed baby Hawklad in his pushchair, trying to stop him bawling out Zermatt high street. It was seriously cloudy, one last not so hopeful look and unbelievably the clouds parted for a few brief seconds. It was so worth the wait. I so wish I could find that photo I managed to take in those brief moments . But the spell was broken and from then on, no more mountain in hiding.
So yes, let’s hope for a return to this magical land. Just got to be PATIENT.
Just deleted the first attempt at writing this post. A nice, positive, happy post about School – NOT. For some reason I found myself writing far too many words with like #@#!ing or #!¥€ed or #@it. Words probably that would upset even the most relaxed Profanity Filter.
Must think relaxational music and meditational poses.
OK. Talk school another day when I’m just a little less like a seriously grumpy Honey Badger, let’s just say it was almost my Hulk Smash moment as a result of the School Parent Evening.
Time to talk Pets….
I have been conducting extensive scientific experimentation into the eating preferences of a mad dog. Everyday for 2 weeks I have put three types of food on his plate
Mince or Chicken (used to hide his hay fever medicine)
Cheese (used to hide his yucky dog medicine).
The results are clear. Every single time he scoffs the cheese and indirectly, medicine first. Then it’s demolish the mince or chicken. Finally and reluctantly he picks at the dog food. Clearly Captain Chaos has become a cheese monster, maybe he’s been watching too much Wallace and Gromit.
AND watching Wallace & Gromit is way more uplifting and constructively educational than Hawklad’s Useless School could ever be.
Have I mentioned that our local area still has a hosepipe ban. That pesky scorching sun. The other day Hawklad queried why people in Yorkshire don’t emigrate to somewhere nearer the Equator. I’m not sure my answer was entirely convincing.
My oldest sister would share Hawklad’s view on Yorkshire, it’s weather and the attraction of the Equatorial Climate. Anything below 25C is too cold for her. But it does beg the question how she will cope on her Bucket List Holiday next year. Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights and Alaska. Not exactly Toasty.
Toasty was how I was trying to feel as I made a call to a local college while sitting on the back room radiator. A radiator turned on FULL. I was trying to book Hawklad in for a taster visit. School had failed to let us know that the window for booking these was now open. They hadn’t even mentioned what this college can offer. The reason apparently is that they don’t believe college is a viable option for Hawklad. Deep SIGH.
The college does appear promising as it has a well established setup to offer post school opportunities for pupils who have special educational needs. So we will see if Hawklad can attend a taster session in the New Year and see what he thinks. If the main college is too busy for him then they do have a separate smaller offsite teaching block which has been setup specifically to provide a quieter, more tailored learning environment. He could start in September.
But first we have to focus on Hawklad’s immediate wellbeing and helping with his anxieties. Then it’s the issue of the final exams in June without any real support from school. But at least we have the first opportunity door appearing in the distance. It’s a start.