October 2, 2020
Virtual school: Week 4

This week's kindergarten stations: leaf sensory bin, books, tunnels, Lego, dominos. I think I'm going to switch up the stations slightly mid-week. Amelia got bored of the tunnels by Wednesday and told me I didn't need to bother putting them out. Her class was talking about carrots this week. Amelia was pleased to be able to inform her teacher that some carrots are white (and no, they are not parsnips). She's doing an experiment to see whether carrot tops grow better in dirt or water. They did a painting exercise which ended in disaster when I chose to prevent paint on the couch instead of following Michael to the sink where he went to "wash his hands". I swear he was out of sight for a couple of minutes at most but it was enough to spray an inch of water all over the kitchen, the hall and part of the dining room, through the ceiling and into the basement. We seem to have escaped without significant damage, though Brendan liberated a cupful of water out of the light fixture over Amelia's desk. She wasn't too happy as some of her art was destroyed.


At school this week Matthew was working on sorting animals based on their characteristics, writing numbers by place value notation and basic literacy.


I talked to his math teacher and she commented that she didn't have a good read on Matthew because often he seemed to be following along but then suddenly she'd be asking him a question and he'd fail to respond. I did explain that he likes to turn off the camera because he hates being on video and she's fine with that but would like us to work with him to make sure he knows that he still needs to pay attention even if he's off screen. "He seems to have a lot of technical issues." We realized that perhaps we need to let the teacher know when he leaves for things like riding lessons. Also it turns out that he has discovered how to make it look like things aren't working. For instance he can make his screen appear to "freeze" so that if he goes to the bathroom or is just tired of being on camera he can have a little break without anyone knowing. I was telling Elizabeth that I hoped she wasn't doing the same thing. "Of course not mom", she replied. "I use the app!" Apparently she has a program that not only freezes your screen but can make your sound glitch. Ahem. So virtual school is teaching our children technical skills. Matthew has been figuring out what all his desktop settings do and is quite taken with his newfound powers.


I asked his teacher whether the level of work being done was deliberately easy as a review and she confirmed that was the case. She said that they were taking things extra easy this year because they were worried about kids who didn't do much after March, but was glad to know that the work was much too easy for Matthew. We talked about his reading difficulties and we have a plan for that as well. Mid-week she pulled Matthew and the other kid that's quite far ahead in math into their own private Google Meet. She's giving them extra work. Matthew is somewhat inclined to be dismissive of the "friends" who aren't so good at math, so we're working on being self confident without being prideful... He very much enjoyed the extra work so far.


 It was orange shirt day this week. Elizabeth had much angst because she does not like orange and therefore has no orange shirt. Since only her front had to be presentable, we ended up taking a piece of orange fabric and pinning it to approximate something shirt-like. The only photos are the night-before concept and the "quick, put your clothes back on so we can get a photo" - strangely she unpinned herself to do her karate and dance classes...

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