More Grey

More grey weather. More puddles. Still banned from using a hosepipe by the Water Company. It’s a drought you know.

School is being very like school. So far this week, out of 16 lessons only 2 provided any material for Hawklad to try at home. Actually that is just one subject, radio silence from the other teachers. It does feel like in most subjects we have transitioned into full on homeschooling. Maybe school’s function now in most subjects is just to sort out the arrangements for the final exams, the teaching is down to me. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 clearly they haven’t seen my old school reports 🤣🤣🤣Well at least we can work the homeschooling around the World Cup Matches.

There are far too many children who are struggling or who are at risk. Safeguarding was everything before Covid shuck up the schooling systems. Not sure it is now….

I can’t remember the last time someone from school asked how Hawklad was doing, how is he feeling, are there any issues. It’s well over 2 years since anyone from school has directly spoken to him. Not one teacher has heard his voice in that time, communication has been through the very occasional email. Ok they might think I’ve got things covered but don’t they have a duty of care over the well-being of one of their pupils. Are all parents trustworthy? Should they not check. Should they not at least arrange to speak to the pupil directly. Am I being naive, maybe schools are just focused on exam performance these days. Hawklad’s School is clearly ticking all the right boxes as it’s rated as Outstanding by the authorities.

It must be me….

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.

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.

Conkers

It’s CONKER season……

A rather depressingly familiar school at home week. Hardly any contact with teaching staff for Hawklad. We managed to randomly find some stuff that the classes have been covering on the online system, but not much. Even those few finds were a little dispiriting. Too many references to the class using textbooks, class learning materials that Hawklad has never seen, covering topics that haven’t even been mentioned to him. It really feels like he has only covered a fraction of the areas that his fellow classmates have. The scale of the missing teaching is now becoming all too apparent.

So we have 8 months until his final exams, 8 months to try and catch up. 8 months to try and get Hawklad ready for exams that he has had no practice at sitting. Relying on his muppet Dad to try and be an expert teacher in Maths, in English, History, Geography, Sciences, Religious Studies. School ain’t stepping up to the plate to help much. All while Hawklad is trying to re-engage with the outside world again. Absolutely no certainties that he will be in any kind of frame of mind to sit them. His well-being comes first.

Deep sigh.

It’s the weekend, time to try to relax.

Time to play with my conkers….

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.

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.

Summer going

Where did that summer school break go. Just over a week left now and the weather is suitably moody as well.

Something hasn’t really properly sunk in until now. This is Hawklad’s last proper school summer holiday. He leaves school in under one year now. Yes some will get another summer break before college starts but others could jump into a job straight away – official end of childhood according to society.

Where did those years go.

Still no clearer on the educational path ahead. Kinda feeling like I’m going round in circles as a parent. What’s right, what’s wrong, what works, what might not work. What’s best for Hawklad’s future, what’s best for Hawklad now.

I really don’t know anymore.

One thing I do know for sure. I wish I could reset this summer break. Go back 5 weeks and make SUMMER last just that bit longer. Hawklad probably needs that. I definitely need that.