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.

Problematic

A brief few moments of blue sky before the Yorkshire mist and drizzle rolled back in. It was nice will it lasted.

I received an email from school today informing parents that a pupil had tested positive for Covid. The pupil has been sent home and a further 20 pupils have been asked to self isolate. The concern is that the pupil had no symptoms and it can’t be established how long they had been infectious for. It is entirely possible that the in-school test last week provided an inaccurate all clear result.

Can’t say I’m entirely disappointed that Hawklad is currently at home.

But it’s sometimes not the easiest of options.

Did we have a hockey stick. Did we have a hockey ball. Kind of made hockey practice a little problematic….

Did we have any graph paper. Had the printer run out of ink. Kind of made detailed and accurate graph work a little problematic…..

Could we find a working green pen. Kind of made self marking work (if it’s not done in green then it’s additional marks deducted) a little problematic…..

Could we find the video showing the science experiment. Kind of made writing about the results a little problematic…..

Trying to keep a full, overcrowded school open based on solely on unreliable Covid self tests is a little problematic…..

Abstract

Let’s be honest, it’s not really sunbathing weather here in Yorkshire. It’s ‘let’s see how many layers of clothes I can squeeze under the down jacket before it bursts at the seems’ weather.

Go on then Dad, can you see it

What is that supposed to be again.

It’s an abstract artist’s interpretation of what our market town looks like.”

No that’s not really jumping into my brain that interpretation.

What do you see then Dad.”

A series of random line squiggles and odd shapes. Forming what can only be described as a incoherent mess.

Exactly Dad. Apparently that’s the town skyline and its most iconic landmarks.”

Really. If it’s most iconic landmarks then I’m certainly not seeing traffic jams, floods, not open at weekend signs, pizza takeouts and hordes of parking enforcement officers.

Dad, Aspergers clearly doesn’t get abstract art…”

It’s ok Hawklad, Dads don’t get it as well.

I’ve got to produce my own version of that now. Really…”

Shall we just put a pot of ink and a piece of paper in with the gerbils and let them get creative.

Would be a good idea but the gerbils eat everything in front of them”

Well you can help me do it.

Ok do you want me to draw as well.

No Ive seen your artistic skills. Look at the state of my hair. No you can do something your better at.”

Ok you name it.

Go and find some chocolate for me please”

I can do that…

Witches

Good to see I’m bringing our son up correctly. He learning the important stuff. The stuff which he will need going forward.

English set some homework to be done overnight. Read an article on a specific subject and answer questions. The class is currently analysing Macbeth. So the article was all about King James I and witchcraft.

Oh that’s fine Dad, don’t need to look at the article. I can answer any question on that subject….”

Really Son. The questions are quite random. They are about witches and folklore.

No problem at all Dad. I can do that…”

Ok without reading why was Macbeth shorter than other plays

James I was well known to become restless sitting through long plays”

Ok how many people were killed in Scotland during the witch trials.

Somewhere between 1400 and 1800″

What event convinced James I to act on witches

A bad storm almost killed Anne of Denmark at sea”

How do you know that… what was his first act against witchcraft after that event.

Easy he ordered the biggest ever witch hunt and witch trials around Berwick.”

Unbelievable.

James I wrote a book on witchcraft. He clearly had issues with witches. He passed the Witchcraft Act which made the first offence for any suspected witch behaviour a hanging and burning offence. Before that you only got executed if murder was involved

I think I need a coffee. That’s my level. I can’t even find my glasses most days….

Support

Too wet for a photo today so let’s go back a year.

First true fully open school day. First day with classroom teaching and Hawklad at home. It’s been one of those days….

In the First lesson one brief document was shared by the teaching staff on the online system. That kept Hawklad going for about 10 minutes in a 90 minute lesson. Second lesson absolutely nothing was shared. No communication. Basically complete radio silence. The third lesson was again a complete blank. Nothing. Thankfully the final lesson had some of the teaching materials shared.

On the same day I heard someone representing the Government say that online support should be limited to encourage all children back into the classroom. Well the schools seem to be doing as they are told…..

Challenging

So my first Covid vaccination is in two weeks. The second is at the end of April. There are still no plans to offer vaccines to children. So in effect it does really change our situation going forward.

As of tonight the full online school system will be turned off again. Hawklad goes back to trying to keep up with his classmates with whatever we can get our hands on. How well that works depends largely on the teachers and teacher assistants. Dependent on them finding the time to send class materials and work. Since September it kind of just about worked. Better in some classes than others.

I’m not entirely hopeful this time around. The teachers and assistants have to be involved in supervising the pupils doing Covid self tests. For a school with 900 pupils to do that twice a week is a massive task. Support for Hawklad is likely to be very limited going forward.

It’s going to be a challenging period for everyone going forward.

Whip

The sun almost shines down on a Monday morning. So the schools are now open again.

A real media blitz is underway telling parents just how safe things are and also reminding them of the fines that can be given out for keeping children off school. The Education Secretary is talking about change. Changes he thinks are necessary. Ways to extend the school day so children learn more. Changes to the school year drastically cutting back on school holidays. Finding ways to get pupils to keep studying during weekends and those reduced holidays. Changes he thinks are long overdue.

Strangely no mention of changes to make schools better places to learn and have fun. No mention of changes to the Government’s dogmatic national curriculum. No mention of investment in home schooling. No mention of changes to the funding cuts the Government has made to child mental health services. No mention of more input from pupils, teachers and parents in shaping a better future. The only change required is clearly to make children work longer.

But what do we expect from a politician who is supposed to be in charge or our schooling system and who makes a point of having a horse whip on the front of his desk. Photo from The Guardian

Truly shocking poetry

Running on empty last couple of days. Even the simple tasks are becoming complex. You know you are in for along day when you nod off during the first school at home lesson. The lights went out midway through a sentence explaining Factor Trees to Hawklad. All before 10am.

Here’s the ultimate irony. A tired muppet Dad who wasn’t even trusted to keep the score in Pub Darts matches now trying to explain maths to a kid who has just got 38 out of 40 in his term mathematics test. Talk about feeling out of my depth.

Which is how I feel when I venture into the world of poetry. Yes I’m sorry it’s that time again. Head to the panic rooms my friends. It’s poetry..

It’s poetry Jim but not as we know it…..

It’s really Terrible Poetry time. Time to have a go at Chelsea Owens Mused Poetry challenge.

***********

Phew! After last month‘s hilarious entries, I had a bit of trouble thinking of what our next venture should be. What to do, what to do…

  1. Let’s try an oldie but a goodie: A Funny Love Poem Inside a Greeting Card.

  2. Most greeting cards can’t hold a ballad, so a few stanzas ought to do us for the Length.

  3. I’d recommend rhyming. I mean, you are serious about this love interest, aren’t you?

  4. Yes, this is love (or something like unto it) but the Rating‘s PG or cleaner. After all, some kid might stumble across your offering while trying out all the musical cards.

  5. Only in stories do lovers say all the right words, remember every birthday and anniversary, and get just the right present. We are not writing a story, here, we’re writing a humorous poem. As such, make us laugh. Laughter’s the best way to a person’s heart; right?
    And, as a side note, whoever said this was a card expressing love to a person? What if you’re more fond of a juicy cheeseburger? Just a thought…

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next MONTH (March 5) to submit a poem.

*************

When you lie in double bed all alone

Experiencing a completely love free zone

Feeling like a discarded out of tune trombone

Your only company is a smelly dog and farting cat

Feeling as popular as flea ridden rabid fat wombat

But maybe today that Hallmark card will land on your mat

Bringing much needed kisses and expressions of affection

Offering a few sweet moments of romantic misdirection

Which is always better than a bad case of fungal infection…..

Frustrating

The sun goes down on another school at home day. It was one of those days where it feels like for every step forward we took two giant steps back. Such hard work.the really frustrating thing is that it wasn’t the actual learning which was the issue today. No the frustrations came from repeated system crashes, missing content, confusing instructions, formatting disasters and online tests that will only work with exactly the right spelling and format.

We can make home schooling so much easier for the pupils than this…

So with the frustrations still ringing in my head another school communication arrived. All about the required Covid testing to support the schools reopening next week. Each family will be required to self test families using the rapid result kits TWICE a week. On top of that all pupils will be tested with the same kits once a week in school.

My one question is that if our schools are completely safe and not hubs for virus transfer (according to our PM) – why is this level of testing required…..

The school letter also apologised to parents for the confusing over masks in the classroom. A few days ago the PM told schools that masks had to be worn in the classroom. Our school wrote to parents to inform them of the new rule. Unfortunately the rule has now changed again. The PM has now said they are only recommended and school can’t enforce them.

More frustrations……

Monday morning

A Monday morning. A school at home Monday morning. Don’t you just love them….

Dad have you got your thinking hat on yet….”

Do I ever have my thinking hat on

Not really Dad but it’s another view on a tough question

Ok I will make a hit drink and prepare myself…

Ok I’m braced now. Hit me with the question.

How do you spell Trigonometry?”

Oh is that it. Wow I thought it as going to be a shocker. I’m almost happy. I can Cole with that. Life is good. Hang on why are you giggling….

That’s not the question, thought I’d trick you”

Pants. You got me there. Ok what’s the real question.

Its Religious Education. I have to discuss sexuality and homosexuality. What are the various religious views and discuss.”

Wow…

Dad I think you would call that a 3 coffee question.”

It’s definitely is and it’s definitely not a question for an early Monday morning.