This was our official first week back after the road trip, so it was kind of a feeling out period. But as I mentioned in another post, it seems like diving right in is the best. This week was full of different activities and experiences for Ethan.

Do what we can

We talked to Ethan about establishing a schedule and covering the basic academic topics. We’ve been concerned that he may not get enough practice in writing, reading for comprehension and math for his grade level. So, we looked at the BC Ministry of Education’s curriculum guidelines for some direction, which proved to be useful in establishing a baseline for what we should be doing.

The more difficult part is actually finding the materials and getting Ethan to do the work. But the only way to find the right path is to start with where you are and what you have.

December 9/10

Math Songs

We wanted Ethan to practice the times tables and were looking for fun ways to help memorize them. Music is always a great way and Ethan found a series of songs that teach the times tables.

He also worked on the math workbook he has to practice 2 digit multiplication.

December 10, 2017

Grade 4 Reading 

Reading for enjoyment has always been easy for Ethan, as he loves reading. There is a grade level reading list so we went to the library to find some of the books on the list. Finding books using call numbers is always a handy skill to get good at. He borrowed Mr. Popper’s Penguins and some craft books today.

We also got Ethan a famous math book that uses stories to teach math concepts. The book was originally from Germany(?) and translated into other languages, like Korean. We have one of the books and were happy to find the second book in the series at the library.

And we borrowed a French instructional CD and book to see if Ethan would like to continue learning French.

Spelling and Writing Practice

Dong Eun wonders what will happen if Ethan doesn’t regularly practice his spelling and writing but only reads a lot and writes when he makes comic books. Will he naturally find out how to write and improve, or will it be like with math where you need to practice the skills in order to progress.

Brushing properly

We’ve been asking Ethan to take more time to brush his teeth and asked him how we can get him to remember to brush properly. So, he made a sign to put up in the bathroom.

Sharing Candy

Ethan got a lot of Halloween candy and we barely made a dent in them. So, we’ve been encouraging Ethan to give away the candy. He had to give away all the candy before we would let him have more candy. Since we were going out for dinner and meeting Ethan’s cousins, we had Ethan prepare a couple of goody bags for them. It was also his cousin Cecilia’s birthday, so the goody bags were perfect.

Dinner games

We had a family dinner for Cecilia’s birthday and Ethan got to meet a new cousin who recently moved to BC from China. He’s a distant cousin and the four kids got along great, playing a rock-paper-scissors game, among other things they did.

December 11, 2017

Making an Advent Calendar

Ethan saw an advent calendar at the Walmarts we visited during our trip and wanted to make one for himself. He found instructions in one of the books we borrowed at the library and followed them to make his own advent calendar that he filled with candy.

Making a Christmas Tree?

We talked to Ethan today about possibly making our own Christmas tree, instead of buying one. We talked about why we can’t have a live tree due to our strata by-laws and the safety concerns we have about fake trees, as well as the environmental footprint that artificial trees leave behind.

Other Languages

Ethan had a lot of fun learning French during the road trip so we’d like to encourage him to continue learning. We borrowed the CD yesterday and we’re thinking of ways to help him learn Cantonese so he can speak with my parents.

Dream Book

Ethan downloaded a dream interpretation book onto his Kindle because he wanted to know about his own dreams. Not sure if it’s helped him, but we were surprised that he chose a book about this particular topic. He read the dreams book together with Dong Eun to help her interpret her dream from the night before.

He also read “Can You Survive the Desert” for Dong Eun.

Spelling for Today

Dong Eun has been asking him to spell certain words as we come across them in our day-to-day activities. Today, the words were: survive, desert, dessert, survey and calendar. We’re thinking it might be a good idea to have a weekly spelling test.

Math Practice

Ethan worked on multiplying 2 digit numbers by 2 digit numbers in his math workbook. We feel that he needs more practice, but after two days of doing exercises in the workbook, he completed a half page each day. He doesn’t need help with the multiplication but we need to find a fun way to study and practice.

Making a Math Book

Ethan enjoys math and making books, so he decided to make a math book. He used Apple Keynote to put the book together and spent most of the day working on the book.

Love Korean food

Now that we’re home, Dong Eun has been cooking Korean dishes that would’ve been too much trouble in the van. She’s also more comfortable in the kitchen in terms of finding it easier to prepare food, no matter what’s in the fridge or cupboards. This meal was delicious.

December 12, 2017

Making Kimchi 

Making kimchi is a Korean tradition and today, Ethan helped Dong Eun with making vegan kimchi. When we lived in Korea, Ethan helped make kimchi at his kindergarten so he’s had experience doing this.

Math Practice

After helping with making kimchi, Ethan did some more math practice with Dong Eun. Multiplying three single digits was on the menu for today. We would like to try some of the sites, such as IXL to see if we can encourage Ethan to practice math a little more.

Making a Multiplication Song

Ethan liked the multiplication songs he heard on YouTube, so he wanted to make his own song using GarageBand on the Mac. It was a bit complicated, so Ethan and Dong Eun watched some YouTube videos about how to use GarageBand. We also downloaded the mobile version of GarageBand, as it should be easier to create your own music with.

2x2x3 Rubik’s Cube

That evening, Ethan practiced solving the 2x2x3 Rubik’s Cube using some instructions he found on YouTube. He made notes about what he learned and later, made his own how to solve the 2x2x3 video.

Spelling for Today

Today, Ethan checked his spelling for: pretty, probability, exercising and exercise.

Excercise Ideas

We talked to Ethan about some ideas to get more exercise before he restarts taekwondo in January. We thought about swimming in our pool, jogging by the seawall or practicing yoga.

December 13, 2017

Getting creative

Ethan enjoys making things for Dong Eun, so today, he made a couple things to express his feelings.

Making Comics

Ethan loves making comics. It’s currently one of the ways he enjoys writing, other than the notes he made for Dong Eun. This comic he made as a gift for me.

Finishing his math book and practicing with IXL

Ethan continued to work on the math book he’s been making. He finally got it done and even made his own times tables chart. He also worked on some math problems in IXL, in particular, the probability section.

Wants more cubes

Ethan wants more Rubik’s cubes, which we feel are a great way for him to learn and practice problem-solving with, but we have a rule that he has to solve all of his cubes before getting any new ones.

December 14, 2017

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Live

One of the other homeschool families we know had an extra ticket to a performance of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at Carousel Theatre. Ethan was hesitant about going, so we started reading the book to see if he found the story interesting. Luckily, he enjoyed the book and went to the play. He had a great time and enjoyed the play, as well as some playtime down at Granville Island.

Math Practice

We’ve been encouraging Ethan to practice every day and today he did more multiplication in his workbook after we got home from the play. He also spent some time on IXL and BrainPop.

Science – Chemistry book

That night, we read a chemistry book that Ethan had on his bookshelf. We learned about how the elements were formed and how they fit onto the periodic table of elements. I’d like to expand on these subjects so we’ll have to find ways to engage him further.

Rubik’s Twist Heart

Ethan played with his Rubik’s Twist (it’s the snake-shaped Rubik’s Cube) and found a couple of tutorials to make different shapes with it. He started with making it into a ball and then made it into a heart.

December 15, 2017

More Rubik’s Twist shapes

After breakfast, Ethan worked on the Rubik’s Twist some more and made a pair of lips. He also made a video showing how to make a knife with the Rubik’s Twist.

Science World

We purchased Science World memberships for our family back in October and today was the first time we would use it at Science World. We’ve used the membership plenty of times when we were on the road trip, but today was exciting as it was also Ethan’s first ever visit to Science World. He had a great time, especially because they have a special math exhibit and a water exhibit, too.

The concern we always have when visiting science centers is how much stuff there is. The next time we go, we’ll try to get Ethan to spend time in only one or two areas. Since this was his first visit, he was excited and tried everything. We feel that focusing on one thing will help him learn about that subject more deeply and have an overall better experience.


Harry Potter Movie

After reading all the Harry Potter books during the road trip, Ethan was interested in watching the movies. So we borrowed the movies from the library and watched the first one today. Ethan was so into it, he sat on the edge of the sofa almost the entire movie.

December 16, 2017

Kimchi’s ready!

The kimchi that Ethan helped make was now ready for eating and it was delicious! We had it with breakfast and really enjoyed this vegan version.

Library books

We went to the library after breakfast and got some more books, along with the remaining Harry Potter movies. We found the Canadian Flyer series, which Ethan may find interesting now that he’s seen some of the places in the books while on the road trip. As he likes optical illusions, he borrowed an optical illusion and brain tricks book.

DIY Eye Chart

Ethan’s been squinting while watching Harry Potter. He’s complained about not being able to see things at a distance before, but we weren’t sure if he was really not able to see well. We have an eye exam scheduled for Sunday, but in the meantime, Ethan made his own eye chart to test his vision. Looks like he’ll need glasses, after all.

The ongoing challenge

We had a long talk with Ethan tonight about practicing math problems and writing. We started with him doing one chapter of a workbook, but slowly it’s become one page or only half a page. He’s obviously motivated to do other things, but this is one area that’s been challenging to get him to work on.

We don’t want him using the computer too much to do math, so we need to find a way that is engaging and that he’s willing to do without a lot of prompting and prodding.

Ethan made a list of things we could try to make learning and practicing more enjoyable.

Let’s see how the following weeks shape up as we get more into our home routine again.