7 days

Sun setting on another day. Looking at the forecast I think the sun is going on holiday for a few days and that holiday won’t be taken in Yorkshire.

It’s now a week off from school and the school at home project. Much needed. The last 7 weeks have been a grind. Lots of hard work and pushing, feeling like it’s lots of effort just to stand still. This week off needs to be about recharging the batteries. Letting Hawklad be himself, try to make it as fun as possible for him. Maybe even catch up with a little bit of Dad sleep. That alarm clock is definitely being switched off for a few days.

So I looked out across the hillside and across the Vale. Looking West towards the setting Sun which was briefly illuminating a strong, resilient tree. We can do this. So many wonderful moments can still be played out. Dreams are out there. Dreams can happen. It can be a wonderful life. It really can be.

Hatch

The local cows seeking shelter from the blistering Yorkshire Autumnal Sun. Wow it’s been cold. Definitely two jumper weather.

Today we have had plenty of time to be out in the cold. Four lessons today and virtually no work sent from school. One random map but no information, no explanation, no questions, just a map. That was it. Hawklad spent the day doing his own thing. Nothing else for him to do.

Eventually I called it. Enough for one day. Turn the school iPad off and let’s go and get some ice cream. I’m actually half tempted to tell him not to switch the iPad on tomorrow as well. Currently what is the point to this school at home project.

So ice cream it was. As I was walking back with the goodies. Then definite proof that Yorkshire Birds are a breed apart.

How long do I have to sit on this big egg before it hatches.

Without doubt the academic high of the day.

Waterproofing and holidays

That’s a proper Yorkshire view. A midday view… It’s going to be a right test of your wind and waterproofing.

Much shaking of the heads this morning. A teacher sent a brief revision guide ahead of an exam straight after the half term. Notes on the areas covered so far. Worryingly 3/4s of those areas are new to Hawklad. Just how much of class learning hasn’t been shared with him. Just how far behind is he falling. AND school don’t know as they are clearly not tracking his progress. Not one teacher has asked. How much of his submitted work is being marked. Often the only marking is where the answers are provided and Hawklad has to mark his own work.

Much shaking of the head….

So Hawklad has a much needed week off in a few days. Much needed for pupils, teachers and parents. These are tough times to be at school. So much stress, anxiety and pressure. That week off is needed.

Over that week Hawklad has to revise for 5 core subject tests that happen within the first 2 days of his return. That’s a shed load of revision over the holiday.

What is the issue with letting our children have true time off to actually enjoy themselves. Oh I forgot, Victorian Hard Work Ethics are good for society. Well I’m sorry if our Prime Minister can have a week off in a luxury holiday destination, painting his watercolours, unavailable for work, WELL surely our children can as well.

Painful

Beautiful walk but why did I do it in shorts. Those thistles are painful on the shins.

I’m trying to work out what’s more painful

The Dentist…

OR

School…

Unusually this time it’s not physical pain with the Dentist. Just pain on the wallet. How much for no work. Here is another thing. When the Hygienist is talking like at a million miles an hour about life, the universe, homeschooling. How did she remember that I’m a single dad with Hawklad at home. When she is firing questions at me about how I’m doing…what’s school doing….. will he go back….have you seen the Bond movie….

What is the protocol for responding. Do I just nod. Do I do someform of eyelash/eyebrow morse code. Do I try to talk as she is prodding around my teeth. Do I wait and save the answers up until she has finished.

It’s all beyond me.

The pain of school……

Hawklad asked a teacher a civil question about some lesson work. The teacher’s response was much less civil. Actually very sarcastic. Basically saying ‘what’s the point answering that if you can’t be bothered to send in any homework’. Hawklad stood his ground and said that he had submitted all the work to date. Teacher came back with ‘wrong, I’ve not seen anything from you all year’. Angry Dad got involved providing screen copies of all the work submitted, in the right location. Sarcastic Dad sensing blood added a screen copy of one piece of homework which showed clearly that the very same teacher had actually marked that piece of work. The words ‘Full Marks’ with the teachers signature next to it. Eventually a sheepish teacher replied ‘I might have been a little quick with those email’s’. Righteous Dad pointed out that the teacher hadn’t bothered to mark any of the other work Hawklad had submitted……

If only it was just one subject and just one teacher that I have had a run in with this week…. Much groaning which actually was probably the sound I made trying to respond to the hygienist while she was scraping around my teeth

Yes definitely today – The pain of school is far worse…….

Minecraft

The farmer doing his job.

The farmer starting to play MINECRAFT…..

I’m a simple bloke. I don’t have many talents. Not many redeeming features. It’s actually a good job that I look like a cross between George Clooney and Thor then….. 😂😂😂😂😂😂

Today one of the lessons Hawklad had to work through was in an area that I’m trained in. I can actually do this. But rather than a rare chance to show off I ended up shaking my head. It was that bad that I had my first real coffee in months.

What on earth are they teaching our children….

Who is deciding on the areas to learn…..

On what planet do they think that this is the best way to learn…..

Does anyone have the faintest clue if any child is ever going to need this information…..

Basically the lesson focused on the wrong areas, was highly selective, contained inaccuracies and was out of date. The potentially interesting and useful areas basically ignored. The mundane and least worthwhile areas most definitely focused on.

Is it the teacher – Maybe, maybe not. It is the national curriculum – DEFINITELY.

I’m seriously cheesed off with education. Maybe I should join the farmer and play Minecraft. Hawklad would definitely be better off playing that computer game than wasting his time on that lesson.

Questions

Amazingly we got a marked test paper back from school. That’s a first this year.

The score was down on his usual grades for the subject but…..

its a really good score considering that some of the marking seemed extremely picky and harsh. But I guess that’s what happens after you mark so many papers at home, at night. Police Corruption is wrong, Police Detective Corruption gets full marks.

it’s a really good score given it’s a subject where the content has been anxiety inducing madness this term.

it’s a really good score given…..

Exam questions are often vaguely worded but the marking schemes are often precisely prescribed. Misinterpret the question wording and it could be zero marks. Here’s the thing, Hawklad will read a question and see the problem from his point of view. Not wrong at all, just a different interpretation. His take on the world. Teachers have often used the phrase to Hawklad ‘you read that question WRONG’. Which is odd in that I often agree with Hawklad’s take on a question. Happened in this exam, TWICE. Two questions, two zero marks. Hawklad’s answers don’t tick any of the prescribed answers or words. Yet I think Hawklad’s interpretation is completely valid. His answers were really good but dismissed as invalid.

I sometimes think in this country, children are taught how to think, not encouraged TO THINK.

Morning

A brief bit of blue between the rain.

A time to pause.

This is version 2 of this post. The first was I guess similar in tone to many of my recents posts. I can summarise it in one line

Well if you don’t look at his submitted work then what is the point…..

But maybe I’m missing something. What happens if I look at the issue from a different angle.

Years ago I worked with a guy who was a right pain in the backside. He avoided work, blocked initiatives, sucked the life out of the organisation. But I got to know him. He wasn’t always like that. He was once keen, dedicated, wanted to make a difference. But years of rejection, failures, dead ends and broken promises took their toll. Eventually it changed him, drained him.

I have been hard on some of the teachers at school, as I am frustrated that Hawklad isn’t getting the support that he needs. But here’s the thing. In my country Teachers are undervalued and underpaid. They have become the whipping boys for the Government and the Media. Teachers are not allowed the freedom to teach. They are told by the Government what to teach, how to teach it and what learning sources to use. The syllabus is rammed full. They have to teach often in out dated classrooms with insufficient resources and support. Class sizes are too large often with teachers trying to teach something like 30 pupils. Teacher performance is measured purely on narrow measures set by the Government. With all this, is it any surprise that Hawklad isn’t getting the support I think he needs. Teachers are like pupils, just cogs in the system that is about the needs of the economy. It’s not about the needs and dreams of individual pupils.

No wonder that those kids who need support, don’t get it. That’s modern education in Britain.

Jam

Traffic meltdown in Yorkshire the other day. Hawklad, Captain Chaos and Muppet Dad had to walk past a toad on the road. Proper Traffic Jam during the morning rush hour. It’s a tough modern life here……

Do you think I miss city life…..

Would I miss school at home parenting…….

Another mad day…….

An email from school informing parents that they will need to fork out for a new school iPad which will be used during teaching. Three years ago we forked out for the last one.

More school emails about highly recommended study materials which can be (they probably should say, need to be) purchased. It’s not cheap this parenting lark.

An email from a teacher. The teacher asked Hawklad to stay in touch. That’s interesting as that very teacher hasn’t yet provided any teaching resources to Hawklad at any time this term……

4 remote lessons today. One completely missing. One mostly missing, maybe 5 minutes work provided. One sent a few questions, Hawklad completed them in 30 minutes (teacher sends questions but never marks any work Hawklad submits). One sent a few documents. One very detailed learning materials sent and followed up.

Would I miss homeschooling….. Yes I would

Would I miss school running homeschooling……. Most certainly NOT.

Rainbows

One rainbow makes the last 24 hours of rain worthwhile.

One day the dark times my country are experiencing under this charlatan of a leader will be over and a true rainbow will be there. I just want to give you the words of our Rogue Prime Minister yesterday live on TV. Strangely not being publicised by his friends in the media but it’s telling of his character. So telling.

I’ve given you the most important metric, which is – never mind life expectancy, never mind, you know, cancer outcomes – look at wage growth,”

This man would happily unplug your life support to charge up his mobile phone. One day he will be history, just a really bad memory. Until he is gone then he will continue to destroy and ruin so many life’s.

As dark and as difficult as life can seem, a rainbow might just be around the corner.

Another school at home week dawns in a few hours. How long can we give this. Today Hawklad seems further than ever from a return to the classroom. I am convinced more than ever that his learning lies elsewhere. But is his call. His future. Is it better to stick in this less than ideal course until after his exams in 18 months time or is it better to twist now. On top of his anxieties he is wrestling with these thoughts. My job is to support him and to keep reminding him that as tough as it seems, that rainbow may be closer than he imagines.

Anxiety

Today it is wet. Very wet. Zero views. So let’s remind ourselves of what a blue sky can look like….

Two hours later it was raining. And it hasn’t stopped.

Every single day ANXIETY is debilitating for Hawklad. We try to make progress and yes progress is being made in some areas. But we can’t ignore that in other areas his anxieties are getting worse. The ultimate aim we have labelled as rebuilding bridges. To be brutally honest we haven’t even established the foundations yet. Those bridges aren’t appearing any time soon.

So we try to manage daily life. Try to manage the school at home project. Learning has to be made supportive and enjoyable. Hawklad loves History. Sadly he doesn’t love School History. Normally I can ask him any historical question and his face lights up. Why can’t school do this. It’s all in the question. Here’s a question from the test he had to sit today.

The answer was a half of a preserved human kidney. The other half apparently had been fried up and eaten. It kinda sums up the last 3 months of teaching.

There is a thought I can’t get out of my head.

Is school ever going to be compatible with Hawklad’s well-being.