May 22, 2020
Homeschool wk may 19-22

We took this week quite a bit easier than the last couple of weeks, and consequently Elizabeth did not finish all of her assigned work.


We also did not do much in the way of formal art lessons, but we did spend some time talking about Mount St Helens, which erupted forty years ago this week. It happens that Auntie Mary was actually in Portland at the time so we heard about her experiences and saw some of her pictures. She even has some ash, which they had to shovel off their properties like snow! She's going to show us in person when we go visit her next.


We planted our garden and since the kids are all responsible for looking after their own plots this year a chunk of the week was spent looking after plants.


Matthew and Elizabeth also continued working on their fire project and actually managed to burn quite a few holes in leaves. They can reliably get smoke in leaves now, but have only managed to get a real ember a couple of times. Flames were spied, but accidentally blown out. They haven't been allowed to spend as much time out in the sun this week after the boys all picked up rather intense sunburns over the weekend though. Instead they've played on the swing and in the sandbox which has the advantage of being in the shade!


We've had a few classes outside as well, which is always fun.


Amelia's school asked them to try doing jump rope, so we spent an afternoon trying to teach her how to use a skipping rope. She can't reliably manage by herself but she DID actually learn how to jump over a rope that others are swinging and has made it up to 5 jumps.


We did a science experiment suggested by the school as well with pepper and water, along with our old favourite rainbow milk. We slacked off a bit on music practice.


Elizabeth has book club this coming weekend so she needed lots of time to finish her book. She completed many activities in netmath. She did some activities for her class. She avoided writing her recit.


Matthew had a recit to write as well, which he put off working on every day until Friday. He definitely much prefers to work on math! He also helped Amelia with as much of her work as possible, especially when she got to listen to books on the computer. He thinks he's getting away with something but although I don't count this towards his schoolwork he is still working on his french language and reading skills :) Again this week no classmates came to help practice his french, although I did manage to connect him with a friend and they practiced a bit. I'd say our efforts to speak french this week needed improvement.


In addition to lots of reading, Amelia made a craft with her class which she then played with all week. She made a mask with the leftover bits of her "bricolage". They also played in their cardboard box fort quite a bit.


Overall it was a fun week.

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We were getting a bit low on groceries, so I decided that it was time to go shopping.


First I went to Loblaws Isabella. I knew I needed all the space in my cart as I had a long list so I didn't text anyone else to ask if they wanted groceries. Besides, it was 8am - pandemic style shopping means that I need to get to the store before 8:15am if I want to avoid standing in a line.


Since last time I went shopping there's been a noticeable decrease in people wearing masks. This time it was probably closer to 50% of people not wearing them. It also seemed like there were many more regular shoppers than my last couple of shopping experiences. In fact, I felt the store was a little crowded for my liking. Only two cashes were open and I had to wait nearly 40 minutes to checkout. My cart was too full and stuff kept falling off as I went down the ramp on the way out the store (a factor I had forgotten to account for!) It was pretty stressful, especially since I had to unload my groceries and pickup our Walmart click and collect before 10am. By the time I had finished it was 9:30am!


The Walmart order pickup was uneventful and I wasn't late. We'd timed it for 10 because that's when the Natural Food Pantry opens and I was hoping to get some more gluten free cereal. It was my first time going to Billings since early March. I've never seen the parking lot so empty! When I arrived, I parked near the main entrance, which turned out to be the wrong one. Only entrance 6 near the Independent was open. You go inside and sign in with the security guard. Signs on the door state you may need to show ID but he only wanted to know which store I was going to. It was very strange walking around indoors in an essentially deserted mall. The pharmacy was open, the grocery store and strangely, the cellphone store right at the entrance of the grocery store. The elevator was undergoing active repairs. I walked up to the Natural Food Pantry and was able to walk right in. In fact, aside from one of their two doors being closed and all customers needing to walk down a particular aisle to enter, it was a remarkably normal shopping experience. I was the only one in the store, so I grabbed my four bags of cereal and went to the cash. "Someone having a hankering for cereal?" the cashier asked. I can only imagine what he thought when I went back about 45 minutes later to buy 7 bags of chocolate for Auntie Janice!


I had texted her and some neighbours to see whether they wanted anything from the Natural Food Pantry and long story short I found myself wandering into the Independent to pick up a few more things and to check out if they had any yeast (spoiler: they did not). Another full cart later and I think I might have spent the most money on groceries that I ever have in a single day! I was interested to see that the Independent was super quiet and it was a really nice shopping experience.

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May 20, 2020
Maria is 11!

Maria turned 11 and we celebrated with a zoom! We didn't quite get our act together so her present will have to follow later.

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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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