TIME is a funny thing. Walked past here on Friday and hardly any of the white flowers had emerged. 72 hours later after a yucky cold, dark and damp weekend – any hey presto it’s a sea of white.
I remember someone very clever saying that TIME operates at different rates for different people. Thinking about it – that clever person might have been Dr Who. When I was a kid I loved Dr Who. I so wanted to be a Timelord. As a prize for winning a football tournament school arranged a trip to the last day of a Dr Who exhibition. I was super excited. On the way our bus broke down. It took them hours to fix it. Finally we arrived at the exhibition only to find it had closed 5 minutes earlier. How on earth can you miss an exhibition about a time traveller – just doesn’t seem right.
TIME definitely operates at different rates for some of our son’s school teachers. Quite a few of the online classes require the student to read an article or a section of a text book. The amount of reading has definitely increased over the last few school days. The number of follow up tasks has also increased. Strangely the TIME allowed has stayed the same. Exactly where does this approach leave the dyslexic student. I know teachers are super busy but maybe one of them might have asked son how he is coping with reading the course material. They seem much quicker to spot his spelling mistakes. Much better use of TIME.
TIME is also hard to define. School have now rolled out a national learning app primarily aimed at those students who struggle with English comprehension and grammar. Interestingly an app with a rating of 1 out 5 from users (lucky to get 1 by all accounts). Son has been set a weekly app study time of 50 minutes. The teacher will be checking that each student has achieved the weekly minimum study time. Punishments for underachieving. What they don’t mention is that the app uses a lot of videos and narratives. Unfortunately these do not count against the learning time but need to be completed before you can get to the student work areas. When it crashes (and it crashes more times than me on a diet) all learning time is lost and you need to start at the beginning of the section again. So far son has been on the app for just under 3 hours. He’s watched endless boring videos and robotic narratives. He’s still to learn anything new. AND he’s only clocked 20 minutes actual study time.
“Dad what is the point of this. I’m bored out of my mind. As you would say, it’s a pile of pants. It’s a complete waste of my time, your time, the teachers time and a waste of bandwidth.”
I fed this back to school with a few of my own rather barbed comments. The school’s response was well we have sent a teacher to be trained in its use, that’s valuable school TIME so we need to keep using it.
Clearly I was wasting my TIME arguing.
Another cold start. I’m calling it an official three jumper day.
One of those cold starts that as hard as you work out, or regardless of how many warm layers you put on – your still cold.
The first week of schools version of homeschooling has now finished. Some subjects did embrace the opportunity. These offered the child a chance to be creative and to see where their learning interest would take them. Sadly that was not much of the week. Most of the lessons reflected the normal parrot learning teaching approach. What is the point of getting someone with dyslexia to translate page after page of French (without any context or help). What is the point of setting an online spelling test where the spoken words are so rare that I had to look every one up in a dictionary to see if they actually existed.
But he survived. The parent got through it as well. So that’s something.
Whether it was my lack of sleep, the unremittingly grim news or a week of homeschooling but last night I couldn’t get a thought out of my mind. Maybe, just maybe this is our world now. No more holidays. No more new lands. No more Switzerland. Certainly the financial shock of the next few months will take me a number of years to repair the bank balance. Generally travel may become more difficult over the next few years. Aspergers and the fear of social interactions is certainly not going away any time soon. So maybe that’s it with travel.
That’s sad but actually there is more to life than travel. So much to see and visit close by if it comes to that. Anyway we have not had a holiday since 2015 so we are used to it anyway. Doing virtual tours is a fun, safe, environmentally friendly and is so much cheaper. Then a thought crossed my mind. It was inspired by Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) while we watched Fawlty Towers. Basil was getting seriously cheesed off with a guest who was disappointed with the view from the bedroom window.
“Well may I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically”
Actually could we scale the virtual tours up a notch. Why don’t I pick a window with a chair next to it. Then why don’t I stick a poster or large photo over the window glass. Suddenly my view of say the trampoline could be transformed into whatever I fancy. I’ve seen other people do this in the past. So tomorrow I am going poster hunting. Got a couple of belting posters of The Alps to find.. But in the meantime I’m hoping my bedroom window will look something like this.
Another cold start. Press ups on the grass are definitely cold on the hands.
Now set into the daily school at home routine. That’s a better way to describe it. It’s not true homeschooling – its schools version of remote learning.
- 6:30am – start daily exercise (weights, or army fitness, or exercise bike or running round the little garden)
- 7:30am – try to get as many home cleaning tasks done
- 8:00am – Son gets up and has breakfast
- 8:30am – log onto school system and check school messages
- 8:40am – register for first lesson and complete tasks
- 9:55am – load completed tasks
- 10:15am – register for second lesson and complete tasks
- 11:25am – load completed tasks
- 11:35am – register for third lesson and complete tasks
- 12:45pm – load completed tasks
- 12:50pm – take dog for one walk of the day
- 1:00pm – outside for talk with son
- 1:40pm – serve lunch
- 1:55pm – register for final lesson and complete tasks
- 3:10pm – load completed tasks and log off
- 3.20pm – start to breathe and play football
“Dad I’m thinking about going Lennon and Yoko tomorrow. Might stay in bed and do the complete school day from there.”
“What are you protesting about then?”
“I’m working on that. Maybe the excessive use of red pen at school. Maybe the shortages of baked beans.”
Maybe I can ask one of the important people making daily contact with me. I’ve never had so many Chief Executives and Business Leaders speaking to me. It’s a daily stream of emails wishing me well and informing me of their evolving plans. Our most senior doctors and scientist are giving me helpful advice. Even the PM and the Government are sending me text messages.
It’s suddenly great to be valued and important. I wonder how long this will last. Will it last as long as Son’s bed protest.
Today was the Day 1 of the countries homeschooling project for many. Son’s school is trying to run a full days lessons online. At the usual start time of the lesson he needs to log into the school system. He records his attendance by a simple text message. Then he follows the instructions the teacher has provided. Any work completed is then loaded onto the school system for the teacher to review.
- Geography was to research and answer a series of questions on Russia for 90 minutes. He quite enjoyed that,
- Maths was to use an online teaching system. Complete one module. Unfortunately due to the numbers of kids nationwide trying to use the system – it broke,
- French was to read a handout then try to write a few paragraphs in the remaining time. Didn’t really work for him.
- Art was to try and replicate 4 photos in various styles. So he tried a few sketches then photographed them and sent that to the teacher.
It kinda worked. It did provide structure but I’m not sure some of the teaching methods really suit our son. But that’s modern teaching in this country. Let’s see what the next few days turn out like. I’m puzzled how some of the subjects will be run. Online PE and Drama could be interesting. Surely they will squeeze in a few of our favourite spelling tests. Food Technology mentioned cooking at home. Maybe even learning from your mum or dad.
“Say that again. Learn cooking and baking from your dad.”
He gave me a withering look.
“Sorry dad I’m going to have to say a bad word. Oh CRAP.”
He knows me far too well. A couple of hours later.
“Dad, I thought you had planned to put seeds on top of the bread”
“I thought I had put seeds on but clearly I accidentally put grated cheese on instead. It’s now cheesy bread.”
“Its vegan cheese isn’t it.”
“Yes I believe it is as that’s the only grated stuff in the fridge.”
“Well it’s grated cardboard topped bread then. I do learn from you. How not to cook…”
Sleeping feels a bit like a Jenga tower these days. Takes a lot of effort to get it going then it’s so precarious that the slightest disturbance and it’s over. Most days the effort seems wasted given the time the tower actually stands. So last night the same pre sleep ritual then all too quickly a random dream wakes me. That’s it can’t sleep. So at 4am I’m watching Deadpool 2. Not sure if It was the sleep deprivation but I found the movie absolutely hysterical. So by the time son was up I was ready to rumble.
I certainly have to rumble. The first signs appearing of son becoming anxious for the upcoming week and the return to the big bad world. I’ve given him the option of immediately pulling him from school. But he thinks he should give it some more time, even if it’s just for a few more weeks. He wants to see what school does with the class settings. Does he finally move up sets or is he again consigned to the bottom set. I must admit I’ve given up hope in the mainstream school system. It’s not improving any time soon. Kids like our son are going to continue to be labelled an inconvenience and consigned to the educational bin. I will continue to try and work with the teachers but movement at this late stage is unlikely. Homeschooling looks like the only positive call. So yes things will be really tight. Yes I’m going to have to watch out that I don’t burn myself out. But for me the homeschooling time has arrived. But it’s son’s education so it’s his call. So on Monday school starts again. So already the anxiety levels are starting to build.
So we need to rumble harder. Need to work harder on the fun. The smiles and laughs will be just that little bit harder to produce. So Project Fun needs to go into overdrive. Today we try a new game. The Trampoline Water Challenge. Let’s try to bounce while holding various containers containing cold water. Bouncing with a full washing bowl will be the ultimate challenge. It’s a challenge which is designed to get you wet. Very wet. If unbelievably I don’t end up drenched then it may call for a headfirst dive into the farmers field rain lake. Whatever it takes today.
If Deadpool wasn’t so naughty then this would be a really funny movie to watch. If you took out the unsuitable bits then I guess the running time would be down to seconds. So it’s a time to either watch a series of Red Dwarf or Black Adder. Or maybe it’s time to revisit Monty Python and the Holy Grail. All guaranteed to make him laugh and LAUGHTER is the only currency we are dealing in today.
Time for some random words.
Subservient Tudor Expect Discipline Chaperone Accused Suspicious Breadwinner Complicated Stereotypical Shakespeare Elizabethan
A few beauties from this weeks school spelling test. Is this really a level playing field for kids with dyslexia. I remember joking that in a few months he will have to learn the spellings of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs like Micropachycephalosaurus. Well the way these spellings are going I’m not ruling it out now.
A bit of a test day today for me. Trying to work from home completing jobs usual done at the work base. Reassuringly it went well. So well that I managed to complete about an hour ahead of schedule. With an empty work list I managed to go for a run. A chilly and very windy run. It was also quite a ‘hurty’ one. I was convinced that my knee and foot were playing up. At the end the real reason became apparent. Thankfully not my body. The shoe soles had worn completely through. Might as well have just run in my socks. Captain Chaos was in raptures. Two old trainers and a pair of running socks to chew and bury. After a frantic hour of digging and re-digging the poor chap was tired out. He needed a few quiet moments with his teddy.
It’s such a hard life….
Maybe I don’t need to replace my running shoes. If and when homeschooling kicks off my opportunities to go out running will be severely curtailed. May need to think about looking out for a second hand treadmill. When Son caught me looking at eBay he added to the shopping list. So on top of a treadmill apparently we need a second hand cinema sized TV, a slush puppy machine and a chef. Maybe we could find a chef who specialises in funny coloured iced drinks. With that thought swirling in my head it was time to take The Cap for his walk. Luckily I do have an old pair of trainers which still have some tread. But strangely I couldn’t find them in the shoe rack. Oh hang on. Worryingly I found the sole-less running shoes next to the dog basket. So exactly which shoes did he bury then. Bugger. Yes in a hole in the garden are my one usable pair of trainers.
It’s such a hard life….
The world is full of dilemmas and seemingly perplexing questions.
- Sleep on your back or front
- Tea or Coffee
- Is Trump a criminal or political hero
- To help the injured bird or leave it for the hungry predator
- Football or Soccer
- Is Brexit a good thing or stupid
- Sunsets or Sunrises
- Tomato Ketchup or Mayonnaise on Fries
- Captain America or Ironman
- Toblerone – best chocolate ever or a chocolate designed to do damage to the top of your mouth on every painful bite
- Are we better people when at war or at peace
- Is Boris Johnson a political genius and loveable rogue or is he a monumental bellend
- Batman or Superman
- Cats or Dogs
- Yorkshire or Lancashire
- Marmite on toast or put the marmite in the bin
At the moment we are wrestling with our own dilemmas. Ones only we can figure out but currently with no clear answer.
School is clearly not working for our son and yet homeschooling will significantly increase the risk of further social isolation. Both options have advantages but many pitfalls. Yesterday it was school, today it feels like homeschooling, tomorrow no idea.
The longer he stays in school the risk increases of him being lost in the system. Not given the chance to find his true talents and skills. Forced into a model which is not designed for him.
We could move to a better schooling area but financially that’s not really practicable. The close support open to us is limited. In fact it seems to diminish every time we look. My family is geographically spread and not near. The potential wider support infrastructure is very limited in our area. So again do we move but we can’t afford to.
With the help of the internet I could deliver a viable and tailored teaching programme. And yet, and yet. I would have to commit fully to providing the education and with just one variable income that would be financial madness. The bills only just get paid now.
And one final irony. Why do the most important dilemmas occur in life when you are at your most tired. Drained. Almost beyond rational thought. But at 2.31am I do have just enough processing power available to answer one question – that in fact Boris Johnson is a monumental bellend….Let’s see if I can answer some more dilemmas now.