Mini Fib

Glorious weather in drought hit Yorkshire.

The fields aren’t muddy at all…

Apparently one of my sisters has put her Christmas Tree and Outdoor Lights up today. Which prompted a household discussion on when to put our decorations up. The consensus was MOST DEFINITELY NOT NOW.

This all brought Hawklad to revisit the Great Santa Claus issue.

“Dad, a few years back, exactly when were you going to tell me”

At some stage, maybe when you reached 50.

“Really…”

Sorry, that was a joke #### I have to be so careful as Hawklad still can take everything I say literally##### I was going to give you one more Christmas before you found out. I certainly wasn’t planning on the pesky School Religious Education Teacher telling all the class to grow up and then let the cat out of the bag in the week before Christmas. My MINI FIB was blown out of the water.

“Are there any more MINI FIBS I need to know”

I don’t think so.

##### That sadly is not strictly true. Following a long family tradition our sick bowl doubles up as the baking mixing bowl. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ Some things are best not shared especially as he is about to tuck into some homemade bread…..

Grey

That kinda day. Most definitely GREY.

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.

World Cup

Hawklad had been working towards his Mock Exams, waiting for school to clarify the arrangements. This week the exams started and we got clarification. Hawklad will definitely not sit mock exams until at least February. The question is how much more teaching will be made available to him from now on as much of the online school material has dried up. There is talk of one to one tuition for a couple of hours a week, however school can’t afford to buy that support in. As school are understaffed we don’t have a start date for support. So we plod on effectively with homeschooling and rely on school to arrange the final exams. Hoping we cover the right areas, find the right things to learn.

It really does feel like that a gap is opening up with his school based classmates.

“Well Dad I might end up failing my exams but at least I can watch the World Cup”

Always a bright side……

Bill

A great place to think….

A great place to get cold as well…..

Well I was…..

24 hours after my double shot of Flu and Covid booster vaccines. The arm which enjoyed the Pfizer needle was feeling like it had been repeatedly punched by Tyson Fury. The rest of me was just feeling cold, like I had a cold. Not sure why but every single time I have had the Flu vaccine, the next day I have without fail come down with cold symptoms and it was no different this year.

So feeling COLD and THINKING next to this awesome little lake.

“Dad I’ve come up with a Christmas list idea, how about a Scalextric Set…”

Bang goes my one great big surprise idea….. Pants…..

“You don’t need to get me any Shakespeare stuff Dad, anything to do with School English Literature is not ever making the list now. Definitely not after school sucked the life out of it.”

It’s ok, Shakespeare was not in the Gift running list. The one and only time he did make the GIFT list, it was via the wonderful Horrible Histories BILL movie.

“Dad we haven’t watched the Horrible Histories movie in ages. I learnt more from that movie than school has ever managed to teach me about Shakespeare in years. The movie was fun, school isn’t….”

He’s not wrong there….

Can you remember the last time you had fun with your schools.

“Not happened so far, but to be fair, I’ve only been at school for 11 years.”

And stood by this cold lake, we probably stumble on why education in the UK is in such a mess for so many families.

Monuments

A weekend walk on the Yorkshire Wolds.

Yorkshire does like a good old monument. Three good ones on one brief walk.

So school should be fully back in swing now but I’m left with one overriding feeling.

WHAT IS THE POINT…..

School helpfully emailed all parents with a list of topics that need revising for the upcoming Mock Exams. Unfortunately well over half the topics are new news items to Hawklad. Is it revising when you have to look at a topic for the first time. Deep sigh….

Hardly any interactions with teaching staff still, Hawklad is definitely feeling increasingly cut adrift. Unfortunately for the rare subjects that are still in touch, he kinda wishes they had joined in the collective radio silence.

One of the teachers did mark some of his submitted work. I thought it was really good work, better than I could ever manage. But what do I know, the teacher awarded him a FAIL. Apparently when a question asks for consequences of a particular event, marks will only be awarded if the pupil sticks to the limited number of consequences provided by the teacher in class, which have been approved by those in charge. It reflects just one of a number of equally valid opinions. Stick to what you are told. Parrot learn the wording and then regurgitate the words in the exam. Critical thinking, or thinking for yourself are not required. Valid consequences and detailed reasonings that differ from the very narrow school script are not accepted. I did recheck Hawklad’s answer and yes I quickly found that his arguments were backed up by a number of subject experts. Hawklad really can’t get his head round all this. It confuses him. It frustrates him. It makes him doubt himself.

What makes this worse is that this is his favourite subject. The subject he is best at. The one he enjoys the most and yet because of the academic approach, it’s now the one he is getting the lowest marks in.

Failed for thinking. Failed for having a passion in something. Kinda sums up the school at present.

It just seems like a MONUMENTal waste.

I do like a good pun, but tonight even that pun doesn’t make me smile. Yes school is back again.

Random Facts

Another busy Yorkshire motorway…

Here is a completely random fact for you. If this was like one of those fine old Roman Roads, and just kept going ‘straight as a die’. Well if you kept driving straight, in just over an hour, you would get to where Chris Rea was born. I’m not sure this would be the Road to Hell he was talking about. Add another few miles on in that direction and you get to where mum was born. She had a few Chris Rea cd’s.

Sorry, this is what happens when you play with the newly found compass and direction finder on your mobile. Especially when your stood waiting for Captain Chaos to finish off his morning constitutional. It takes a while…..

It’s also happens to be nearly 2 miles to the nearest dog poo bin. Deep joy. Spookily 2 miles in the same direction as Chris Rea.

Actually thinking about it, I could also have picked the Free and Bad Company vocalist, Paul Rodger’s birth place. That would have been ‘Alright Now’. Then again I could have gone for Captain James Cook, but I’m not sure what his Rock Music credentials are like.

It’s nice to be thinking about other things for a few days. Even random things. Schooling was really getting me down. School definitely feels like somewhere between the Road to Hell and Another Brick in the Wall, but let’s worry about that next week. Back to random facts.

This road leads you to the actor Richard Griffiths birthplace, thars the actor who played Harry Potters Stepdad. Go a few more miles down this extended road and you get to Ridley Scott’s birthplace. Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner.

Random Facts……

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.

Swiss Sunday

As a kid, I felt trapped in a northern costal town. A town surrounded by sea and industry. Back in those days, travel was a rarity in this hard working environment. Money was tight, dreams confined. Like many from that windy, smokey town, we felt cut off from the world. The only world we had was what we could see and touch, which wasn’t much.

But one snotty nosed kid with big Joe 90 glasses (look that one up 🤣🤣🤣) would walk into town every Saturday morning. Armed with money from Dad to buy cod off the returning fishing boats. He would spend some time waiting for the boats to land on the beaches in the Amusements. Watching other kids play the latest versions of Space Invaders or PAC-MAN. But before that he would be found in the Town’s library, sat by the indoor goldfish pond (yep the library had one). Looking at pictures in mountaineering books, of exotic places, of exhilarating adventures. A life completely different to that found in this isolated, grey place. One place really captivated him. A magical looking place called Switzerland. One mountain hooked him. It looked ominous, it looked foreboding. Reading tales of heroism and tragedy on its sheer ice filled walls. He dreamt of being there, standing next to The Eiger.

Never in his wildest dreams did that kid ever imagine that decades later that seaside town would be history. He would have visited on many occasions that magical Swiss landscape, it was even better than he ever imagined AND his son would stand under the mighty Eiger.

You just never know what paths will open up when the time is right.

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.

Pesky minus

Autumn is here. The Swallows and Swifts have left for warmer climes. Today felt cold even under a thick hoody.

Hawklad is making great strides on the dyslexia front. His reading is really good, now able to read History Textbooks. It’s hard to believe that back in 2020 he struggled to read books aimed at 6 and 7 year olds and school had decided that he would never read, so there was no point trying anymore. Sadly I realise they never really started trying in the first place. I had even gone out and bought a reading pen. He can now accurately read maybe 80% of the words then he can make educated guesses on most of the other ones. It works for him and that’s all that matters.

What is still very much a work in progress is his number dyslexia. He has finally conquered his difficultly with 4 and 7’s. Getting the two mixed up and often writing the two numbers back to front. But he just can’t break the roadblocks that are decimal points, fractions and minuses. Today he was easily expanding out complex equations, yet he would immediately grind to a halt when faced with something like +5-7. He just can’t visualise that. The problem is at home I can gently help with that, but in an exam there is no help.

This week has also highlighted another school stumbling block with reading. SHAKESPEARE. Hawklad’s way of reading just can’t cope with Shakespearean language and spellings.

And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear’st,

An open et caetera, thou a poperin pear!

I did try to read the sonnets to him but I struggle with Shakespeare as well. Plus according to Hawklad when I read, my character voice sounds like I’m reading parts from a SpongeBob cartoon. My Romeo apparently is a dead ringer for Patrick. But at least we have a solution to this one. Just watch the play on thou swear’st Netflix.