May 29, 2020
Homeschool wk may 25-29

We started this month with some snow, so it seems rather fitting to end it with some rather spectacularly hot days. Getting to play in the paddling pool and the slip n slide is definitely a perk of doing school at home! The kids invented an obstacle course that they could do "for gym". There was certainly a lot of running and shrieking. Michael is our water baby who thinks nothing of dunking his head underwater - he's quite terrifyingly wild in the tub - but by the end of the second day he seemed to get over his certitude that he "not like it". We spent a significant amount of time outside, working on "our" gardens. We even ate many of our meals outdoors.


Amelia's teachers selected a geography theme this week "since Amelia likes geography so much". I was a little surprised by this, but perhaps fewer parents are sending photos of their activities? Amelia was the only kid in her small group (another kid did show up for the first five minutes) this week, which did not bother her in the least because she adores chattering away on zoom, at least to adults. Other kids apparently spend too much time fiddling with their background and they don't ask questions that she knows how to answer. She doesn't let her inadequate french vocabularly get in the way of the chattering either. She just subs in whatever she doesn't know in English. Sometimes with an appropriately french pronunciation and occasionally she just uses her own invented nonsense (what she calls "french fry language"). This can make her somewhat tricky to decipher. One of Amelia's projects was to make a little book about countries around the world. I'm actually not entirely sure what the original assignment envisionned but I was happy with what we came up with. Everyone had fun this week looking at the flags and then seeing if they can remember which country they belong to. Amelia also had fun doing a science experiment with ants. There was great debate over the best place to attract ants. She wasn't too sure about actually holding a plate with insects on it at the end!


Michael thought all the cutting and gluing for the geography project looked like fun and he managed to talk me into letting him use scissors too. The trouble with Michael and scissors is that he gets bored after a while and starts seeing what happens if he cuts the door. Or his siblings. Once he reaches that point it's fairly difficult to remove said scissors without worrying about him cutting me or himself, so I've been slow to allow access. He might be growing up because this time he asked first "Michael cut door now?" and went back to cutting paper right away as soon as he inferred that the scissors were going to go away if he tried unsanctionned activities. I might even let him do it again next week.


Michael and Amelia are still enjoying their zooms with french playgroup and the library.


Matthew did a lot of writing this week. I find it interesting that he and Elizabeth are both working on "le récit", and in remarkably similar ways. Elizabeth's is obviously much longer. He was going to do another survey but ran out of time. His classmates have stopped showing up for zooms, so Auntie Janice dropped by a couple of times and he got to chat on the telephone with his teacher. To be honest this probably meets the goal of forcing him to practice his oral french better than playing with backgrounds on zoom with his friends... He did a science experiment this week measuring the temperature of various containers in the shade versus the sun. The experiment ran from 4:15pm to 6:15pm. The damp earth in the sun was 35C and in the shade was 2C cooler. We trapped some air in our yogurt pots with plasticine. In the shade it was 33.5C and in the sun it was 37C but it was so hot in the sun that the plasticine melted so I'm not sure how valid a result that was. He also had to compare a damp paper towel in the shade and the sun. We folded them up to try and preserve moisture but the one in the sun was totally dry and inclined to wander around the yard within about 15 minutes. He claimed he could feel a tiny bit of wetness in the one in the shade but I couldn't.


This week Elizabeth finished up writing her story (about a magic door). At the end of the week she found out that she could either write a new story or keep refining her existing story. So she decided not to submit it! I should note that her teacher has stopped actually teaching in her twice weekly classes. Now the small group class is "an opportunity for questions about the assignments" and the whole class hangout is an overview of the work to come in the following week. Elizabeth did a pile of math and some grammar and reading assignments as well as a fairly lengthy assignment on Canadian parliament. Her favourite part was to create her own coat of arms. There was other art as well, including a game where one person does a scribble and the other has to turn it into a doodle. She was able to complete everything independently until she came to the last page of her math. Here's a line. It is 16cm long with markings of 0 at 0cm, 1 at 7.5cm and 2 at 15cm. The first line was pretty straightforward. She needed to mark intervals such as 0.5 and 1.75. The rest of it was ridiculous. For example, she was asked to find 0.45 on the line. That would mean she was expected to locate 3.375cm. She's still working on being able to accurately mark lines to the millimetre and it's not out of the ordinary for her to be one or two millimetres off, having not spent a ton of time working with a ruler. Trying to mark two decimal places using a standard ruler is a stretch in my opinion and three is just silly. Some kids don't even have access to a printer and are apparently having to complete this using a PDF editor. The mind boggles.

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