Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mish Mash Beach Day

       I never got around to posting yesterday so, I figured I would post all about what we did yesterday instead.  We were determined to finish the Olympics, so we watched a few more events yesterday morning during breakfast.  While watching we stumbled upon a nice 20min. documentary thrown into the middle of the coverage all about the German invasion during WWII and my boys (especially Ian) watched the whole thing.  We learned so much history in that short unexpected footage; complete with interviews of people who survived.  The ones my boys will remember the most though is the old man, who only 7 at the time of the bombing, was orphaned that day.  After watching a few more diving events I turned off the TV and we got ready for our day. 
      We had an unexpected visitor; a heron was on our beach.  We often see a great blue heron around the lake but I think our house it just too noisy for the bird to come near.  Yesterday he walked all around our beach and then onto our dock.  We observed that his "knees" bend backward like the Emu's.  We were able to really compare his height to the toys the boys had left hanging around.  We  even (not so luckily) got to see him poop on our dock.  The boys thought it was both funny and gross!  Then he took flight and wow! are his wings ever big. 

       Ian and Alec each did one more lesson in their math workbooks.  I may have to skip around a bit with Alec who seemed a bit disgusted that "kindergartners could do this!"  Not really thinking much of it I explained that every new school year always starts with a month long review of what was learned the previous year.  He looked at me and said "mom, this is a second grade book though not first grade!"  I had totally forgotten that I had bought him more advanced material and already he's complaining it's not challenging enough.
        I asked them each to do some sort of writing activity since it's been quite a while since they've written anything.  All of my boys groan and dread writing and while I try to find new ways to cover writing it's the actual physical act of writing they dislike.  I pretty much left it up to them as to what they'd like to write and gave them a few ideas of what they could write.  Ian chose to do copy work.  He pulled out a favorite storybook of his called Melvin Might by Jon Scieszka.  He copied a few pages since there were only one or two sentences on each page.  He did a great job.  I told him copy work was a great way to learn writing when you don't have ideas of your own but that excellent penmanship, proper capitalization, and punctuation was a must; if you're copying it you have no reason not to get it right.  He wrote without complaining even once.  We may have found Ian's learning style.  Alec decided to write a letter to his Aunt but honestly his heart just wasn't in it.  He complained a lot and needed my help to finish it and keep him on task (and even at that; it's still not done).  Evan wanted to dictate another "don't let the Peacock" book to me but we only got a few pages finished before he was too upset about not knowing how to draw the pictures.  All in all it was a very frustrating time for all of us. 
         The older two boys read silently to themselves for a bit and I asked them to  update their reading logs since we hadn't done that in a while either.  Evan kept himself occupied with a sea life interactive toy.  He told me he could learn a lot about sea animals by playing with it and he's right.  It not only tells you the names of the animals but many facts about each one such as it's habitat, average height and weight, the gestation period, etc.  He also pulled out our story reader and listened to a Scooby- Doo story.
        We headed out to do errands and have lunch with a few family members before heading to the beach.  During lunch Alec kept himself occupied building with half and half containers.  His pyramid got to be pretty high too.  He was so proud of himself he made me take a picture.  I figure that's got to involve to some kind of learning. 

      I am always one of those people who head out first thing in the morning for a day trip but we were going with some friends of ours who wait until after their youngest son has his afternoon nap before heading to the beach and staying for dinner.  I thought that sounded like a lot of fun.  We don't get to the beach often and rarely go at night so it was a nice change of routine for us.  We went to a new beach (well new to us!) and it was really neat.  It's right next to the departure point for the ferry and we watched the big boats coming and going.  The crowd was starting to thin out as we arrived and there was a real nice ocean breeze.  I'd like to say we all had a great time but it really didn't start out all that well for me.  The minute we stepped food out of the car Evan started complaining that he just wanted to go home, that he didn't remember we were going to the beach and for the next 30 min. or so just whined and cried.  I left him be for a bit on the blanket while I watched his two brothers playing in the waves but it was making me a wreck for him to be so far away in such a crowded public place.  I finally picked him up and hauled him to the waters edge with me explaining that while he didn't have to enjoy himself he had to stay nearby.  We let the boys play in the water for a bit and I was nervous when I realized none of my kids have any fear of the ocean or the waves.  I think Alec would have swam all the way out the buoys if I hadn't started yelling his name and told him that was far enough.  He wanted his goggles so he could swim all around.  I had to explain that oceans aren't like lakes and you can't just swim around.  I emphasized that when they're in the water without an adult right next to them they have to make sure they can touch at all times.  It was a bit better after that and after a while we went walking on the beach to collect shells and I'm so glad we did!  Evan finally started enjoying himself and we saw so much!  A whole crab (completely intact) had washed up on shore at some point during the day so we really got to study that up close.  We also found a few mermaids purse's (or shark eggs! As Alec yelled out), a complete unopened mussel shell, many different varieties of seaweed (one of which was attached to what we believe was a hermit crab shell!).  It was great and the boys brought home tons of shells to add to their collections.  We had a snack on the beach and watched the sail boats, fishing boats with their nets out in the water and rigging out to the side, and the ferries.  Evan noticed that not all seagulls are the same color, he even noticed some had different colored spots on their beaks, and was real excited to see they had webbed feet ("like a duck so they can walk on water and swim"-- Don't worry I explained they couldn't walk on water). 

             The boys all worked together to dig in the sand and make a long river.  They played in the water, went boogie boarding and watched two men kite surfing (or kite boarding).  The boys were really enraptured by this.   It was something new to us and it was really neat to watch them jump out of the water and do flips on their boards.  We had dinner and then walking around on the rocks to search for some more shells and perhaps a starfish or two.   Then the boys spent the rest of the time boogie boarding and body surfing.  The tide was definitely coming in and the waves were getting bigger.  Evan (who still can't really swim on his own for more than a minute or two) was out up to his shoulders or even his neck!  I was really nervous but didn't want to completely discourage him from trying to boogie board on his own so I calmly explained that he couldn't go out that far since a wave would make the water over his head.  Even if he was floating on his board something could knock him off and he had to make sure he could touch.  They were all having a great time but it was getting pretty cold and late.  As much as I love the beach by the end of the day the grit, salt and sand really start to annoy me and I was ready to head home.  I thought they'd sleep on the way home since it was so late and they'd had a long day playing but they all managed to stay awake.  They told stories and jokes and played an alphabet animal game. 

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