December 4, 2020
Virtual School: Week 13

It's Advent, so we pulled out the felt decorate your own Christmas tree for kindergarten. My elves built a structure to display it but after Michael and Amelia decorated it a few times Amelia decided to build the structure taller (with the help of a chair) so that Michael couldn't "undecorate her Christmas" anymore. So that was the end of that station for the week. Luckily he didn't seem to mind.


In addition to the felt Christmas tree, stations this week included Duplo, books, sound instruments, the fisher price creche and Grandma's yoga ball. Amelia is completely obsessed with the yoga ball and spent most of the week rolling or bouncing on it.


They had a special visitor come and teach dance this week. Amelia "didn't like the music" but after a bit of coaxing she eventually started to participate and enjoy herself.


On Wednesday I brought a scoop of snow in and Michael and Amelia had a lovely time painting it with food colouring. I tossed in a bunch of ice cubes with the snow and we discovered that if you mix two colours of food colouring (say red and yellow) then when you paint on snow it is orange. But unexpectedly, if you paint on the ice cube the colours separated out! The patterns formed by the dye on the ice cube were very interesting as well.


Amelia's small group is working very hard on "learning to read", which I find both interesting and weird. They seem to be just diving in with phonics blending which is fine, but skipped the very earliest readers. Amelia is finding it challenging because she doesn't quite have all the sounds for each letter down yet. I definitely preferred the "animals of the forest" approach which is more typically used at this level.


Matthew has a new math teacher for the month of December. Matthew likes her better already because she is done teaching for the day by 2pm. She also doesn't seem do the cycle of "here's the work, do the work, let's correct the work" which drives him bananas. Unfortunately, she is also redoing a unit they've already done, complete with assigning the same worksheets. I told him to just resubmit the work instead of redoing it and we'll do our own thing for the moment. Otherwise we've been doing a lot of reading.


At forest school Matthew made a star out of sticks and wood glue. It was pouring rain so they started working on a little "teepee" as a shelter. He was unbelievably wet after three hours of being out in the rain but he said it was super fun. He also started making a bee house for the bees to come to the park because there are no bees and they would like some to pollinate the flowers. They collected and sawed big pieces of wood.


Elizabeth had write a composition for music class using Google's Song Maker. She had so much fun that she also made her own arrangement of a holiday themed classic... (Watch it using something that can display the video because it's hilarious).

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November 30, 2020
November Food

Here's a photographic record of our November meals.

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November 29, 2020
Distanced walk

Amelia and I went for a short walk with Dianne and Evelyn this afternoon. Amelia was quite out of sorts and was thrilled to go out to do something just her and Mommy. "My best day ever! And I went in a car!" I'm amused by how novel car rides are now, especially for the younger two.


Amelia complained a bit about the actual walking while we were doing it but apparently enjoyed herself and wants to do it again. The best part was walking on the bridges.


It was very interesting to see all the changes in the landscaping - the shrubbery is growing up furiously to hide the tornado damage.

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November 28, 2020
Birthday party

Matthew's forest friend invited him to his birthday party, which makes this the first post-pandemic birthday party attended in person by any of our kids.


They were given a map with actions to do at each station, such as "count the cars on the mural at location B". I was interested to find out that the concrete bunker we saw before in the forest was actually a vegetable cold room. I certainly wouldn't have guessed that!


Once each child got to the final part of the map, they had to find a party favour hidden somewhere in the woods. Matthew's was pretty tricky to spot, buried deep in a fallen log. Then all the partygoers walked over to the birthday boy's house for a hot drink and he opened his presents. Matthew was not super keen on taking off his mask to drink, so he only took a couple of sips of his hot chocolate. Matthew was quite happy to bring home some cake, which he shared with Elizabeth later.


Matthew enjoyed getting to hold the leash of his friend's puppy. Matthew said that she was very strong and it was a bit like snow skiing if he didn't run along with the dog.


The other kids were jealous so Elizabeth organized a stuffy birthday party for Amelia and her own pets. I asked Elizabeth if she could be creative and have fun without having any food as we're trying to keep Amelia's sugar consumption down. So they had pretend cake and apparently a lovely time.

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November 27, 2020
Virtual School: Week 12

We had our first big snow this week. The kids were very excited to go sledding as the plow hadn't been by yet. Sadly the sidewalk plow came just as we were going out the driveway so I ended up running in front of the plow for the first block and then we gave up and went on the road. Elizabeth and Matthew amused themselves playing "sled dog". Amelia did her class outside again because there was no way she or Michael were going to come in.


It continued snowing during the day so we were able to actually go skiing down the sidewalk before lunch. Originally I was going to go to the SJAM or the Arboretum but Matthew really wanted to say he went skiing from our house and Elizabeth was worried about being back in time so we just skiied to the sledding hill and then did some sledding and skiing into the pond. We were slightly late coming back to class, to Elizabeth's great dismay. That did not stop her from lobbying to take Thursday off "as a PD day" when she discovered Matthew's new Thursday schedule is mostly outdoors. I told her that was fine and she decided to go to school. LOL.


At forest school Matthew and his friend built an enormous snow dragon and played distanced football. They apparently also looked at tracks in the snow and made ice sculptures. They had snow, ice and rain but that didn't stop Matthew from hugely enjoying himself. Forest school apparently doesn't count as school because it's too much fun. Matthew apparently is dreaming of becoming an engineer in order to go live on another planet.


In virtual school, Matthew's teachers assigned a mosaic art project. I say teachers plural because Matthew was given the same project twice. We just submitted the same art twice because he did not enjoy doing it enough to do it twice. In french class they are doing more reading. In math they are doing congruence of geometrical figures. Matthew: "Finally! Something new! It's still easy but at least it's new!"


Violin lessons continue, although certainly it is more challenging to do them remotely (especially for Matthew!). They are working on correct positioning, especially with holding the violin with your chin and not your arm.


Kindergarten stations this week: Puppets, tents, playmobile, obstacle course, puzzles, books. The theme given to the fairies was "farm animals" because Amelia's class is talking about the famous St Albert painted cows.


Reading in unusual places continued for Elizabeth. She very much enjoyed the last couple of books I brought home from the library, devouring several hundred pages in only two days. They've got a music project this week as well. She had to create a percussion instrument out of found materials and invent a rhythm. She says there was a note naming exercise as well but it was "ridiculously easy" and "not worth talking about". In gym they are doing some kind of group project where each group sets what the other kids have to do for physical exercise. Elizabeth's group is doing just dance routines, which apparently don't count as "real exercise" but "at least it's not boring".

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