It was International Children's day this week, so both Matthew and Amelia's class had special days on Thursday. Matthew had a pj week and movie in the afternoon, while Amelia had a special party. All the kids had to decorate and come up with ideas for making the day special, like getting dressed up, making paper flowers and "serpentines". Michael was invited to participate as well.
It was a short week (PD day on Friday), coupled with party on Thursday, so I didn't really do much in the way of learning stations. Still, we had books, costumes for dressup, paint, and the giant house with kitchen stuff from a few weeks ago also was still getting a lot of play.
Amelia's class was learning about human rights all week. She is skeptical and a little disbelieving that children don't have a "right" to a car, but accurately identified education, play, food, water and shelter as basic rights.
It was colder this week but that did not stop Amelia from continuing to practice her new biking skills or Michael from scootering. There was also a ton of special stories at the library because it was storyteller's week, so Michael and Amelia (and sometimes Matthew) joined in for a special online story in both English and French every day.
One of the best parts of virtual school is the informal learning that takes place between siblings, such as Matthew reading books to his siblings (and trying to teach them how to read themselves!) or Elizabeth helping Matthew with his work (so that he can hurry up and log off to play with her!).
Matthew continues to have ample spare time, so the big news this week is that we agreed for him to start doing forest school with another family! They will spend two half days together outdoors and masked in Richlieu forest in Vanier. An excellent teacher is facilitating their learning. Our goal is mainly to have Matthew speak and hear a great deal more French than seems possible in school. We were very happy to find this opportunity to connect with another family and teacher who are both being extremely covid-wise. The teacher is in contact with someone vulnerable so asked to know how we are living. We are pretty careful and it's great to find a situation that isn't more risk than we want to take on.
Elizabeth had a special meet with kids from multiple virtual classes and one in person class in Montreal this week as a follow-up to the special galaxy nature art project they've been doing. Usually they need to leave the camera off when there are so many kids in the meet, but Elizabeth was one of four students in her class chosen to present. She was quite enthused that she got to keep it on. She continues to make a meal once a week and was happy to go to karate once again in person for her bo class. She's supposed to be doing her reading in "unusual" places and positions this month.
We met up with Karen, Xander, Isabelle, Theo, Yukiko, Erika and Maria in Commissioner's park to take one last distanced calendar photo and exchange some secrets for upcoming holidays. It was windy, cold and rainy but that didn't stop some of us from staying on for a few more minutes to play distanced games like umbrella soccer and frisbee.
We had Grandma Margaret over for supper and a fire.
We're really busy at work and it's time to produce our annual family calendars, so I didn't put much effort into changing kindergarten learning stations this week - large "house" out of fort magic and sheets stayed up, but kids gave it a makeover with different animals claiming certain "rooms". We had the costumes out too, and a certain amount of dress-up play ensued.
There was a game with "food" and also something where part of it became a prison for a wild animal. Michael was the wild animal.
Amelia's class had to make puppets out of old socks. We have old socks in abundance so Matthew decided he wanted to make one too. Amelia's class participated in a virtual field trip to hear an author read a book - except they had technical difficulties and there was no sound. Anyway, the theme of the week is geography, so Amelia played with a map of Canada puzzle and we read books from around the world. I tried to interest Amelia in a tetris-like puzzle but the pieces mostly were used as boomerangs. Sigh.
Lots of playing outside - Amelia is very into riding her bike, so Michael has renewed his interest in the balance bike and actually making progress. We went to the park! When we arrived it was quiet but it wasn't long before we had to flee the millions of non-social distancing kids. One mother was telling me all about how their whole household was ill, while said child was chasing Matthew to the point he decided to climb up somewhere inaccessible for some peace. Needless to say we won't be back at the park that late in the day again for a while.
Big news this week is that Elizabeth got to go back to karate in person. Sensei Cody has been doing private lessons with her once a week for over a year and we've decided recently to add a second lesson a week. We found out that she had the opportunity to come in person to Barrhaven and be the only person in the dojo other than her instructor. We also really appreciate that everyone wears masks. We figured we could take advantage of Ottawa's current declining Rt values.
She's quite prepared to practice her bo outdoors all winter if she needs to, but she's begun working on a musical routine and it IS somewhat challenging to work on timing and music over zoom. She's been a really good sport about the extra difficulty of zoom lessons but it was obvious she really enjoyed her in person lesson. I was also impressed with her attitude. "I hope the numbers mean I can keep going for a little while", she said. "But if I can't, at least we had some time to work on the music part."
It was Remembrance day, so we ditched school and headed over to Grandma's to make some Christmas cake, as per tradition.
Matthew and Elizabeth did almost all the chopping this year.