Everything kind of completely fell apart in October. 12yo had caught everything under the sun in Term 3 and so had missed a fair chunk of it. At the beginning of Term 4 she continued insisting that she loved school and still wanted to go, but two weeks in I could count on one hand the number of times she had actually gone. She kept insisting she was "sick" or "too tired" but would always be better just in time for gymnastics. Things eventually came to a head when we had a massive blowout as I told her if she was really that sick then she was not going to gymnastics so she could recover properly and she told me to pull her out of school so she could go to gym (a threat I'd made a few times previously but hadn't done because I give too many chances). I tried to get her to be reasonable and told her she could go to gym, and then she had to go to school for the rest of the week. If she wanted to quit after that she was to tell me on the weekend and I
The mess that has been this year continued along with my sustained failing to manage one in school and two out. I've ended up palming most of the school-related stuff off to JJ, which has mostly been parent/teacher meetings and he's supposed to be helping her with homework and doing the admin stuff too but somehow I'm still getting stuck with that (guess the 12yo is just used to me dealing with most things).
10yo got into making paper planes again, he was happily off on his own once I'd reminded him how to make them. As he was occasionally cutting our printing paper into squares for some of the plane designs, he decided not to let the off-cuts go to waste and started making smaller and smaller planes. I think he remembered doing something similar last year.
We were still on Christmas Island for most of January so it was still mostly geared towards being with family.
The teenager made the decision some time this month that he needed to be more responsible and started voluntarily practising basic life skills. One involved cooking up a batch of sausages for lunch (plus both boys just felt like sausage sizzle apparently), and while he was about it he decided to experiment with steaming some of them.
November had to be cruisy after the insanity of October, plus we usually start winding down about now anyway. We stayed home a lot.
One of the things about not learning in an institution is accepting that the stuff taught and learned in institutions isn't the grand authority on all that's worth learning. I know this, but sometimes I don't really know it. Like on her day, 11yo said she wanted to get her nails done.
My immediate response was "pick something educational".
I'm not sure why mouths sometimes just randomly fire off before engaging the logic part first as not only would it make a lot of things so much easier, it would probably also make the world a better place in general. 11yo has spent a couple of years studying makeup artistry, nails were part of that, so we would learn how nails got done professionally. Also, I got her to research the nail places at the shopping centre we were going to in order to get some idea of prices. As it turned out none of them had prices on their websites (which is really annoying) so we had to do actual legwork.
This month, we started sliding back into normal. Seeing as most grocery stores have now stopped providing single-use plastic bags, we've ended up with a lot more cardboard boxes which get put to good use:
Here after watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 he's made a cardboard version of the Infinity Gauntlet complete with the little stone things on top.
The month kicked off with 9yo deciding to make his own "card game" after ages of playing Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh. After quick playtests with me and 11yo, 11yo decided to help make even more "cards". I use the term loosely bcause the "cards" were all A4-sized.
The game was fairly simple and entertaining, and after playing a couple of times 9yo decided that he probably needed more "good" cards as it didn't take very long for me to die despite the lives and death prevention things that had been added in the iteration with 11yo.
Early in December we realised we hadn't been swimming for a while. After a hefty argument (JJ prefers swimming in fresh water, the bigs and I strongly prefer the beach and 8yo doesn't care as long as it's swimmable) we hit up Serpentine Falls with a friend and their kids.
The first thing we noticed was that the blackberry bushes had been cleared out and when we got there the top carpark closer to the falls was closed, though there were some cars in there (either ignoring the fact the gate was supposed to be shut or perhaps they were in there before it had been shut).
The kids wanted to go trick or treating for Halloween, so we ended up doing some quick Halloween research and reading and decided that the proper way to do things was not to do the commercialised going around begging for candy but to give the neighbours candy. However we had no time to prepare for that and 10yo's birthday was kind of vaguely in the vicinity so we decided to do a "spooky themed" birthday party instead.
10yo did up a master list comprising of other lists, and lists for food shopping and various party supplies. JJ took care of the food as he usually does and Nanna and I split shifted picking up party supplies over a couple of weeks.
One of the things 10yo had wanted was a banner so she and 8yo worked on making one up: