Weeding

A proper garden…

Sometimes not weeding is the right approach.

Tomorrow is one of those school video meetings. 9 minutes with the schools lead Special Education Teacher. So much to discuss in just NINE minutes. Where’s the support. What are the options if Hawklad can’t sit exams. Scope for one to one tuition. Let’s see what comes of it.

Today was supposed to be a mock exam but nothing came from school. Maybe they aren’t allowed to send it out, maybe it’s coming later. Another one for the 9 minute discussion.

So without a home exam to sort out it was time to do a spot of gardening. Well look at the garden. Surely looking and planning counts as gardening. As I was doing that hands free gardening I managed to find some lost (or dognapped) property. Numerous socks, a slipper, a plastic dog bowl, several balls and bizarrely a pair of my pants…. I can’t remember losing them while weeding.

Thunder

A couple of hours later and this quiet lane would have been a raging, torrential river. Huge thunderstorms. Too dark even for the iPhone to take a photo.

It’s been that kinda day.

Power cuts. No mobile phone signal. Even the satellite tv had no signal. Frustratingly for Hawklad, the school online system was still working. Work to produce revision notes on a topic that Hawklad had no idea that the rest of the class had covered a few months back. Oh the joys of the school at home project. The schooling system here is just not designed to be flexible for individual needs and circumstances.

Then another discovery. A moment of insight into a subject in which absolutely none of Hawklad’s submitted work (week after week since September) has ever been marked. Conveniently difficult to locate on the system, we accidentally discovered answer sheets. Apparently the pupils had to mark and correct their own work . That would explain things then. It will be one of those things where the teacher has explained that to the class but the message hasn’t made it over the internet to Hawklad.

One day we might get this right.

But then a more pressing thought. Why has the herd of cows that was sheltering next to our garden fence, seeking protection from electrical storm, suddenly decided to leg it to safety, seemingly as far away from our house as possible. What do they know. Maybe it’s time to hide under the table. But apparently not.

“Dad what do you expect when you have started singing Schools Out at the top of your voice. A voice that is scarier than my sock draw. Faced with that, no wonder the cows decided to risk lightening strikes to escape that awful fate.”

Definitely been one of those days…..

Punishment

A much needed late afternoon walk. Feels like we have the place to ourselves.

Next week the School starts the mock exams for Hawklad’s Year Group. We are still waiting to hear what the arrangements are for Hawklad as he is still not in school. We know when the exams are and the clock is ticking. We are assuming he is sitting them in some form so he has been revising. Like for most of us – he is not enjoying the experience. But he is trying. Many pupils will be trying. I wish certain teachers would realise that.

One particular Teacher approaches revising by setting shed loads of homework. And I mean SHED LOADS. Question after question. But also setting tasks such as getting pupils to write out detailed revision notes and then submit them so that the teacher can make sure sufficient work is being undertaken. If a pupil doesn’t complete all the set homework then punishments will be issued. The Teacher emailed all her class and emphasised that if all the homework was not completed by the end of the weekend to a high standard then Detentions will be issued…..

Hawklad asked me how School would operate a DETENTION if he was issued with one. I gave this much thought since we don’t have a suitable classroom. Best option would be to send him into the back room. The room which has his XBOX which I’m sure will be ON.

Hawklad just doesn’t learn facts by writing out comprehensive neat revision notes. His mind doesn’t work like that. He watches videos and podcasts. He reads books. He thinks about stuff while pacing around the house. He creates images and visual maps in his mind. That’s how things stick for him. That’s certainly not helped by the threat of detentions for doing things that just don’t work for him.

I’ve emailed the teacher to explain this and stressed that revision notes will not be submitted. Maybe I will get a detention as well. Maybe we can play FIFA 21 together while serving our punishment.

Detention might be a good break from the chores of revision.

Expelled

Well that was a different home at school week. A first, I believe. Not one interaction with school. With quite a bit of digging on the school online system we found a few pieces of work to try. We also found a homework task about Serial Killers which had been set for the rest of the class. But no emails, no communication from the teachers. Hawklad was completely left to himself. When he submitted work, it’s remained unmarked. I’m not sure if they would have noticed if he had stayed in bed all week watching Jumanji.

As the next school break is not for a few weeks ……… Has Hawklad been EXPELLED. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Sea

A sea of yellow.

If Captain Chaos made it in there, I’m not sure we would get him out this side of Christmas. If I played golf I bet my ball would definitely land somewhere in that.

So the home at school project is back. Over two years now. Wow two years.

It’s only been a two week school break but so much has been forgotten, by parent and pupil. Trigonometry was mastered, two weeks later it might as well be a cross stitching pattern. Intricate, perplexing, ultimately an unfathomable jumble. Forgetting things is very understandable with my Sinclair ZX81 of a brain (an ancient first try at a home computer which was as powerful as my left buttock). But Hawklad should be different, he has an amazing memory. No he can’t remember any Trig from two weeks back yet ask him about things that interest him and it’s almost PERFECT TOTAL RECALL. Remember stuff from years back. That’s the secret, stuff that interests him.

Sadly British Secondary Education doesn’t fall into that interest bracket……

Fantastic

The daffodils are still hanging on through the cold weather. It might look like the sun is beating down but it’s still most definitely THREE jumper weather.

The Easter School Break started this afternoon. Two weeks off for Hawklad and he is definitely ready for it. As he pointed out

Who would have thought Homeschooling would be such hard work 🤣🤣🤣🤣

Who would have also thought that a million years after leaving school (or was I kicked out, I can’t remember) I would be trying to explain COS, SIN and TAN functions even though a million years ago they made no sense to me at all.

Dad do they make any sense to you. You seem as confident with them as you are with LEFT and RIGHT.”

That’s no vote of confidence. After a million years I still can’t figure those two words out. It’s that bad that when I’m driving and someone is navigating LEFT and RIGHT are banned words. Instead I have two soft toys. A Bagpuss and a Mutley. Bagpuss goes on one side of the car dashboard, Mutley goes on the other side. Then the directions are turn to Mutley or turn to Bagpuss. It’s FOOL proof, well it works with this FOOL.

Now how can I use soft toys to explain trigonometry. But as it’s now the holidays that little conundrum can wait for two weeks. Two weeks without school being mentioned sounds fantastic.

Poetry woes

We are trying to stick to the school class timetable, starting and finishing lessons at the same time as his classmates. We figured that was a decent way of bringing structure to the school at home week. We also thought that if and when Hawklad returns to school then at least he would be use to working the full timetable.

In practice it is difficult when some lessons are posted late ( hours late, even days late and yes sometimes never posted).

This day started with an English lesson. POETRY. Poems on a theme.

Do not stand at my grave and cry…..

They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock…..

I had not thought it would be like this…..

Revising poems about loss and grief. Learning about a poet who had lost his father when he was a child and was now grieving the loss of his mum. You get the picture. Wonderful poetry from the likes of Frye and Causley.

Yes loss and grief are powerful themes but there are other subjects to go for. Safer subjects for children. What about those children who have lost loved ones. Is it fair on them. Should an English lesson and potentially exams bring tears of sadness. If kids want to look at grief poetry then they can but let it be a free choice, when they are ready and never let it be forced on them. Some might say I’m being overprotective of Hawklad but we all deal with loss in our own way, especially important when a child loses his mum when he is only 8. At home we still carefully try to filter out movies that bring sadness to Hawklad. That’s OUR choice.

I’m not frustrated with the school or teacher. They are told what poems they have to teach. Surely when those in charge put the national curriculum together, is it too much to ask that they do this sensitively. Consider what impact some of the coursework could have on some of the pupils. Is that too much to ask.

Waters

Why is it that as I get older my body rejects more and more food and drink. More foods and drinks that it struggles with. AND why is it always the stuff I love. It’s never broccoli or cauliflower or beetroot.

When I mentioned that to Hawklad he simply sighed, shrugged his shoulders and reflected on life.

“It’s because you love the really unhealthy things…..”

There is that…..

Water is good but add shed loads of full on coffee and it’s not so good anymore. Ice is good but add bucket loads of Cream and …….

I guess it’s just like education. Learning is good but add too much British Schooling and sadly ……

Am I being unfair, probably so but it’s sometimes hard not to be. Up to 12 months ago Hawklad loved HISTORY. REALLY LOVED IT. He loved learning about History. He loved learning about details, facts, dates, people. He couldn’t get enough of it. But then the school HISTORY syllabus hit. He has zero interest in Victorian Crime and Serial Killers. He didn’t want to learn about the details of infamous crimes and punishments (month after month). Today I found him staring into space. School history lessons finally moved on from Jack the Ripper. Now he is having to learn about the development of the American Cattle Ranching Industry after the Civil War. Unfortunately that is just not Hawklad. He is rapidly falling out of love with History. He is falling out of love with learning.

That can’t be healthy or right. Is it so hard to tailor learning to the individual. Clearly so as this afternoon hours were spent trying to parrot learn Ionic Chemical Equations. Guess what

More hours of Hawklad staring vaguely into space.

Should it really have to be like this.

Sledging the exam

A beautiful spring day here in the Tropics. Temperatures below freezing for most of the day. Definitely feels like April. 😂😂😂😂

The bonkers weather continues. According to the forecast, in seven day’s time we might be basking in temperatures about 24C higher than todays tropical highs. Will the weather make its mind up.

Unbelievably this morning we were sledging. Wasn’t really enough snow but sometimes you just have to give it a go. The sledge took a bit of setting off but with effort it eventually got going. Two different approaches producing the same amount of decent speed. Hawklad with his aerodynamic streamlined body and his Dad with his very very very large backside (which produces a shed load of momentum when it’s in motion). I must admit I left much deeper tracks than Hawklad (that must be just down to some strange climatic conditions….).

Guess who managed to put a large crack into the bottom of the poor old sledge……

Now here’s the thing. At the exact time that my backside was stress testing the base of the sledge, Hawklad was supposed to be sitting a mock exam. Does it really matter if Hawklad started the exam two hours late. His Invigilator (a person with a sledge breaking backside) was more than ok with the delay. When he finally started the exam he had a pen in one hand and a steaming cup of hot chocolate in the other. Doing an exam with a smile on his face. That’s surely how you do an exam.

Autumn

That feels like a scene from Autumn not a late March day. And not just one leaf, lots of them.

So the online Parent Evening came and went. Four minute teacher video calls was just not enough. But I guess I did get to speak to every one of Hawklad’s subject Teachers plus the Head of Year, all within 50 minutes. Definitely felt all a bit crazy with just one minute gaps between each session. Blink and they were gone.

A couple of the teachers were very proactive. They came with ideas to help his homeschooling. They had clearly been thinking about Hawklad. We will definitely try those ideas. So that was a few minutes well spent.

I made suggestions to some of the other teachers, a couple sounded keen to try them. Others not so interested. Unbelievably with one teacher, the four minutes actually felt too long. Just didn’t seem to be interested.

Another teacher spent the four minutes unsuccessfully trying to explain who Hawklad’s 80% online exam score was converted into a predicted final grade which was borderline fail. Another teacher raised the issue that Hawklad had to improve his spelling and didn’t seem to grasp the concept of dyslexia.

But the main thing about the evening was I pulled Hawklad from the formal exams happening in two months time. He’s just not ready for that step, a view backed by his heath professional. School will now approach the exam authorities to see what can be done. It’s one less worry for Hawklad in the short term, that’s a good thing.

And with that the Parent Evening closed and the School at Home Project continues now into its third year. We might get there one day. Where that is we still have no real idea.