Shakespeare

Autumnal colours.

I wonder how Shakespeare would describe this scene. I bet he would use lots and lots of vowels…. This set me off thinking about school. What would Bill think about how his plays are taught in some schools these days. Initially he might be a tad chuffed that his words are still being read. Once he had got over that feeling, then what would he really think of how the plays are being used.

When I was at school with the dinosaurs, we would read the Shakespeare plays together as a class and then act out the scenes. I remember doing a rather excellent snotty nosed version of Lucentio. The teachers tried to make the learning fun and interactive. As a kid I shouldn’t have really liked Bill’s plays, but I actually did. School did it’s job.

Fast forward to Hawklad’s schooling and wow it’s changed. Shakespeare is still taught, just so very differently. The fun has gone… Now it’s about parrot learning key quotes. It’s about memorising the metaphors, the juxtapositions, the oxymorons, the alliterations. It’s not about acting the plays out, enjoying them, that’s all replaced by being told what to think about the plays. The work is so very often, repetitive, writing sections of the plays out, word for word. Then writing out the comments the teacher has scrawled next to the text. Then doing the same thing, over and over again. Got to get those words into the child’s head. Got to get the one approved interpretation memorised. They never ask what the pupil thinks about the play, just what the pupil can remember from the set model answer. In too many subjects Hawklad has been marked down for expressing his own opinion. Its not interactive learning, it’s more like brainwashing. Is it me or is schooling going backwards in the UK.

Deep sigh…..

I’m not sure Bill would be that impressed as well……

Fungi 2

It’s been a cracking Fungi season. A gift that keeps on giving.

The school half term holiday starts tomorrow evening. The school at home project has completely nosedived this half term. Any support provided is becoming at best very very very patchy, too many of the subjects are dropping completely off the radar. It’s all very vexing and we both quip that it feels like the postman will be bringing a letter from school saying that Hawklad has been sacked. So a week off is needed to lift his spirits, to relax. He is seriously stressed out.

Apparently NOT….

School has made it clear that for pupils like Hawklad, this half term is about work and revising. The school will be checking to see that pupils have put in the hour after hour of work by setting tests as soon as school reopens again.

All work NO play.

I realise other parents might take a different view but this is so wrong to me. Everybody needs a break, especially in these times. Kids need time to relax and have fun. So many are stressed out. Stressed out with school, freaked out by the madness they see unfold all around them. No wonder that UK Child Mental Health Services are being swamped. Latest figures show that over 400000 children per month are being treated for mental health problems.

So here, yes there will be a small bit of work but hopefully bucket loads of relaxation and play. If Hawklad isn’t up to work then stuff school.

Fungi

If you like Fungi, then this is the time to come to Yorkshire.

There has been MUSHROOM today to admire these regular autumnal visitors. A bit of a pattern is forming with Hawklad’s final school year before the main exams next May. A couple of subjects upload reasonable class notes onto the online school system, enough to follow a lesson but there is no interaction with the teacher. A couple of subjects will randomly load up shed load of questions, no explanations, no teaching materials, just questions. Hawklad then needs to figure out what he is supposed to be learning. Sadly his answers to the shed load of questions mostly remain unmarked, not even reviewed, an answer sheet makes it his responsibility to assess his own work. And the rest of the subjects, well let’s be polite, the bare minimum is sometimes being provided ….. possibly.

School has been back one month now and he hasn’t had any direct contact with a teacher. The occasional brief email, the occasional one or two word scribbled note on a document. That’s it. No teaching interaction.

So with a return to the classroom seemingly as remote a possibility as ever, we have mostly falling into homeschooling. It definitely doesn’t feel like a ‘school at home’ project anymore.

Crumble

It’s Autumn here in Yorkshire and Autumn means lots of really sour apples from our creaky old tree. What to do with them….

A few years back I would descend on my mum’s with bags laden with apples. She knew exactly what to do with them…. Make the most perfect apple crumbles.

So why not.

Not as good as mums but not bad at all. It’s amazing what difference shed loads of sugar and honey can make.

If I can do it…..

It’s the Great Bloggers Bake-off real soon.

Why don’t you have a go…..

You can find more details at Mel’s wonderful blog.

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2022/10/01/two-weeks-to-go/

Back

Autumn is here, school is here.

In the great tradition of Yorkshire Awkwardness, the moment the local water company declared a DROUGHT and brought in a hosepipe ban, ITS NOT REALLY STOPPED RAINING.

So SCHOOL is BACK. Is there an anti Alice Cooper ‘Schools Out’ song. Maybe Another Brick in the Wall…

When I say school is back, I kinda say that figuratively. So far only one subject has set up Hawklad with this year’s class codes, so only one subject is available on the online system. Apart from receiving one code the only other message from school was an email to all parents and pupils reminding (maybe threatening them) them of the attendance rules and the penalties. That’s it.

And so just like the autumn rain, so starts the chasing up school rigmarole, all over again. At least we have the hosepipe ban weather to sunbathe in.

Update… now add one more school email stressing the importance of pupils continuing to work as hard during the nations official mourning period while ensuring their behaviour is appropriately reflective. As Hawklad points out, the UK Parliament has closed for 10 days to mourn but that option is not applicable to schools – again one rule for some, another for the rest of us. WOW he is starting to sound like me, that’s not good.

It’s all in the message

Autumn is nearly over for another year. Sadly the same can’t be said about other things in life.

There’s been a few messages being pushed here in the UK since July.

Covid is now just like flu….

We are now learning to beat Covid….

Get a vaccine and you don’t need to worry about things like masks…..

We have a Prime Minister who makes a show of walking round a Hospital with no mask….Even after being told THREE times to put one on by staff. Finally he did after the cameras were turned off.

Photo of a selfish prat from The Mirror

All these messages mean that social distancing is often not happening here anymore. Masks are becoming a bit of a rarity in places like shops and public gatherings like football matches. But now the managed message has become way more disturbing. Here’s a phrase being used by the UK Government and freely repeated in news outlets.

Only 6 healthy children with no underlying health conditions have died due to Covid in the last 12 months here….

As if the other 112 children who died with conditions such as asthma don’t count as much. That attitude is such a dangerous road to go down for a country.

As if 6 plus 112 children dying is an acceptable number. Something which we are prepared to accept as normal. Sadly now this is the becoming the case, the norm. What are we becoming when our PM can say

‘I’ve given you the most important metric. Never mind life expectancy, never mind cancer outcomes, just look at wage growth’.

He’s not my leader. He will never me my leader. We deserve better than him. Our children, all our children deserve much better than someone like him.

Cobwebs

It’s that autumnal time of year for cobwebs. The local world is covered in them. Definitely another great reason to go outside. That one is almost good enough to play tennis with.

If only the cobwebs didn’t extend to my brain…..

Trying to show Hawklad how you work this little beauty out.

If 9 grams of water is decomposed, how many grams of oxygen and hydrogen are obtained?

If only it was just this one question. Another 30 questions of increasingly fiendish difficulty are facing Hawklad. As his science expert (🥸🥸🥸🤪🤪🤪) it was my job to explain that to him. Oh the brain cobwebs. That part of my brain has been much neglected over the many years since leaving university. Strangely no cobwebs in the parts of the brain that could answer questions like

Who won the FACUP in 1955?

Who played the hero scientist in Quatermass and the Pit?

Name all the characters in The Penguins of Madagascar?

Recite every word from The Dead Parrot sketch?

But sadly chemistry has much cobwebbing for some peculiar reason. So after 90 minutes of mental short circuiting I asked the next question with some trepidation.

What’s the next lesson?

Its History Dad. All about the 1542 Witchcraft Act.

Oooohhhhh. #@##%##@…..

It’s ok Dad, we have unbelievably done that before. I’m good on that. You can stand down for 90 minutes and have a rest.

The 1542 Witchcraft Act is clearly a horrible moment in our history but I get a rest, so for one day only, it’s gone up in my estimation. Does that make me a bad parent…….

Autumn Adventures

Soon the autumnal colours will be gone for another year. Time to batten down the hatches for winter. But there is still just about time to get out there, be a part of one of nature’s great shows.

It is a wonderful world, so many adventures still to be had.

But here’s the crazy thing. Why if it’s such a wonderful world, with endless possibilities, have I found so many excuses in the PAST to stay INSIDE so often.

That needs to change.

Walk free

Been that type of day. Dark, cold and brooding.

The paths and trails are empty. Another perfect day for a walk for Hawklad.

It’s nice to be school free this week. It’s nice to be able to walk without the anxieties that brings. It’s nice to hear Hawklad talking about fun stuff.

Yes it’s definitely nice to walk free this week.

Autumn

Damp, dark, chilly and windy. Definitely Autumn in Yorkshire. it also means places like The Yorkshire Arboretum will be unusually quiet. That’s the perfect time for Hawklad to have a relaxing visit. It’s good when he feels like he just about has a place to himself. That makes such a difference to him.

And it did.

And it made all the difference to his old Dad as well.

Can’t beat the quiet, can’t beat nature, can’t beat the autumnal colours.