Friday, August 31, 2012

History and Geography

             Last night we watched the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the boys were quite surprised that it was nothing like the book.  They did love the movie though and thought it was neat.  My husband had never read the book so the boys had to give him a brief summary of the story once the movie was over.  It was a great lesson on comparing and contrasting.  Ian also spent a bit of time on the Lego Castle Adventure website reading all about medieval castles and creating his own coat of arms.   By the time everyone finally got to bed it was a bit late and I figured they'd sleep a little bit later but I should have known better. 
              So bright and early this morning we finished up our lesson on Florida. We read two books on the Florida Everglades.  They happened to be the only two books I found on Florida at our library this week, but after watching the movie about Florida, it's the area of Florida they seemed most interested in.  Our favorite book was called simply Everglades by Jean Craighead George and the illustrations of the animals were unbelievable.   I printed out a blank Florida map for them to color and label with the state capital, the everglades, the gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.  They also had a blank US map that I plan to have them color & label each state on as we learn about them (Evan just colored).  Lastly, we had a sheet for them to draw the state flag, flower, and bird as well as listing things like the capital, tree, motto, etc.  I wasn't sure how they would do on this paper but they loved it.  The drawings of the bird, flower, tree and flag came out amazingly well.   It was a great unit lesson on Florida found here.  There's a lesson for each state and a few of the sheets can be used interchangeably from state to state as a way to compare them all and hopefully keep them all straight.  

             While the boys finished up their maps Evan went on the Lego Castle site and with my help was able to earn a few trophies for his room.  He made a coat of arms and it was neat to hear his logic for all the things he picked.  He made his shield a diamond shape because he figured it would offer the most protection.  He picked the colors blue and yellow because they are his favorite.  He made the Falcon (bird) in the middle a deep red to match the trim he had chosen.  We read about castle jobs and took a little quiz.  He kept getting one or two wrong and in order to get the trophy you had to get them all right.  He got frustrated and quit and I couldn't blame him.  We moved over to the Medieval Times site and looked at some of the weapons of the time period.  Then he asked me to print out a coat of arms for him to color.   They all seem pretty caught up in the coat of arms so I thought I'd let them each make one out of cardboard next week and they can paint & decorate it. 

             We started reading our new chapter book Wonderstruck for reading today.  The boys were very intimidated by the size of the book and weren't sure they wanted to read it at all.  However, once we actually started flipping through it there are a lot of pictures and I convinced them the reading portion probably wasn't all that long.  They agreed to at least give it a try.  I read aloud to them for a bit and they LOVED it!  We read to page 97 and when I said we'll stop  here Alec begged me to read more, and we probably will later on at some point today. 
              We did some cereal math today on probability.  They were each given a cup of apple jacks with a mixture of green and orange pieces.  They pulled out 1 piece at a time, recorded the color, replaced the piece, shook up the cup and pulled another one out.  They did that 10 times then they dumped out the cup, sorted between the two colors and counted up how many of each color they had.  We talked about which color they were more likely to pull out and even Evan quickly realized he was more likely to pull out whatever color he had more of.   I made sure his cup only had 4 pieces of green and a bunch of orange to make it very obvious for him.  Of course, they all thought the best part of math was eating the cereal when they were done. 
             By then it was pretty close to lunch time so they went outside and played in the sand for a bit.   Alec got me to play a quick game of ping- pong with him.  This is something new the boys have gotten into since the Olympics.  My husband loves ping- pong and grew up playing; we have his family's table set up in our basement so they often play together at night.  I'm not as huge of a fan but will play with the kids when asked.  They're getting pretty good too.  We watched two Big Cat Diary educational shows on Animal Planet while getting lunch ready and Alec and Evan seemed to really enjoy it.  It reminded us of the African Cats movie we watched a few weeks ago.  I figured that covered our science lesson for the day.  Then we headed to the park to ride bikes and play.  The older boys read books in the car on the way since they hadn't done any reading; just listening today.  I'm not entirely sure they read anything but they looked at the pictures and discussed what they saw.  I figured they did a bunch of reading about medieval times when they were playing the computer games and didn't want to argue.
        It was just too nice a day not to get out and enjoy the fresh air.  They rode bikes for a bit and then played on the swings.  I was amazed that Evan seemed to learn how to pump his legs on the swings literally over night!  He could not do that yesterday.  He still needed a bit of help today but for the most part once I gave him a starting push or two he was able to maintain height and speed.  There was a tether ball at the park and while I have no idea how to play we decided to make up our own game.  They had a blast and the laughter was priceless.  I think the kids were a bit disappointed to be the only ones at the park on such a nice day but they got along really well.   We stayed for almost 2 hours and then headed home to get dinner ready.  One thing I'm sure I'll remember for a while is a conversation I had with Ian while walking through the park.  We were talking about the fair this weekend and buying tickets vs. buying ride bracelets.  I told him the bracelets were only good for today and were $23 each.  He paused for just a moment and said "so that's $69 total right?"  I was floored that he figured out what was essentially 23x3 in his head in just a few moments.  I love teaching my kids and hearing these little tid bits they come out with throughout the day.  Not to mention the fun we had at the park in the nice weather. 
        I was excited to see our new books from Rainbow Resource were in and now we have a crafting book with all 50 states.  I groaned aloud though when I saw that the recommended craft for Florida was making rock candy.  We all know how that turned out last time.  But perhaps we'll give it another shot... or maybe we'll just move onto the next state.  I can't wait to learn a bit more about the other states so we can start playing some of the 50 states game I ordered.  It sounds like fun and has a bunch of different versions of the game. 
        The boys put on their suits and jumped into the lake while I grilled dinner for our picnic outside.  They took, what will probably be their last for the season, baths in the lake.  And had jumping contests. It was a pretty great day... with the occasional threats to send them back to school, the constant warnings to stop asking me if we were done yet so they could go play, and the thousands of, rather loud, reminders to clean up toys and clothes when they were done with them.  I don't mention these too often mostly because I don't always remember those moments at the end of the day when I'm finally sitting down to type.  I also think they're just that.. moments.  They are far outnumbered by the wonderfully fun things we get to do.  Besides I feel like these annoying behaviors are no worse than when they were in school and I had to remind them to do homework, re- pack backpacks, clean up toys and clothes when they were done with them and threaten to get a move on or else we'd be late.  I think that kind of nagging is just part of being a parent and as long as it doesn't make me or the boys miserable while we're homeschooling I try to ignore it or look for creative ways to deal with it.   So far we're happier and more laid back with our homeschooling than we ever were trying to prepare for a typical school day and we get to be extra comfy in our jammies when we want or snuggle in bed to read our books like we did today.  Those are the things we'll always remember!
        

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