A little pixie magic

The very first thing we did when we arrived in Disney World in January 2020 was go see Tinkerbell. Pegasus was so excited. Dragon was a little overwhelmed to be holding TInkerbell’s hand.

Ages of the kids: Dragon is 3 years 4 months, Pegasus is 7 months

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 5

Dear Little Dragon,

It’s been a fantastic year for you. You’ve grown a lot. Physically about 3 inches, emotionally you’ve matured a lot.

You finished your first year of école and learned a lot:

  • Counting to 100,
  • Your letters, the sounds, and the alphabet,
  • The days of the week,
  • The months of the year,
  • Numbers,
  • How to use a computer for meetings,
  • and a lot more.

You’ve learned a lot of non-école stuff too:

  • You’ve gotten very good at video games, understanding how to move your characters and use items etc.
  • You’re great at baking with me, measuring, dumping, and stirring.
  • Making up games to play with Adrien.
  • Acrobatics. You do awesome flips.

Potty training feels like a distant memory, you’re doing amazing. I’m so glad we don’t have to fight with you as often, although you still hate being told to go pee.

When you were barely able to talk, you pointed at the peanut butter jar and said, “Walmart.” I asked how you knew and you pointed at the logo on the side. When we went on trips you’d point out stores that you knew, or billboards for shows. You’re still doing things like that and with even more nuance. You can recognize the graphics and style of a Miyazaki film from the tiny Totoro and understand that it’s the same company, not a series.

The past year has seen you get a little pickier with your food. It’s no longer just not wanting to try new food, you’re starting to have very definite likes and dislikes. You love sweet dips but can’t stand gravy, you love chicken nuggets and strips, but can’t stand stuffed chicken. You love spaghetti and dislike lasagna and chilli. You also don’t like food that’s messy that you have to eat with your hands, like pizza or tacos. I’m starting to wonder if you’re not a fan of melted cheese.

We did a lot of cooking and baking together, you and I, for your homeschool. It was a lot of fun and I liked your excitement at making new things.

I feel like I’m getting a clearer picture of who you will grow up to be. You’re sweet, confident, stubborn, clever, and empathic. You’re a lot like your mum and that’s a good thing. I look forward to seeing who you are later, but I’m not in any rush. I’m loving who you are now.

I hope your fifth year sees a vaccine for you and a return to society for all of us. I can’t wait to do another convention with you and travel. I love the way you see the world.

Happy Birthday Little Dragon!

I love you lots!

Papa

Barbie: Spy Squad – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2016 film Barbie: Spy Squad.

Story

Definitely geared towards younger audiences, it’s a solid intro into the secret agent / spy genre. The twist was predictable for me, but I’ve seen a lot of these.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main three characters are the usual super awesome Barbie and friends. They fit into the basic spy stereotypes very well. The techie computer guy felt really relatable and the over-the-top spy aunt was pretty funny.

The villain felt a little meh and the heel-face turn was abrupt and could have used more set up.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue oscillates between cutesy and inane. There are a few funny jokes and the overall message is good.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals are standard Barbie movie with lots of cute spy and action bonuses. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible.

The music is catchy… too catchy. They have 1 song and they use it A LOT!

Score: 0.5

Fun

I enjoyed this the first time I watched it. It has constantly been on of my daughters favourite movies since she could ask for it. She used to say she was going on missions with her spy girls and then do a bunch of flips.

Score: 1

Overall

One of the best Barbie movies available with a strong message and catchy music. It’s a great intro into spy and action movies without the gratuitous violence. It’s fun and one of my daughter’s favourite movies.

Score: 3 stars out of 5

Dragon’s School Year 2021-2022

Hello readers!

Last year, for Dragon’s first school year, we decided to do a combination homeschool/virtual school. Her teachers were really accommodating and understanding.

However, after looking back on the year, despite Dragon learning a LOT and having a lot of fun, there were several aspects that she clearly missed.

The major one being French. She resisted learning French and, well, I am NOT a French teacher, or a kindergarten teacher.

She also missed seeing her classmates.

So after several discussions with Dragon, she has suggested (after leading questions from us) that she attend virtual school full-time this Fall.

I discovered that the reason she was hesitating to suggest this was because she was afraid of hurting my feelings. Once I reassured her that I thought virtual school was a good idea, she was very happy with the idea.

I also told her that we could do the big activities on the weekend, if she wanted.

Considering I told her the same thing about this summer and she has yet to suggest we do one, I’m not sure if she’ll take me up on that offer.

The biggest change that her attending virtual school full time will cause is a change in the kids’ bedtime routines. In order for Dragon to get a full night’s sleep, we’re going to have to put her to bed an hour or two earlier than we have been. One day up early wasn’t hurting her, but a full week of it would definitely be a problem.

And since it seems silly to put Pegasus to bed after we finish putting Dragon to bed, we’ll be adjusting his sleep schedule as well.

So much for sleeping in on the weekends.

On the selfish plus side, Dragon attending virtual school means I have an awful lot of writing time. I also don’t have to do all the school prep (lesson plans, worksheets, activity planning, etc) I did last year.

Let’s hope this plan goes well!

A Year of Homeschooling in Picture Form

Over the course of the year, we cooked a LOT of food, completed a ream of worksheets, and made a lot of crafts. Here is what all of that looks like all together. (Minus the food…that was eaten and it was delicious.)

It’s both a lot more than I expected, and a lot less. Weird dichotomy.

Thoughts on a year of homeschool

It has been a year (39 weeks) of teaching my Dragon. It has been rewarding, exhilarating, and exhausting. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the teachers who do this every year with 20+ students.

Things I learned this year:

  • I have no patience when she doesn’t try
  • She knows how to push my buttons
  • I don’t have to do everything by myself
  • I know a least a little bit about a lot of different topics
  • When she tries, she learns really well
  • She has great ideas
  • She really enjoys creating
  • She’s good at math when she focusses
  • I forgot about the crochet portion a LOT
  • I’m incredibly proud of my Dragon

Things my Dragon learned this year:

  • How to print all the letters in small caps (she already knew caps)
  • How to play with playdough
  • The sound of each letter
  • How to count to 100 by 10’s
  • How to count to 100
  • What a pattern is and how to make one
  • A few French words
  • The days of the week
  • The months of the year
  • The seasons of the year
  • How to brainstorm a story, storyboard it, write dialogue, and then put it all together
  • How a stop-motion movie works and created two
  • How to draw from reference
  • How to measure baking ingredients
  • How to measure something with a ruler
  • How to raise her hand and wait for her turn (in virtual school)
  • How to turn on and off camera and microphone in a video conference
  • How to navigate to the chat and click on a link
  • She learned to read music – the 9 notes around middle C
  • The values of whole, half, quarter and eighth notes
  • Can clap and count a line of music using those notes
  • Completed several finger exercises and the value of practicing them
  • How to play chopsticks

Overall, I would call this year of Junior Kindergarten/Maternelle successful, even though the hard part, the learning French part, didn’t go as well as I had hoped.

The important thing was that she had fun, and she tells me that she did. She also wants to make another book and another movie during the summer, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’m so very proud of how well my Dragon did this year.

Week 39 – Beauty and the Beast Results

Virtual school was a little different this last week – they had a virtual graduation ceremony for all the kids first thing in the morning. The teachers showed each student’s diploma and the kids all clapped for each other. It was really cute (and very loud).

They listened to a couple stories, danced a lot, and did some crafts (made a puppy origami and a graduation hat). Overall, it was a good day.

When we signed off for the last time, Dragon burst into tears because she already missed her teachers. Poor kid.

Homeschool was fun this week.

Dance

She did ballet 2 times this week, once with her Aunt leading the “class.”

Music

Piano: she practiced her finger exercises every day this week. Lesson: She’s been visibly getting better at her finger exercises. They added another finger exercise. They did the Frogs perfectly in time. It will not need to be played again. Then they did the Raindrops and Bells, which she did very well but needs to work on the counting. She did the Kitten page under duress (Dragon didn’t want to do it at first) but she had no problem with the notes but needs to work on the timing. Then they tried a new piece, Summer Showers, which had a more complicated note pattern, and she had very little trouble with it. Then they played chopsticks.

We have a French playlist that I can play through the Google mini, with a variety of artists. Dragon has mentioned that she really likes Coeur de Pirate. So do I.

Crochet

We did not do any crochet this week. The shawl was not completed this year.

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 responds in complete sentences.

Printing words

Printing went very well this week. She drew a person fishing next to a tree. On the tree is a ladybug, a worm, and an ant. On the other side of the tree is grass and a lake. There is a bird in the sky with the sun.

Counting objects/math-type activities

She had no problems with the counting worksheet. She counted by 10s to 100 and counted up to 70.

Math was a mixed bag this week. The first worksheet went very well. The second was a little more complicated (I shouldn’t have included 20-4). She had no problem with either pattern.

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 Raiponce in French on Disney Plus, one episode a day. Dragon is enjoying it immensely, and is even recognizing some words!

Activity

Table settings – Dragon learned about basic, casual, and formal table settings. As she pointed out, she already knows how to set the table (basic).

Make grey stuff – Dragon made a savoury and a sweet grey stuff.

The savoury was a mushroom paté. A black truffle cheese was added to ours – I do not recommend it. Link to recipe.

The sweet was a pudding, modified to not have any chocolate. We used black icing instead. It was delicious. Link to recipe.

Make bookmark – Dragon made bookmarks for all her teachers, including her Sunday school teacher and her Grannie, who was teaching her piano.

And that’s a wrap for the 2020-2021 school year! Congratulations, Dragon, on completing your Junior Kindergarten/Maternelle!

She and Éric made me a gift.