Rollercoaster

The next bit of bad weather is blowing in. Yes that lake has sneaked in again…. Admit you will miss it when it’s gone.

The online schooling system is kicking back into life. Will it bring more support for Hawklad? Well if it’s like the last lockdown then it will certainly become a lot more structured. The day will follow the school timetable. The pupils need to sign in at the start of the lesson and work through the online tasks. A teacher ot teaching assistant is online to help and monitor work. Pupils then have until 7pm to complete all tasks and submit them. Failure to do so gets an automatic negative.

So on the bright side the chances of Hawklad being missed are reduced. But then the downsides. Increased timetable pressures. Often it feels more like monitoring than support. Lots of checks of work being submitted on time but often no feedback after that. Oh those pesky interactive video sessions. He hates them. I’m not far behind him on that. It just doesn’t suit him.

On top of that the one teacher who seemed to understand this has now left. Will someone else step up to the plate?

So here goes then. The rollercoaster is back in operation.

Star Wars

A new day. New hope.

I should pen the next Star Wars movie.

**********

Dad what are you looking at Amazon for?”

I was kind of toying with the idea of getting ME a Lego set.

Which one Dad?”

I’ve always wanted the Star Wars Death Star. Wanted that for years. Maybe even the Millennium Falcon.

Are you going to buy one then?”

No. Definitely No. have you seen the prices. Death Star is £600 and the Falcon is £250.

Wow. Think of the milkshakes you could buy me with that money…”

Stop sniggering, I might just get that big box of loose lego out and make my own creation. Much cheaper and probably more fun.

Dad you could script out a new Star Wars movie..”

That’s an idea. Could give myself a role in the movie. Maybe a heroic Jedi night. Maybe the new Hans Solo. Maybe even the dashing new evil Sith Lord….

No Dad, only one rule for you. Jabba The Hut….”

I walked right into that one 😂

L

Lake

The winter farm lake is starting to form. Wow it was wet feet trying to take this photo.

So again today the Government is telling parents that they must send their children to school if it’s open. It’s a mess. Some schools have been closed. Some are opening soon. Some partly closed. Some are opening today. The PM again is saying schools are perfectly safe. He must have evidence that shows children, teachers, teaching staff, parents and carers cannot catch the virus. Wish he would share that so it can all be cleared up. Maybe he could share that with his own scientific advisers as well. The Government is again threatening parents with legal action and fines. The teacher unions are taking the Government to court over its failure to operate safe working environments. It’s such a mess.

So where do we stand? Hawklads year group is kind of homeschooling for the next two weeks then after they have had one covid test they are back in the classroom on the 18th. Well not Hawklad.

His call is that he can’t go back yet. He will look again at the end of the this half term. I’m trying to get another medical exemption letter from his Key Health Worker who is due to come and visit him this week. If they won’t issue one or are not allowed to by the Government then they can see me in court. I’ve seen enough Perry Mason episodes to look after myself. I won’t be the only parent there.

Heres the thing. Put the Aspergers severe anxieties to one side. Each parent and child has to make a judgement call on if attending school is safe. Well clearly safety cannot be guaranteed. More so now than ever with this virus. Children, teachers, parents, grand parents are ending up in hospital with it. The Government might try to hide that information, but it is happening. The virus can infect all age ranges. So it is an individual judgment call. Is the benefits of classroom education and socialisation worth the inevitable risk. That’s not a call for Johnson or his inept Education Minister. They have a track record of lying, not caring and making the wrong disastrous calls.

Each family will have a view. All as valid as each other. Even without the anxieties and present fears, OURS would be no it’s not worth the risk. It won’t until the virus is under control and schools are allowed to put in the necessary safety mechanisms. The first has to be opening up home online schooling. That reduces the numbers in school at any one time, creates space, starts to build a safer more inviting learning environment.

A plan

Walking towards the light. That sounds like a plan…..

So we kind of know what’s happening with school over the next few weeks. Well sort of.

School will be shut on Monday. Then this week pupils will be at home working through tasks that have been set for the week. Only minimal teaching support will be available as teachers will be trying to help volunteers in ensuring every child is self tested for covid. That’s just a one off test.

The week after some pupils will be back in the classroom. For Hawklads year they will be working from home. The full online teaching system will be switched on for the week. Teachers will do the full lesson programme fully online.

The week after all pupils will return to the classroom and the online teaching system will be switched off.

For Hawklad what does that mean. Well for a start he is not going back in January. So he would be home come what May. For the first week of term he is likely to get more work as all his classmates will be at home. The second week will see Hawklad get his first lessons since July as the online teaching system will be live. After that we go back to how we were before Christmas. Kind of just winging it. Maybe worse as the one member of staff who really tried to help has now left.

Why do I get a sinking feeling…

Galapagos

So no new animal photos this New Years. A year without the holiday zoo trip. So we replaced it with a few hours watching a David Attenborough DVD. Which worked out quite well and significantly cheaper.

Dad I’d like to go to the Galápagos Islands

Your mum went there on one of her adventures. I must find the photos she took.

What did she think of it.”

She really loved it. Well until one of the volcanoes had a minor eruption which restricted where she could go and then she caught a minor tropical disease as she left.

What happened.”

She ended up being holed up in a hotel room Ecuador. She missed her flight back.

Didn’t you fly out to check on her?”

What do you think. If she’s had a tropical pesky then she could keep it to herself. 6000 miles was as close as I was getting….

Yes I’m with you on that Dad”.

**********

15 years after that tropical virus the ‘avoid the pesky’ strategy is in overdrive here. It has been for 9 months. It will be for many months to come. I’m fairly relaxed about things but Hawklad most definitely isn’t. So we batten down the hatches. Get ready for the long haul. It might be an idea to stock up on those Attenborough documentaries. They are probably going to get some hammer during 2021.

Start with a change

It’s still a little cold here. Definitely a cold start to 2021.

We have a family tradition. For the last 7 years I’ve taken Hawklad on New Years Day to Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Set off at 8am. Get there for when it opens. Spend a few hours wandering round the animals. Then grab a burger and leave before the real crowds arrive.

It’s a lovely tradition that Hawklad loves.

But life happens. Only essential journeys are recommended. Avoid out of area travel.

AND

Hawklad just isn’t in the right frame of mind to go. He is seemingly a million miles from venturing into public places.

So no Wildlife Park visit this New Years Day. So we improvised. A homemade burger and a Pepsi, just like he would have had. A hot donut replaced with a warmed up cake. Then we sat and watched a David Attenborough wildlife TV series.

Not quite the tradition but a decent replacement given what was available to us. 2021 feels like a year for making the best of it.

Well that’s going to be fun

As it stands Hawklad is due for his first home counselling visit in months. Sometime next week – maybe….

If the visit happens then it will be very different. We have already been warned that even though the visit is outside or in separate cars then extra precautions have to be introduced. The nurse will have to wear gloves and a full face mask at all times.

A big part of me is tempted to cancel the visit. The site of protective gear is not going to do anything for Hawklads anxieties. It might even make things worse. But here’s the problem. Under the Governments cost cutting agenda, a cancelled visit can lead to the service being removed. So the accepted term is prioritised.

Going to have to think about this.

Who knows

Dog really wants to walk through that. I’m not so keen. Who wins the battle of minds.

I’ve got wet feet….

So the schools are here are due to go back next Monday. The hospitals are full to busting. Infection rates are rising fast.

The Government says the situation is in hand. The scientists and doctors are pleading for more action. They want schools to stay closed and use online education for a few weeks. The Government is resisting the move to that. They might stagger the return over a week with a good portion of pupils back in 7 days. They want to test all pupils with the unreliable, quick results method in the first week. That’s the answer apparently.

So as I’m writing this most parents just don’t know what’s happening next week.

I guess it doesn’t effect our little family that much. Hawklad is not starting back next week anyway. He just can’t. Maybe more online support will be opened up. How knows. We just have to make the best of it. Go with the flow.

It’s all such a huge mess.

No one ever asks

It’s been a little wet over the last few days. The sheep have got themselves a couple of paddling pools. We might give those a miss. I guess no one will be to upset about that.

I have a questionnaire to fill out about school and it’s services. Looking at lots of areas.

Teaching quality, subject material, classroom facilities, school meals, communication, discipline, bullying, uniform, school transport, sports facilities, IT, websites, outside clubs…..

Lots and lots of areas. So many questions.

What’s revealing is not the questions being asked but those which are not asked. Ones which are never asked. Questions about Autism and Aspergers support. Dyslexia support. Learning Disability support.

No one ever asks. It’s not just our school. It’s across the board. No one ever asks. We live in a world driven by performance measures and league tables. Yet no one ever asks….

I wonder why that is.

Worn out

It’s a cold, bleak start to the day. Kind of feels like a black and white photo is the way to go.

I was thinking about how a break would be most welcome. Especially today.

We all need a break every so often. Either a change. Or a time to relax. Or a chance to really let the hair down. A chance to experience new lands. Or just a time to breathe.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I am so fortunate with my life. Far too many have so little and are in such dark place. But today I’m feeling just a little worn out. Tired. Thinking back to my last break back in 2015. A lots happened since then. Some good but some really bad. Since 2016 it’s been single Aspergers parenting, fighting the system for our son and trying to eke out an income to pay the bills. Feels like it’s been non stop. A few concerts with Hawklad and taking him to see the occasional sport event. A few walks and up to this year, trail runs. So yes things to be thankful for. But…

But today I just feel worn out. In need of a break. Even just a night away from the house. A different bed. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve done that. But deep down I know that’s not happening any time soon. Asperger parenting is something that you can just can’t drop. Certainly not for a few more years. Maybe longer. So it’s about finding other ways to feel less worn out. Exploiting the options that are open to me and also being thankful for what I have. There are such beautiful things in my life.

We can do this.