May 18, 2020
Victoria Day

Our weekend was pretty much all karate with a smattering of church and a few chores thrown in. After all the excitement of the karate tournament, we were ready to have a relaxing Victoria day.


The kids made a huge stack of pancakes - mostly on their own.

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May 17, 2020
Sanitizer Showdown

When Sensei Cody mentioned that there was a virtual karate tournament coming up we thought it sounded suitably amusing and as it was free figured no harm in signing up.  Turns out many people around the world have been missing their regular stream of tournaments and had the same idea.  With over 200 in over 850 events in a variety of countries across the globe they had to split it into two days.  They did an excellent job of running it and the whole thing was very professional.  The judges even took the time to give feedback to the participants which was amazing (that basically never happens).  Elizabeth was amusingly enough nervous before the tournament (which boggled our minds as this one didn't count for anything).  Her mean parents made her do it anyway.  She decided that outdoors would be best as there would be no concerns about running out of space.  After experimenting with shoes on and off she decided to do it with them on as the grass is full of sticks and other things which poked and tickled her feet.  First up was kata for Elizabeth.  We weren't sure what type of competition she would be up against.  Turns out at her level it was basically all kids who would be competing for spots on their country's team to compete at the world championships.  Many had extremely impressive setups at home complete with mats and all kinds of training gear (and palm trees!).  We were amused by the number of competitors that had significant hardware from previous tournaments on display, although a special shout-out needs to go to the one kid competing outside. She actually obnoxiously dragged all her trophies outside as a backdrop to her performances (!)


Elizabeth put in a very impressive performance but did have a small slip on the grass.  She placed 7th (roughly middle of the pack).  She then had bo.  This was her first time competing against anyone outside of the dojo in bo, but she put on an amazing performance coming 7th again.  Given that she's still doing a fairly basic bo kata this was quite impressive.  A number of our neighbours saw her and were either frightened, impressed or both.  Then Matthew had his turn at kata.  He still needs to focus a bit better but put on a respectable performance.  He placed 7th as well.


On Sunday we had the kicking and toilet paper challenges.  For the kicking challenge contestants had to stand on one foot and do as many of a particular kick as possible in 60 seconds.  If they touched their kicking foot to the ground they were done even if the 60 seconds weren't up.  60 seconds is a loooong time to stand on one foot let alone be kicking like a crazy person.  Elizabeth managed between 120-130 kicks in her 60 seconds.  This was good enough for 4th.  Mommy and daddy tried this afterwards and managed 50 and 75 respectively.  Then there was the TP challenge.  For this one contestants had to balance on one foot, place a roll of TP on the other foot and extend it out until the leg is straight.  Then they had to toss it up in the air and kick it out of the air using any kick of their choosing.  They had 3 chances to give it their best kick.  If the roll drops that's one chance down.  Elizabeth managed to kick the roll all three times (one of the few contestants to do so) and even managed to hit mommy with her first shot.  She came 5th.  All that practice clearly paid off ;-)


All in all it was great fun (although just like a real tournament there was a lot of sitting around waiting for one's turn so as to not miss it).  Elizabeth even conceded that it was fun in the end and both her and Matthew have demanded that we sign up for the next one in two weeks time.

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May 16, 2020
Secret Message

Elizabeth has been amusing herself coming up with secret contortion messages.

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May 15, 2020
Homeschool wk may 11-15

Elizabeth had a very busy week assigned to her by her teacher. Several hours of french (they are studying "le récit" and learning how to take notes). 11 pages of decimal math and fractions. Additional math on the computer. Her social studies group project was due. There was a project on the Canadian parliament (spent a couple hours doing research and there's at least a couple of more to go). That's not counting the hour of virtual gym she did with her gym teacher, her English assignment(s), two hours of zoom class with her teacher, and science. Did I miss something? Probably. It was extra hard to tell this week because the assignments were all actually reference material, and for bonus points we got the set of assignments twice.


We haven't actually gotten to decimals yet in Math-u-see, so I skipped ahead to the relevant chapter and we'll go back later. Having extra curriculum that we've familiar with has been very helpful. In class they've only just started on fractions but now are moving into mixed numbers (aka 15/5 = 1 1/2) and decimals. This seems incredibly fast to me. I can't imagine how the other kids are managing - certainly Elizabeth took much longer than a week to get comfortable with basic fractions. We've very glad we've been doing math at home all along. I'm a little annoyed with myself for slacking off with the math at home during the school year but on the other hand she's had more homework the last couple of years and needed downtime!


I think I've mentioned that we are working our way through the Story of the World 1 series again. I've noticed a definite uptick in the younger kids playing "monster" this week - possibly related to the story of the Minotaur. We skipped acro lessons for siblings this week and cut back on art as Elizabeth was so busy, but we did find time for some art class.


All in all Elizabeth spent about 10 hours this week working on projects for her main teacher and then filled the rest of her time complaining that it wasn't fair that her siblings didn't have to work so hard. Hahaha - actually while that was noted - she actually dealt with a pretty overwhelming workload remarkably well. It did not help that most of her work vanished out of Google drive on Wednesday (strangely it was replaced with what appears to be another student's work - certainly she swears up and down that it was NOT hers although it's supposedly her personal area and the edit history only shows Elizabeth working on it). She did not finish but made good progress, but was quite worried. She told me that "pretty much everyone else" was done. I texted around - this is not true. Turns out that next week's assignments are "finish last week's assignments" so it should be a much more relaxed time.


None of Matthew's friends showed up to chat this week and while I tried to arrange some alternate times none of them worked out. In consolation we extended the first recess block into the normal zoom time. He also chatted with Auntie Janice (en français) and Amelia, who isn't interested in chatting with her friends over zoom but thinks it's great fun to zoom inside the same house with her brother. I don't quite get it, but they were speaking in french to each other without needing a reminder to do so every other sentence. We're still attempting to communicate in french during the school day. Some days are more successful than others.


Attempting to make fire continues to be a popular activity. Matthew's teacher told him a story about someone starting a fire with a pair of glasses, so Matthew spent the first part of the week experimenting with various lenses. He does have something that I think would work, but he hasn't found it yet. Shockingly the pretend lens in a McDonald's toy someone gave him was not a success.


We've wanted new patio furniture for a long time - Mom and Dad gave us their set that was on its last legs a decade ago and we intended to use it for a couple of years while we found something we liked better. Trouble was that Brendan and I couldn't agree. We've crammed around the tiny and admittedly rickety table for years. This year I decided enough was enough so even though there's still nothing out there that I adore, anything will be an improvement at this point. The kids are excited to have enough space to all eat at the same table without spilling each other's water, but the best part was the GIANT BOXES in which the chairs arrived. They promptly commandeered as much of the packaging as allowed and built a cardboard castle in the basement. Matthew was extremely happy to be allowed to take apart the pallet upon which the boxes arrived - any excuse to use his tools!


Amelia and Matthew did a rainbow experiment - a repeat of something her teacher demonstrated. We've done this one before but they insisted they wanted to do it again. Also on the science front we're still looking after our seedlings.


This week, Matthew worked hard on the assignments his teacher sent. He was enthusiastic about making a clock and writing emails and not at all interested in learning his words for his dictée. As one might expect.


There was circle time with Grandir Ensemble and the Ottawa library for Amelia and Michael. We did try to do the suggested activities with Amelia but a couple of the pages caused our printer to print reams of paper (well - more than 50 pages anyway) so I'm pretty sure I missed printing some things. She wasn't interested in more writing related tasks though and the curriculum is supposed to be play based so that's what she did!


Amelia and Matthew had their last piano classes of the year. They weren't super excited because we've agreed to a reduced practice schedule until June.


Elizabeth made supper on Monday, then we had formal cooking lessons via the curriculum I picked up a few years ago covering all kinds of different measurements. Amelia felt strongly that it didn't count as cooking class unless you ended up with something to eat at the end, so we applied our skills by making peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.


Also this week: our first meal outdoors of the season. There was no photo because someone had a class or something. Such is the current state of the nation.

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May 12, 2020
Pandemic ER

I've been feeling quite unwell the last few days and after describing my symptoms to my family doctor she decided to send me to the ER. I was a little taken aback because I'd expected to just be prescribed antibiotics but she was concerned about a kidney infection and coupled with (mild) fever and severe back pain. So off I went. I was a little frazzled having just come back from the grocery store so left without following any of our regular "going to emergency room" protocol. I regretted this because I'd only had a small breakfast.


I went to the General because the Civic has a Covid-19 outbreak and they are both pretty close. The first thing I noticed was that the parking was free. The parking lot was busy, but I found a spot without doing too much circling, so not quite as busy as normal. All visitors were being funneled through the main entrance so I walked in the front wearing my cloth mask. There was a screening station where I was asked to use hand sanitizer, then was screened. As is now "normal", lines and circles on the floor indicated where to stand for proper physical distancing. "Do you have an appointment?" they asked. So I guess there are still some appointments taking place physically. After my screen, I was given a surgical mask to wear. I only saw one person without a mask during my entire visit (the person sitting behind the admitting desk). I was directed to the ER, where I was asked to use hand sanitizer and re-screened. The ER has been rearranged for better physical distancing and seemed pretty quiet with about 8-10 people waiting. I was triaged right away by staff wearing surgical mask with a plastic shield over top. Yes, I was super tempted to take many photos but decided that wouldn't be appreciated.


One of the most interesting parts of my visit was that I received my bloodwork results well before anyone came to talk to me about them. My email prompted me to log into the hospital's patient portal where I could see that all the results were in the normal range and even graphically compare them to the previous bloodwork results I'd had last year.


While I was logged in, I noticed I was scheduled for a CT scan. The porter came and picked me up only minutes later. It seems to be protocol that all patients are transported for their tests - they aren't allowed to walk there by themselves. He and two other porters converged on the scan location at the same time. They were irritated because this isn't supposed to happen (trying to keep patients isolated). They said they are being faster than normal because there isn't traffic in the corridors but scheduling hasn't adapted yet. In any case, the person ahead of me had to go to the bathroom so I got wheeled right in.


The doctor later apologized and told me that I'd gotten in and out of the CT scan before she'd even had a chance to tell me it was happening! I didn't tell her that she'd auto notified me.


Overall, I spent about 5.5 hours at Emerg. I would have been more comfortable without the IV (whine whine) and food, but I was less concerned about picking up stray viruses than normal. They kept all the patients pretty isolated from each other and mostly in the same place rather than moving from waiting room to waiting room. I did get put in an examining room at first and then moved to a smaller area but they called in the cleaner to have the room disinfected after I was moved. I imagine the extra cleaning requires more time but I really appreciated it.


After confirming that I had no kidney stones, the ER doc decided to give me antibiotics and send me home.

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