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Day 13 - Escolástica says "Farewell"

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Dear Reader

Thank you for following the experiences of Aunt Escolástica and her nephews adjusting to ‘continuing education’ / ‘continuous learning’ / ‘home learning’. Thank you for your support and encouragement over the past two weeks. I hope you got as much from it as I did.

I won’t be going on with this journal. This entry is the last. Several reasons, good ones, have brought this on. Here are a couple:

1.    We now have a wealth of wisdom, information and resources to aid us with the transition. Escolástica, just one small voice amongst many, will be drowned out.

2.    As such, the conceit gets harder to maintain. Like a tv series that has gone on one season too long, the narrative is likely to devolve into soap opera. Not a bad thing in itself, but it’s not what I want for my alter-ego, nor her wards.

My general observation to this point is that we are working it out – kids and teachers, families and schools. I am so impressed with the intensity and determi…

Day Eight – Mini-school starts here

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

It’s Tuesday. Any normal Year 12 Tuesday, Gabriel has Chemistry, Mathematics and English. In Year 10, Florentino has French, PE, History and English. In Year 8, it’s English, Science, Maths and Health for Juvenal.

So after a morning meeting snuggled under blankets in the autumn sun, they headed to ‘mini-school’. In turn, each sat with me and explained the subject matter of their courses. This opened up discussion, tangential to classwork, but educative.

Tino’s history class is studying the ‘Home Front’ during World War Two. Today he learned his great grandmother was a 'plane spotter' on the South Coast, and his great grandfathers, one a school teacher, the other operating an egg farm, were both considered ‘essential’ service providers and exempted from military service.

Gabe’s physics class is exploring electricity and magnetism. We applied this practically to a schematic for an electricity transformer and went on to convert and regulate the output.

Ju…

Day Seven - The Thrill is Gone

Monday, March 30, 2020

Already, the thrill is gone. The new routine is now routine.

Today was a day much like any other. Though not devoid of moments of levity. On hearing the rate of infection may have slowed in Australia, Juvenal was prompt to ask: “Does that mean I’ll be able to go back to school next term?”

Already he’d prefer to be back amongst the rough and tumble of his friends, than at home with a relaxed schedule and time for more sedate pursuits.

Someone else who’d rather not be at home is my beloved. Today, his first working from home, was not an easy one. We created a snug little office space for him in the alcove behind the front door – we have no use for it these days – with a lovely view of the world as is passes by. Which it does, in ones or twos, and the occasional family group.

Not that he noticed, lost amongst the cables, codes and calls, the meetings, machinations, devices and deliveries. Each of which in turn is somehow suddenly and stressfully imbued with param…

Day Four – Home for the Weekend

March 27, 2020

My beloved is home for the weekend.

Florentino came to us with a proposal tonight, little brother Juvie in tow.

After we’d moved countries a few years ago, the boys frequented MineCraft, socialising with friends they’d left behind. As the bonds of friendship strengthened in our new town, they abandoned it.

This week MineCraft is making a comeback as a surrogate for the face-to-face socialising of highschool life.

Tino, fed up with the lag and the long queues on MineCraft’s free servers, and at the urging of his associates, proposed that if we cover the cost of access to a private server for his crew, they would be good for the cash when the war is over. How much are we talking about? Ten dollars a month.

Adults too will need surrogates for actual socialising (Facebook anyone?) as the binds begin to burn. I may look into that over the weekend, after catching up with my sweetheart.

Juvenal played hours of tennis today, and will again tomorrow. But that may be it: the cou…

Day Three - Guilty

March 26, 2020

Juvie got himself into quite a tangle today. Late morning he realised a summative prac for his Year 8 science class was due tomorrow at 9am. Much of the work required not done. Juvie, normally irrepressible, can get flustered when things go wrong. Which they had. Which he did.

He locked himself away and set to work, but the monster snuck in after him and grew. The questions in the scaffold only ever more perplexing. Graphs of data, instead of displaying clear and linear relationships between variables, just set them running in different directions.

An email to the teacher asking for a little more time to sort out what he wanted to say went unanswered.

Fifteen year old Tino helped, sorting out the data display, urging him on with the writing, and discussing the finer points of his observations. Juvie was making good progress, but so was the clock.

At 10.15pm I wrote an email I hoped one of the lead teachers might pick up early in the morning, asking that she try to con…

Day Two - The Course of True Love

March 25, 2020

Escolástica here. Google guardian of three lovely boys: Gabriel, Florentino, and Juvenal. Aged 17, 15 and 13 respectively.

On Day Two of our ‘continuous learning’ journey we crossed with mortality and the gravity of the times.

“People are going to die, aren’t they?” said Tino. “People we know.” Perhaps we’ve just been lucky so far.

Conversation segued to building a program that ensures grandparents hear from at least one of us each day. Teenage boys. Insensitive at times, but with big hearts right where we need them to be.

Juvie delighted his grandmother over the phone, explaining for her the tumbling shifting intimate and amusing intricacies of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Talking to Nanna served to warm him up for his summative, an open-book test on AMSND. His teacher suggested it would take an hour. He was into a third before finally deciding his answers weren’t getting any better. From there, onto maths.

Our home school day only starts at 10am, but Flo…

Day One - Welcome Aboard!

March 24, 2020

Welcome aboard. I’m Aunt Escolástica, Google guardian of three lovely boys: Gabriel (aged 17) in Year 12; Florentino (15) in Year 10, and; Juvenal (13) in Year 8. Let’s begin.

Our first ‘campus free’ day. We chose to take our own advice and started slow and simple. Understanding that off campus learning will ramp up in the days and weeks ahead.

Following a leisurely breakfast, the school day started with a meeting at 10am.

At that meeting we decided:
1.       To meet each day at 10am and discuss how things are going.
2.       To limit today’s school day activities to schoolwork set before the campus free period began, and to monitoring communication from school

As the boys worked the day away in their rooms (or so I chose to believe), we received a few messages from school, via email, Google Classroom and ManageBac.

One asked me to ensure I have ‘guardian’ access to the Google Classroom accounts of the two high schoolers. I had access to one, not the other. Email to c…