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.
This Wednesday was Steven’s 11th birthday. Luckily he doesn’t mind not being able to have a party this year. Last year, knowing that parties aren’t his favourite thing, we suggested doing something else. Maybe a shopping trip or just taking a couple of good friends somewhere. He chose to spend a whole weekend shopping, eating out, playing board games and video games… He now refers to his birthday as his “reign of terror” because as long as we don’t go over budget, he can do and make us do whatever he wants. This year I apologized that we couldn’t take him and his friends out somewhere and he said he’d rather have a “family time birthday” anyways. Apparently, until last year, he thought birthday parties were some kind of unavoidable social obligation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.