January 2007

IMG: WarHammer 40,000 battle.

Jordan has developed on a strong preference for the fantasy genres – I know, I know, shocking for a 10 year old boy, eh? lol. His love of Star Wars – 30 years after I saw the first movie in the big theatre on James St in Hamilton – is absolute. We have just finished reading Eragon and he was facinated and completely engrossed from the first word to the very last. Apparently, we are going to the bookstore after hockey tonight to get the second in the trilogy, Eldest ;)

Jordan has also recently started playing WarHammer, a table-top fantasy battle game. It’s quite involved, actually. First there are the armies to buy, assemble and glue, the base coat to apply and then the detailed painting – each figure takes Jordan 2-3 hours to paint, and he has over 100 of them. *blink* I have been impressed with his ability – and willingness – to sit for long stretches and do this detailed painting of tiny figures.

Last week, someone in one of my homeschool groups arranged a WarHammer 40,000 Mega Battle for homeschoolers. Jordan was in his glory. Two hours of team battles and then another of painting. He asks every day if another one has been planned yet.

Today, we’re going to a friend’s house so Jordan and his buddy can work on their War Hammer figures. He has been up and ready since 7AM. lol. I guess I’d better get ready now, before he collapses from the anticiaption :)

IMG: nature hike.
Waiting for the chickadees.

IMG: Jordan.
Ready for a hike; planning snowball fight strategy :)

Jordan has been enjoying the nature programme at the RBG this year. We go a couple times a month and each time there is a little bit of classroom time (group discussion, usually) a craft and then an hour-long nature hike – all on a theme. This is right up Jordan’s alley :D

The hike was extra special this week as there was a fresh layer of snow and the kids – coincidentally, ALL boys this time – couldn’t stay out of it. They were throwing it and rolling in it and digging through it. Like puppies, they were.

Jordan often walks at the front with the instructor (photo below), but he’s just as likely to be rolling in the snow/leaves/dirt, examing animal tracks or running laps around the entire group (still working on a way to bottle and sell that energy). He is always up for these outtings, regardless of the weather or anything that is going on.

In spite of all that energy, he is also able (and perfectly happy) to stand completely still, with sunflower seeds in his outstretched hand while chickadees come and alight briefly on his fingers to eat. That’s what he’s doing in the top photo. I’ve promised him that we’ll go back on our own to feed the chickadees sometime. He wants to stay longer.
I enjoy it too. A nature walk is a restorative thing, like a good tonic.

IMG: nature hike.
Jordan and Connie

IMG:Painting warhammer figures.

Homechooling has been much more about doing lately. When I was Jordan’s age, I loved workbooks and notepaper and drill sheets. I’d make up my own if there weren’t any others. Jordan on the other hand… not so much. I have to consciously remember that the presentation has to suit him, not me. As tempting as the workbooks are to me, they don’t really translate into progress for him. Addition drills on paper? No. Addition drills with a handful of dice? Absolutely. Fractions on paper? No. Cooking and making 1.5x the recipe? Of course. Reading stories and novels? Rarely. Reading the manual that came with a complicated game? Definitely. Logic puzzles and exercises? Only if you want a fight. Building and programming a robot with Lego MindStorms? Any day of the week.
Of course, there are worksheets and drills, but I’m becoming more and more creative and I’m really happy with Jordan’s progress. Jordan is just plain happy. :)

There are several art programmes scheduled over the coming months. And nature studies and drama classes and handwork and semi-private goaltending instruction. He gets together with other kids to play WarHammer and for weekly skating. Once a week he helps babysit a 1 year-old at a relative’s house. At home, there is typing and reading and writing stories and German. The hours I spend reading aloud to him. He is learning a simple programming language. And there is hockey. Lots and lots of hockey. And his paper route. And there is so much more.

Almost every day, he spends an hour or two working on his WarHammer figures. I didn’t expect this. He has wanted to play this game for a long time but I always said no, thinking he wouldn’t enjoy (or do) all the work involved in preparing the models. But he loves it. I love it too because he is so eager to do it that there is no arguing about the tv or video games. In fact, during the time of day that he is allowed to have the tv on, he’ll leave it off to work on his figures. He’ll sit quietly for as long as two hours, intently painting the details with a tiny brush. This is unusual behaviour for a child who seems to never stop moving. :D

And now, I’ve got Benny Goodman on the stereo and I’m editing photos while Mark and Jordan plan and execute battle strategy in a rousing game of Warhammer on the family room floor. One cat is sleeping on my feet, another on the window seat beside me and the third, under the end table to my right. The dog is sleeping in the other chair. An awfully nice way to spend a Sunday evening :)

IMG: Ice crystals on  sweet alyssum stocks.
Ice Crystals on Sweet Alyssum Stocks

The weather has finally turned cold. We has some ice – not too bad – and a little bit of snow. It is a huge relief… things are ‘back to normal’ for now.
It is disconcerting when the weather is so far off normal. We expect (and depend on the fact) that the sun will come up tomorrow, Spring will follow Winter and that the seasons will be roughly similar every year. That has not been the case in the last few years. There are discernable changes in the seasons and it is unsettling. Aside from the crazy a/c bills in summer and the challenges of gardening in conditions vastly different from what you expected, there is a deeper connection that has been rattled.
In spite of every gadget we own having a digital clock on it and the fact that most of us have wakened to an alarm clock and structured our days down to the minute according to other people’s schedules for most of our lives, we still mark time with the changing seasons. It is subtle but profound. And it is unsettling and confusing when Nature’s clock isn’t keeping time as we know it.

So when it finally got cold and the wind blew and there was ice and snow, I felt better. But still, it leaves you thinking. Winter didn’t follow Autumn this year. It was too warm for most plants to hybernate; there was too little sun for them to thrive.

We have been talking, chez Bountiful, and we have some tentative plans. We have questions to ask, budgets to plan and options to consider. We aren’t sure where the journey will take us, but we have taken the first few tentative steps.

IMG: Snow.

Winter has finally, tentatively, arrived. Today, the snow came down in big wet flakes for a couple of hours. It was beautiful. Now it just has to last.

Last night, Jordan played hockey in Hamilton – at the arena that was “my” arena growing up. I was happy to see it again – I haven’t been there since I was a teenager. It wasn’t Jordan’s best game, but he played well in spite of some physical discomfort. He made two great glove saves. His glove hand is really coming along.

I’m having no luck with the &^%$#$#* hat I’m knitting. grrr.

With the colder weather (Yay!), I think the outdoor rink at the Bronte Creek Park might be open, as well as the one on the water. Now I can use Outdoor Skating as an incentive for Jordan to get his school work done :)

I saw an ad on tv for square bagles? huh? Why? I mean, why even bother? Bagels are perfectly good round. If Someone is going to put all that effort into food development, then Someone needs to develop eggs that, after boiling, make themselves into delicious egg salad (with extra pepper). That would be a useful development. I’ve already vowed never to buy square bagels.

Updates at the Photo A Day page.

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