Friday, 11 June 2021

Home School aka Online Learning

 What counts as home schooling, or "online learning", in 2021?

1) Number blocks:

I don't remember what my math skills were in kindergarten. But between the Number Blocks videos on YouTube and the app on Kiddo's tablet, I think it's safe to say he has surpassed them. As far as I can tell, he's learned more from Number Blocks than the kindergarten math workbook I got on amazon. As an added bonus, it doesn't require my input. Not to mention, he actually likes it. Getting him to do a page in the workbook is sometimes like walking on broken glass (for both of us).

2) Minecraft:

Spatial awareness, creativity, problem solving, and Kiddo has to sound out words to navigate the inventory. What more do you need? When Kiddo's teacher asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said ninja. (I tried to remind him of his previous asperations to be a paleontologist, but he was firm in his new plan.) Still, from what I've seen him build in Minecraft, I wouldn't rule out architect.

3) The beach

Because it's June. If you're not going to be in school, you might as well be at the beach.   

Friday, 4 June 2021

And Still No School

It's official, kids in Ontario will not be going back to school before September.

They said they wanted the daily case rate to be below 1000. As of this writing Ontario's 7-day case average is 889.

They said they wanted the experts to weigh in. The experts said, schools should be open.

They said schools would be the first to open. As per current plans, the following will open before schools:

Restaurants & Bars
Hair Salons
Day Camps
Overnight Camps
Theatres and Cinemas
Strip Clubs

The list goes on to include pretty much everything. In other words, when they said schools would the first to open they really meant schools would be the last to open.

Whatever. Here are some flowers and a duck--who was unimpressed that we showed up at the beach without any french fries to share and doesn't care about our problems.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Ontario Lockdown Continues

One of the Ontario Government's mantras of late has been, "Schools will be the first to open and the last to close."

Well they just announced the 3-phase plan to open up after the current lockdown. Schools were not part of it. 

But golf courses will be open on Saturday.

Modelling shows opening schools could increase covid cases by "six to eleven percent". In my region that might amount to an extra case every three days or so. But hey, it's only education, right? 😕

At least it's Spring:

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Ontario Lockdown Number...?

Apr 1st 2021: Covid cases rising. Ontario "hits the emergency brake" we're in "shutdown"...

Apr 8th: Make that "Lockdown". We're now in lockdown. It will last four weeks...

Apr 15th: Now it's a "stay-at-home order"--until May 20th. Oh and by the way, remember how we postponed March break until this week because we were afraid having kids out of school for a whole week in March would lead to a surge in covid cases? Yeah, well, the kids won't be going back to school Monday because we're afraid having kids back in school will lead to a surge in covid cases. And we'll be closing all playgrounds. Have fun with your kids.

Apr 16th: Ok fine, you can use the playgrounds. But no picnic tables allowed. 

May 10th: we'll probably be extending the stay-at-home order. Maybe. Or maybe not, but most likely. Discussions are ongoing. As for school...some experts say the kids should definitely go back. Some experts say they should not go back. And we always listen to the best advice of our experts...

Infer as you will...I need a beer.

Were you wondering what the difference is between "shutdown", "lockdown", and "stay-at-home order"?

Yeah, me too. 

At least I'll be eligible for vaccination soon...probably...I think, maybe🤔

Monday, 8 February 2021

Sorry Woody Woodpecker

In my city, there is the emerald ash borer beetle:

In my front yard there is was a large ash tree. As their name implies, emerald ash borers like to bore into ash trees. Once there, they lay their eggs. And the little buggers (pun intended) have found their way to our ash tree. 

How do I know this? 

Woody and his friends recently became very interested in our tree. As it turns out, woodpeckers love to eat the grubs of the emerald ash borer:

Not only do the resulting flying bark chips make a mess:

The beetles will eventually kill the tree. 

Bottom line? 

Goodbye, ash tree. Today the tree was removed. Sorry, Woody: 

There’s no point in planting another ash tree for the beetles to find. Therefore, we’ll be replacing it with a less inviting (according to the beetles) autumn blaze maple tree. This was an easy decision. I love a colourful tree in the fall, which the autumn blaze is supposed to be. 

It will be sometime before we have a full-grown colourful tree to enjoy. But my husband pointed out that this also means, for a while at least, birds won’t be able to perch on a branch overhanging our car and crap on it. So, there’s that.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Holiday Lines Are Blurry Around Here

How did I know it was time to take down the Christmas tree this year?

Well for one thing it was mid January, but since schools in Ontario were still closed there was no definitive end to the holiday season. And ever since we converted to a fake tree, the urgency to wrap up Christmas and remove the needle shedding ever-drying kindling from the living room just isn’t there.

The real sign that finally prompted me to get the decorations boxes from the garage and start packing up Christmas was Kiddo’s reversion to watching Halloween videos on YouTube. Just as I dislike the October overlap of Halloween and Christmas decorations in stores, there was something that felt wrong about listening to C’est L’Halloween under the glow of Christmas lights.

Kiddo’s insistence on revisiting all of his favorite Halloween songs in January had me convinced Halloween must be his favourite holiday. (He did inherit my sweet tooth, but it’s not like Christmas is lacking in sugar🤔). Well, no sooner was the Christmas tree gone than Kiddo was asking for me to play Jingle Bell Rock on my phone so he could dance around the kitchen to it. And just yesterday, while sitting on the couch playing with his tablet, he started singing Jingle Bells—the ‘Batman smells’ version, naturally (thank you, kindergarten).

I’ve clearly failed to properly explain (or enforce) the concept of seasonal music. I’ve also decided the light-up snowman in our front yard can stay until March…or until the snow melts, which might be longer. (At least I took down the blow-up Santa.)

Monday, 25 January 2021

Cotton Candy Planets and Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice cream sandwiches are a common dessert item at our house--even in January. (Chocolate ice cream sandwiches, because there's no such thing as too much chocolate.) A week or so ago, after eating the top cookie off his sandwich and while licking through the ice cream inside, Kiddo looked at me and asked with absolute seriousness:

"Is there a place where people eat ice cream sandwiches every morning?"

Me: "Like for breakfast?" (For the record, this conversation occurred at suppertime.)

Kiddo: "Yeah!"

Sadly, I had to tell him there was no place where ice cream sandwiches are considered a standard breakfast food. 

Then today, I came across what I personally consider to be the coolest science news item of the week:

Astronomers discover huge exoplanet has the density of cotton candy

Of course there must be many compositions that could result in the overall density of a planet being comparable to that of cotton candy. But then again, if it quacks like a duck...

I think a cotton candy planet sounds like just the sort of place where people would eat ice cream sandwiches for breakfast every morning. I wonder if astronomers will discover it has a moon with the same density as chocolate chip cookies...way better than a moon made of cheese.