February 12, 2021
Virtual School: Week 21

Amelia's class still has no EA which means that they didn't get the schedule out until very late. They were talking about carnivale this week, which apparently meant that Amelia made herself a beard out of paper. Also a mask, but she was really taken by the beard part. I picked up a few new library books - you can't go in and browse and you can't request board books so it was a lucky dip. One book suggested building a fort out of chairs and a blanket, so Amelia and Michael have been making little forts and having their snack in the fort this week.


Amelia complained that going outside was too boring so I filled up a squirt bottle with water and food colouring and she was very happy to go around squirting things. After a while kids started coming in with blue eyebrows and dye on their coats so that was the end of that for a bit.


Matthew was very distracted by his upcoming birthday and hardly did any assignments this week. I've told him he needs to finish his list before we transition to homeschooling at the end of the month.


Michael insisted on taking a snow shovel for our morning walk and then they played "snowplow" almost all the way back home.


Elizabeth is literally climbing the walls - at least she's outside. Her art class this week was focused on "Grafitti writing".

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Matthew minecraft party

Matthew invited four friends (Ylan, Simon, Leo and Nico) to celebrate his birthday with him online. It was a bit complicated figuring out a time with Nico not getting home from school until later and Ylan having to leave at 5pm but ultimately we figured out a plan that seemed like it would work for most. Matthew is in his pjs because it was a pj day at school!


We started with a Minecraft themed scavenger hunt.




-a nether portal

-a dragon's egg


Some of the kids found the nether portal a bit baffling at first, but when I asked them how to build a nether portal (Obsidian, flint and steel) and suggested they could find the elements (aka rock, fire and metal) most of them were able to find something. I was kind of amused by the number of kids who claimed they had no metal in their houses. "Not even a fork??" I asked. Suddenly they all had forks. I'm not sure if it was a lack of imagination or what.


By the time they were starting to get the hang of things it was time to bring on the cake. Matthew and I spent some time making cupcakes and assembling loot bags for all his friends in advance. It was my first time playing with fondant and I was quite pleased with the way they turned out. Then we opened presents followed by a free minecraft escape room made by a library in Florida.


The escape room was quite good but slightly too long/repetitive for this group. Matthew in particular clearly wanted to rip open his new toys and inspect them rather than solving puzzles hahaha. They did enjoy smashing into the wall at their first try and then actually escaping from the room.


Once they had finished the boys shared their screens and played minecraft together... but apart. Matthew had a really great time and can't wait to try a real multi-player game sometime.

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February 10, 2021
Zumba Burritos

Karate had come up with a plan for progress evaluation which lasted exactly one month and then completely fell apart. This coupled with the new lockdown schedule which conflicted with music or was past bedtime meant that we told Matthew he could take a karate break until things go back to in person.


In the meantime he's doing virtual zumba twice a week with me through KV dance. This week they had a special cooking class as part of the exercise. First we did our regular class, then the whole class made burritos together. Matthew greatly enjoyed making the tortillas although when he made a few more later he mixed up the amount of salt from the salsa and made very very salty tortillas LOL.


He's hoping to do some more regular cooking this month as he enjoys it so much.

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February 7, 2021
Ice Cream for breakfast

Yesterday was apparently National Ice cream for breakfast day. But we forgot. So we did it today instead.

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Baptism Birthday

Now that Michael is three, it's high time we started celebrating his baptism birthday. Between lockdown, February being birthday month and general disorganization I decided that it would be best if we just went ahead even if his godparents weren't available lest we repeat last year and never get around to celebrating it at all. It's kind of unfortunate that so many of these dates are crammed into such a short period!


Anyway, we were able to have Margaret over and the kids all enjoyed having cake. Michael did not set fire to his hair, although there was a near miss.

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10 days of Canal

Elizabeth and I decided that we would skate every day that the canal was open and so far I have skated 30.7km and Elizabeth has done 32 km.


We've met up with Grandma a couple of times and the whole family skated together one afternoon right before piano. We made it back in time but only just!


Yesterday we got the whole family out for a skate on Dow's Lake. I skated with Amelia so I didn't go quite as far but Elizabeth and I have been out daily. Despite some grumbling, Elizabeth seems to feel that the satisfaction of being able to say we've been out every day outweighs the annoyance of having to put our skates on in the cold. She has noted that she plans to quit "in two weeks" and is definitely not doing this again next year.

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February 6, 2021
Piano Recital

It was time for another virtual piano recital.

Matthew played Relay Race, a piece in 6/8 that he was quite taken with. He was obviously nervous because he didn't quite manage to keep the tempo. Not his best effort but he played with his typical confidence so it probably wasn't too noticeable for those who don't know the piece!


Amelia was nervous too. She opted to play Here we go round the Mulberry bush, which is her current favourite. She does better with someone pointing (and hiding her hands!) but even in class she really hates it if it looks like she needs help. She was very proud and happy to see all the people who came to watch her recital - even if it was virtual!


The virtual recital was quite similar to our real recitals, except that instead of a rhythm ensemble to start out the recital we had a music quiz. Then the students played with breaks for a little singing and dancing. Great fun was had by all. Elizabeth says she quite enjoys recitals now that she doesn't have to participate.

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February 5, 2021
Virtual School: Week 20

Amelia's EA is out for a second week for what sounds like will be an extended absence, so she's down to just the one teacher. Subsequently the activities didn't get shared with me until too late to do anything with them. One day they had to find an animal and draw or take a picture of the animal on a body part. Amelia is starting to be able to read pretty well, if she is in the right mood.


The class welcomed an author/illustrator to visit this week. Amelia very much enjoyed "meeting" him and learning about how he creates pictures for his books. She told us "I learned about an artist that does not draw with markers but he draws with paper." He rips paper to make collages and apparently sticks them in water for the colours (dye?).


After the artist visited, Amelia and Michael spent some time painting books. Amelia's is about a unicorn and a bicycle. Michael prefers to make rainbows by running his paint brush through all the available colours.


Matthew, Michael and Amelia spent a good chunk of the week inventing a pirate game. Matthew made a pirate map and they went around yohohoing and "sneaking" to find treasure. Matthew made me take a picture of the pirate showing off his map. He looks very cranky in the photo - this face was "part of the game".


Matthew's class had a geometry evaluation. Matthew started working on it right away and finished his first section within a couple of minutes. I went upstairs to do some work. Forty-five minutes later I came back and Matthew hadn't done anything more because the teacher had been constantly talking the entire time to "explain" how to do the quiz. She talked so much and so long and so many of his classmates seemed not to know what to do that he'd decided what he had been doing was probably not right and was waiting for her to stop in case it became easier to follow. I muted the teacher, gave him five minutes to finish and after that we quit for the day. It was a complete waste of his time and very symbolic of the frustration that is his math class right now. He knows this material extremely well so doing it is just


In french he's working on pronoms personelles. At the beginning of the week they did the big writing project promised last semester where they wrote about a "moment". It took two day and then they were done and now they are back to writing (but not checking) a sentence or two a day. I've been getting him to do some cursive work during the down time but it's pretty clear: it actually takes me more time to help him do virtual school than it did to do homeschool and 90% of his time at virtual school is spent doing assignments that aren't really a good fit. So long story short we are going to pull him out of school for the rest of this school year.


One thing he did enjoy doing this week was painting a "window cling" butterfly out of glue and paint. Apparently he was one of only two kids in his class that had the materials as instructed and did the work.


Elizabeth enjoyed watching the SpaceX launch with Daddy this week (Matthew was at forest school). Her art class was a lesson on using pen and ink. She's having a blast, judging by how messy her hands get and how big her smile is after class. I actually completely forgot about art class until it was half over, but she remembered and attended completely independently. She's apparently finished all the famous five stories now and is working on rereading the first few Harry Potters (we haven't let her read past #4) and the Hardy Boys series.

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