Yesterday, was a lovely day, we had a high of 17C & it was SUNNY. The perfect day to go out & do some family tree research in person.
To make things easier, I have made a quick family tree to refer back to, which shows the direct family line & is a bit of a point of reference for the headstones/ monuments we found, below. I only did dates for males on this one, because at the time there was hardly any creativity with names & the repetition of names without any other reference can be confusing.
Please note not everyone mentioned in this post, is in this graph.
Honeywell/ Watson Family Tree
Our first stop was Bells Corners Union Cemetery. We came here to find the graves of James & Anne Watson (McCallum). They were the parents of Lillian Edna Philomela Watson.
The cemetery was quite small, so not having a map of the gravesite/ monument location, wasn’t too bad. I had found a picture online via findagrave.com which helped in locating the gravesite though & we all had fun working out the location from that clue. The pictures previously found online were clearly taken a while ago, as when we saw the monument/ headstone it was definitely showing some weathering.
James & Anne were married on the 9th of January 1873, in the Carlton area, Nepean area.
I am including pictures of the monument, as well as some notes:
On this side it reads; James Watson Died Oct 8, 1878 Aged 40 years
Underneath it says James H Watson Died Oct 9 1879 Age 1 year 9 months
There appears to be some writing at the bottom but I was unable to decipher it
James H Watson was Lillian’s little brother. His full name was James Herbert Watson, his cause of death is noted as “not stated” & apparently a certificate was never issued by a physician. The full scanned record (a page), containing the details of his & other deaths can be found here, otherwise you can see the cropped record to the right (or click on the underlined text link, found just above the full page record).
James was born in Nepean, although his parents are actually Irish (more details later on).
Anne McCallum is noted on another side of the monument & was the wife of James. The inscription pertaining to her states; Anna McCallum Wife of James Watson 1842-1932
Some additional information not on the gravestone, is that after James died, she remarried a William Argue (1831 -1915) He is buried at Huntley United Cemetery. William had 3 Spouses Elizabeth Fenton (1837-1871), Margaret Fenton (1838-1881), & Anna McCallum (1842-1932)
Anna is listed on the 1891 Census as the spouse of William Argue. I haven’t yet found a record of when they were married but it would have been some time between 1881 when William’s second wife died (James died in 1878, so she remained a single for a few years) & that census date of 1891. They didn’t have any children together, but she did help in raising his children from previous marriages
Anne was born in Osgoode & her parents are buried in Kars, we haven’t been to their gravesite’s yet, but I will do a post once we have. Going to wait for another nice day out.
Her father, James McCallum (25 Sept 1816 – 14 Oct 1900) is from Glasgow City, Scotland, whilst her mother Penelope Philomena Jones (12 Sept 1820 – 13 June 1864) I am still trying to workout. Some have her as being born around Glengarry (near Cornwall) and other records have her born in Lewiston, Niagra County, New York, USA.
Her parents, Peter Jones (1789-1871) & Anna Eastman Jones (1789-1875) came from the USA. Both her parents & a sibling, Nehemiah Jones (1829-1912) are all buried in Kar’s. She has another sister, Hester who moved to Alberta & is buried with a son there.
What I didn’t realise at the time, is that we would find James Watson’s parents were also buried there. ** (see note at bottom for even more family found as a result of this)
This side of the monument reads; Edward Watson Died Mar 25 1884 Aged 84 Years
Also his wife Sarah Vincent Died April 30 1880 aged 88 years
There was a 4th side that remains blank.
Further family tree research shows that Edward Watson was born in Donagal, Ireland in 1800. It appears he moved over to Canada with his parents, who were also born in Ireland.
Sarah Jane Vincent (James Watson’s mum) was born in Chambly, La Vallée-du-Richelieu, Quebec. She’s of Irish/ English decent though with both of her parents born in Ireland.
Sarah’s parents were; Robert Vincent who was from Coothill, Cavan, Ireland (1783-1844). He was born in Ireland, but his parents were born in England (thus the English decent mix) & Sarah Jane Malcolmson is from Near Kings Court, Belfast, Ireland, 1781-1881. I need to research more where Robert is buried, he could be with his wife Sarah, who is actually buried at Beechwood.
Now, that I have thrown all those names out there here is a bit of a rough graph again, to show relationships, it got a little cramped at the bottom & there are still more to add, but this should give you an idea of where the people I have mentioned fit in. I will include more information on these relations, as I go.
Watson/ McCallum Family Lines (above)
On that note, I will finish up this post here. Part 2 will follow on with our next stop, at Pinecrest.
See note below in reference to earlier comments
** As I was caught off in finding Edward & Sarah’s gravesites, I had to do a little research to confirm the relationship to James (they are of course his parents, as stated above). In doing that research though, I discovered that Annie & James had another son, & his name was Edward (7 Jan 1874 – 25 Sept 1945), he was the older brother of Lillian Edna (g grandmother), a new great uncle to add to the family tree. 🙂
Dr Edward Wesley Watson & was a dentist in Medford, Wisconsin. Other research revealed that he married a woman called Lucy & had at least 2 children (Eleanor B: 1915 & Harriet B: 1917), was drafted in WWI and died in 1945. Here is an obituary, I happened across for him (it appeared in the Marshfield News-Herald Marshfield, Wisconsin 26 Sep 1945, Wed • Page 11)
I have been researching my family history on & off for a while, but with homeschooling the kids, it has become a bit of a project for me to do with them. I love it. I did a family history project about 30 years ago in school & found it fascinating & now that I am older & can appreciate it even more, it’s even more exciting. It’s the perfect time to pick up the quest to find more family too, both with COVID & living in the vicinity of so many relatives, something that I know won’t always be the case.
Not all the information I have found is readily & easily accessible to everyone, so I am going to share some of my research here, via my blog to make it easier. So “Hello” to the family reading this, including the blood relations that stalk the page, but don’t like to admit it. Hey there, hope you’re well. 🙂
This week, I came across this gem. This is my gggg grandfather. At this moment I am unclear what his name at birth was. Most of of my German relations changed their names, likely in frustration with others that could not pronounce their names. Although, for some it seems to have occurred due to transcription errors too. Witt changes a few times to Vitt & there are more examples.
Daniel Witt was Married to Sophie Thom (1802-1870) He was born around 1794 & died 26 Mar 1892. He lived to the age of 98 years, which is pretty good, especially for that time. His death certificate/ record of death is rather interesting though. Have a look, he’s bottom middle.
His profession of Farmer was pretty standard at the time, so many were farmers (look at all the other’s on the page) His cause of death is rather interesting though:
This is where knowing how to read cursive is a great skill, but I admit that it still took a while & several google searches to figure out it was La Grippe which was also known as the Russian Flu or Asiatic Flu. I actually tried several spellings & then added “cause of death 1892” to actually bring up anything of use, as La Grippe, on it’s own was absolutely useless.
So what was La Grippe/ Russian Flu? It was apparently the first recorded global influenza pandemic, something which I found interesting given our current state of affairs with COVID. The next major pandemic was be in 1918, the Spanish Flu. For more information about La Grippe see The Canadian Encyclopedia.
For my gggg grandfather to have died from La Grippe, is unfortunate, but given his age, probably not that surprising.
Then there was this;
This last bit of information, at the bottom of his death certificate, was a huge bonus. I can understand why they wrote it too, it would have been very rare to find someone who had fought in the battle of Waterloo here in Canada. Something that I am very grateful that they noted, because I’m not sure that I would have found this otherwise.
I couldn’t find anything under what looked like Blorisher, but a search of the Battle of Waterloo & the Commanders/ Generals revealed a Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher with his Prussian army that defeated Napoleon & I know that was him.
How did I know that? Well, in researching your family history & sifting through hundreds of documents & reference materials, you become aware of how often names were sounded out & then transcribed with errors, so it isn’t hard to see how Blücher became Blorisher. Then there is the fact that so many of the documents I have for my family (including his children) list Prussia as their place of birth/ area of residence for a time, so it isn’t hard to see how my gggg grandfather did indeed join his fellow countrymen in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
I am not 100% sure where he was laid to rest. Most of the Witt family has gravesites in Alice township, Renfrew/ Pembroke area, which is where they settled & the area that he died.
There are a couple of issues in finding headstones of people from so far back. One is that many of them sink over time, the other is that it’s harder it is to find records that remain from that far back. I may never find his exact grave, but I will certainly try to see what else I can find.
We looked at different celebrations that are celebrated by various cultures the other week & I have been meaning to document some of our resources to refer back to, so voila another blog post.
Some of our favourite clips were from BTN (Behind the News), which is an Australian kids educational program that I remember watching when I was in school a few decades ago. I remember how fun it was to tune into their latest episode, so I am hoping to include more of their programming into our homeschooling schedule.
Getting back to the task at hand, we looked at 4 different cultural celebrations, here are some of the video’s they particularly enjoyed; Eid al-Fitr – What is Eid al-Fitr? They loved the idea of the mountains of sweets that come with celebrating Eid, as every kid likely does.
Hanukkah – What is Hanukkah? Hanukkah, they had a vague interest in, given connections with others that are Jewish.
Lunar New Year – Chinese New Year History? We researched the birth signs for each of us & the meaning behind them in relation to lunar new year.
Powwow’s – What’s a powwow? This video they loved & one day I hope that I can take them to one, they’re of a good age to remember too
I am hopeful that we can travel or just generally go out again, they will have more opportunities to experience & appreciate more of the celebrations that exist in the world. I think it’s important to accept others & their differences. It makes the world a much happier place.
This letter is for a specific friend, who is terminal, but in respecting their wishes when I was told the news by a mutual connection, about a week ago, I am not directly reaching out to them. I wasn’t sure how to convey some of things that I want to say & time is slipping by the more I wait. I finally settled on an open letter on my blog, because it can still be anonymous (I have tried to leave out too many personal details). I don’t expect a response, and I may never know that they read this, & that’s ok, but I will have done more than sitting idly by & missing any opportunity that I did have to say anything.
To My Dear Friend,
I am sorry that, we never managed to get the opportunity to meet face to face, I know I thought we had more time. I didn’t realise that this past year with COVID, would be the last opportunity & I am sorry for that. Even though we didn’t get to meet face to face though, I have treasured our friendship. I am glad that our mutual connection introduced us. My life has certainly been richer for having you in it, even for the time we’ve had.
You have incredible talents & I have always appreciated your encouragement to do better, to be true to oneself & to phuquemol. You possess a huge heart, and I know your presence will be missed by many. Your friendship is something that I will always carry. Don’t think that you haven’t had an impact on the world, just because you might not see it, because YOU most certainly have.
In the end though, even bright sparks in the world get tired & weary of the fight. It’s more than ok to be done. I hope that you can still find some joy in your time left, as your body succumbs to this awful disease. Rest is coming, just a little bit longer…..
I know it’s unheard of at the moment, for me to write a second post for the month, but here we are. I’m going to try (yet again) to take more time out to write. Clearly, we must be getting back into the groove of things, for me to actual even consider committing myself to writing more.
Homeschooling is going pretty well at the moment. I still have my moments of “holy crap” am I actually doing enough? Which appears to be normal, not only as a parent, but as a teacher. Then there are the moments of are they getting it, please get it this time, please, please get it, I am running out of ideas as to how I can actually convey this any differently & then inevitably a lightbulb moment happens for them or me & a sigh of relief fills the room.
I think I may have mentioned on here that I have always liked the idea of homeschooling (if not, it would be buried in one of my yet to be published, likely never will be finished & published posts & if I have mentioned it, clearly you can tell I don’t really go back & read what I write). At the same time, I also found it easier to go with the path of least resistance in terms of schooling. I mean WHO WAS I to want to educate my own kids? I didn’t study to be a teacher, sure I did some early childhood studies, but after a week placement at a childcare centre, I soon decided to trash that idea, so really, was I equipped to teach my kids, beyond the normal parenting teaching that happens when you shuffle them off to be someone else’s responsibility? For year I didn’t think so.
Then COVID hit & decisions had to be made & changes had to occur. There really wasn’t any viable option for our family other than homeschooling. I admit that I was a little “salty” about the whole situation, because it meant another thing fell on my shoulders & I knew that this was a huge undertaking, at first it seemed almost impossible to do it well. It didn’t help that G was not set on the idea at all, but after a while he came around. We are both grateful that we don’t have to deal with any of the issues we see others having, when there is a reliance on others to teach your kids (issues with access to the web, not receiving offline distanced learning packages, school closures etc). It’s actually incredibly rewarding to not only share your knowledge with your kids, but learn alongside them too.
We actually started doing homeschooling in July/August, so that I could wrap my head around this new change & to show G that this could work, before school started back in September. It was hard though. One of the hardest things about homeschooling is letting go of the idea that we all have in our heads about what homeschooling is, what it should look like & how it should come together. At the start I was also trying to do too much. I was trying to fulfill orders and do school work around it/ at the same time, whilst we were transitioning, but it really didn’t go well. Whilst the kids were learning, I feel that it wasn’t much fun.
Then over Christmas we had a forced break from homeschooling. G was starting his new job & it made sense for him to move into the kids space, for the kids to move into the space that I used as my creative space, & for our homeschooling area & my creative space to move into a larger space downstairs. The move involved some reno’s & took 10 days to get everyone into their spaces. It was hard going, but so worth it.
I stopped doing my own creative projects for a while to focus on homeschooling entirely, which is what I needed to do at the start, but didn’t feel I could. I was literally drowning. So the change in rooms & setup, & the reset it brought, was a welcome relief. It doesn’t mean we don’t have bumpy days, but that’s life in general, you can’t just blame it on something like homeschooling. It feels good to be able to include more creativity for myself into my days now, but I doubt I will get back to where I was for a while, at least until the kidlets are more independent with their learning.
I’m enjoying the extra reading of late, mostly it focuses around homeschooling techniques & then of course subjects for us to cover/ discuss. All this research leads to a lot of work to plan how to include it into their schooling, but it’s become quite a fun challenge.
In terms of curriculum books, I currently use Scholastic & The Canadian Curriculum mostly for worksheets, BUT, they are just a foundation to build upon. I also printed out the Ontario curriculum to refer back to, but honestly it’s just a guideline, a massive long winded checklist that gives you screw all resources, so mostly I just lament the trees that are now bound within a book that sits on a shelf taking up valuable space.
I really do love the freedom that homeschooling affords us, in part because I know what they are learning, so less time is wasted trying to get my head around what they are learning on any given day, like I was with their online distanced learning last year, not to mention the issues with technology that we were having. The planning & research (I am always trying to improve how I homeschool to adapt to the kids, not to try to fit a round & a square peg into a triangular hole) is definitely more work, but because I am constantly trying to adapt & improve, it also means the experience gets easier as we go. We can be carried away onto other topics that they wouldn’t necessarily cover in school, which is incredibly fun. For over a month now, we have branched out into studying mythology, which has lead us down the paths of the origin of some words, Roman numerals etc. all of which lends to making their learning experience a little more interesting. A topic that we will be covering for many years…
Then there’s the art. I have always tried to do art with the kids when they were in a traditional school setting, but life, the kids being too tired and other things that cropped up into our schedule often pushed art to the side, but not these days & it’s awesome. At the moment we are doing paper mache art & it’s so much fun. Kidlet1 loves sculpture, the 2nd one, is more into drawing, but we’re working on that.
So, whilst homeschooling might mean a little more work, overall, I am loving it. I feel a greater connection with the kids than before (which logically happens when they are glued to you 24×7 too). I love that I can actually understand the half conversations that stem from our learning adventures & am now able to fill in the gaps. This knowledge alone means way less frustration from the kids, and us, so that’s a huge win. Plus, the kids seem to enjoy it, which is even better!
It seems I have no real inclination, or is it time, either reason fits, to do more than a post a month, so here I am checking in for February & giving a summary of the last month +.
A lot has happened & yet not so much really. Normally, we would be either getting ready to go on a trip or most likely getting back from one. It’s become (or maybe I should say it was) a tradition to escape to warmer weather most winter’s, but you know, COVID’s a thing, so that’s not really an option. Now, we pretty much stay home & tick the days of the year off the calendar, without any real direction, stuck in a weird no man’s land, a stark contrast to pre-covid times.
January was pretty good for us to get into the rhythm of homeschooling. G now has his office in the kids old room upstairs, the kids are in my previous creative space & the kids & I have taken over the basement.
The basement setup is pretty nice to be honest. We have computers permanently setup, the climbing wall is here of course, with the futon that was in another room pulled out so that it can be used easily (we often all sit on it as I read), there’s a coffee table to do puzzles & play games & then there is an art space for the kids & of course my creative space in the main area. It works well overall. The kids & I mostly stay downstairs though the day M-F & we try to co-ordinate times to have lunch with G each day, something that he wasn’t really able to do in his previous job.
After months of homeschooling, this move to a new bigger space, has been good for all of us, which I am sure has helped to contribute to the groove we are in. That & the fact that we are all embracing the idea that homeschooling is here to stay for a while, at least, in our house. I tried to juggle homeschooling around everything else, but now, I am accepting the fact that homeschooling comes first & everything else has to be balanced around it. Some days are still a little bit of a struggle, but not as much as they have been before. The kids & I are really in a partnership to learn together.
We are having a lot of fun, not only are we doing core subjects like language arts & mathematics & finding fun & creative ways to learn/ teach it, but we have expanded onto other interesting topics. The kidlet’s favourite subject at the moment is mythology/ history. In the last month, I have lost count of the number of times they have come up to me excited to relate that something they read made so much more sense, because of their mythology knowledge & honestly we have barely scratched the surface. My youngest who despised math, is now excited by it as well, which is a huge step forward. It’s beautiful to see their excitement & enthusiasm to learn.
I’m also trying to spend more time with them creatively, we do cooking every day, but I try to include other creativity. We do journaling, have done some 3D cardboard art & some sewing, but we are going to get into some paper mache & more too.
Besides homeschooling, I have been trying to keep up with orders & managing delivery issues with the postal system (mostly timeframes for things to arrive) with COVID outbreaks in some areas, that are causing longer, than what has become the normal, COVID delays. I do love my creative time, which is mostly spent sewing though, fibre art is my thing, at this point. The open space is a little weird though & I am considering if I should try to hem myself into a corner like I was before. but hopefully, I will get used to it soon enough.
G loves his new job & although he has some pretty weird hours sometimes, he doesn’t seem to mind at the moment which is good. He’s so much happier than he was. Sometimes, you just need shit from a different horse, to mix things up a bit. It really is good to see him happier.
As much as we have found our groove, social isolation, lockdowns & the general reason why we stay away from everyone, have made some moments a little harder to deal with though.
Kidlet 2 burned themselves with boiling water a couple of weeks ago, but is now healing up well. Having to decide which hospital to take them to in terms of least risk of COVID, is not a decision that I wish on anyone though.
Early in January, a beautiful soul, Belinda, died of ALS, which was hard. I knew her through the jousting community & medieval events. I loved the time that I did have, to get to know her & our signed conversations (she used ASL). It won’t be the same to attend some events & not see her there. It’s also weird not to have gotten the chance to say goodbye.
In the last week, I found out another friend is terminal too (not ALS). I regret never getting the chance to meet face to face. If they happen to read this, I hope that they realise that they are an amazing talented individual, that I admire greatly. They have a heart of gold & the spark of joy that they bring to the world is one of a kind. Enjoy the time that you have with your close family & friends.
In other more uplifting news, I have also become an aunt again, this time to a blood relation on my side, which is both exciting & bittersweet, due to distance of said relations. There clearly isn’t, nor can there be any timeframe to actually see & meet this new family member, so for the moment, I am trying to savour the little messages I get & not get too discouraged by the reality that it will be years before we see them. On the brightside, our absence is being filled by so many others, which I am trying to see as a good thing, especially everytime well meaning people tell me that lovely tidbit of reality to make me feel better (it actually doesn’t make it better though). However, I am finding, if you keep smiling through it all, “everything’s swell”.
This month, February, see’s G’s late mum’s birthday happening on the 15th, she would have been 72. Normally, we would go to see the butterfly exhibit at the Museum of Nature, because they were her favourite thing, in her memory, but clearly that can’t happen this year. I am thinking perhaps we will work on a butterfly project we have been working on for a while in her memory, but that could change. It’s weird to break our butterflies at the museum tradition, after so many years. She passed away in 2004.
This is also my birthday month. With COVID, my birthday has suddenly become more exciting than normal, mostly I think because it’s something to look forward to. Kidlet2 has taken on the planning of the “event” which is really quite sweet (I have been teaching them the skill of planning for events as part of homeschooling studies) so I am looking forward to what she has planned.
And on that note & hopefully ending with some cheer & hope, instead of misery, which was where it seemed this post was heading for a little bit, I will sign off. Perhaps I will add some pictures later, to break things up, or I will call it quits & say, if you are family & friends that I am actually in touch with, you know where to see pictures that relate to some of my write up in this post.
For the last few days, we have been painting. Only two rooms, but boy is it a lot of work. Today, we called it quits for the painting though. Geoff’s new office, which was the kids room, is now painted. The room was a light green & yellow, which we had to cover with primer & now it is a copper (ish) brown colour.
The kids room, which was my creative space & our home schooling area, the past few months, also had a repaint. It went from the crappy beige that is the main colour of the upstairs, to an aqua colour (Island Breeze is the name) with nice white trim. The kids picked out the colour, which I thought was nice. L saw it today & said WOAH, but it was a good WOAH
Tomorrow, Geoff will seal the edges, around the baseboards etc & hopefully by Sunday we can move the kids into their new space & Geoff into his. Geoff, starts his new job Monday, which is completely remote & Monday I will be back to balancing, home schooling my creative work, the work with the new business & life in general, fun times all round.
Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, December 31st 2020, a time to reflect on the last 12 calendar months. Why? I’m not sure. It’s just something that most of us have always done, or have done for so long that it’s ingrained into our psyche, so let’s continue to follow the crowd. Buckle up, grab some refreshments & enjoy the long winded read, coming up is the last 365 days in review, for our little family of 4. It starts out by month, then all the days melded into one, so it becomes one big mess of thoughts.
We started the year with a bang! This time last year, we (Geoff, his brother Steve, the kids & I) were on a plane from Montreal to Lima, Peru. We arrived very early, new years day. I’ve spent a great deal of time this year, grateful for the fact that we jumped at the opportunity to go to Peru when we did. Peru has been on our list for a while, in fact we were originally planning to go in March this year, (around March break), but brought it forward with Steve here, as he was keen to come along & the plans that we did have in February changed that were were accounting for financially, so we figured why not do it when we did? Best decision!
It was an amazing trip, we spent time in Lima, Cusco (where I even got to check out the hospital facilities when I was admitted for salmonella poisoning, boy was I sick, the kids were amazing, even though they were so bored & I really appreciated the hospital staff there too), Machu Picchu & the Amazon Jungle to name a few. So many wonderful memories & great for the kids to experience another different culture to either Canada or Australia. I’ll have to finish my posts on that trip soon, it’s long overdue (clearly, being a year, since we we were there).
After we got back, right around Australia Day, Geoff’s brother, Steve, flew back to home, to Australia. I’m glad that he came over when he did too, because little did we realise that would be the last time we would see any family in person, for an undetermined period of time. I think we will be lucky to see family from either Germany, the UK or Australia by 2022, or as I like to type it 2020 (2).
In early 2020, I was part of the Animal Rescue Collective, here in Canada. With all the bushfires that were raging from late 2019 to early 2020 in Australia, a request went out for people worldwide, to help wildlife carers with handmade items such as pouches & the like. So of course I was part of the collective that helped not only financially, but with organising getting physical items to those in need. It was a lot of work, but I’m happy I helped in the small way I did & appreciate all the other friends & family that also helped in making items & even delivery to different places in Australia as well.
February, saw L have the last of his appointments for his concussion that he received near the end of 2019, at school & Geoff went to Berlin, Germany, for a conference that he had been keen to attend for some time, again something he was really happy he managed to go to, given the current state of affairs.
Then came March. To be fair, what unfolded wasn’t an entire shock. I wasn’t oblivious to what had happened in China at the end of 2019 & the news articles that described a new deadly virus. I’d been tracking it for months (hard not to miss the stories) watching as news reports of it’s spread to different parts of the world occurred & the devastation in Italy was heartbreaking, but even I hadn’t quite fully grasped what this could mean, mentally, I knew what was logically going to happen though. This was unchartered territory though.
The kids had their last day of in person schooling, by the local school board, on Friday March 13th, which humours me greatly (the date, NOT that it happened). I had told them (the kids) that morning to bring everything that they could home that day, as I expected they would not return for a long time. Logically it made sense, even if my brain was saying WTF? They did bring home some stuff like their pencil cases, but they left shoes & other things, which was to be expected. They haven’t set foot in their old school since. They did distanced learning at home until the end of the school year (which is June here) & now they are fully home schooled, as I pulled them from the school board entirely. BTW, we did get the rest of their stuff back, by appointment, just before the “summer holidays”.
I know that I don’t OWE anyone an explanation for why I pulled the kids, but I get that people are curious. Basically, it was the best choice for us. I knew that in reality, they could NOT attend school in person. There would be certain risks to them attending in person, that we didn’t want to take. I also knew that the expectations for online learning at over 4 hours a day, for each kid wouldn’t work either (we actually try to limit their screen time, & find that too much screen time can be hard on them, just like sugar, we don’t ban either, but we are mindful of it. As well as the large amounts of screen time, we knew we would have technology issues, having 2 kids streaming video whilst G needs to work, which I know would be an even bigger disaster than it was from April – June) was not something I wanted to do again. The other option on the table, would’ve been to get packets of printed materials from the school, every week or so, also wasn’t ideal. If the kids weren’t attending in person to reduce contact, having to pick-up packages every week or so, seemed like it might be a little counter-productive. Logically, after all that, the only option left, was left home schooling. I had to prove to Geoff that it could work, as he was skeptical, so in July I started to do research in ernest & by August, I started doing proper homeschooling lessons with the kids, to get the rhythm going.
It was a lot of hard work to start, still is to be honest, mostly I think because I have been so focussed on trying to make sure that the kids don’t fall behind, but I am starting to relax a little more. I find that the kids learn so much more when I am not pushing them constantly to do everything I hoped to cram in, which makes complete sense, but then I have moments of doubt. I’m sure that some weeks I am cramming more information into them then they would be getting at school, but I’ve appreciated that there’s cramming & then there’s retaining information & actually learning & both are often very different. Homeschooling your kids is definitely more of an investment in their education than sending them off to a bricks & mortar school, but so worth it too. Homeschooling in the middle of a pandemic, is an entirely different ballgame to normal too. To be fair, I’ve always liked the idea of homeschooling, but until I got the push to do it, it was just something in the back of my mind. Over the years many have thought that we were homeschooling because of all the things that we typically do with the kids, which always amused me. Now, that I have stepped into what I felt was the impossible, I really want to keep going with it after the pandemic, just to see what it COULD be like if you had more access to different resources, other than the web & books. I really missed the physical experiences, like museums & Upper Canada Village & I know the kids have too.
One of the things that I have appreciated about COVID & our decision to restrict our movements, is that it also limits the outside influences that the kids would typically get from their peers, especially within the school setting. I don’t have to hear that xyz has lmnop toy & how awesome it is, even though they know very little about it. E has had so many toys bought for her by other kids for birthdays & she gave away most of them this year to other kids in need, because she realised she didn’t really want them. Honestly, it’s been a great 10 months to re-evaluate things & simplify. Not only material things, but some relationships with others. I have less of an inclination to put much effort into some things & it’s liberating. I have also gotten a bit lazy with putting effort into the relationships I do want to maintain, so there is that downside, I guess. I am also getting older, so less inclined to do much, totally catching up to Geoff on that front.
I, like E, miss the company of some though & hugs, boy do we miss hugs, but 10 months in & we’ve mostly settled into the acceptance stage of the stages of grief with the pandemic. We get hugs from those in our bubble (when we can) & of course the 4 of us always make sure to give each other daily hugs. Even without the hugs though, there is a stronger sense of community & a stronger connection with some (even though I have let some relationships be), which I also appreciate.
Some of the other things of significance, that have happened this year, would be L asking me to cut his hair, after E asked to have all of her’s cut off (L had been growing his since birth, although he didn’t really get hair until he was 3). I as surprised that he decided to cut it all off, but was really happy that it appears to have been his decision.
Geoff & I also organised getting our PCOC cards for sailing, which was fun over a couple of weekends. I was incredibly nervous, but the guys that we did it with were really good with following covid protocols.
E did a 22km bike ride & raised $550 for the Terry Fox Foundation, something that she decided to do on her own, not sure if she will do another 20km ride again like that, but we were all really proud of her.
With basically no travel, other than Peru, this year, we have been doing reno’s in the house & are currently in the process of switching up the house, so that Geoff will have the kids old room, the kids will have the room that I had as my creative space & homeschooling & my creative space will now be in a slightly better layout, downstairs (we have been painting the last few days & need to paint tomorrow).
Some big news for Geoff was that he left his job, where he was for almost 10 years for a new job. As part of that, we started a new business, which we managed to organise just before xmas this year (basically, it was all sorted within a couple of weeks, damn it was crazy).
One of the other big things that we have been doing this year, is planning our next adventure, not sure when it will happen, but I think it’s important to have something to look forward to, after so many disappointments in our family (more so the kids & I). I was especially cut up that I missed my brother’s wedding this year. Unlike, times gone by, when you could just hop a plane, I have no idea when we might get back to Australia. Then again, if we were living in different states to family in Australia, not sure it would be much better (it would actually be better, but let’s not focus on that, because it’s not happening). Anyhow, our latest focus, is to plan sailing adventures, at least that has the potential to happen here & isn’t reliant on air travel.
Whilst doing home schooling & trying to run the house, I have been doing my sewing & other creative arts too. There was a bit of a slump with it all, at the start, whilst I was trying to get my head around the whole pandemic, but looking back at pictures & notes, I still managed to create a lot. I donated hundreds of items, mostly headbands, masks & aprons, as well as made a lot of little gifts for kids for birthday’s to make up for the lack of birthday parties, to the tune of a few thousand dollars in product, which I am pretty proud of & appreciate the support that I received from others to do so.
Overall, it’s been an interesting calendar year. Not sure that I would necessarily like to repeat the last 10 months, but I don’t really see 2020 (1) haha /2021 as anything more than an extension of 2020. I know a lot of people are holding onto this coming year being so much better, but in reality, the current state of things will be in place for at least this next year. Expectation is the source of disappointment, so if you have low expectations, everything else is gravy. 😉 I appreciate many of my experiences in life, for what they have taught me & this year, I have realised that as much as I enjoy the company of others, I also enjoy the lack of commitment this year has afforded me (let me tell you, October’s birthdays were more manageable than any other year, without a multitude of kids to entertain haha)
Anyhow, on that note, I will sign off for the calendar year, play some minecraft & head to bed.
In an effort to clean up & update the website, as well as fix the fact that I have actually managed to lock myself out, so I can’t actually login & update it easily, today is the day I’ve decided to delete it all. All that SHOULD remain if I do this correctly, will be this blog & the photo album (also rather outdated in looks, but a different plugin, & I only want to do so much in one day). The crappiness of the main site has annoyed me just long enough to do something about it. I started moving some items over into this blog from the site, so you will find recipes and posts that link back to our wedding and the Creative Arts I posted, just as blog posts.
For prosperity purposes, check out this outdated look, isn’t it special?
Wish me luck. I’ll be relying on the quick backup, I did a few weeks ago, before I started moving everything over hoping I don’t get distracted & delete the wrong folders.
So, seeing as we’ve decided to take the leap into home schooling, most of my posts will touch on it in some way, because this is a huge part of my life at the moment… edumacating my kids.
In among the worksheets I found for the kids relating to James’s and the Giant Peach, was an activity to research the history of planes. It related to a couple of sentences where a plane made an appearance in the story. Don’t get me wrong, the insertion of a plane into the story, was a necessary addition to the story’s outcome, but initially when I found the activity I thought, wow, that’s clutching at straws! But, really it’s no different to us taking pause yesterday & discussing gardening trivia from facts discussed in the book. Perhaps we should do more research into that too? Or, I could go with my gut & leave that one alone for now. I feel like maybe we could return to researching some of the gardening facts in the spring again, when we could actually look at getting a colony of ladybugs to help eat the little pests that eat the plants & dig through the compost pile for worms & spread the beautiful rich soil they have mulched down in our different garden beds.
As much as home schooling is a fair amount of work, I must say that I really like the sense of ownership & pride that one feels whilst doing so. Home schooling these days is obviously very different in a pandemic & with at risk individuals in the house it certainly is isolating, compared to much of what you read about the beauty of it. We aren’t taking advantage of museum passes we already possess, like our air & space one that would be ideal for this subject. Not to mention that our library cards have been cast aside with them, joining the large pile we no longer make use of.
We are very fortunate to have internet access though, which of course means we still have a plethora of information at our fingertips, so I am incredibly thankful for that, as so many don’t even have that. That being said I still get very excited when we’re doing home schooling activities & I can share a physical item with them. Today, it was a newspaper from September 11, 1908, and pictured above. *
The kids though it was cool to have a newspaper that’s over 110 years old in our home, even though I know that the concept was a little mind blowing to consider. “A newspaper, that’s older than the combined age of the four of us, huh, ok, that’s cool.”
I love that, home schooling has made my more acutely aware of how a couple of sentences in a book can set you off on on so many different paths of learning.
* I actually only have this newspaper in my possession because I was given a few by a friend, for a creative project. The old newspapers didn’t quite work for the project I had in mind at the time because they are so old & brittle, but are pretty cool still. At some stage maybe, I will find a suitable project for them, that preserves them instead of my original plan that was to reuse & somewhat deface them, but I’m in no rush.