April 3, 2020
Science Day

Science day started right from the breakfast table with a discussion of cereal density. We talked about labelling (an ongoing discussion - Elizabeth is very interested for some reason and is constantly letting us know about the sugar, fibre and sodium content on our choices). Then we did the food colouring and soap experiment with leftover cereal milk.


After outdoor and zoom time it was time for some experiments. We were talking about the scientific method and designing experiments. We made thermometers out of rubbing alcohol and plasticine and a straw and ducked it in ice water and boiling water. It was fun but it took so long we didn’t really get to do any other experiments. Amelia did find out whether frozen plasticine bounces better than room temperature though (spoiler: neither bounce but the frozen one doesn’t stick at least).


The older two did Doodles with Mo Willems and were dismayed to learn he’s filming the last one tomorrow. Elizabeth connected with Erika.


It wasn’t Lego day but Matthew and Elizabeth have setup a Lego World and are still working on that, so we have Lego everywhere. Michael enjoys crashing his truck into it and then going “Uh oh. Boken” So that’s fun. The kids all did karate, at least for a few seconds (Michael) or minutes (Amelia). It’s still rather excruciating to get Matthew to participate well but I told him he could only start his solar robot kit if he focussed. So he did. Unfortunately he did not finish and was sad but I told him it could count as a toy so he doesn’t have to wait until Monday to finish it!


Elizabeth had her first zoom tournament team practice which I thought was more like it. I think they should do most of their classes over zoom, personally. Then her prerecorded ballet class where we were pleased to discover the teacher has assigned homework involving a video. Suddenly Elizabeth is interested in going back and doing the Tuesday class she skipped 😂

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April 2, 2020
Sport Day

One could argue that every day is Sport Day around here, but we thought it would be fun to focus on some of the sports we don’t do every day. There was still dance and karate though...


Daddy took the kids outside to kick a ball around until a neighbour kid joined in. The poor kids all knew they needed to stay apart but kept getting too close as they would get caught up in chasing the ball. So that was the end of outdoor time. It may be a loooong summer.


Once inside they spent some time playing catch. I would have liked to do even more sports in the afternoon and had plans for sports related math and science. However, Elizabeth’s new book shelf arrived and while she started assembly during quiet time she wasn’t done. It seemed counterproductive to switch tasks especially since she was learning how to read instructions and working on her screwdriver skills etc. I was amused that she insisted on reading her instructions while upside down. Matthew was allowed to help open the box but not assemble and as a self styled “builder” he was desperately sad and not in the mood to do more sports. So I let him work on Lego World while Michael and Amelia played “baseball” with me.

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April 1, 2020
Lego April Fools Day

It was April fool's day today and Elizabeth was very much looking forward to this. As per tradition, I brought out the green food colouring and turned breakfast funny colours. This year it was green eggs (no ham, but I WAS tempted). I also cut their bananas into fish. Amelia made some kind of weird mask but then never actually did anything with it? I'm not quite sure she got the idea. Matthew and Elizabeth did many many things, starting with lightly colouring our milk somehow (I didn't want to know) and putting saran wrap on the top. The milk was lumpy because it had "sharks" in it. We had a small chat about food grade plastics but decided we could still use the milk. They gave Amelia a fish (poisson d'avril). Elizabeth asked for something with "cherries and whipping cream on top" so Matthew fetched her the cherries and whipping cream. The best trick of all wasn't discovered until later in the day though. I thought it was so good I told Brendan that there was a spider on the toilet paper upstairs and he needed to go and squash it. LOL


Anyway, in addition to April Fool's day it was ALSO Lego day. We have at least 80L of Lego in our house and some of us think perhaps this is out of hand. But when we were deciding on themes it did seem like a natural choice... The kids started the school day normally with zoom calls to their friends, but then we did Lego math. 

Amelia (and Michael, « Too, Too! ») rolled a ten sided dice and built towers the size of the numbers she rolled. Matthew did some grouping by various numbers in a ore-multiplication activity. Elizabeth built a house and did some measuring so that she could draw each view. Another day we’ll calculate perimeter, area and volume.


Then we let them build. And build. And build. There were breaks for outdoor play and lunch and quiet time.


We finished up the school day by watching the first Lego movie! Lorianne dropped by to say a socially distant hello just before the end.

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March 31, 2020
Art Day

Art day was the most hotly anticipated day of all and there were Expectations.


We started with an art math class where we talked about pi and graphed a city version of the number. I ought to have done this on March 14th - next year!


Then the kids could choose to paint or make plasticine sculptures. There was much painting; luckily mostly on the paper. Elizabeth did Doodles with Mo while the other kids snacked, continued working on their paintings and watched all the (french) videos on mini-tfo that I could find that were vaguely art related. During outdoor time I tried to get them to draw outside with chalk but apparently our accessible chalk is not fit to use so that will need investigation at some point. They didn't have any trouble occupying themselves as it was a beautiful warm sunny day and our yard has acquired a temporary pond. Michael kept getting very muddy. He went through four pairs of pants and eventually the other kids just let him splash and squelch around barefoot without pants. When I discovered this I pointed out this was pushing the season...


In the afternoon there was a live karate class, which all of the kids did with varying degrees of attention and enthusiasm. I had had plans to talk about art history periods, maybe do a little work on new quilts (Matthew is very keen to make a space quilt) and maybe do some soundwave art for science but sadly we hadn't finished some crucial work that needed to be done by the end of the month. In fact, we took so long to figure out what needed doing that the kids all went to bed very very late. Amelia and Matthew had wanted Michael to have a sleepover. I initially said no, but when it was nearly 8:30pm and we still hadn't finished I changed my mind and put Michael to sleep on a mattress in their room. There might have been some fighting and kids put back into their own beds for a bit and kids-who-were-NOT-the-baby moved into the baby crib upstairs until they calmed down for a bit but EVENTUALLY the sleepover kids went to sleep until some point close-ish to morning when Michael woke up and hollered for mommy and I went and got him.


We did get our work done. It was rather late.

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March 30, 2020
Music Day

We're doing themed school days this week and today the theme was music. This was cleverly chosen to coincide with violin and Amelia and Matthew's piano lessons which just so happen to also be on Monday. In addition to the Skype lessons with their normal teachers we also did some other activities. During Elizabeth's violin lesson, the other children had a music note scavenger hunt. The children greatly enjoyed banging and smashing various instruments in the basement and musical freeze dancing.


We introduced the concept of a timeline to Amelia and Matthew (Elizabeth already had encountered them) and made a family timeline. Then we talked about musical timelines for classical music. We listened to some pieces by different composers from each era that we covered while cutting out their photos. I was impressed that Elizabeth was able to identify Bach, Mozart and Beethoven from their pictures. Perhaps she's learned something in music class at school after all. She did claim that she'd never heard of Handel until I played the Messiah and she took back this outrageous claim. The kids had fun figuring out where various people we've learned about recently (William Tyndale, the ancient Egyptians from Story of the World) fit in the timeline. 


A few months ago I'm not sure I would have believed that the most dangerous and stressful part of my day would be grocery shopping by myself but here we are. I managed to complete my trip while only using my right hand to touch anything so that when it came time to pay I could use my left hand to get out my credit card. Brendan printed out the list so that I wouldn't have to use my phone in the store, and he organized the items by section. I picked up a few items for three neighbours on the street, which I was glad to be able to do. The shelves weren't too bare, but there was a limit of only 4 items on everything in the store and a limit of 2 cartons of eggs, 2 bags of milk and 1 of any kind of paper product (aka toilet paper). I did manage to get the five Easter bunnies I wanted because the clerk asked me if I had a lot of kids and when I replied affirmatively she said she'd bend the rules. Actually I got everything on my list, though for some items there wasn't too much choice. There was only one kind of 3L oil - everything else was out of stock. The store also  appeared to be out of flour and yeast. Apparently everyone has taken up baking. Plenty of bread so I assume that this will soon go back to normal unless the baking craze is in response to boredom rather than the bread shortages we recently had. When I entered there was a staff member disinfecting the handles of grocery carts and reminding everyone to stay 2 m apart in the store. There was an announcement on repeat saying the same thing every few minutes as well as assuring us that they are cleaning regularly. The store did seem unusually clean.


I found the store to be busier than I had hoped and people were not paying as much attention as I would have liked. I did manage to stay at least a metre and mostly two metres away from everyone but I had to pay a lot of attention to do so. Lots of people shopping in groups of two, which I found really odd. Most people seemed to be in good spirits and pretty friendly though. The staff were clearly on edge. My cashier was giving a running commentary on Canadian Covid-19 statistics which I could have done without. I was underwhelmed by the plexiglass "protection" - I don't think it's particularly useful because there was a big gap at the bottom to allow access to the interac machine. I don't think it provides much real protection. I was also underwhelmed by the dots on the floor - it wasn't obvious where to stand exactly and people kept getting too close when they were going up and down the aisles. I think they'd be better off closing the ends of some of the aisles. Every other aisle was closed to provide separation which was good. One funny thing: my cashier thought I didn't have the use of my "clean" hand at first. When she realized I was just keeping it clean she offered me a squirt of hand sanitizer. I had heard that reusable bags weren't allowed but I was told that's not true. Cashiers are apparently not allowed to bag people's groceries anymore so if you want to bring your own bags in that's okay. We now have everything we want until Easter, though we'll undoubtedly want more milk and fresh fruit. We could manage without though.


When I got home I found out that Michael had not napped and he wasn't fit company until he got to nurse. So as soon as groceries were away he had a little lie down. Then I put on the Curious George episode about sound acoustics while I got supper ready before piano.


At suppertime the kids were briefly interested in hearing different styles of music but lost interest long before Daddy did. Instead they had a silly faces contest.

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