Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Party animals

              With 9 kids expected at our house for a play date with their moms we didn't get around to anything school- like today.  We cleaned house, prepared food, ran a few errands and yet still I watched my kids develop new skills.  Ian built a garage for all of his trucks out of blocks, then disassembled them and reassembled them all into a quarry.  He is always building and transporting different things.  Even once we moved outside onto our beach he constructed a whole mining/ pit area for his trucks with roads and a lake and everything.  Alec read one of his library books about rain forest life cycles.  He must have sat on that couch for almost an hour reading all the facts.  He loves non- fiction animal books and is able to recite much about each of the animals he reads about.  Once we went outside to wait for our company Alec practiced diving.  He had one successful dive earlier this summer and never really managed to perform one again. But Alec taught himself to dive last night and must have dove off the dock twenty times this morning.  Now that they've been watching diving at the Olympics I was asked to rate each splash and honestly, Alec had hardly any splash.  I finally just started recording him with my camera and letting him watch.   
video
               The best part of the day was our play date though.  As a homeschooling mom 90% of the arguments I hear about homeschooling pertain to social skills but I feel like the boys are always around other kids.  Today we had a range of kids from ages 8 - 1.5 and unlike being around peers in a classroom being around kids of multiple ages requires greater social skills.  Patience and understanding when dealing children younger than themselves is essential, negotiating and collaboration with peers or older children require lots of verbalization and listening.  We had very few fights or tears today and tons of inventive thinking.  Our tubes became everything from a flotation device, to a shield, to a weapon and were even used as stepping stones.  Alliances were made, broken, switched and constantly in flux.  The battles changed from being ninjas to being Star Wars characters to who knows what else?  They fed the ducks a few times and my boys taught some of the others how to do that.  "No, you can't throw a big piece like that!  Little pieces like this so they can eat it!"  "Don't throw it too far or they swim away"  "Don't splash you'll scare them" and so on it went.   My kids, like most, will get extra rowdy around other kids and I always think they're such animals.  They all pushed kids off the dock, wrestled with other kids in the water and threw mud and rocks- all things they aren't allowed to do but often try anyway when with a larger crowd.  I know it's normal but it can still be aggravating and it's always a little gratifying to realize my boys aren't the only ones.  All of the moms who came with their kiddos today are my friends too so we get to sit and visit and socialize also.  It's wonderful to compare notes and stories about our kids and watch them become friends and as an added bonus we get to take turns reminding all the kids of appropriate behavior.  It was a great day and only one of the parties we have planned for the week. 

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