We had a new schedule this week again as piano shifted back to group lessons. This also meant Elizabeth is back to making supper on Monday evenings, which was great! Less great is the fact that we still don't have a stable schedule from our school teachers. Elizabeth's teacher appears to be showing some signs of hope, but she also scheduled a class this week fifteen minutes before it happened. She sent a message to Elizabeth's school account that we check once or twice a day to invite her to the class, but not to either parent. She didn't fail to send the email telling us we'd missed the class to parents though. We weren't amused.
Amelia's teacher has apparently decided that classes are going to be at 10:30am but rotating on different days throughout the week "for the convenience of parents". I'm unclear on whether the extra afternoon class this week is going to be an ongoing thing or not. I'm not sure why it's so hard to schedule classes and then stick to that schedule but it's definitely something many are struggling with across the board. Actually that's unfair; KV Dance deserves kudos for coming up with a plan to go online, choosing to stick with their existing schedule and staying with it. But the rest are all switching things around like crazy. It's no wonder so many people are opting out. We may yet decide to ditch Amelia's classes as I really think a schedule with this much flux isn't sustainable until June.
We discovered that the bunnies have multiplied over the winter and are far too comfortable in my vegetable garden. Michael tried hard to PAT BUNNY but bunny ran for its life whenever he got too close. We distracted him by building a "bunny nest" in the backyard.
The seedlings have sprouted; now the trick will be to keep them watered until the garden is ready to receive them. Unfortunately my garden boxes are falling to pieces. Matthew enjoyed pulling weeds in the garden as part of his outdoor time. Even though it rained a good deal this week and it was very cold, the kids mostly went outside several times a day. As it got warmer, they even did some of their schoolwork outdoors.
Michael and Amelia enjoyed storytime at the library and zooming with Grandir Ensemble. They suggested a blowing bubble activity that was a great hit later in the week. Amelia at first kept accidentally drinking the soapy water but eventually she figured out how to blow out consistently. She was very proud of this new skill lol.
Amelia worked on the letter Q and the number 7 this week, and did lots of videos about spring. Matthew read to her and Michael. So did Elizabeth. We did quite well speaking only French at home and while there was more screen time that I would have liked the only videos watched were in French.
Amelia made a gluten free salt dough butterfly this week which we will paint next week. Michael made a blob. The other kids thought they ought to have had the option to make their own butterflies but I couldn't bear the thought of more salt dough crafts to figure out how to display or dispose of. They did more episodes of draw every day with JJK (proportions; brainstorming). Our supply of printer ink and paper seems like it will need replenishing more frequently under the circumstances.
For physical education this week Amelia and Matthew did some bike practice and a number of dance/yoga gym videos. Amelia enjoys them. Matthew not so much, but it's apparently better than karate. He really dislikes exercising in front of screens.
Matthew's math focus this week was Canadian coins. He did a lot of math! This week he started emailing his teacher during writing times - he adores picking things out on the computer. A favourite activity is sounding out words in Word and he'll even sometimes choose free computer time over watching Pat Patrouille videos.
Elizabeth and Amelia both had small group classes and classes with their entire class over google hangouts. Elizabeth's music and gym teachers apparently made guest appearances. Her gym teacher is going to lead an optional workout every week on Fridays... during karate. She predictably wants to do karate instead.
This week Elizabeth got up early quite a few mornings as well in order to make herself a cup of tea or eggs and toast for breakfast and revel in the quiet without siblings. She mostly worked on work assigned to her by her teacher. She told me that she's having a hard time figuring out what to do and when - I took a look at the Google classroom and she's right. There are assignments to hand in that actually have nothing to hand in; she needs to watch a video. Then there are assignments that link to google documents that link to other videos and google documents, some of which have the actual assignments to hand in. It's really difficult to follow. Her main assignment we couldn't even find until Thursday and then of course neither of us had permission to open it. So I felt her schoolwork didn't go that well this week, although actually she made a lot of great progress; just didn't manage to finish much of what her teacher had assigned.
On Friday we bought some new music apps "Flashnote derby" and "Rhythm swing". Flashnote derby lets you set a note range to be quizzed on at different speeds. You can select solfege or English notes, or play the note on a piano. There are unicorns and aliens shooting spaceships and it's much more amusing than Mommy doing the quizzing. Rhythm swing is a fantastic app for following rhythms. If you are late (or early) the alligator eats the monkey. My kids have all tended to be a bit lazy in practicing these skills so I'm really excited to have found something that they are enjoying, even if the English spelling of solfege notes makes Elizabeth giggle.
It would not be an accurate reflection of our year if I didn't mention our latest pets.
Redoing the basement reduced the insect population significantly, particularly that of house centipedes (aka "million legged bugs") and spiders. However, especially in the springtime we have struggled with some very pesky and persistent ants. This year they were particularly bad. Despite consuming the entire contents of literally dozens of ant traps (yes, we've tried different kinds), hundreds of ants relentlessly marched across the basement no matter what we did.
Elizabeth is especially unamused as she does not like insects, especially if they crawl up her legs and interrupt her piano practice.
We had discovered online shopping prior to all this, but now that many stores are closed we've had a definite uptick in the number of packages and parcels coming to our door.
The kids managed to break another laundry basket in a tug of war game ("I didn't know Michael was so strong"). Both the box and the packaging for the replacements have provided many hours of entertainment here this past week.
Chore time this week featured window washing and cleaning the chandelier. Our house is definitely cleaner under lock down, despite certain children coming into the house IN THEIR SHOES to go to the bathroom! "How did you know?" "I followed the trail of dirt!" "Oh". Matthew and Elizabeth both decided they don't like having to tidy our main entrance in the back and have subsequently been caught NOT throwing all their shoes and coats willy-nilly everywhere. This might have something to do with a new rule that the messiest kid gets to tidy that area at chore time(!) The dining room floor post meal times is still disgustingly crunchy, but at least it gets swept up.
This afternoon we connected with Lauren and kids again to play Settlers. Matthew had originally been interested but ultimately the lure of the screen proved too strong. Michael and Amelia really are too little to play these. Elizabeth enjoyed learning the game. We nearly pulled out a win - sitting at 9 points for quite a few rounds but ultimately Daddy managed to eke out a dramatic come back.
One of the more popular things for kids to do while chatting these days is apparently to draw each other pictures. Sometimes they have to guess what the other person is drawing. Sometimes they draw ON each other. Often they take screenshots of each other.
We find this impulse deeply weird but highly amusing.
I recently joined our local buy nothing group and have been having great fun looking at the various things my neighbours give away. I appreciate the sense of community the group fosters, even while I occasionally shake my head when someone gives away something like opened contact lens solution and SOMEONE ELSE WANTS IT (ewww).
Anyway, the kids have found it amusing as well as we occasionally get to go on "treasure hunts" to find some of the free things people are giving away.
Recently someone posted a plea looking for a froggy with wings - their child's beloved stuffy had gone missing. I happened to have a duplicate AND it was even in our giveaway pile. The kids agreed that the toddler in question should have our froggy to cuddle, but we had to take a photo first.