Thursday, August 23, 2012

Independence is best.

      While we were finally planning on not having a day trip today I am hosting a party at my house tonight for a ladies night out, which I find I need more than ever now that I'm home with the kids all the time.  However, having been out all week I haven't had much time to clean or prepare any foods so I was already trying to figure out how to have an actual day of learning and still get everything done on my list.  I'm still trying to figure that out.  We headed out bright and early to the supermarket, Evan asked if he could please do two worksheets today so I once again pulled out a dot- to- dot/ maze sheet for him to work on in the car (he asked if he could do another one once we were home; of course I said yes!).  Alec and Ian choose to read.  Alec continued reading the Jungle Book while Ian choose a Curious George book to read.  I was a bit disappointed it was what I would consider below grade level for him but it was a new book we hadn't yet read and he wanted to read it, so I let him. 
      On the way home they once again spotted a few new licence plates-- we were lucky enough in the last few days to add Alaska, Missouri, Minnesota.  They were comparing how many they'd found and how many they had left to find.  They each have around 19/20 left (it's funny that they each have different ones crossed off though!).  While they still might not know much about each state or even where to find it on the map they are quickly learning that the pictures on the plates usually mean something to that corresponding state and they are getting quite familiar with all the names of the 50 states.  We've even had to talk about the difference between a state and U.S territory. 
      Once home as I was putting the groceries away I asked the boys to work on some math. Ian used his book and worked on lesson 8; it was a review of adding 3 digit numbers.  Since Alec needs more practice with his addition facts I handed him a deck of cards that I had removed the A, 1, 2, 3, and face cards from.  I asked him to flip two cards over; read them out loud in a number sentence and tell me the sum.  I explained that talking out loud helps him to learn even better because he gets to see it, think it, speak it and hear it.  He grumbled a bit but he was done in minutes.  I'm sure if I wasn't busy and had offered to play addition war with him he would've loved it. 
       Once math was over Alec and Evan played candy land and Ian played with the K'nex again.  I mentioned to Ian that he hadn't finished his remote control science project from the other night.  The robot had turned out to be too hard for him and I pointed out that the book had 10 projects and they were in fact ordered from least to most difficult (Ian had of course picked out the 10th project).  I encouraged him to try again and maybe put the car together instead.  Next thing I knew Alec was helping out too and they had a remote control car racing around my living room!  I certainly could've helped them and read the step by step instructions to them making sure they were following them but I was so glad and so proud that they were able to do this independently!

         After lunch the boys watched an episode of Dirty Jobs (on DVR); Mike Rowe was in Australia with the Aborigines.  They watched them catch and eat turtle eggs, sting rays, sharks, and learned a bit about the culture of the indigenous Australian people.  We then watched America's Got Talent (on DVR) and I was amazed to discover that my boys knew mariachi music came from Mexico.   They analyzed the magic tricks and came up with some pretty clever ideas for how they might have been accomplished.  Once they were done watching TV we headed out for some more errands.  I had found a travel scavenger hunt for kids card pack on our shelf in the playroom and I encouraged them to play while we drove around town.  It was really cute.  The cards asked for kids to find anything from a red car to a license plate with the letter "z" or even smells and sounds.   It was fun and maybe a little educational too.  It sure required them to really look and focus. 
         Once home they all pitched in and helped me clean the entire downstairs.  They all wiped, washed, vacuumed, and scrubbed.  We had little to no complaining either.  We finished up and they, of course, wanted to play Wii.  I reminded them that we were going to try and grow our own pineapple plant.  We needed to read up on how to do that so I googled it and found this awesome tutorial.  I went into the kitchen and had Ian and Alec take turns reading the instructions to me; I just wasn't quite understanding at first because I thought we'd actually plant part of the fruit but once I got brave enough to cut a bit of the leafy stem I found the brown dots they were talking about in step three.  We then placed it in a cabinet to dry out during the course of the week since it said away from sunlight and we have a pretty sunny house.  I really hope this experiment works!  I'd love to have a pineapple plant-- a little piece of the tropics right here at home. 

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