Summer

Cold, cold, cold but sunny.

Can’t believe the break from school is almost over. As Hawklad isn’t ready to go back we go again on the school at home project. Wait for it. Using my fingers to count past 10 I think Monday will be the 212th home at school teaching day. Does that make me a proper teacher now…..

I must admit there feels like there is quite a lot of schooling fatigue on both the pupil and the parent now. If this was true homeschooling then now would be the time for changing things up. But it isn’t so lessons start again at 840am on Monday. The weekend will be spent trying to complete holiday homework.

It might just be about limping through until the summer break. This summer feels like it’s the crucial time. Can’t see him returning to school before then. So summer is when we either fully commit to homeschooling or we try to move closer to a return to the classroom.

The process will be tough enough….

The last thing we need is a self righteous horse whip clown determined to use children as a way to become PM. To appear the hard man. Wanting to take schools back to Victorian values. A clown who is trying to now push through changes to extend the school day, reduce school holidays, increase homework and drive through increased discipline.

If I’m honest I’m not looking forward to the next few months.

Sea

I was born by the Sea. Brought up by the sea. When I’ve been struggling in life I have often headed towards the Sea to breathe. A brilliant place to head to as a parent. Some of my best times have been by the Sea.

Even when I moved inland I would frequently find a way back for a few precious hours. Then life happened. A Pandemic changed everything. It must be over 18 months since my last trip to the Sea now. My longest time away.

So when life changes again AND IT WILL – guess where I’m heading.

Warning

Warning. In some countries the self absorbed, moronic idiots are still in charge.

Photo from The Guardian

Remember this PRAT. He is in Secretary of State for Education. Yes the idiot with a horse whip on his desk. A bloke who has been recently described by a respected former member of the Government as a ‘venomous, self seeking little s**t’.

Well the Prat has spoken again. Apparently ‘a generation of children have lacked discipline and order during the pandemic’. So he will be launching a crackdown on behaviour in schools……

Is he going to bother revealing his evidence for his claim. Or as usual is he just getting his views from the a couple of extreme right wing political lobbying groups that he follows.

It’s odd as every teacher and parent I have heard have been praising just how good school children have been, how well they have reacted to the pandemic. They have been brilliant. An unprecedented time of disruption. Schools open and closed. Exams on and off. Exam results messed up by the actions of this prat. Not being able to meet with friends. Holidays cancelled. Sports and leisure activities curtailed. Living through such awful times. AND TOO many going hungry as families struggle.

But this prat thinks they need discipline. Has he forgotten that he was sacked by the last PM when he was the Defence Secretary for leaking official secrets. He broke the Official Secrets Act, behaviour that ends up in prison for mere mortals. Clearly someone with high personal behaviour standards.

How did my country go so wrong. So wrong that someone like him ends up running our schools. Now people will vote for him, it’s currently still a free country. They might agree with him. Fine but if that is how they view our younger generation then I have the same contempt for them as I do for this prat. The children aren’t the problem, it’s the people who think the way this prat thinks who are the real problem. The children are the future, the hope, the solution to this corrupt mess.

Fame 2

It’s funny how you forget things. A couple of days back I was writing about my lame brushes with fame. Then this morning another memory flooded back into my mind.

My Dad took me on a train to see a charity cricket match. My first ever game. I think I was about 8. It was one of those matches with former cricketers, celebrities and a few local club players. It was a decent turnout of stars so a large crowd turned up.

Some quite well known former Yorkshire and England players with one huge star. One of England’s greatest ever fast bowlers and larger than life characters, Fred Truman.

At the end of the game my Dad told me that I would like to get Fred’s autograph. That was news to me….. Handily Dad had brought an autograph book and pen. Almost as if the autograph was for him…. So I was sent off to obtain the signature while Dad finished off his beer. A bit later I came back with various scribbles, one was definitely a TV celebrity – Leslie Crowther. But no Freddie.

That clearly wasn’t to Dad‘s liking and he decided to help me now. After much looking Freddie was located. He was in the players changing room. Next thing I knew Dad had pushed me through the door with clear instructions. Your not going home until you get that signature….

I was surrounded by men in various states of undress…. All appeared to be drinking. No sign of Freddie. So I asked. Freddie was in the showers. So yes I did get the great mans autograph. When he was completely naked. How could I forget that…..

Dad was happy. I never did see MY autograph book again….

Wow how times have changed……

Schools Out

Schools Out, Schools Out for Easter.

The last day of term was marked with another school letter. Another positive pupil case with 45 other pupils in isolation for 10 days. Across the country infection rates amongst the 5 to 14 age group are rising since schools returned. On Monday some of the country’s lockdown rules are eased.

Well at least everyone is still wearing masks…..

On the way back from the vaccination centre yesterday I stopped off for petrol. Straw pole. Me and the person behind the till had masks fully on. One lady appeared to have a mask but she was carrying it in her hand. Another guy had a mask hanging loosely around his neck. Everyone else, no mask.

Lockdowns Out, Lockdowns Out for Easter

So the two week break has started. Started with sitting out in the baking sun. Talking with Hawklad on what he would like to do over the next few days. First ice creams of the break. Sat outside in the freezing wind.

Wooly Jumpers Out, Wooly Jumpers Out for Easter.

Somersault

Almost a summer sky and most definitely a winter wind – it’s freezing. Definitely a two jumper day…. But still nice. Would have loved to be outside more but pesky school got in the way of that plan.

After two hours of trying to figure out how to insert graphs into an online test document…

Dad I thought you had a degree in computing.”

Well kind of.

Well it’s not much use here. Admit it you spent those university years in the bar…”

And on the sports pitches. Don’t forget in bed as well.

Well that’s not helping with this is it Dad. Might as well ask the toilet seat for help.”

To be fair I focused on Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems, not stupid school packages. What you sniggering at Son….

You. Muppet Dad. Are you sure it wasn’t Artificial Incompetence. Useless. Looks like you’ve just crashed the system now.”

Yes definitely crashed. Think it didn’t like me pressing all the keys at the same time in a slightly angry manner.

How on earth did they let you into a university.”

I think they were desperate. I was late for the entrance interview as well. I got lost and ended up at the wrong university, in the wrong city. When I did arrive i was 3 hours late only to find out that I had the wrong day as well. I had come a day early.

No wonder as a toddler I would talk with mum and just bash you over the head with anything I could find.”

I’ve still got the bruises.

“No Dad those are from last week where you tried to show me that you could still do a somersault on the trampoline. “

I almost did it. Just my bum got in the way.

Report

The end of term report landed today. Whatever happened to the old paper report books I got as a child. Now it’s downloadable content. Handwritten teacher narrative replaced by numbers and symbol targets. My report was easy to follow. Just look out for the telling teaching phrases

“Must try harder”

“Falls asleep in class”

“Daydreamer”

“Always looking out of the window”

“Distinctly average”

“Oh dear, where do I start”

Hawklad’s report is much harder to fathom out. After several hours of review I’m still not entirely sure what it’s telling me. Maybe it’s telling me to dig out the chocolate and watch Ice Age.

At least the arrival of the Term Reports does reveal one fact. A pleasant fact. In just a couple of days the Term will end and it’s a couple of weeks off. Hawklad gets a break. I get a break. A break from school at home.

That’s a report finding I can fully get behind.

Homework

Let’s be honest I’m not the biggest fan of school homework. Not a fan all those years ago when I suffered it as a child and certainly not now as a parent. Occasionally the homework I’ve encountered has had some learning merits. On a few rarer occasions it’s been interesting even wait for it – FUN. Sadly in the vast majority of cases it’s unremittingly dull, of little value to the child and no better than parrot learning dross. A desperate attempt to tick off parts of the government curriculum. I’ve lost count of the times Hawklad has put so much effort into a piece of homework and then gets zero feedback. Too often it’s probably not even marked.

What is the point….

Hawklad has a number of such seemingly meaningless pieces of homework to complete this week. Let’s just look at one of those. How about Religious Education. To paraphrase

Look at your last classroom assessment. Examine your answers and look at the comments. Make corrections to your answers in green pen (must be in green) so that all the teacher comments have been clearly considered. Now fully re-answer two of the assessment questions in your book ensuring all teacher comments are addressed. Homework must be submitted before the start of the next lesson.

That’s RE…. I might be missing something but is that really how you teach this subject. How you teach any subject. How is that approach doing anything positive. Talk about draining the FUN and ENJOYMENT out of school. And guess what.

Dad can I drop this subject….”.

Homework – don’t you just love it…. Well the Government does as it fits in with their schooling vision….How depressing is that.

Motivation

A number of comments over the last few months have brought up one word. Motivation. Motivation for the parents to keep grinding through the homeschool days. Motivation of the teachers to keep entering cramped and unhealthy classrooms to keep trying to educate. What are the real motivations of the Government. AND most importantly the motivation required for pupils to keep trying to learn when the odds are stacked against them.

Dad, REALLY, what is the point…”

What’s wrong Hawklad.

Nothing from best lesson of the day. Not a thing yet the next lesson manages to flood me with stuff after stuff on what the various religions say on same sex marriages.”

Don’t get me wrong it’s an important thing. But not in this much detail. Frankly I’m bored now. Very bored.”

They tell me in great detail what others think but haven’t bothered to ask my opinion.”

Well Son it’s the last lesson of this for a week.

Well it will be back next week talking about the same things again. Not sure it’s possible to be anymore bored than I am right now.”

“What is the point…. well now they have given homework out on this. Tough – I will just take the punishment. I’m not doing it.”

Well find something else to learn about.

I have. I watched a video on Maggie Thatcher and how she was booted out of office.”

Good for you.

It’s not something that will be on the exams as school don’t cover it. But stuff it. Its better than the stuff we are being told what to learn about today. What is the point.”

Mixed

Another one of those school at home days for Hawklad. Two lessons fully made available and with in lesson email support. Can’t fault that support at all. Then two lessons with absolutely nothing. No support. No classroom material. No idea what the class did.

Yesterday was a similar picture. One complete lesson with full classroom support. One lesson with some documents shared but no support. Then two ghost lessons. Absolutely nothing. Complete radio silence.

That creates kind of a problem. In some subjects Hawklad is keeping up with the class. But in other subjects repeated missing or incomplete lessons will eventually take its toll. He will fall behind. With no prospect of him returning any time soon the issues with certain subjects will grow. A time will come when he can’t make up the gap.

It’s a real concern. I’ve spoken to school, but these are such challenging times for schools. I guess it’s just making the best of it for the moment. Hanging in there until Hawklad is able to return or he opts out of school teaching permanently.