dorsetgirl: (DG1)
When my oldest first went there, my sons' secondary school was very aware of the fact that their students' families didn't automatically have lots of money just because it was a Grammar School. In fact, as they take anyone who passes, rather than only the top-ranked candidates, they're very much the plate-glass end of the grammar-school spectrum rather than redbrick or Oxbridge, if I can borrow University labels for a moment. Until five years ago it was only necessary to buy two things direct from the school - the tie and the blazer badge. Everything else could be sourced wherever parents could find the right-looking stuff. I used to buy blazers in BHS for about £16 and they lasted reasonably well for the 2-3 years it took to grow out of them.

Then the school started supplying blazers with the badge ready-embroidered onto the pocket and that was fine because they were still only about £16. It was only three years later that I realised that an outgrown school blazer could no longer be passed down as a pleasingly cool black jacket to wear with jeans and a t-shirt, unless you actually cut the pocket off.

Then the PE kit started sprouting school emblems on every item, and had to be obtained from the school. No more Asda shorts.

And today I've had an email from them. Apparently from January they have a new uniform supplier. It's a specialist school outfitters' and as such, one of the most expensive shops in the area.

The school is still plate-glass. The parents are still very ordinary people who just want their children to have an academic education and think a grammar school would suit them best. We don't have pearls and BMWs and ambitions for our children to be world-beaters. For my part, I just want my children to survive their schooling without being crushed and broken too badly; to come out still full of interest and intelligence while having hopefully ticked enough boxes to get the right bits of paper. I would rather use my limited resources to buy them books and computers and thought-provoking Christmas presents than spent lots of money pandering to the headteacher's wish to run a school for "the right kind of people".




page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Default)
My sons' school has recently moved over to the "three-year GCSE". However, they quickly worked out that there's a reason GCSEs are normally done in two years - that's all it takes.

So they had to cast around for something to fill in the time in between all those two-year courses dragged out over three years, and they came up with a thing called the Arts Award. This isn't a major problem for the youngest, who's the only one involved, but I am extremely grateful the oldest ("Art is rubbish, English Literature is all lies") and the middle one ("I don't see the point of music, it's just a noise") were too old to be dragged into it.

Anyway, part of this time-filler is that they have to research and write about "An Arts Hero". My little hero has chosen to focus on Notch, creator of Minecraft.

This strikes me as distinctly subversive and thus I approve whole-heartedly. (I admit it, I think "The Arts" is a load of rubbish too. I like some films, I read a lot, I like some pictures, I don't mind watching people dance, but "The Arts"? I've never really understood what that is, and if it's Damien Hirst you can keep it.)

For those who don't know, Minecraft also has the benefit of allowing players to design and build remarkably sophisticated circuits based on "redstone". My kids are all fully conversant with "AND gates" and the like from this, and the oldest explained the whole logic-gates thing to his 'A' level Computing class based on Minecraft (which they all know) after the teacher had failed to get the concept across.




page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Default)
.
My kids get the train to school every day unless I know in advance there’s a problem, in which case I will give them a lift. I always keep an eye on what’s going on with the couple of trains before theirs, and I’d noted that the one immediately before my boys’ train was running 25 minutes late. As that train leaves our station fifty minutes before their train, it’s very difficult to know whether the next one, theirs, will be affected. It doesn’t help that the website gives NO INFORMATION WHATSOEVER about a train until after it’s supposed to have left.

So when I needed to drop them round at the station because we were all running a few minutes late this morning, I stayed to make sure the train actually left on time. When it didn’t leave at the appointed minute I parked and went onto the platform to check the screens, which told me it would be leaving three minutes late. So when the train duly pulled out of the station three minutes late, I drove home and got some washing sorted.

I’ve just checked the website again and it’s now telling me the train left our station twelve minutes late. Which gives the kids only a minute or two in hand before they start getting an “Unauthorised Absence” marked on their record. So I phoned the oldest and apparently the train pulled out of the platform and promptly sat ten yards outside the station for a long time. I’d told them to ring me if they were going to be ten minutes late leaving and I’m come and pick them up, but obviously I can’t pick them up once they’re outside the station, so now they’re in danger of being late for school.

Which shouldn’t much of a big deal, but their school has started giving “Unauthorised Absence” markers for even one minute late. And that applies for the whole morning. Yep - arrive one minute late because the train company fucked up, and on paper you’re just as bad as someone who couldn’t be arsed to go to school at all.

So there’s a brilliant start to the week - it’s not 8:30 yet and already I hate the world.





page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (DG1)
.
I was thinking only this morning that the world needs a new word. It's quite clear that many people simply don't care about getting their apostrophes in the right places, but I feel each error, and it hurts.

So I invented a new word. APASTROPHE - blatant misuse of apostrophes, causing damage to my brain (mild), and the writer's credibility (catastrophic).

I had originally intended to post a simple rant about this example, found on the website of my children's school:

"What areas of your childs learning would you like [the school] to focus on in the future?"

Ooh, I dunno, how about ... grammar and punctuation? YOU'RE A GRAMMAR SCHOOL, PEOPLE - GET YOUR OWN RIGHT FIRST!

And then I did some googling for something completely unrelated and came across this horror, which I simply had to share. Somehow the red text makes it even worse:




And finally, in the course of logging on to the parents' area of the school website, I was shocked to find that they hate me even more than I thought they did. I've never seen this screen before, and I can't say it makes me feel very welcome:



(btw, if you consider I've made any grammatical errors here - feel free to point them out, politely, for my mortification and your daily schadenfreude. I like to discuss and learn.)




page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (DG1)
.
I was thinking only this morning that the world needs a new word. It's quite clear that many people simply don't care about getting their apostrophes in the right places, but I feel each error, and it hurts.

So I invented a new word. APASTROPHE - blatant misuse of apostrophes, causing damage to my brain (mild), and the writer's credibility (catastrophic).

I had originally intended to post a simple rant about this example, found on the website of my children's school:

"What areas of your childs learning would you like [the school] to focus on in the future?"

Ooh, I dunno, how about ... grammar and punctuation? YOU'RE A GRAMMAR SCHOOL, PEOPLE - GET YOUR OWN RIGHT FIRST!

And then I did some googling for something completely unrelated and came across this horror, which I simply had to share. Somehow the red text makes it even worse:




And finally, in the course of logging on to the parents' area of the school website, I was shocked to find that they hate me even more than I thought they did. I've never seen this screen before, and I can't say it makes me feel very welcome:



(btw, if you consider I've made any grammatical errors here - feel free to point them out, politely, for my mortification and your daily schadenfreude. I like to discuss and learn.)




page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.
I'm sitting in my back garden as I type this. Miraculously, although the wireless internet won't reach my bedroom, it will reach the end of the garden which is thirty feet further away in the same direction. So I'm sitting here in a very small patch of sunshine, typing up my notes from last night's school Parents' Consultations for my oldest son.

He takes his GCSEs in a few months, and has quite a few problems to overcome, not least his own attitude and that of his teachers. Being - finally - allowed to use a laptop in classes and exams has made a lot of difference and he now has time to think in class as well as just concentrating on writing. However, there are still some teachers who think he's just lazy, which really annoys me. For example his French "speaking assessment" involves talking for four minutes on a given topic (we don't yet know what it is, but they get two weeks to prepare). As an ASD student he would have difficulty achieving that on a topic of his own choosing IN ENGLISH, but this woman sits there and tells him he's just not trying. And they wonder why he doesn't have much confidence or motivation.

Anyway, this isn't supposed to be an edu-rant, just a brief diary entry to say: the sun is shining, the tiny patch of flower-bed middle-son and I cleared on Sunday has bulbs coming up, a robin just walked past me and there are loads of birds singing all around. Thank you, world, for wireless internet and sons who demand fancy new laptops, leaving me with the old one to use when I get fed up of being stuck indoors.

And now I must get back to work; I have a lot of very careful talking to do over the next week or so if eldest-son is going to do any work at all over the next few months, never mind more than usual. He'll need to if he hopes to get decent marks in his GCSEs, but two of the less understanding teachers really damaged his motivation last night. Six really good ones, and you could see his face lighting up and his confidence growing. Then two nasty ones (unfortunately the last two) and he just withdrew into himself and this morning it's back to "There's no point in working." So now I have to try to talk him round. It's not possible to persuade him; it's just a case of being very artful in choosing which facts to place before him so that he comes to the right conclusions.



page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.
I'm sitting in my back garden as I type this. Miraculously, although the wireless internet won't reach my bedroom, it will reach the end of the garden which is thirty feet further away in the same direction. So I'm sitting here in a very small patch of sunshine, typing up my notes from last night's school Parents' Consultations for my oldest son.

He takes his GCSEs in a few months, and has quite a few problems to overcome, not least his own attitude and that of his teachers. Being - finally - allowed to use a laptop in classes and exams has made a lot of difference and he now has time to think in class as well as just concentrating on writing. However, there are still some teachers who think he's just lazy, which really annoys me. For example his French "speaking assessment" involves talking for four minutes on a given topic (we don't yet know what it is, but they get two weeks to prepare). As an ASD student he would have difficulty achieving that on a topic of his own choosing IN ENGLISH, but this woman sits there and tells him he's just not trying. And they wonder why he doesn't have much confidence or motivation.

Anyway, this isn't supposed to be an edu-rant, just a brief diary entry to say: the sun is shining, the tiny patch of flower-bed middle-son and I cleared on Sunday has bulbs coming up, a robin just walked past me and there are loads of birds singing all around. Thank you, world, for wireless internet and sons who demand fancy new laptops, leaving me with the old one to use when I get fed up of being stuck indoors.

And now I must get back to work; I have a lot of very careful talking to do over the next week or so if eldest-son is going to do any work at all over the next few months, never mind more than usual. He'll need to if he hopes to get decent marks in his GCSEs, but two of the less understanding teachers really damaged his motivation last night. Six really good ones, and you could see his face lighting up and his confidence growing. Then two nasty ones (unfortunately the last two) and he just withdrew into himself and this morning it's back to "There's no point in working." So now I have to try to talk him round. It's not possible to persuade him; it's just a case of being very artful in choosing which facts to place before him so that he comes to the right conclusions.



page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (sunset)
My kids have an assault-course type of special activity day next week, and I expressed my concerns to the school that it might be prejudicial to the fitness of those students (including my oldest) who are doing their Duke of Edinburgh Expedition less than forty-eight hours later.

I received a prompt and polite reply from the day's co-ordinator, and some highlights of the letter are given below. It's all very interesting, and should have been reassuring, but honestly: this person teaches my son. Does this letter give any indication that she realises he is on the Autistic spectrum?


...the blindfold minefield which relies on communication skills...

...the day is predominately concerned with communication skills...

...if they feel they are doing too much, they need to communicate this to their team leader...


You know, it would be nice if she'd said "I realise that last point might be difficult for [your son], so I will make sure his team leader understands the situation."






page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (sunset)
My kids have an assault-course type of special activity day next week, and I expressed my concerns to the school that it might be prejudicial to the fitness of those students (including my oldest) who are doing their Duke of Edinburgh Expedition less than forty-eight hours later.

I received a prompt and polite reply from the day's co-ordinator, and some highlights of the letter are given below. It's all very interesting, and should have been reassuring, but honestly: this person teaches my son. Does this letter give any indication that she realises he is on the Autistic spectrum?


...the blindfold minefield which relies on communication skills...

...the day is predominately concerned with communication skills...

...if they feel they are doing too much, they need to communicate this to their team leader...


You know, it would be nice if she'd said "I realise that last point might be difficult for [your son], so I will make sure his team leader understands the situation."






page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
.
What is it with teachers and Posters?

So often my kids come home with “Do a Poster” for their homework. They just don’t get it, and nor do I. Posters take my kids about three hours to do, with an awful lot of agonising and frustration, and I completely fail to see the point. Why treat kids as if they’re five years old? Why not give them a chance to use - or increase – their knowledge instead? Why penalise them for not being any good at Art?

I could understand it if teachers were asking them to do wall charts. Doing a wall chart - packed with useful information, hopefully laid out in a nice clear format - would challenge students to come up with a lot of information, to select the most important parts, and present it all attractively in an easy-to-digest format.

But no. Teachers like posters. WHY???????



And "colouring in"? What’s that about?

I understand that Reception kids (aged 5) are made to do “colouring in” as practice for their fine motor skills, ready for learning to write. But why do secondary school students still have to do it?

My youngest has just started secondary school, and for his Geography homework over the weekend he had to answer various questions about where things were on a map; label various rivers and towns on a map; colour in the map.

The first two, fine. It gave him practice at using an Atlas, and the index therein; it made him think about placing the information correctly on the map, and fitting it all in neatly; perhaps he's even learnt something about his home area. But the colouring in?

I could understand it if the teacher had specified something like “mark the hill ranges and colour them in a different shade” or something. Or "draw in XXX reservoir and colour it blue."

But no. Teachers just want “colouring in”. WHY???????

My son’s view? “Just for a week, I thought I was at secondary school. Now I feel like I’m back in the Infants.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that most teachers – with the blessed exception of Science and Maths teachers – are Arty types who actually think that drawing and colouring-in are fun. *shudders*





page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
.
What is it with teachers and Posters?

So often my kids come home with “Do a Poster” for their homework. They just don’t get it, and nor do I. Posters take my kids about three hours to do, with an awful lot of agonising and frustration, and I completely fail to see the point. Why treat kids as if they’re five years old? Why not give them a chance to use - or increase – their knowledge instead? Why penalise them for not being any good at Art?

I could understand it if teachers were asking them to do wall charts. Doing a wall chart - packed with useful information, hopefully laid out in a nice clear format - would challenge students to come up with a lot of information, to select the most important parts, and present it all attractively in an easy-to-digest format.

But no. Teachers like posters. WHY???????



And "colouring in"? What’s that about?

I understand that Reception kids (aged 5) are made to do “colouring in” as practice for their fine motor skills, ready for learning to write. But why do secondary school students still have to do it?

My youngest has just started secondary school, and for his Geography homework over the weekend he had to answer various questions about where things were on a map; label various rivers and towns on a map; colour in the map.

The first two, fine. It gave him practice at using an Atlas, and the index therein; it made him think about placing the information correctly on the map, and fitting it all in neatly; perhaps he's even learnt something about his home area. But the colouring in?

I could understand it if the teacher had specified something like “mark the hill ranges and colour them in a different shade” or something. Or "draw in XXX reservoir and colour it blue."

But no. Teachers just want “colouring in”. WHY???????

My son’s view? “Just for a week, I thought I was at secondary school. Now I feel like I’m back in the Infants.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that most teachers – with the blessed exception of Science and Maths teachers – are Arty types who actually think that drawing and colouring-in are fun. *shudders*





page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
My sons' school has recently set up an online payments system, which sounds cool. I've never been happy about sending them off to school with pockets full of money, and there was a memorable day when I shelled out something like £200 hard cash in the course of five minutes because two school trips both came up for payment on the same day.

Anyway, I got an email this morning asking me to sign a permission form and pay £8 for a "House Activities" enrichment day at my sons' school. They're all in the same House, but the letter does NOT make it clear whether the £8 requested is for all three boys, or if not, which ONE the letter refers to! I hope it will be clearer online.


So, it’s currently 12:18 and I’m about to email them back the permission form. But it says “I have already paid online”, so I have to do that first.

And before I can pay online I need to check the state of the bank account.

Cut for length )

It’s now 13:43 and I’ve finally paid for Son One's Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Throughout all of that I never once saw the £8 I’m being asked to pay for the enrichment day, and I’m certainly not going looking right again now. I need a rest!

It used to be so simple - you got a pen and scribbled your signature on the bottom of a dirty crumpled letter from the bottom of their school bag. Then you thrust some notes into their hand and said "Here, give that in. And don't lose it else you won't be going."

Total time, two minutes.

Providing neither of us had lost the bit of paper AND I had some cash to hand, which to be fair was quite rare.

But even so.
dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
My sons' school has recently set up an online payments system, which sounds cool. I've never been happy about sending them off to school with pockets full of money, and there was a memorable day when I shelled out something like £200 hard cash in the course of five minutes because two school trips both came up for payment on the same day.

Anyway, I got an email this morning asking me to sign a permission form and pay £8 for a "House Activities" enrichment day at my sons' school. They're all in the same House, but the letter does NOT make it clear whether the £8 requested is for all three boys, or if not, which ONE the letter refers to! I hope it will be clearer online.


So, it’s currently 12:18 and I’m about to email them back the permission form. But it says “I have already paid online”, so I have to do that first.

And before I can pay online I need to check the state of the bank account.

Cut for length )

It’s now 13:43 and I’ve finally paid for Son One's Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Throughout all of that I never once saw the £8 I’m being asked to pay for the enrichment day, and I’m certainly not going looking right again now. I need a rest!

It used to be so simple - you got a pen and scribbled your signature on the bottom of a dirty crumpled letter from the bottom of their school bag. Then you thrust some notes into their hand and said "Here, give that in. And don't lose it else you won't be going."

Total time, two minutes.

Providing neither of us had lost the bit of paper AND I had some cash to hand, which to be fair was quite rare.

But even so.
dorsetgirl: (Default)
Youngest son has his taster day at his new secondary school today.

6:10; switch on iron, kettle, computer; iron school shirts (it's something useful to do while I wake up and gain the power of speech); log on my account; make two teas one coffee; put away iron and ironing board; check email and trains website - trains all running OK.

6:30: wake up THREE boys instead of two; distribute socks, underwear, freshly ironed shirts; check trains are still running, in particular that their train has set off on its inward journey.

6:45: explain to youngest son that Daddy always tries to be entertaining in the mornings (youngest doesn't normally get up until 7:30) and he gets in a bad mood when everyone's too busy to pay him lots of attention; make sure youngest and middle are set up for breakfast; sort out youngest's dinner money and train fare and get him to pack his bag; run upstairs to persuade oldest that having three large pieces of homework not ready for handing in today doesn't make him actually dead, just metaphorically. (He has ASD, he's doing his Duke of Edinburgh Award, his group leader told him yesterday that it was already too late to start his skill - it's not - and he started his skill, archery, last night, hence too much going on to think about homework.) Switch on eldest's laptop; OH announces he's going - he does like a bit of attention in the mornings; back to the kitchen to get eldest son's breakfast and take it up; get youngest to pack his bag.

7:00: try to get middle son to stop talking (he's excited about youngest going to school with him) for long enough to discuss arrangements for the end of the day; run upstairs and make sure eldest is getting up and doing the reading I think may defuse the teacher for one of his pieces of homework (battle tactics in WWI); chat to him about the battle for a few minutes to help him get it straight in his mind - yes, and to check he's actually done the reading. Battle of Cambrai, apparently, November 1917, first use of massed tanks in a battle - broke the Hindenburg line, whatever that was, so presumably that was considered a success. I never studied that period of history, because when I did 'O' Level it was going to be Education Acts and Factory Acts which I didn't fancy at all so I gave it up. I'd find them interesting now because of family history but there you go - at least history is a subject you can do all by yourself at home. Check the train is still running OK.

7:15: Suddenly realise I have to brush youngest's hair an hour earlier than usual - it's nearly long enough to need tying up again - and somehow it's twice as tangly as usual. Make him double check he's got his pencil case and dinner money; send him upstairs to get an emergency fiver (in case he has to catch the bus home) because he lost the one I gave him the other day and I have no more cash on me. Check the train has arrived (it sits here at our station for 23 minutes before going back up the line).

7:23: Running late now, middle son normally likes to go out at 7:20 on the dot; give middle son a hug, youngest has already started down the road, call him back for a hug - yes, just like Gene's mum in Coronation Day, don't think about that one too much; watch youngest and middle walk down the road until they disappear round the corner. Weirdest feeling ever, my littlest going off to catch the train without me.

7:25: Back indoors, hurry oldest son up; Friday of week two is his heaviest bag day and I certainly wouldn't want to walk a mile up a steep hill with it; try to give him some useful sentences for the various teachers who are going to be angry with him today; give him a hug and wave him off.

7:28: Back indoors; check the train is still labelled "on time". Stop.

Oh, what was that last bit? Stop? That's confused me. Normally at this time I'd be getting youngest up and starting the process of getting him to school, going out at 8:25 and arriving back just before 9. Dunno what to do now. Oh I know, I'll wash their gi's ready for grading on Sunday, and start planning the phone call I'm going to make to the council DoE coordinator about how unhelpful and inflexible oldest son's DoE leader is being. Check their train has left on time - it has - and keep a check on it running OK up the line. Check calendar - oh yes, find middle son's t-shirts for his four-day trip to Normandy next week; realise youngest has gone off without giving me his SATs results that he was given yesterday; discover there's a lunch today for Year 6 mums who are leaving the primary school this year.

Yes, I do know that I have it easy, because many people at this moment would be running around getting themselves ready for work, if they weren't already on their way, having dropped off kids at the child-minder's first. But I don't find it easy, somehow. I never get enough sleep, and oldest son being the way he is means that evenings can be extremely hard work; I never actually get to a point where I can think - that's it, I'm done for the day. OH normally gets home just as the youngest and middle ones are going to bed and oldest is finally starting to accept there is homework to be done, so I have to leave all that and run around being Mrs Good Wife (I'm useless at it, but I always figure I ought to try because, you know, home all day and all that while he Goes Out To Earn The Money as he likes to put it) and then I go back to trying to get youngest to shut up so middle one can get to sleep, and then talk to oldest about his homework without him getting loud enough to keep the others awake.

And this is the first day this week I've got up as late as 6:10, because oldest has been getting up at 5:30 to get some homework finished, which means I have to get up at 5:15. He's so difficult to get up in the morning - if I call him too frequently or too angrily he won't get up at all, and if I call him too infrequently or too casually he...doesn't get up at all. A constant balancing act which normally ends in him coming downstairs thirty seconds too late to run for the train, so I have to drive him round there. Which is completely unfair on middle son who walks it every day. Well, maybe being ASD is unfair on eldest, and I do try to remind myself of that quite frequently.

Anyway, enough of all that. Suffice to say that being partway ASD myself - I've come to realise over the past three years - I do find it all quite hard to cope with. So many things to think about all at the same time, so many bits and pieces to have bought and ready for three different people, sleep patterns forever dependent on what's going on in other people's lives rather than mine.

And now it's 8:04, their train has arrived at their station and now I'm trying not to think about my eleven-year-old walking uphill for a mile alongside a very busy A-road (and crossing it under the tutelage of my frankly not-always-quite-all-there thirteen-year-old).

And the bang on the (open) back door followed by something hitting the kitchen floor turns out to be the first greengage of the year falling off next door's tree *sigh* At least they're not soggy yet.

So, first day of the next seven years of my life. I haven't coped very well with the past fifteen years organisation-wise, and there are ravages to be repaired, to me and the house and how I support and guide the boys. I think I need a cup of tea now and I'll try to spend my extra hour thinking about how I'm going to get things back on track. At least the sun's shining so the gi's will dry.




page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Default)
Youngest son has his taster day at his new secondary school today.

6:10; switch on iron, kettle, computer; iron school shirts (it's something useful to do while I wake up and gain the power of speech); log on my account; make two teas one coffee; put away iron and ironing board; check email and trains website - trains all running OK.

6:30: wake up THREE boys instead of two; distribute socks, underwear, freshly ironed shirts; check trains are still running, in particular that their train has set off on its inward journey.

6:45: explain to youngest son that Daddy always tries to be entertaining in the mornings (youngest doesn't normally get up until 7:30) and he gets in a bad mood when everyone's too busy to pay him lots of attention; make sure youngest and middle are set up for breakfast; sort out youngest's dinner money and train fare and get him to pack his bag; run upstairs to persuade oldest that having three large pieces of homework not ready for handing in today doesn't make him actually dead, just metaphorically. (He has ASD, he's doing his Duke of Edinburgh Award, his group leader told him yesterday that it was already too late to start his skill - it's not - and he started his skill, archery, last night, hence too much going on to think about homework.) Switch on eldest's laptop; OH announces he's going - he does like a bit of attention in the mornings; back to the kitchen to get eldest son's breakfast and take it up; get youngest to pack his bag.

7:00: try to get middle son to stop talking (he's excited about youngest going to school with him) for long enough to discuss arrangements for the end of the day; run upstairs and make sure eldest is getting up and doing the reading I think may defuse the teacher for one of his pieces of homework (battle tactics in WWI); chat to him about the battle for a few minutes to help him get it straight in his mind - yes, and to check he's actually done the reading. Battle of Cambrai, apparently, November 1917, first use of massed tanks in a battle - broke the Hindenburg line, whatever that was, so presumably that was considered a success. I never studied that period of history, because when I did 'O' Level it was going to be Education Acts and Factory Acts which I didn't fancy at all so I gave it up. I'd find them interesting now because of family history but there you go - at least history is a subject you can do all by yourself at home. Check the train is still running OK.

7:15: Suddenly realise I have to brush youngest's hair an hour earlier than usual - it's nearly long enough to need tying up again - and somehow it's twice as tangly as usual. Make him double check he's got his pencil case and dinner money; send him upstairs to get an emergency fiver (in case he has to catch the bus home) because he lost the one I gave him the other day and I have no more cash on me. Check the train has arrived (it sits here at our station for 23 minutes before going back up the line).

7:23: Running late now, middle son normally likes to go out at 7:20 on the dot; give middle son a hug, youngest has already started down the road, call him back for a hug - yes, just like Gene's mum in Coronation Day, don't think about that one too much; watch youngest and middle walk down the road until they disappear round the corner. Weirdest feeling ever, my littlest going off to catch the train without me.

7:25: Back indoors, hurry oldest son up; Friday of week two is his heaviest bag day and I certainly wouldn't want to walk a mile up a steep hill with it; try to give him some useful sentences for the various teachers who are going to be angry with him today; give him a hug and wave him off.

7:28: Back indoors; check the train is still labelled "on time". Stop.

Oh, what was that last bit? Stop? That's confused me. Normally at this time I'd be getting youngest up and starting the process of getting him to school, going out at 8:25 and arriving back just before 9. Dunno what to do now. Oh I know, I'll wash their gi's ready for grading on Sunday, and start planning the phone call I'm going to make to the council DoE coordinator about how unhelpful and inflexible oldest son's DoE leader is being. Check their train has left on time - it has - and keep a check on it running OK up the line. Check calendar - oh yes, find middle son's t-shirts for his four-day trip to Normandy next week; realise youngest has gone off without giving me his SATs results that he was given yesterday; discover there's a lunch today for Year 6 mums who are leaving the primary school this year.

Yes, I do know that I have it easy, because many people at this moment would be running around getting themselves ready for work, if they weren't already on their way, having dropped off kids at the child-minder's first. But I don't find it easy, somehow. I never get enough sleep, and oldest son being the way he is means that evenings can be extremely hard work; I never actually get to a point where I can think - that's it, I'm done for the day. OH normally gets home just as the youngest and middle ones are going to bed and oldest is finally starting to accept there is homework to be done, so I have to leave all that and run around being Mrs Good Wife (I'm useless at it, but I always figure I ought to try because, you know, home all day and all that while he Goes Out To Earn The Money as he likes to put it) and then I go back to trying to get youngest to shut up so middle one can get to sleep, and then talk to oldest about his homework without him getting loud enough to keep the others awake.

And this is the first day this week I've got up as late as 6:10, because oldest has been getting up at 5:30 to get some homework finished, which means I have to get up at 5:15. He's so difficult to get up in the morning - if I call him too frequently or too angrily he won't get up at all, and if I call him too infrequently or too casually he...doesn't get up at all. A constant balancing act which normally ends in him coming downstairs thirty seconds too late to run for the train, so I have to drive him round there. Which is completely unfair on middle son who walks it every day. Well, maybe being ASD is unfair on eldest, and I do try to remind myself of that quite frequently.

Anyway, enough of all that. Suffice to say that being partway ASD myself - I've come to realise over the past three years - I do find it all quite hard to cope with. So many things to think about all at the same time, so many bits and pieces to have bought and ready for three different people, sleep patterns forever dependent on what's going on in other people's lives rather than mine.

And now it's 8:04, their train has arrived at their station and now I'm trying not to think about my eleven-year-old walking uphill for a mile alongside a very busy A-road (and crossing it under the tutelage of my frankly not-always-quite-all-there thirteen-year-old).

And the bang on the (open) back door followed by something hitting the kitchen floor turns out to be the first greengage of the year falling off next door's tree *sigh* At least they're not soggy yet.

So, first day of the next seven years of my life. I haven't coped very well with the past fifteen years organisation-wise, and there are ravages to be repaired, to me and the house and how I support and guide the boys. I think I need a cup of tea now and I'll try to spend my extra hour thinking about how I'm going to get things back on track. At least the sun's shining so the gi's will dry.




page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Default)
Yes, I know it's the World Cup and all, but seriously?

My two older boys go to "this is a Grammar School, you know - if he can't keep up with all his homework you should be asking yourself whether this is really the right place for him". So, an institution dedicated to Education and Taking Things Seriously for those of an academic turn of mind.

So what have they done?

"A number of students have made representations to me ... we have rearranged the school day as follows..."

On Wednesday they're starting the day ten minutes early, shortening registration, lunch and LAST LESSON by fifteen minutes each, so the staff boys can get out at 2pm instead of 3-25.

The Primary School my youngest goes to has taken the opposite tack, presumably to cut down on the number of kids roaming unattended round the village, and they're screening the match in school, with a small charge to cover the half-time burgers they're apparently giving out to everyone.

I've worked for bosses (men, obviously) who were utterly scathing about women taking half-days for kids' school plays and the like, but thought it perfectly in order to rearrange important meetings so that the men could leave early to catch a football match. Without taking annual leave, naturally.

Ye Gods. We did actually watch about twenty minutes of England v USA, but having autism issues in the family meant that we simply couldn't cope with the vuvuzelas any longer than that.

I read somewhere that in this country there are actually more people interested in Family History than in football, but I feel it may be a long time before we get the latest from the National Archives on the News every night.





page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Default)
Yes, I know it's the World Cup and all, but seriously?

My two older boys go to "this is a Grammar School, you know - if he can't keep up with all his homework you should be asking yourself whether this is really the right place for him". So, an institution dedicated to Education and Taking Things Seriously for those of an academic turn of mind.

So what have they done?

"A number of students have made representations to me ... we have rearranged the school day as follows..."

On Wednesday they're starting the day ten minutes early, shortening registration, lunch and LAST LESSON by fifteen minutes each, so the staff boys can get out at 2pm instead of 3-25.

The Primary School my youngest goes to has taken the opposite tack, presumably to cut down on the number of kids roaming unattended round the village, and they're screening the match in school, with a small charge to cover the half-time burgers they're apparently giving out to everyone.

I've worked for bosses (men, obviously) who were utterly scathing about women taking half-days for kids' school plays and the like, but thought it perfectly in order to rearrange important meetings so that the men could leave early to catch a football match. Without taking annual leave, naturally.

Ye Gods. We did actually watch about twenty minutes of England v USA, but having autism issues in the family meant that we simply couldn't cope with the vuvuzelas any longer than that.

I read somewhere that in this country there are actually more people interested in Family History than in football, but I feel it may be a long time before we get the latest from the National Archives on the News every night.





page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Gene_draw)
Anyone who has kids in State Schools in the UK, or has attended a UK State School in the past twenty years or so, will be familiar with the concept of "dumbing down" of educational qualifications. I hadn't taken too much notice, to be honest, having left school, ooh, quite a long time ago now.

But my oldest is now in Year 10, and this morning a postcard has arrived for him, congratulating him on his results in the November 09 Modules of his Science GCSEs. I saw the first line, which said he'd achieved three A*s (for Physics, Chemistry and Biology), and I was obviously very pleased for him.

I should point out here that my understanding of today's grades was that an A was the same as the Grade 1 we had in O-Levels in the 1970's, and that A* had been added on top of that, ie even better. To distinguish between the top 1% and the rest of the top 5%, or something.

Then I read the next line...

...which puts him in the top 33% of the year


Huh? When I was at school (oh God, I sound like my mother), it was quite a big thing to get Grade 1s, as we had then. Only those people who were not only very bright, but also worked embarrassingly hard (ie not me), got more than one or two Grade 1s. (Or maybe that was just my school?).

And now one in three students achieves three A*s in Science?

I am obviously still very pleased for my son, because he definitely does know his stuff, and he's going to need good Science passes to do the A-levels he needs, but - well - it's clearly not quite the stand-out achievement I'd been imagining A*s to mean.

/shocked.




page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Gene_draw)
Anyone who has kids in State Schools in the UK, or has attended a UK State School in the past twenty years or so, will be familiar with the concept of "dumbing down" of educational qualifications. I hadn't taken too much notice, to be honest, having left school, ooh, quite a long time ago now.

But my oldest is now in Year 10, and this morning a postcard has arrived for him, congratulating him on his results in the November 09 Modules of his Science GCSEs. I saw the first line, which said he'd achieved three A*s (for Physics, Chemistry and Biology), and I was obviously very pleased for him.

I should point out here that my understanding of today's grades was that an A was the same as the Grade 1 we had in O-Levels in the 1970's, and that A* had been added on top of that, ie even better. To distinguish between the top 1% and the rest of the top 5%, or something.

Then I read the next line...

...which puts him in the top 33% of the year


Huh? When I was at school (oh God, I sound like my mother), it was quite a big thing to get Grade 1s, as we had then. Only those people who were not only very bright, but also worked embarrassingly hard (ie not me), got more than one or two Grade 1s. (Or maybe that was just my school?).

And now one in three students achieves three A*s in Science?

I am obviously still very pleased for my son, because he definitely does know his stuff, and he's going to need good Science passes to do the A-levels he needs, but - well - it's clearly not quite the stand-out achievement I'd been imagining A*s to mean.

/shocked.




page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Mike_Longview)
Well, it's been a stressful old week, with two major deadlines for today and one major excitement, also for today...


(1) Deadline for youngest son's secondary school applications today - he desperately wants to go the the same school as his older brothers, despite the fact that there are concerns about deteriorating behaviour there. I had a row with the Headmaster about it on Wednesday morning, right out in the corridor at the Open Morning OMG. I asked a polite question based on a couple of things I'd seen as I went round (the whole of Year Ten banned from the library at lunchtimes ufn????) and he went ballistic. Outright denial, seriously hostile. Youngest son still wants to go there even though he was stood right next to me during the argument! Application submitted and confirmed, now I just have to join the group of parents who are putting together a joint letter of concern about the bad behaviour. *sigh*

(2) Deadline for oldest son's Work Experience today. At our school we were given the impression that it's up to the parents to use their contacts (like I have any), and then the kids with total losers for parents will be found something by the council's work experience admin people. Turns out other counties have the kids researching local companies and writing to them cold, with a deadline some time in January ffs. Apparently the researching and writing is supposed to be part of the learning process. Duh. Application filled in, supporting cv typed up, one contact approached but not looking hopeful, application returned to school this morning.

(3) Green Day!!! Oh yeah, Green Day tickets went on sale at nine this morning for Wembley Stadium next June. I used TicketMaster last time, but this time the gig didn't even exist on the site until quarter to nine, so major worry time. Still, I GOT ME SOME TICKETS and I'm going to Wembley! I shall be even further away from the action this time - Mikey will just be a tiny speck in the distance boo hoo.





page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (Mike_Longview)
Well, it's been a stressful old week, with two major deadlines for today and one major excitement, also for today...


(1) Deadline for youngest son's secondary school applications today - he desperately wants to go the the same school as his older brothers, despite the fact that there are concerns about deteriorating behaviour there. I had a row with the Headmaster about it on Wednesday morning, right out in the corridor at the Open Morning OMG. I asked a polite question based on a couple of things I'd seen as I went round (the whole of Year Ten banned from the library at lunchtimes ufn????) and he went ballistic. Outright denial, seriously hostile. Youngest son still wants to go there even though he was stood right next to me during the argument! Application submitted and confirmed, now I just have to join the group of parents who are putting together a joint letter of concern about the bad behaviour. *sigh*

(2) Deadline for oldest son's Work Experience today. At our school we were given the impression that it's up to the parents to use their contacts (like I have any), and then the kids with total losers for parents will be found something by the council's work experience admin people. Turns out other counties have the kids researching local companies and writing to them cold, with a deadline some time in January ffs. Apparently the researching and writing is supposed to be part of the learning process. Duh. Application filled in, supporting cv typed up, one contact approached but not looking hopeful, application returned to school this morning.

(3) Green Day!!! Oh yeah, Green Day tickets went on sale at nine this morning for Wembley Stadium next June. I used TicketMaster last time, but this time the gig didn't even exist on the site until quarter to nine, so major worry time. Still, I GOT ME SOME TICKETS and I'm going to Wembley! I shall be even further away from the action this time - Mikey will just be a tiny speck in the distance boo hoo.





page hit counter

dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.

Not me, that’s for sure. I’ve been reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë over the past week or so, along with the members of [info]booklickers, started by the lovely [info]candesgirl. It’s A Classic. Which for many people is an automatic turnoff.

 

 

Cut for length and spoilers )
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.

Not me, that’s for sure. I’ve been reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë over the past week or so, along with the members of [info]booklickers, started by the lovely [info]candesgirl. It’s A Classic. Which for many people is an automatic turnoff.

 

 

Cut for length and spoilers )
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.

Further to my rant the other day, on Saturday I got a letter from Mr Asshole. He hasn’t seen fit to let me know whether he copied it to the person who is supposed to deal with the matter.

Read more... )
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.

Further to my rant the other day, on Saturday I got a letter from Mr Asshole. He hasn’t seen fit to let me know whether he copied it to the person who is supposed to deal with the matter.

Read more... )

Profile

dorsetgirl: (Default)
dorsetgirl

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021 22 2324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 08:07 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios