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January Homeschool Miscellany

posted on: Sunday, 5 February 2023 @ 3:17pm in

The year started off great with 16yo and I getting our jobs back at the kids’ gym (they’re “just” volunteer jobs but won’t be too much longer). A lot of stuff has changed, a couple of things are really not great, some stuff is fantastic, and some stuff is kind of wait and see. As well as being put on for an introduction class and a group of level 3s, she was allowed to help with the Kindergym classes seeing as she wants to get into childcare. This is going to make up the bulk of her homeschooling program alongside the monthly assignments. She’s been registered for OLNA and we should hopefully work out where she’s going to sit it as that’s happening sometime in the next couple of months.

I managed to finish the bulk of cleaning and reorganising the games room enough to fit the exercise machine my godmother had gifted us just before Christmas (still got a bit more to sort through but that requires sorting through some other things in other areas so it’s back to procrastinating for now).

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J and the boys have been using it very frequently. 16yo jumped on it once that I’m aware of to try one exercise that 18yo had been doing (I told her to put it lower and she replied NO I’M BUFF and stopped after the one attempt XD) and I went on it once because 14yo wanted to see if I could do one of the exercises he was doing (I could, but once was more than enough).

It came with a bunch of cards and a chart which apparently has all the diagrams from all the cards on it (the cards seem to have some detailed explanation) and a book and stuff. The chart has since gone on the wall and everyone that’s using it has worked out how to change all the bits and bobs and unhook and rehook the pulley depending on what it is they want to do at the time.

Mother in law organised a family get together at our usual park (one that’s kind of in the middleish of everyone). I finally met the extra cousin and we had a nice barbeque. Mother in law loves showing off the grandkids’ gymnastics abilities pretty much every opportunity. 18yo had just been perched on the pillar looking at his phone and chilling when 16yo pushed him asking if he was stable, and then he had exactly enough time to register her announcing that she was doing her straddle hold to tense enough to hold her up before she did it on him. I lucked out catching these particular expressions plus good shape between two other photos taken in rapid succession.

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Mother in law then asked 16yo to show off her bendy stuff so walkovers happened, and then mother in law announced 18yo was pretty good too and asked him to do something. I think he wanted to do his roundoff back sault but just did a backflip as it was the first time after the holiday break that he’s done one. Which meant 16yo had to do one too to maintain their “superior sibling” friendly rivalry.

14yo got really engaged with a bunch of things that followed on from each other and may have flowed from associations his brain made at the time or may have been somewhat random. He really likes JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (it’s a manga and an anime, I think they came in that order, and 18yo has a beat-em-up computer game that they like to play) and had a go at drawing some of his favourite characters in a very stereotypical beginner artist fashion of finding some screenshots/other people’s drawings to trace. He was supposed to give me a collection to photograph but they’ve disappeared into his room somewhere (which is quite impressive given there isn’t a lot of stuff in his room, he has a loft bed and most of the furniture crammed under it and on one side of the room as he wanted as much space as possible for his VR).

He went from that to remembering how it was impossible to fold a piece of paper in half more than seven times and deciding to try. After determining it is indeed impossible, he then moved on to investigating the pattern of rectangles that emerged from the folding attempts (he was using a standard A4 piece of paper) and then started talking a lot about golden ratio, accurately repeating a lot of the information that 18yo had told him when he had been fascinated by it a few weeks beforehand.

14yo took is a step further by trying to draw it out.

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I think he did a decent job given that I’m pretty sure he hand drew the curves as he may not realise that we do actually have a compass.

Chinese New Year usually happens at some point in February. As part of her self-directed Asian studies, 16yo gathered some customs and superstitions to tell me about. The notes I took from her mini-presentation include:

  • wearing red is lucky (red and gold is good luck)
  • wearing black is unlucky (mourning colours?)
  • don’t do laundry or wash hair as it washes good luck away and is disrespectful to the water gods

I played along and didn’t do the laundry even though it was laundry day. It was nice doing things I would rather be doing instead as apparently we’re not supposed to sweep either though I can’t remember the reason, and we joked about how many those particular superstitions came about either because people wanted to justify not doing chores on that particular day or perhaps wanted to make sure that everyone got to enjoy themselves on that particular day.

I had set 14yo his first assignment at the beginning of the month, it was a little short answer practice one which I knew he would be able to do easily but still gave him the entire month to do it. He left it til pretty late.

Liquor is a catch-all term for any hard spirit that has a higher ABV than wine or beer and includes common beverages like vodka and whiskey. Liqueur, on the other hand, is usually lower in alcohol content and much sweeter, citrusy, or more herbaceous than regular liquor due to the addition of flavors and spices

I tried to teach him how to cite sources, he sent me this link as his resource but steadfastly refused to resubmit with appropriate citation. And proceeded to equally steadfastly ignore me when I told him that he has no option to refuse to do anything at all when he goes to school (which he is still adamant on), he would just have to do as he’s told no matter how much he doesn’t want to or doesn’t think it’s necessary.

The rate he’s going I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he lasts a week. He is at least working on his handwriting which was something else that needed to be done. JJ is completely responsible for everything to do with that side of things (I’m refusing to have anything to do with it again) and he was the one that decided that his handwriting needed to be up to JJ’s satisfaction before he would enrol him, so he’s currently still homeschooling til next term or so.

16yo’s next impromptu mini-oral-presentation was on the invention and development of chopsticks, which came about as she was eating some very spicy instant ramen and commented that she could never finish it, but couldn’t work out whether it was because it was so spicy or whether it was because she was using chopsticks. After me suggesting and her taking on board only using half the packet contents and the other half the next time she wanted some, I asked her why using chopsticks would make her full after only half a packet. She briefly replied that it’s a “hack” as taking smaller bites tricks your brain into thinking you’re full on less food, and then launched into the spiel. The things of note I managed to remember from that:

  • started off as cooking implements
  • population boom happened, massive resource management required
  • bamboo plentiful so chopsticks easy to make, decided smaller versions could be used as eating implements
  • generally take smaller mouthfuls when eating with chopsticks and apparently taking more bites helps tricki/convince the brain to feel full on less food which helped stretch food supplies

And we end on a fun note as 14yo found his remote control car (buried under a pile of stuff), taped his GoPro to it and drove it around the house watching from his iPad on the couch. He said it was a lot of fun and it certainly looked it.

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The dog barked at it forever and chased it around the house.

14yo has also taken an interest in fishing and has been going with J every other weekend or so, though J says that they would have to go quite a way up or down the coast to catch anything other than blowies. I did suggest to him that he could take the boys camping if he felt like it though we would probably need to get a smaller tent to save them fighting with the mini house (a huge 6-person tent that’s entertaining to erect) as 16yo and I don’t like camping so it would just be them. The boys have expressed interest but at this stage I don’t think J is quite sure where it would fit in given everything else that’s been going on.