Encounters with Hecklers and More

Monday was complicated by our discovery that some of the kids’ school teachers were going to try to continue doing their job. Ruby, Herbie, Moses and Archie each were sent a bunch of assignments. 

Each of them completely obnoxious... Ruby had one sent Friday night, due Sunday, and she read the email about it Monday afternoon. (However, this turned into a great missionary opportunity as Ruby described to her teacher why she didn’t do homework on Sunday—Ruby is a natural missionary.) Also it seemed she needed a computer for an online meeting whenever a teacher called for one.

Moses’s assignments were all sent by WhatsApp group chat with all teachers sending assignments and all students answering on the same thread. When Moses read it, it was hundreds of texts long and completely overwhelming for him to find the actual assignments.

I was gone at that point. Someone needed the church to be unlocked to print something for their student visa (which of course needed to be done that very day before 3...). It was a female student, so I was the best person for the job, but I was in the middle of a logistics puzzle myself when I heard and couldn’t even think about it until I’d gotten in the shower and could take time to decide when to meet her.

So Woo patiently helped Moses navigate his WhatsApp mess.

Herbie had been checking WhatsApp and his personal email, but he had not been checking his class email, where on Monday afternoon he unpleasantly discovered many back assignments.

The actual work is not overwhelming... most of them are tiny assignments completed in a couple minutes, but seeing the huge number of messages in inboxes was disheartening.

The worst for me personally was Archie’s teacher (who is clearly the most tech savvy of all the elementary school teachers), who sent me about 5 online assignments a day last week, over the weekend too. We were not in a place for me to mention a single one to him until Tuesday, where he got them all done in an hour.

I realize everyone is doing the best they can in a difficult situation, and the teachers are only trying to do their jobs, but I really wish they would just leave us alone. (So I guess we’re still not isolated enough for me :)

Woo had to talk us all down from our alarm, and by Tuesday we had a handle on it. In the end the work from the teachers didn’t amount to much, so I was still glad that I’d made work for the kids myself.

We came up with a really fun game for track club... the original thing is for us all to jog in a line and the back person sprints to the front. Then they slow to a jog and the next person in back sprints to the front, and so on (still don’t have a good name for this, although it seems like there should be one right on the tip of my tongue... )

But this time, instead of only sprinting to the front, we also did things like skipping, running backwards, high knees, kicking-the-bum, running sideways, egg-beater legs, etc. and rotated through everyone getting a chance to pick what all the rest of us did.

I really felt like Maria von Trapp at that point.

The first time was more fun than the second time (although Herbie had some issues the first time). The second one Archie was super tired or something. On his turn he’d get overwhelmed and then completely give up. There was a lot of yelling at him to “Just GO!” until we finally figured out that WE should just walk during his turn so he could have confidence to get to the front.

Usually Penelope is Archie’s greatest advocate, but I guess this time she wasn’t.

I also enjoyed our last time in “the wilderness” as Herbie, Moses, Linus, Penelope and Archie all worked together to rehearse the Princess Bride movie script that Linus has been working on.

Ruby has had online seminary all year, but she’s supposed to do one lesson a week with a real person. She and I were doing that while sword and wrestling and wit duels were going on. Also, some excellent tracking by Prince Humperdink. Rolling down the canyon was too much fun and rehearsals were suspended so that all kids could take multiple turns. Ruby also joined in at that point.

I say our last time in the wilderness, because we are no longer allowed to go there.

Except one other thing to mention... Woo met us on his bike just as we were about to cross a street entering into town (so a group of all eight of us in close proximity on the road) when a guy in gloves and face mask drove by and was so clearly appalled by us that I almost expected him to stop his car and yell at us.

Some of the kids were afraid to leave the house the next day, but we went out in the morning without incident. We were not so lucky in the afternoon. While near a roundabout we had a few cars honk and one guy yell, “Stay at home! Stay at home!!” from his truck.

I had decided that the time had come for us to run around in the garage and play cards or read on our tiny balcony for sun, but Woo encouraged us all to go out to our last remaining safe place yesterday, which we did without incident.

We are not doing anything wrong. Families are allowed to go outside for bits of exercise, but no one else’s family is nearly as large as ours. People who don't know us assume that we are multiple families congregating.

Woo did not go surfing most of this week. Partly because of less than optimal waves and partly for fear it wasn’t allowed. He decided that it was allowed as long as the group was small enough, and he and Herbie ran out for a quick surf Saturday morning.

Woo’s always been frustrated by the church’s hymn app, and I guess he was finally moved to action after practicing parts with Ruby, Herbie and Moses during home church at the end of their lessons. 

He spent his extra time working on an app that allows you to adjust the hymn’s tempo and pull out the music for specific parts. We used it today and it worked great. With our extra 10 minutes after our testimony meeting we taught (or tried to teach) the kids the alto and tenor parts to Abide with Me.

Archie and Penelope switched bedrooms this week. Penelope has been complaining that she’s getting too big for hers (really a large closet), and Archie’s isn’t dark enough at his bedtime.

Archie was less excited about it, but changed his mind when Penelope listed all the pluses for him (the reasons she chose it herself in the first place), and they spent happy amounts of free time helping each other move their stuff around.

Woo recorded Archie singing nonstop in the tub. It’s part Portuguese and part English (with some German colors thrown in), but mostly English. It’s very cute 7-yr-old stream-of-consciousness and reflects almost everything going on in Archie’s brain and our family.

Linus needed a project to fill his mind during spare moments and he found it in building a marble Olympic park. Like everything Linus does, he thought deeply, planned carefully and built with precision.

All kids asked me to cut their hair this week.

Other tidbits:

Moses praying about his overwhelming load of homework (which turned out not to be) got the revelation to be writing everything that is happening to him in a journal.

Herbie praying about overcoming contention and rudeness got the revelation to make a scripture reading chart for Archie. If Archie reads great 7 times in a row, he gets to sit on Herbie‘s bed (something he’s always trying to do).

Penelope loves, loves summer schedule. Her favorite things have been Japanese and reading the Story of the Amulet.

We had a zoom call with everyone in Woo’s family. This is where rarely watching movies pays off—our kids were mesmerized (and it was not short).

This would be the end of Spring Break for us and we’re moving into homeschool next Monday. I’m excited and also glad we did summer schedule first because I knew what I needed to tweak for homeschool. I talked it over with the kids individually and told them that they were the teacher now and responsible for their own learning. The kids were very excited and Archie got up Thursday morning and immediately started to read JS-H for five minutes (one of the goals he’d set for himself during unscheduled time), even though we hadn’t started yet.

Ruby has been finding a ton of names to reserve for the temple.

Linus has a zoom call scheduled for his class on Monday and he feels very grown up to be having a zoom call already in fourth grade.
Archie: Mom, I like the book of Omni, because he let his whole family write in it! 
Me: Yeah, that was nice of him. 
Woo asked everyone their favorite animal.
Penelope: Pesaguses! 
That’s our week. Hope yours was great!