Work

It takes a little bit of hard work to get to this spot but on a morning we can catch a mist covered view of the Vale of York.

Rewarding hard work.

According to those in charge of our countries school system, our children don’t work hard enough. Too much free time. So they are looking to extend the school day, reduce holidays and introduce more frequent, more extensive homework. Already lunch and school breaks have been cut back.

So clearly more hard work is required.

The following is an example of the current (not enough) homework being issued. Hawklad was expected to complete this over the weekend. One piece of work from Religious Education.

On top of this Hawklad had work to complete from English, Information Technology, Design Technology, History and Geography. He caught a bit of a break this time, no Biology, no Chemistry and no Maths homework.

And now the Government wants to add even more work on top of this….

The Prime Minister makes sure he gets weekends off to recharge and relax. Why can’t out children.

Really

Another school deep sigh moment. Time to look at the view for a few moments and breathe.

All parents have different takes on life and schooling. No one right answer. Parents can fundamentally disagree on things like schools. So I am fully aware that what O might say now won’t strike home with many. It’s just me.

These are tough times. So much stress, anxiety and fear. It’s bad enough for adults , what’s it like for our children. It must be a nightmare for them. It’s robbing them of a large chunk of their precious childhood. So I’m my opinion it’s time to cut them some slack. Clearly that view is not shared.

Late last night Hawklad had an email from one of his teachers. Sent to all the class. It was a reminder that the homework that had been set over Christmas was due tomorrow morning. The teacher wanted to remind all the class that the large piece of work had to be done on time. One quote stuck with me. The homework is due regardless of the pandemic lockdown, negatives will be issued.

Ok some parents will be happy with that. This one isn’t. For a start why are we giving out homework over Christmas? Really. It happens every holiday. Can’t we just let children enjoy the time off. Especially at this dystopian time. And then those words regardless of the pandemic lockdown. Really…. For me those 5 words sum up everything which is wrong with the school system.

For me it REALLY needs to change.

3am

Last night I was tired. Unusually tired for me. But it was one of those pesky tired setups. During the evening I could feel myself nodding off. Plenty of those ‘just starting to drift off while sat on the settee – then suddenly woken by those cataclysmic sudden neck snapping forward’ moments. This went on all evening until it was bed time. But then I just wasn’t tired. Pigging fiddlesticks……

Finally sleep came but all too soon…..

DAD, DAAAAAADDDD!

What’s up son.

Dad I’ve forgotten, sorry we’ve forgotten the art assignment.”

Ooh yeh, that one that isn’t due in until the 12th.

That’s the one, But ITS THE 12th.”

Oh big pants. Can you do it as soon as you get up?

No it’s due at the start of the first lesson.”

***********

I could see by the look in his eyes that until it was done, sleep would be impossible. So a few minutes later I was in the kitchen making hot drinks. Years ago a late night session would have had a very different meaning to tonight’s version. 3am and rocking out to Japanese Art.

Basically I sat there looking vacant, occasionally nodding (in a of course I knew that kinda way) and asking Google such questions as ‘what on earth does wabi and sabi mean’. It took an hour before Hawklad had convinced himself that he had done enough. The school panic in his world was over. His completed presentation was significantly more robust than his Dads initial suggestive assignment text

Japanese Art is cool but Godzilla is real cool. Now it’s time for bed….

Hawklad got to bed and immediately fell asleep. I guess at about 4.30am I found some sleep. I woke up a couple of hours later with one overriding thought. How can you write two pages on Japanese Art and not mention Godzilla‘s Atomic Breath just once. What has become of Art.

Another week

It’s that kinda day. Definitely a true Yorkshire summer has finally arrived. Time to dig out the thick jumpers (sweaters) again.

We have made it through another School at Home week. That’s something like week 11 or maybe week 14. Definitely week something. So what has this parent here learned this week.

  • Sitting outside and having a few minutes of relaxation is not so much fun when it’s absolutely chucking it down.
  • In some subjects clearly the quality of the spelling is more important than knowledge of the subject matter.
  • Black pens run out of ink quicker than blue pens. Those black pens will also decide to run out in the middle of a test. Then the parent will find a million working blue, red and green pens, but can not find one working black one.
  • Biology education has come on leaps and bounds. Watching videos about DNA and cell structures is far more fun than in my day when biology basically involved randomly dissecting an unfortunate small creature.
  • Being a qualified public sector accountant does not necessarily mean I can do basic arithmetic. We did a maths test together. Son got a score of 97% unfortunately the accountant came a close second with 66%. I’m sure I can account for the difference in terms of depreciation and incremental drift.
  • The paint from an art project looks much better on the painting than it does on the sofa.
  • Young kids are good at expanding the minds of parents. Apparently Penguinone, Sex, Moronic Acid and Arsole are all legitimate chemical molecule names.
  • Tell me why Kryptonite is not an official element. Surely they must have found a green thing they could have named after Superman’s nemesis.
  • Discovering a half eaten sandwich in the bottom of a school bag, which has not been used since March is a real delight.
  • Art have started introducing the pupils to cartoon video making. Apparently the app STOP MOTION was so easy to use, even Dads could use it. Within minutes the house was in fact making Wallace & Gromit like productions. A simple demarcation of responsibility’s was established. Son was Director, Producer and Creative Writer. Dad was the camera person and general gofer. Fun off the scale – now this is education.
  • Clearly Food Technology cooking instructions are based on a standard oven and not designed for our unpredictable, nuclear fusion reactor oven. Is Puff Pastry supposed to be this black….
  • Apparently the capital of Tanzania is Dodoma. When I was at school I’m sure it was Dar Es Salaam.
  • We have discovered a new law of the universe. The time constraint of a homework task deadline is directly proportional to the likelihood of a significant broadband disruption.
  • iPads have great batteries but it is only just sufficient to last a full day of school lessons. If you forget to recharge overnight then you are basically stuffed.
  • In some subjects the use of orange rather than yellow text highlighting is considered a capital crime.
  • How often do I have to say this. Please PE Teachers stop trying to include parents in the games activities. Getting a parent v child sprint race in a small garden may seem like a good way of family bonding. It’s also a great way of getting the not so streamlined Dad (who can carry huge amounts of momentum even though he is travelling so slowly) to crash into the garden fence. Can I bill the school for fencing damage.

So we survived another home school week. Whatever number it may be. It seems to have gone on for so many more months. As if we started in winter, it went through all of summer and it’s still going when winter has come back again….

Knock on effects

Oh my ….. Daaaaaaad. I’ve forgotten some homework.”

A shout at 7.00am to send shivers through every parent.

Forgotten French. We have five online tests to complete. It’s due first lesson today. SORRY. ”

Any thoughts of a calm relaxing morning had just been torpedoed. The normal carefully mapped out pre school routine replaced with an hour of panic and a rush to answer 60 questions. A stable routine is so important for most kids on the spectrum. Well not here today…

As Son later described the scene. A Dad whose French skills are very sketchy. His French skills apparently heavily weighted towards buying alcohol – not much use in school homework. And a kid who is even more dyslexic in French.

Dad it was like the script for Dumb and Dumber 2″

After 30 minutes of mayhem I ordered Son to grab some breakfast.

Can’t find the cornflakes Dad can I have some biscuits and an apple.”

“Son if it’s food then I really don’t care…”

Then I shouted out the questions and typed up the replies from our son. Finally five minutes after we normally leave we finished the last question. A mad scramble to get the school uniform on. He struggles with knots so I have to do his school tie. Today that skill deserted me. Now we are seriously behind schedule. Fingers crossed for clear country lanes. So today we get stuck behind the driver who clearly learned to drive in either a milk float or Sinclair C5. A driver whose instructor had taught them that the best racing line was straight down the middle of the road so no bugger can overtake. A driver who today was heading all the way to school.

Somehow I managed to get him into school with seconds to spare. Problem was that now I was late for a works meeting. In the carnage I had not managed a drink or a visit to the toilet this morning. No time to brush my teeth. Wearing yesterday’s clothes. So I arrived looking totally disheveled, in real need of a drink and the toilet. Guess what. The water was cut off at work due to emergency repair work. So no drink and NO TOILET…. It felt like the longest meeting ever.

Ninety minutes later I’m running into a petrol station like Usain Bolt. The one toilet was engaged. You couldn’t make this up. Ten further painful minutes later – RELIEF. Unfortunately in the breakfast chaos I had left my wallet at the house. So no money. So no drink. Not good when you looking at row upon row of drink heaven. So another thirty minutes before the first drink of the day.

Yes it was a chaotic morning. Simply forgetting a piece of homework had a knock on effect for the next few hours. Got to keep it in perspective though. So many people are truly suffering and this was at worst just mildly annoying. I can smile about it. I did eventually get a nice run with some gloriously moody views. And I expanded my French vocabulary.

Je vous souhaite une bonne journee.