Me: video game noob and a very tired teacher

These days I’m dragging my feet into this video game world, its rules, terminology, and other related things. One thing is for certain: you don’t want to be called a “noob.” I could think of worse things but that term seems to push player’s buttons. It’s supposed to be insulting to call or be called a “noob” yet the term is teasingly used among friends for poor play.

According to Wikipedia, ” Newbienewbnoob, or nub is a slang term for a novice or newcomer, or somebody inexperienced in a profession or activity.”

I’m in the latter category: My kids call me “noob, “but it doesn’t offend me. My noobiness is obvious when I can’t control my avatar’s movements in the game and can’t pass through doors or climb ladders. I continually ask: “What’s that?”; “How do you do that?”; “Why do I keep…?”; or “What do I do now?”

We play “Bed Wars” on the BlockMan Go app. It’s a 4 team game of 4 players who buy gear, blocks, and weapons though coins earned at each of their base’s iron forge. To get better gear and upgrade your weapon’s arsenal, you build bridges to other lands to get diamonds and emeralds. You also need to build to other team’s lands to destroy their defended bed. If you die or get killed, you respawn but lose all your inventory; however, if your bed is destroyed, you cannot respawn after dying.

My role is limited; I defend the bed with blocks, build one bridge to nearby the diamond land, gather diamonds to upgrade our team’s forge, and try not to fall into the void. It’s stressful and I wonder how my fingers don’t move as fast as I want them to.

Still, they want me on their team. It’s flattering, but it’s too much together time. We already spend an inordinate amount of time together as a homeschooling family. This activity cuts into my nap time, alone time, bathroom time, phone time, etc. I’m guessing they want me to play so I’ll lose track of time and not yell at them to stop playing. Just sayin’…

When we play, we refer to each other by our usernames. They like to show off their skills and give me tutorials. Ellis comments that I’m like her little sister in video games and that she needs to teach me how to do things. Other times, Elliot tells me to “stay back…I got you” while he kills off opponents or gets revenge on the enemy who killed me.

Avatars: Ellis (Far left), Elliot (middle), me (far right); my updated Avatar is a winking eye

Another game we play is Skyblock; you mine for blocks and use them to build your land in the sky. This is my favorite game; who thought mining could be this fun and pleasant! Kids got me better gear and unbreakable cross/ slash thunderbolt staff that I can use to defend myself from other miners who want to steal your inventory by killing your avatar. fend off attacks from other miners in the advanced mining area for higher cost blocks. Rare and special blocks can be attained through trades with other players or by using coins to buy them by selling the blocks you mined or with gcubes (gold cubes you buy with money).

We’ve kind of gone overboard and have built all kinds of structures along with making up stories. We have an evil scientist who grows poisonous berries, a young Apatosaurus dinosaur that suddenly appeared on our land (we are caretaking and teaching him while we look for his parents), kids made their stone generator business that makes stones with water and lava (cost is 1 emerald per use). Ellis also made a graveside for my father in law who passed 7 years ago, as well as one for Chris’ friend who passed recently in Dec. 2020.

I’ve been on edge since kids love these games, along with Minecraft and others, and I feel they will never stop playing. But I can’t fight it all the time, so I’m reluctantly changing my approach. This may be my rationalizing, but playing together gives us an opportunity to reverse teacher and learner roles, learn about internet safety, make good decisions, problem solve, build creatively, research information they need, understand sportsmanship, and discuss different ways people think and act on video game platforms.

This is their new obsession, so I’m seizing this opportunity to revolve learning around it for them. Being my kid’s teacher has its rewards and surprises, but in uncharted territories like this, I find the ride wild, uncomfortable, and unbelievably frustrating!! I’ve emphasized the positives here, but it gives me migraines to work with it. πŸ™„πŸ€¨πŸ˜…

For every teacher, parent, and others in the second month of this school year, praying that we survive, stay healthy, and help kids on their road to become their best selves!

A new school year already?!

School has already started for many or will start in a matter of days. I can imagine the spectrum of feelings a lot of us are experiencing: first-day jitters, anxiety, excitement, fear, relief, dread, freedom, anticipation, happiness, hope, among others.

I have mixed emotions. Since I’m my kid’s teacher, I feel an enormous amount of pressure. I do love my role and see it as a privilege to homeschool, but it’s daunting at times.

When I feel overwhelmed though, I try to focus on my long-term goals: education involves learning how to tackle new challenges (it’s not all fun and games); comparisons accomplishes nothing positive; celebrate individual successes; choose quality over quantity; and lastly aim to cultivate a discerning and reflective mind.

Being a homeschooling mom teaches me to trust that my kids’ minds are actively processing even when results are not tangible right away. And it makes me wonder the blind faith my parents had in me.

Growing up I was a late bloomer and things clicked way past the time it should’ve occurred. Compound that with the effects of brain trauma from a car accident: I was a hot mess. I fumbled through classes and feigned tummy aches. Despite them all, my parents cheered me on, paid for endless tutoring, and believed (or faked it well) that I would succeed. I wonder how they must’ve felt waiting for me even when I wasn’t showing much progress.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. β€“ Confucius

This year I pray that I will become a better teacher, co-learner and investigator, and guide. I want to have more motivation, patience, and a spontaneous mindset to explore new things. Eeek…I enter it with trepidation. But I know God will sustain me through the doubts and insecurities. In the big scheme of life, my mundane stuff seems insignificant to God, but to Him they are not.

Psalm 120:1:   
β€œIn my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.”

Isaiah 40:31:
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

And my hope for kids, parents, teachers, and others involved in raising kids have a blessed, peace-filled, and fruitful school year!! Wishing many “a-ha” moments and joyful hearts pursuing mindfulness, God’s wisdom, and gratefulness.

And how can I forget the most important factor?? Fun and happiness.

Have fun, laugh more than usual, be spunky, love your kids for who they are, and pat yourself on the back more often.

 “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”Winston Churchill

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Trio

This photo challenge is from Dutch goes the Photo!

The picture below covered a store window that was in the middle of remodeling. I took the photo hoping to share it on my blog one day; its message is encouraging and picture cheerful. That one day was two days later. Yay!

And of course, my kids and I make a trio. In our homeschooling journey, we spend a lot of time together doing this and that. 

Jello water is not regular water

Since my last blog entry, the kids and I have been running around town enjoying our newfound freedom. We’re still wary of colds and viruses for Ellis’ sake, but we’re not afraid like we used to be.

(update: 2 weeks after I started writing this entry…Elliot just finished his 5 days of antibiotics for bronchitis. Ellis caught it from him and aspirated from water she sips in secret. Mama’s usual paranoia made a quick comeback.)

The one thing I absolutely wanted to do this autumn was visit a pumpkin patch – on a farm. Previously, we’ve only been to the seasonal pop-up pumpkin patches on vacant lots around town. They’re fun too with their assortment of pumpkins and other activities, but it doesn’t feel like the real thing. An actual farm setting would have less traffic noise, less fences, and less concrete.

We finally crossed off pumpkin patch on our list of to-do activities! It involved a hay ride on a tractor around the sunflower and corn fields, playing on hay stacks, and riding new rides by themselves (first time ever), and exploring different kinds of pumpkins. Ellis enjoyed the setting but she would’ve been happier if she could drink regular water like the rest of us. Every time she sipped her thickened water from a thermos, she would whine, cry, or get angry.

Other than the water ordeal, Ellis is doing great. She’s still on the thickened liquid till her vocal chord heals. It’s uncertain how long it will take to heal or how to fix it in the meantime. She asks me constantly why everyone drinks regular water but why does she need to drink “yucky, jello water.” I’ve learned to keep electronics away from her durung these fits: she tries to throw my computer to the floor, yank off chargers, or press a bunch of random keys.

I remind her, with a forced gentle tone in my voice, that this will not last forever. It’s to keep her healthy, which means we can go adventuring together to fun places.

She nods yes, but two seconds later, she repeats the same question. I then talk about how her lungs don’t like water, but regular water could sneak in there and make her sick. It’s as though she’s making up stuff about what I’m explaining. She asks, “What’s lungs? Is that inside my body?” In her mind, I’m probably the stingy witch who gluttonously drinks water herself but withholds this precious commodity from her parched daughter. The evil laugh is shrouded in long-winded talks about health and lungs.

I anticipate therapy sessions for all of us. However, as she matures, I hope she realizes how hard it was for me to say “no,” when the first thing I want to do is give in to her simple request. Doctors tell me to supplement her hydration by giving water through her stomach tube if she refuses the thickened liquid; I can’t even begin to imagine how that feels.

In my internet search of finding pre-thickened liquids, I learned that difficulty swallowing is more common than I assumed and can stem from various causes. I found thickened coffee too, decaf and caffeinated kinds. As a coffee lover, I don’t know what to make of that. But I’m sure that if that’s the only coffee to drink, I’d buy themΒ  by the crates. I may even learn to savor the taste.

She makes an effort to drink it. When she holds the straw to her mouth, Elliot and I begin our cheering chant. “Go, Ellis, go! Go, Ellis, go!” After she takes a quick sip, looking very focused with her eyes closed and nose squished, we finish with a group hug and tell her we’re very proud of her. Now she wants us to cheer every time. Oh this DIVA!

Through these experiences, we’ve all learned to become caretakers in our own ways. I thought Elliot would resent his sister getting a lot of attention, but he’s proving to be a good big brother: playing along and making a big fuss over her. Other than that, usual squabbles still occur and sibling competition is fierce. Having grown up as an only child, it’s interesting to observe the constantly shifting dynamics of love and hate between them.

 

Trying to get a butterfly to land on his finger.