I wrote yesterday morning that Joshua’s home/school diary told me that he had hit and kicked staff and that I was disappointed to read that news. I had a phone call yesterday afternoon from the member of staff who had written in the diary, she rang me to apologise for the negative diary entry. I replied that there was no need to apologise, if that is what the day had been like, then I had appreciated her honesty. She explained that she had not been with Joshua on Monday and she was relaying what other staff had told her, but that he had not behaved that way all day and that he had had good times too. She had re-read what she had written the previous day and had felt bad enough to call me, but I reassured her that there was no need.
The home/school diary is a lifeline at a special school, where you do not have the school gates experience for daily updates from staff and other parents. This is particularly true when your child is non-verbal and cannot explain about his day or answer any questions satisfactorily. I have volunteered in Joshua’s school and so I know how busy and unpredictable the days can be. So I can appreciate that finding the time to write something meaningful in ten diaries, will take precious time out of the classroom. So I am always grateful for any insight into Joshua’s day that I can glean from the diary . It is always the first thing that I do when I get home from work, after greeting Joshua, to assess how his day has been and I am disappointed if it has not been completed.
In return, I always aim to write something in it too, reporting on what kind of weekend or night he has had, including perhaps how well he as slept or eaten. How can I expect to get any information from school if I do not return the favour? The diary should be a two-way street for communication between home and school, though I am aware that I only have one son that I am writing about, whereas teachers have a whole class’s diaries to complete, which must be challenging.
There are other more high tech means of sharing information – via email or an App for instance – but I still prefer, the old fashioned hand-written note in a diary, as it seems more personal and I have the whole year’s book to refer to at a later date, I have kept all of Joshua’s home/school diaries from his special school years, as they are a useful reminder of the various stages that he has been through in his life. This hitting, vocal teenager is unrecognisable from the sleepy, quiet boy who never made it through the school day without at least one nap and was a passive presence in the classroom, and I have a hard copy record of it to keep forever. So, thank goodness for the Home/School diary and long may it continue.