Week 28 – Springtime with Roo Results

Virtual school was a bit of a struggle this week, especially at the beginning, mostly because one of the teachers was having trouble with her microphone. There was a special visit from a firefighter, who talked about the importance of fire safety in the home. (Although we have a Nest protect, not a traditional fire detector, so Dragon was very confused.)

They learned the letter ‘c’. Dragon loves the printing portion of the day.

After lunch, they did a subtraction game, and Dragon DEMOLISHED it. But when she tried a more complicated one that was timed, she panicked and forgot everything. Poor thing. I don’t like timed math either.

Homeschool went well this week.

Dance

She did ballet 2 times this week.

Music

Piano: she practiced her finger exercises every day this week. Their lesson went really well. Dragon was very focussed. Finger exercises, you could tell that she had practiced. They did lessons 3,4,&5. She did very well, focussed and tried hard. They did clapping and counting before playing, and it worked a little bit; they’ll keep trying that. Then they did chopsticks, and she’s improving in that too.

We have a French playlist that I can play through the Google, with a variety of artists.

Crochet

She did not do any crochet this week.

Basic Information

We are working on yesterday (hier) and tomorrow (demain) around any given day. The months of the year is going well. We’re working on the month before and after any given month. That’s coming slowly.

The saisons de l’année are all memorized. We’re working on how each of them feel and the types of things we can do during each of them.

When I ask her “combien” for any of the above, she now responds in complete sentences.

Printing words

Printing went very well this week.

Counting objects/math-type activities

She had no problems with the counting worksheet. She has been counting to 72 out loud. I have started using a counting book to show her what the numbers look like, and she counts to 100 while looking at it, with a small amount of assistance in the 70s and 90s. We continued counting by tens. It’s a work in progress that’s getting easier each week.

She loved that “neuf oeufs” rhymed!

Math went well and we finally had a breakthrough with adding large numbers, where she started with the large number and added the smaller number to it.

Storytime

We read stories from the teacher’s outline that was sent to us on Monday. She enjoyed that, and we will continue to do it next week.

We watched Vampirina in French on Disney Plus, one episode a day. Dragon is enjoying it immensely, and is even recognizing some words! We’re almost done the second season and we’ll have to find a new show to watch soon.

Activity

Painting eggs – We made paper mache eggs on Wednesday and let them dry. Then we painted them on Saturday. I think they turned out rather well.

Make a daffodil – we ended up not doing this one

Paint a flower pot – We painted flower pots on Friday. Dragon really enjoyed it.

Dear Dragon and Pegasus – Easter

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

You both know by now that I’m not a religious man, but I love Easter. Both for the imagery of spring and rebirth and because of the little traditions.

When I was young my mom, and often brother, would set up a hunt. I don’t remember it all, but there were riddles and maps. It was awesome. It was so much fun.

Yesterday was Easter and we had a simple hunt, a free-for-all type of hunt. It was fun. So much fun that Dragon asked me to do another. When I said I could hide the empty eggs, she was ready to do it right away. It was seriously adorable.

There’s a special sense of wonder and joy that I get watching you both being exited and happy. It makes everything slightly better.

As you get older I’m planning on making the hunts more elaborate. I have so many ideas.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and your joy.

I love you!

Papa

A Week Away – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film A Week Away.

Story

I’m sure someone thought the name of the camp was a clever joke, but in 2021 we should be beyond to the inherent racism of mocking native languages.

This is a camp movie musical first and a christian movie second, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t all over the place. They at least have the grace to use it for some jokes.

The basic story is as cliched as possible and adds nothing new to the musical, romance, or teen genres. That being said, the movie is obviously paying respect to many of the previous movies that it takes inspiration.

The overall story is mildly pedantic, but overall heartwarming.

Score: 0

Characters

The movie has all the traditional characters from movies in the past; the awkward geek who’s in love, the Troy Bolton bad boy with a heart of gold, and the good Christian girl.

It would have been easy to make these characters bad copies, but instead, through the writing and acting, they made them likeable. The main girl is hyper competitive and still dealing with the death of her mom, the geek is funny and a good musician. The bad guy admits his faults and actually apologizes.

I greatly appreciate that the movie spent time building the brotherly relationship between the two main men.

The lack of Queer characters was glaring and awkward.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Clever quotes and quippy dialogue with lots of double meanings made me happy. There’s a few cringe dialogue moments, but most of it is well done.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were unique. They used a lot of surreal shots that are reminiscent of music videos. I liked it, but it felt jarring when it wasn’t at the beginning of a song.

The movie also used a lot of scenes from movies both in the genre and not (the Mr. and Mrs. Smith scene was a lot of fun.)

The music was okay, I liked it while it was on, but it didn’t make me dash out to buy the soundtrack. I’m particularly annoyed at the use of autotune for a campfire song. (Mostly, the music made me want to rewatch Julie and the Phantoms.)

Score: 0.5

Fun

This was a fun movie, but as a queer man with lots of queer friends, I had trouble settling into the fun of it. The complete lack of any form of queer character made me uncomfortable.

It did remind me of some great memories from high school franco camps and I greatly appreciate the lack of massive angst.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie has great respect for other films and treats us to some great non-romance relationships as a bonus, but the casual racism towards native people and lack of queer characters make it hard to believe in 2021.

That being said, it’s a warm and fuzzy camp musical with a talented young cast.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

For your Aurora Considerations – How I Taught My Dragon

Hello!

Since September, Jen of JenEric Designs has been writing, preparing, running, and posting a new adventure called How I Taught my Dragon: Kindergarten education through genre media.

Effectively it’s a guide (and results) for parents to use films as a jumping off point for kindergarten education, each week a new film with activities and learning sheets designed around the film’s themes and content.

It was designed with the Ontario Curriculum in mind and to supplement our daughters 1 day a week of online school. It could easily be scaled up to be a full home school, or down to simply add some extras for parents who keep their kids home.

What she’s done over the past 8 months is spectacular both as a tool for other parents and as a journey with Keladry.

Please check out the blog and consider nominating it for the Aurora Awards in the category of Best Fan Related Work. Nominations are open until April 24th.

What are the Aurora Awards?

aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

You’ll have to join the CSFFA for a pittance of $10 before you can nominate anyone. Once you’ve paid, you can nominate 5 works in each category. You can nominate works from now until May 18th.

The extra bonus of joining the CSFFA is you’ll get a voters package that includes most of the works that make the ballot. That’s 8-10 novels plus a bunch of other awesome stuff.


Thank you!

Éric

Week 29 – The Secret World of Arrietty

I’m going to be honest with all of you; I have NOT seen this movie! I have read the book (a VERY long time ago) and I enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to watching this adaption.

Here is the link for the downloadable materials. (Please let me know if you have any problems so I can fix it!)

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Watch movieMake a fairy doorMake a hair clipMake a miniature roomFlex

Summary of the week

Daily details:

Dance

Ballet and martial arts on alternate days

Music

Singing, listening to different pieces, learning piano

Crochet

The project she is working on (currently she is making herself a poncho)

Basic Information

We talk about the days of the week and play games with the cutouts of the names. We do the same thing with the names of the months of the year. You can find the print-outs here.

Printing words

In download materials

Counting objects/math-type activities

Practice counting objects and writing how many of each type –in download materials

Addition and pattern – worksheet in download materials

Storytime

Activity

Make a fairy door – link to activity
Make a hair clip – link to activity
Make a miniature room – link to activity

Next week – Totoro

Week 27 – Rise of the Guardians Results

Virtual school started a bit rough. Dragon had trouble focussing at first, when asked questions, but once they started learning the new letter “h”, she was able to write down all the words they were given. She added some math at the top of the page on her own as well.

Math in the afternoon, they learned about quantities (smaller than, bigger than, equal to). Dragon said that it wasn’t “real math” (I’m quoting her), but grasped the concept quickly.

She presented her Emotions Touch and Feel book that she made the previous week, but I’m not sure the teachers understood what it was because they kept asking if it was a journal.

Homeschool went well this week.

Dance

She did ballet 2 times this week.

Music

Piano: Still has trouble with the first note, no matter what order she’s asked in, it will always be trouble. Did the finger exercises, with only a little hand adjustment. Did lessons 3,4&5. Five is a new one and she did very well. She was very focussed, paid attention, and tried very hard.

We have a French playlist that I can play through the Google, with a variety of artists.

Crochet

She did not do any crochet this week.

Basic Information

We are working on yesterday (hier) and tomorrow (demain) around any given day. The months of the year is going well. We’re working on the month before and after any given month. That’s coming slowly.

The saisons de l’année are all memorized. We’re working on how each of them feel and the types of things we can do during each of them.

When I ask her “combien” for any of the above, she now responds in complete sentences.

Printing words

Printing went very well this week.

Counting objects/math-type activities

She had no problems with the counting worksheet. She has been counting to 72 out loud. I have started using a counting book to show her what the numbers look like, and she counts to 100 while looking at it, with a large amount of assistance in the 70s and 90s. We continued counting by tens. It’s a work in progress.

Math: The math went very well this week. We also did some coding, both the bee and the first kind. She did the first kind so quickly that I feel as though I blinked and she was done!

Storytime

We read stories from the teacher’s outline that was sent to us on Monday. She enjoyed that, and we will continue to do it next week.

We watched Vampirina in French on Disney Plus, one episode a day. Dragon is enjoying it immensely, and is even recognizing some words! We’re almost done the second season and we’ll have to find a new show to watch soon.

Activity

Colour Easter eggs – I was pleased that she switched colours without prompting. She also mostly stayed inside the lines, which was a pleasant surprise, as I haven’t seen her colour in a while.

Design Dreamland – She melted down a bit when asked to draw, but I managed to get her back on track fairly quickly by breaking the castle down into it’s basic shapes.

Learn about the moon – The weather didn’t cooperate this week, so we didn’t get a chance to use the telescope. We’ll do that later on. Instead, we watched a bunch of YouTube videos about the moon. Both kids enjoyed watching them.

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 3

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 3

“A fight?” I asked.

“Yeah, scavenger rules say that the first person to a wreck has the rights to it,” Onyx said, shrugging, grabbing a bag and filling it with medical supplies.

“Yeah, but we ain’t scavengers we’re thieves!” exclaimed the teenager from earlier. She had a long loose coat and I could see several guns and a lot of knives.

“What does that mean?” I asked, trying to sound timid and hide my excitement. It had been a while since I’d been in a fight.

Diamond answered as everyone started strapping themselves into seats. “It means we dock with the Rainbow and beat the shit out of the Mountain and his crew.”

The older man came over the coms, “We’re about to dock. Hold on. This is going to be bumpy.”

“Why not blast them?” I asked.

“First off, my ship doesn’t have weapons. Second, if they did we’d be risking hitting the Rainbow and that’s a terrible idea. Third, I want to teach those chumps a lesson and no one learns when they’re dead.”

Onyx leaned over to me from his chair and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll stick with me and I’ll protect you while you’re making the repairs.” I glanced at his bare shoulders and the contour of his arms. He was in good shape, good enough to make my heart do double time anyway, but a seasoned fighter he wasn’t. The tell was in how he leaned away from the gun on his own hip. Like he’d rather be anywhere but touching it.

Trying not to sound condescending or fake, I said, “I’m glad to have you watching my back.”

“Um. I think he’s been watching a lot more than that,” said the teenager.

“Sphene, shut up.” Onyx blushed as he chastised her.

“Oh come on, brother. That man is very good looking and obviously has a thing for you. Now you both know you like each other and that should make things easier.” It was my turn to blush.

“Goodness, you’re young,” Diamond said and whistled. “Nothing is going to make these two’s affection easier.”

“We’ve docked. May the sun shine on you,” the voice over the coms said.

We all unlatched our restraints and Diamond got a large familiar case from the corner. “Here’s your favourite tools. Should be everything you need in there.”

As we got ready to open the airlock, Diamond put on her holo-emitter and pulled out a long stun baton. Sphene was holding a large bat of some sort. I have no idea where she was hiding it.

The door opened and we were off. 

The Rainbow wasn’t large; it had a bridge at the front with three seats, a triple bunk room, a washroom, a tiny nook that served as the kitchen, and an engine room in the back.

The ship was designed to be piloted by three people; an engineer, a gunner, and a psychic. The jump drive attached to the ship could go anywhere in the solar system in seconds, but without a psychic, there was no way to do the math required. Most regular ships used the jump gates that took the math out of the equation, so to speak.

The two airlock hatches were between the kitchen nook and the engine room. The other crew had docked on the starboard and we’d docked on the port. The double docking ports allowed for the ships to connect and do longer jumps. At least that was the theory. I’d never been involved in the inter-system jumps and never met anyone who’d come back. It also allowed for adding storage or personnel carrier pods.

The Mountain must have been more cautious than Diamond because we were already onboard and ready to protect the small ship before they opened their airlock. Diamond was on the side of the kitchen and living quarters, Onyx tried to look intimidating on the other side, blocking me from view as I fixed the engine, and Sphene stood in our airlock.

I expected a gunfight, instead I got a tense standoff. The first person I saw coming out of the airlock looked less like a mountain and more like a hill, or bump. He came to midway up my chest. His deep voice however left no ambiguity as to who he was, “Diamond you old jackass, did you really risk decompression and the cold of space to beat us to this thing?”

They’d had no idea that the ship had air or that it didn’t have any hole to the outside. That was either reckless or brave. Not much difference there.

“Yeah and my bet paid off, as usual. You gonna fight us? Sphene would love another shot at your daughter.”

I tried not to laugh as I ran diagnostics. I had disabled the ship and added a code that no one but me could know. With enough time and the right computer it could be unlocked, but I didn’t need either.

“You can’t possibly think you can fix this thing or pilot it?” The Mountain said. I punctuated his words by turning on the ship’s main power. “Well, you can’t possibly pilot it.”

“And you can?” Diamond asked.

“I can’t, but I hired someone who can.” The words made me go cold. The only people who could pilot this ship were Black-Sun agents or Black-Sun deserters like me.

I turned on the protective shield for the engine room a split second before the stun grenade went off. Diamond, Sphene, and the Mountain fell to the ground. Onyx yelped and walked into the forcefield. “Why would they knockout their own people?”

“They didn’t. They invited Black-Sun to the party. Probably a Specter.” 

Onyx pulled out his gun and tried to look brave. Specters were Black-Suns assassins and cleanup crew. They were the boogeyman that other boogeymen feared.

“Clever turning on the shield to stop the stun grenade, but you won’t live long enough to gloat,” the Specter said as he walked through the shield. They had a form of phasing that let them go through anything. 

To Onyx’s credit he threw a punch that connected and I heard a crack before he fell to the ground unconscious.

Read Next Chapter (April 2021)

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Moxie – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Moxie.

Story

The movie walks the line between heartwarming coming of age and showing the real horrors of sexism and racism. In the end it firmly settles on heartwarming coming of age.

It took me much too long to realize what the movie was going for and I kept waiting for the metaphorical axe to fall. I was expecting expulsion, but instead I got successful social action, and the drama came from the angry teen.

Beyond my expectations being skewed, the movie abandoned some threads and didn’t give enough room to some of the characters. Even after adjusting my expectations, it felt too clean and sanatized.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main character is a quiet girl whose whole goal in high school is to fly under the radar. When she gets exposed to some severe racism and sexism, she goes from shy wallflower to passionate SJW.

Everything in the movie is seen through her lens, which is a great way to introduce white people, especially young girls, to these issues. However, because of that, there are characters introduced that have no story or very little.

In order to make the movie end on a happy note, the “villains” had to be comical and a mixture of inept and lazy.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is designed to make everyone understand the main topics and hint at some of the others. The dialogue is very cleverly written, being both authentic and educational.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

Just like the dialogue, the cinematography is very cleverly done to both illustrate and emphasize the different issues.

The music is well picked and does a great job to enhance the story.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie stressed me out; I kept expecting something predictable and horrible to happen. It didn’t happen, but it did affect my enjoyment. I think a second viewing would be easier.

That being said the romance was cute and the high points were satisfying.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A great introduction to social issues that a lot of privileged people don’t know or want to think about. The issues are wrapped in a predictable coming of age story and shown through the lens of a partially oblivious white girl.

It’s a fun high school romp with a great set of messages, but it’s an overly optimistic and shallow introduction to social issues.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5