We’re still doing French, Music and Phys Ed every morning. This week we did some French worksheets that focus on the sounds letters in various French words make (beginning sounds, hear the sounds). I think they’re meant for a younger audience, but they get the point across without being boring. I had Steven google each word to find the French translation and then listen to the pronunciation and repeat it.Continue reading “Week 2 homeschooling reflection”
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.Continue reading “Week 1 reflection”
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).Continue reading “Plan for the year and week 1”
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.Continue reading “Grade 6 Reading”
I’ve been trying to think of ways to make this year more fun, ways to keep Steven engaged and motivate him to keep trying instead of getting frustrated and arguing with us all the time (which happened a lot last school year, first with home schooling and then with the distance learning provided by the school). Motivating him has been hard over the years. He willingly tries everything, but if he doesn’t get it right away he often gives up. Sometimes he’ll get really into something and he’ll get past the “I’m not good at this” stage and start to improve, but then he reaches a harder part and gives up. We all do this sometimes, and we’ve talked about how this is normal and you just can’t give up, but often it ends in arguing.Continue reading “Motivation”
We’ve done a lot of talking about school over the last few months, especially recently. We were waiting to see what the school board had planned, but school is only a few weeks away and they haven’t given us much. Schools are opening again. Grades 4+ are expected to wear masks, but class sizes aren’t reduced at all so social distancing will be impossible. They are “cohorting” so that kids are with all the same kids all the time, and staggering breaks, but teachers for French and Music and such will still be visiting all classes. And there are some huge things they haven’t addressed. Like, Steven’s school only has 3 washrooms. Each one is shared by like 8 classrooms. Is it someone’s job to constantly clean the washroom? What about shared resources? Library books? Art supplies? Toys?Continue reading “2020 school year – grade 6”
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.
We do some French every day, but it has become pretty obvious that Steven has lost most of what he learned last year. Last year he could form simple sentences and this year he barely has a vocabulary. He has also expressed frustration multiple times over the fact that the teacher he had was very strict and wouldn’t let them speak or use words they knew that weren’t part of what they were studying. I wasn’t there, so I only have what he says, but he gets really, really frustrated whenever we ask about his French class. I don’t think it’s entirely the teacher’s fault. She’s probably just teaching what she teaches his grade normally. But the teacher he had last year being so awesome. She went above and beyond to make sure the students could actually use what they were learning, which impressed me because I remember being in French immersion in High School and having friends in core French who still didn’t know any French. So I was really proud of all the progress he had made in French, and it’s frustrating to see him lose it.
All that to say we’re going to start working on vocabulary even more. I labelled things around the house in French so he can see them often, and we’re going to start speaking partially in french. Just simple phrases like asking what he wants to eat or telling him to wash his hands but it will hopefully help in the long run. Oh, and I found these posters that help ask simple questions in French, too. I printed them out 6 to a page, removing some that don’t really apply outside of school, and posted them on the wall.
We also started working on area and perimeter in math today, using legos to help out. I printed out these worksheets and had Steven make shapes with legos, draw them on the sheet and figure out the area and perimeter.
It looks like I’m going to be able to work from home starting early next week. We’ve cleaned out our spare room and I will be clearing off my sewing table to move in there and use as a desk. But before I pack away my sewing machine, I wanted to make some reusable masks. The CDC went from saying there’s no point in wearing one to saying it will probably help but they don’t want people to have a false sense of security. Definitely no false sense of security here, but I do need to go into work for some training to work from home, and I’m sure there will be other times when we need to go out as much as we don’t want to.
I’m using this pattern and literally whatever fabric I have around. I’m cutting up a couple of Steven’s old shirts, even. But for the inside, I’m using some reusable bamboo paper towels that we bought recently (originally because there were no regular ones anywhere, but I actually really like them). I had read an article in which they interviewed someone who worked on the n95 masks we currently use, and he said anything is better than nothing but bonded fabrics would be better than knit or woven. His example was the blue shop towels, but I think this is pretty close. I did the version with the pocket so we could add another layer if we wanted to.
Then we decided to go for a walk. We’ve all been a little afraid to leave the house. And we were all very careful not to touch anything while we were out. And whenever we turned a corner and saw people we went a different direction, because as much as we’d like to believe everyone is being careful, we just don’t have control over other peoples’ actions. It kind of felt like PacMan. But it was one of the first really nice spring days and I just needed to go for a walk. Hopefully this time next week our back yard will be less mucky and we can enjoy outside by playing some games in a space we have control over.
We did find this pretty rock on our walk. There are a lot of people around (or so I’ve seen on Facebook) who paint rocks like this for people to find. The idea is to find them and hide them again, and I was a little upset that the first time we actually found one was a time when I definitely didn’t want to touch it. But maybe we’ll make some ourselves some time.
I just realized it’s April Fools Day. I guess none of us are really feeling like doing any practical jokes. A couple years ago, though, Easter and April Fools happened to be the same day. I made Steven a “soft boiled egg” for breakfast… only I had removed the egg and replaced it with jello! I thought it was pretty funny. He kind of freaked out a bit. Maybe I shouldn’t have used red jello.
And that led me to a thought – maybe we’ll actually find time to decorate some eggs this year! There have been a few years that we bought kits and just never got around to it.
Trying to find the positives of this situation. It makes it a bit easier, anyways. I guess that’s all for now. Hope everyone’s staying safe and doing what they can to enjoy isolation.
Steven did some cool science experiments today to build on what he learned about the heart and lungs last week. We did one that shows how the diaphragm and lungs work together by following the instructions here. If we did that one again, I would probably use a smaller balloon for the “lung”, so it would be easier to see it inflating and deflating.
For the heart one, we more or less followed the instructions found here because I like how the experiment was set up, but we didn’t have a lot of the supplies. In my online search for an experiment, I had seen other people doing similar things with jars covered in balloons (with tiny holes for the straws – the balloon needs to seal around the straw) and then pushing down on the balloon to “pump”, instead of squeezing the bottle, so that’s what we did instead. Oh, and we stirred some red paint into the water because we didn’t have food colouring.
Once our experiments were done, we got back to our Dungeons and Dragons game from yesterday… and Liam and I were both killed by a large group of mimics. Steven was a little upset that we didn’t get to do everything he had planned. He felt he didn’t have enough time to plan and was quite convincing in that argument. So we had another discussion about how there really aren’t any hard deadlines or schedules or anything anymore, and if he needs more time he can just say so. I expect it will still take some getting used to. But he’s already working on our next game, and this time we told him to just tell us when he’s ready, instead of setting a date we plan on playing.
And this evening we had our first big family dinner over facebook messenger’s video chat. It took a bit to get figured out, but I’m sure it will go smoother next time. We typically have dinners at Liam’s parents’ place fairly regularly, usually with his sisters and their significant others and a lot of Steven’s cousins too, and I know that’s something everyone has missed.
I’ve been trying to think of what else we’ve been missing and how to fit those things into our new reality. I’m really looking forward to warmer days so Steven and I can do yoga on the back porch, but for now I’d settle for less rain and convincing someone to go for a walk with me. We’re all a little afraid to leave the house, but we haven’t seen a lot of people or even cars outside. It should be pretty easy to stay away from other people and not touch things.
This blog has been helping too, just to organize my thoughts a bit.
Stay safe out there!