Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Animals are everywhere

                We once again planned to head to the zoo today.  It was such a nice, crisp, fall day that I wanted to be outside doing something with the boys.  I figured the zoo was perfect since we had our passes and it wouldn't cost me anything, it wouldn't be very crowded on a "school" day, and it's closing soon for the season.  Once we had breakfast and got dressed I did have the boys do another McRuffy lesson and a page in their cursive books ( I must admit I've totally forgotten about these books so we haven't used them in quite a while).  We started reading our new chapter book: The Dragon in the Sock Drawer.  I figured we could talk about mythical creatures esp. since dragons are almost always associated with knights and castles.  I wasn't too worried about covering too many subjects because I knew once we got to the zoo we'd once again be reading, studying maps, learning all sorts of scientific facts about animals, and applying math in real life. 
               Alec took his new Zoobooks magazine into the car with him to read on the way to the zoo.  He loves these publications and reads aloud to all of us (whether we want to know or not).  We learned a lot about sea turtles.  While Alec was reading Evan picked another couple of dot- to -dot/ maze sheets he wanted to do on the ride.  He picked both an alphabet one and a number one (#'s 1-15) and I was impressed that he was able to do them both without help.  He even noticed a pattern in the numbers starting over with just a one in front of them.  Ian told him it just keeps on going like that with a 2 in front and then a 3 and so on and so on.  I explained that most of math is about patterns and once you see the pattern it usually gets easier.  Perhaps if he wants to do another sheet tomorrow we'll try 1-25 and see how that goes. 
                We arrived at the zoo and it was great.  We saw the bird show (twice) and the boys got to hold a parakeet.  While watching the show we heard the laughing kookaburra and understand why it gets it's name.  When noticing where each animal comes from today I often asked them to name at least one animal each that also comes from that same continent and they did great!  Even Evan shouted out Kangaroo when we were talking about Australian animals.  I think on our next trip I'm going to make up a sheet listing the continents and we'll fill in the names of each animal we see.   We saw the dog show and watched the Earth Ltd. animal show where today we learned more about the macaws, balled python, black capped capuchin monkey, and leopard gecko.  The boys got to see a hedgehog up close and we learned that the biggest predators of the hedgehog were the honey badger, the hyena and an eagle.  We, once again, got to pet a chinchilla, leopard gecko, and ball python.  We heard the siamangs making tons of noise and went to watch them.  It was interesting to learn that the female siamang is the one who starts the territorial whooping sound before the others in the group join in.  The noise can be heard up to 2 miles away, to which Alec & Ian replied that it must be loud for the people living next to the zoo.  I agreed.

        We listened to our books on Cd on the way home and the boys were disgusted to find out that the Lion and the Mouse didn't have any words at all; just music and sound effects.  We then switched to Puff the Magic Dragon only to discover that it too was a music Cd and it didn't read along with the story.  There were no page turning sounds and the Cd just sang the song Puff the Magic Dragon then three other songs.  They were very frustrated to say the least.
       They played outside and used their toy bows with the arrows my husband left for them to play with.  He had removed the tips last night and we talked to the boys about not shooting at or near anyone else but they didn't all have a chance to give it a try before dinner was ready so they took turns today.  Evan was excited that the got his bow to work today.  Once Ian demonstrated how he shoots his arrow Evan tried again and this time shot his arrow pretty far and now loves his bow like his brothers.   They found a toad in our yard and made me come outside to see.  This one had a much darker skin pattern than we usually see and so we discussed why that might be.  Evan found some packages by the front door and the boys were thrilled to see that their Halloween costumes were in... that is until they tried them on.  Evan threw a tantrum because he doesn't like his and Ian's is a bit too big.  I ended up having to send Evan to his room and really all the behaviors today just reinforced my belief that they are all getting over tired lately with all that we are trying to do.  I've noticed a huge increase in whining, taunting and bickering this week that is just driving me up the wall.  After the costume fiasco they all went back outside and played nicely until it was time to take Alec to soccer.  All in all it wasn't a horrible day but it wasn't the idyllic day at the zoo I had pictured before we left for home either.  The day has left me wondering if I'll have the patience to homeschool without loosing my mind completely.    Three against one aren't the best odds and that's certainly how I felt today.  Luckily there's always the hope and belief that tomorrow will be better.    

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