Cloudy eclipse

Not the best weather for a partial solar eclipse. But there is always hope. Lying on the ground with Hawklad looking up at the clouds when he should have been doing his science class.

Then for a couple of minutes we get the best type of science teaching. Real life science.

I give you the famed cloudy Yorkshire partial eclipse.

Rickety

There’s always been a tree house we occasionally pass around here. Never seen anyone ever up there. Probably a good thing looking at how rickety it’s looking these days. But if there is ever a great flood I might just give it a go.

Currently getting through the day on zero sleep. Even watching Avatar didn’t work last night. After an hour no sleep was coming and I was bored out of my mind. So it was time to give up. At least I’ve maintained my record of never being able to sit through one complete viewing of that movie. Sorry I just don’t get it at all…..

Homeschooling is feeling very rickety this morning.

No information or class material for maths. So we guessed the subject. I tried to teach probability. That’s TRY. Remember no sleep…..

Then for French we did get a pack to work through the only problem was that it seemed like it was in a foreign language…….

Then Science. Absolutely nothing. Going to sound old here. But in my day they split science up into separate Chemistry, Physics and Biology. They never met….. At least you knew what subject the teacher was wittering on about. Now it’s Science. So when you get no support you end up even having to guess which branch of science to look at. In the end we plumped for Physics. Just because it’s my better subject. I them mumbled my way through trying to teach wave theory.

Is it bad to say I’m ready for bed already and it’s only lunch time.

Frustration

It looks like Yorkshire. It feels like Yorkshire. Its moody, dark, windy and cold. It is Yorkshire. Some places are perfect for growing olives, oranges, pineapples and coconuts. The climate in some places are just perfect for fantastic wine. Here in Yorkshire the climate is perfect for Rhubard…..says it all doesn’t it.

How difficult can a Science test be.

The answer – a nightmare.

40 minutes to complete 20 questions. Sounds easy. Questions about Pressure, Force, Springs and Moments. Not easy for Hawklad but seemed to get there. Worked stuff out in his head. But that’s only part the story. The real story is trying to get the answers to the teacher. He can answer the questions in his head but then struggles to record them. It’s such an effort to type or write for him that he losses the answers he has in his mind. He can confuse himself or just forget. Even trying to write and type as he goes along doesn’t work, it seems to disrupt his thinking. Ends up going round in circles.

The other option is a scribe. But talking out aloud makes him nervous and makes it harder for him to answer correctly. Often what he describes is different to the answer he has visualised.

How frustrating must that be.

Blink

Blink and it’s gone. Blue sky.

I remember back to my school days. Apart from living in caves and avoiding the dinosaurs, I was like most kids. Some stuff went in to my head easily, other stuff not so easily. Stuff about Physics, Mathematics and Geography went in. Subjects like History the dates would take a lot of effort to stick. Subjects like Chemistry I was ok. However French I was awful, it might as well have been a foreign language…. Biology I was not much better.

Today I was trying to help Hawklad understand Chemistry. He struggles to visualise chemical reactions. So trying to calculate reaction energy levels was a nightmare for him. Whatever we did he just couldn’t see it. That’s the thing with Hawklad, maybe that’s the thing with his Aspergers. He gets blind spots. They go beyond the dyslexia issues. With dyslexia if you read out the word then he can understand what he’s trying to learn. But these nothing seems to shed light for him. Some things he just can’t process and visualise. With a subject like French it’s a massive blind spot. History there are zero blind spots. But with other subjects he can understand most things really well but randomly encounters these blind spots.

Mathematics it’s decimals and volumes

Biology it’s cell structures and names

Design Technology it’s visualising 3D designs

Geography it’s grid references and grid lines

Physics it’s magnetism

Home Economics it’s cooking times

And Chemistry is chemical reaction equations

He can be going along swimmingly then encounter one of these areas and it completely stops him in his tracks. We kind of ignore them now. Blink and move on. Focus on all of the many areas he can make progress on. Hope that the blind spots don’t come up too many times in his main exams.

At the moment that’s our plan.

International Day

Sometimes the soul needs those familiar things. Those things which are uniquely special to you. Things which have been with you through thick and thin. Things which will grow old with you. Things which have become a part of you.

Last night I just needed some of that.

I picked out two books. One from each of my two favourite authors. Randomly opened the books somewhere in the middle – and read.

The first author was Carl Sagan. A brilliant mind, a free thinker, a modern day philosopher and someone who understood the true potential the human race has to offer. He could bring science to life. I would listen to his wonderful, poetic voice and he made me hopeful for the future. He made me dream big.

He is greatly missed.

Yesterday (9th November) was his birthday. Now the 9th November is the annual celebrate Carl Sagan day. I know I’m late but we can always bend the fabric of time just a little.

So while I read a few pages of his novel Contact and watch an episode of Cosmos, I will leave you with a few of his quotes.

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is only bearable through love.”

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality”

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.”

“It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English – up to fifty words used in correct context – no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese.”

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

“Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.”

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”

So Carl was the first author can you guess the second. I will celebrate the other wonderful author in another post. As a clue his International Day is the 8th April.

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….

The science

Apparently I have to walk or run 50km next week so this chap evolves. Dads do have their uses when it comes to Pokémon Go. That’s probably as far as my usefulness goes. But at least I do recognise my limitations. Sadly sone people have boundless ambition and see no limit to their abilities. That is terrifying.

We foolishly watched the news.

Dad can I ask a silly question. Shouldn’t the science panel advising the Government be made up of scientists.”

Yes you would hope that a panel of scientists is in fact a group of science experts. For months the UK Government has kept going on about how it’s policy on the virus is determined by this secretive science elite. As they are scientists (and clearly they know more than we do) then we should trust Government policy. Ok that sounds like a plan.

He’s not a scientist. He’s that awful man who tells the PM what to do. How come he is on the science panel.”

After months of having to sign up to a science led approach we suddenly find out that the secretive science panel is compromised of some scientists but has key members who are political appointees. Cummings, the key PM adviser is a lead member. This is a man who believes in Eugenics – that is selective breeding and human intervention to improve the human gene pool. This is also a man who apparently thought that high levels of virus deaths was ok as most would be elderly. He’s not alone on the science panel. He has buddies. He is joined by a data specialist who came up with the Government’s online election campaign. He also has some very worrying views on the uses of private data. These two characters drive the science panel while some scientists on the panel can attend but are not allowed to ask questions. These have to be submitted in writing prior to meetings so they can be filtered. Suddenly it’s so much harder to have faith in our science led approach.

But what do I know. I’m only good for evolving pokemon.

Earthquakes and The Scottish Play

Finally succumbed to the New Year ‘Sort myself out’ bug. So the Gluten, Soya, Caffeine, Dairy, Meat Free diet is back in force. Whats the old phrase – in for a Penny in for a Pound. So on top of that it is a fasting type regime as well. 10pm to 4pm no food. Allowed to eat in just 6 hours everyday. If I was sticking to the 8:16 diet then I could start eating at 2pm but as Son is not back from school until 4 then might as well wait. It’s funny the effect it has on me. Even a simple bowl of green salad takes on an out of body experience at 4pm. Almond Milk becomes pure nectar.

Anybody who experiences the pleasure of IBS will probably understand the length you will go to try and sort your innards out. You realise it’s unlikely ever to be that magic fix. You happily settle for work around that settles things down for a few months. As you get older more items are added to the banned list. Or at best the once a year I’ve got to have my fix and will take the consequences list. It never seems to be the boring or least favourite foods does it. This Christmas shockingly Marzipan has been added to the naughty list. Absolutely heartbreaking. It’s bizarre as Almond Milk is currently fine with my body and yet Marzipan…… So if you ever see me in the street looking like Mr Creosote then you know I’ve just succumbed to Marzipan with a large coffee.

Anyway the diet switch has been surprisingly easy this weekend. As soon as we have got up Son has wanted to play football in our mud patch and then take the dog for a walk. It’s helped pass the empty feeling hours. Frustratingly the football was set all day in a misty and rainy backdrop. Only as we started to pack up did the clouds finally part and we got to see the last embers of the setting sun. It will be a brief interlude as another Atlantic Storm is flying towards us. The Trampoline is hopefully well and truly sandbagged down.

So now we prepare for school. Last week was best described as a holding pattern. It didn’t get worse but certainly didn’t move forward. Currently we are trying to revise for a Science Test. For whatever reason Son suddenly gets areas of knowledge that he just can’t visualise. Being dyslexic visualisation is his memory method. I’ve previously talked about his struggles with decimal points and shapes. We can now add Waves to the list of struggles. Poor kid just can’t get his head round them.

Dad not sure Im going to do very well on this one. Can’t even spell Electromagnetic or Longitudinal. So even if I do fluke the right answer I still won’t be able to write it down correctly. Maybe as I’ve been practising for a Shakespeare spelling test I should just put down random bard words. At least they will be sort of spelt right.

That did make me smile. Imagine the look on the Science Teachers face when the response to the question. Which of the two types of wave produced by an earthquake is the first to arrive at a location. And will it be the P or S wave? Is as following

Macbeth and Stratford upon Avon.