In my eagerness to start writing a novel last weekend, I kind of completely forgot to post on the blog! But honestly, I didn’t have much to say. We finished our NaNo prep and we’re on to writing!
Steven ended up setting the bar high. The “default” NaNoWriMo goal is 50000 words, and Steven’s goal is 67860 words. And here I was thinking it would be easier to write to his goal this year! We’re both a little behind, but we’re planning on catching up this weekend.
This week we finished up our science unit and learned how to write a 5 paragraph essay. I had Steven research the contributions Canadians have made to the study and exploration of space. Then he filled out the writing map I found here and used it to write an essay. Some of the essay writing concepts didn’t quite sink in, so we’ll be writing more essays later in the year. But we didn’t spend too much time on it this time around because we were both excited to start our NaNoWriMo prep!
This week was pretty uneventful, really. It was a short week because of Thanksgiving. Steven spent most of it preparing a slide show presentation on life in space, which he presented to us yesterday. I kept it simple, just asked him to pick 5 everyday tasks (like eating and sleeping) and research how they are done in space. After his presentation, we watched some of Chris Hadfield’s YouTube videos from his time on the space station to cover some other everyday tasks.
One of the science units for grade 6 is space and the solar system. So this week was focused on learning about the rest of the planets. Steven had already read about a couple of them over the last couple of weeks. They were easy to fall back on when he was struggling with math and I had to work.
This week, Steven completed the solar system reading comprehension activities found here this week. He also completed the key terms and solar system worksheets in this workbook. I bought the bundle that covers all the science units for grade 6. I then had him use these worksheets to make a plan for building a model solar system. I’m sure I’ll have lots of photos of that next week.
Steven finished reading “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies last week, so I purposely didn’t assign time-consuming work at the beginning of this week so he could work on an after-reading assignment. He made a comic strip of a part of the book. Maybe not his best work, but he did do some sketches before doing the final copy. Next time I’ll give him more direction before he starts.
Overall, I think the week went pretty well. Doing all the learning in the morning is definitely the way to go for Steven. Yesterday we got back from our walk late and I had to start work right away and forgot to be like “hey, do your work” and he “forgot” that it was Friday (after we had already done music, french and phys ed?) and getting him to start in the afternoon was a chore. But the rest of the week had very few complaints.
I’m trying to get at least the first few weeks of school planned before school actually starts. Steven has decided he wants to start on September 1st, instead of starting on the 8th like regular school. I think his hope is to earn himself some days off before his birthday (something I mentioned in a previous post).
Steven has been required to read daily since he started school. Sometimes he gets away with not doing it on weekends, and he usually doesn’t do it on holidays. Some things just aren’t worth an argument.
This year we decided that as long as he reads for at least 30 minutes each “school day”, he won’t have to read other days. Luckily over the last few years he has finally started finding books he actually wants to read. But he tends to only read certain types of books (suspense, horror, mystery and Pokemon mangas), so this year I want him to try and diversify his reading list.
Yesterday was crazy, so I didn’t post. Steven started distance learning and I started working from home after putting on one of my homemade masks and leaving the house for the first time in 2 weeks to take the bus to work and get some on-site training and pick up my computer and take a taxi back home… we were all busy and I was so anxious about going out and setting everything up at home was hectic… But today everything calmed down, and hopefully it will be the start of a new routine.
Steven’s teachers are providing weekly work for Language Arts, Math, French and Music so far (yesterday it was just the first two, but the others were added this afternoon). Each subject is broken down to do a bit every day, but Steven has decided he wants to stick to the homeschool schedule we had already established. So yesterday he did as much of the assigned language work for the week as he could, and then today he studied the next part of the body (the digestive system on Kids Health) and did the rest of the language work.
Steven’s teachers are using Google Classroom to communicate, and Steven has really been enjoying being able to talk to his school friends again in the chat room there. Their first assignment was to write about what they have been doing since school ended. They were supposed to write a paragraph and maybe add a picture or two, I’m pretty sure Steven wrote a few pages. But he was really excited to tell everyone about our adventures in the last few weeks.
This morning, it was really nice outside, so Steven wanted to do PhysEd outside. He probably also didn’t want to clean up the mess in the living room, but he said it was because of the weather anyways. So found a recording of the beep test. Our yard is nowhere near 20 meters, but he’s younger than the kids that normally do this test, and I didn’t want to make it too hard on him anyways.
I gave him some chalk and told him that if he ran really fast to the other side, he could draw on the fence until the next beep. It ended up being a pretty fun activity for him. There was some laughter anyways, as his drawings were repeatedly interrupted and he tried to rush to the other side in time to continue.
I mostly work in the afternoons, and I’m hoping that will continue to be my schedule so that I can do PhysEd and French with Steven in the mornings and then get him set up with the day’s work before I have to start working myself.
Working from home is eerily quiet. Everyone has been doing a great job keeping quiet while I’m working, but I’m used to being in a call centre surrounded by people. I’ve often complained about the noise, but now I miss it. Especially when there’s time between calls, and I can’t just turn to my neighbour and start a conversation. But I often knit when I’m on the phone, and I realized today that I am no longer limited to small, portable projects at work. I could totally make a sweater or something, because I don’t have to take it with me to and from work and keep it out of my coworkers’ space. I have a whole room! So that’s exciting.
My posts might become less frequent now that I’m working again because that’s taking up 9 hours of my day, but I’m going to keep updating when I can.
Today we all kind of woke up on the wrong side of the bed. None of us slept very well over the weekend, and I think it’s finally catching up to us. We had a talk about how we rarely go anywhere (except school, work and boy scout meetings) normally and we’re just doing all the things we normally do, but that it’s different now that we can’t go anywhere, and we’re all going to try and figure out how we can make things easier on ourselves.
Luckily, today was always supposed to be a more laid back day school-wise. Since before we started homeschooling, Steven had decided he wanted to make a Dungeons and Dragons one-shot for us, and when we started homeschooling we looked at the curriculum together and talked about how he could cover some of the necessary items in Language Arts with his one-shot.
Liam and I made our own characters for this game, but Steven had to decide what the world they were in looked like, and what challenges they would face. Then he had to present it in an engaging way. But the thing with Dungeons and Dragons is, you never know what your players are going to do. Even if you try to lead them in a certain direction, they might choose another, and you need to adapt and use your knowledge of the setting and the game to either get the game back on the track (or one of the tracks) you had planned, or improvise another direction entirely on the fly.
If you haven’t played before, there are lots of resources online to get you started, a lot of which are free or inexpensive, and it might help to watch some gameplay and tutorials on YouTube (Try Handbooker Helper and Critical Role… I may be a little obsessed with those guys).
If you want to play regularly, I highly recommend at least getting the core books (Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual), but here’s a link to get you started with then rules at least. You will also need pencils and paper and a set (or twenty) of polyhedral dice, but there’s also apps for that if you don’t have them on hand and can’t go out. Maps and miniatures are all available as printables online too, or you can play with just your imaginations. And if you have no idea where to start your game, find a pre-made module to run. A lot of them even have characters already made up to play with.
Steven has been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a couple of years now, but he watched us play and wanted to join long before that. If you’re looking for something simpler but still with just as much potential for imagination, Hero Kids is great for all ages. The math and mechanics are much simpler, the characters are cuter, but the possibilities are not limited at all. It’s just as much fun for adults as it is for kids. I noticed this morning that they currently have a Lockdown Bundle on sale for $5.99 (USD, I think?), which includes the core rules and some pre-made games to get you started, loads of content for the price. And Hero Kids comes with everything. Printable minis for all the characters and monsters, maps for the adventures, it’s all there. You just need some 6 sided dice, which you probably have somewhere in your house, and if not there’s still an app for that.
We didn’t quite have time to finish our game today. I think Liam and I might have had more questions about Steven’s made-up setting than he had answers for. But that’s part of the fun! We’ll probably continue playing for an hour here and there over the next few days, after the regular lessons we have planned are done.
Hope everyone’s Monday went smoothly. Stay safe! ~Lauren