I’ve been inspired by Delph’s new method of dictation. We changed the way she tackles homework. Like I said in my last blog about being old-school and making her letter crunch each word – this is just getting old. I find myself straining on her interest like it’s one of Quest’s oldest, saltiest lines. Then I wonder why I’m knackered. Dimbo.

I’ve finally looked into the option of dictation software. I haven’t figured out a solution for the laptop yet – it’d be amazing if Delph could use it for speaking into the comments box in class, but this week she’s been speaking into the phone. Jack’s been writing his emails this way for years. In the car, on the hop; finding it super helpful. For this very reason, he’s been trying to convince me to use this same dictation method for Delph. For AGES. Was I being spiteful and rebellious in response? Who – me??

Well, I’m happy to say that, since I finally swallowed my old-school, stubborn shite, it’s been an eye-opener. So much so, I decided to do the same thing this morning. I realised I could walk Fin- who met another smaller dog the other day and didn’t try and eat it – yippee progress, plus the other owner dished out treats – smart sausages. And if I walked her without policing her, I could ‘write’.

Everything went well… except for the weather. It pissed down so hard that I had to wrap the phone in a black poop bag. I could still use it – I just couldn’t see it anymore. Talk, talk, talk – the words vaguely visible through the black plastic. Finally even this waterproofing began to fail. I put the phone away, went home, dried off and took it out. All the words had disappeared from the screen. Lesson one: save the words.

So, I’m starting again. Marking Lulu’s first full week at mainstream school. How’s it going so far? Well, yesterday Lu dropped her pen during history. It rolled off across the floor. She asked the person nearest her pen if he wouldn’t mind picking it up for her. He looked at her, picked the pen up, snapped it in half and handed it back to her. Right. That’s a little different to internet school. I glued the pen back together last night – take that arsehole. This is the same guy whose disruption repeatedly gets the whole class sent out of geography class. They have to leave class, come back and re-start the lesson.

’What did you learn in geography?’ I asked Lu while she was putting her pyjamas on. There are a lot of early nights now.

’We learned that the opposite of densely populated was sparse.’

I waited as Lulu climbed her ladder into her bunk bed. ‘Was that it?’

She shrugged. ‘Pretty much.’

Right. InterHigh wanted her to build an earthquake-proof building out of vegetables over Christmas. Carrots for struts and roast potatoes for foundations. Lulu has been busy learning this week though – just not about geography. She’s been learning about relationships.

She’s in class with an old friend. Maybe not super close but a friend with history. We know the girl’s family. And, for the first few days, this girl did look after Lu. She helped her find her classes and settle in. As the week progressed however, it turned out not so simple.

‘A new girl can’t just join our group,’ one of the girls in the class said. ‘Not just like that.’ It was a pastiche of Mean Girls, The Breakfast Club and for British authenticity, The In-Betweeners. 

For years these kids have been told what to do and how to do it. School is a cage and these kids are caged. I felt it too. Who didn’t? Boredom and the baboon group mentality takes over. Enter someone new and the new person is just fair game. Even if it’s just for a little while to satiate their boredom until something different crops up.

I packed an extra packet of Maltesers in Lulu’s bag this morning.

‘Give these to your friend,’ I told her as she got ready for the bus, ‘give her a hug and then get the HELL out of there.’


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