Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jumping and games galore

              After our last two days of "field trips" I slept in a bit this morning and when I came downstairs my boys were playing with trucks and dominoes.  They load up the dominoes on the trucks to move them around.  It was a complicated system involving Batman,  monster trucks and an acid pit... I don't know but they were playing so nice I didn't have the heart to interrupt & start our school day.  I let them play until fighting ensued.  Then we cleaned up for breakfast and watched a  Crocodile Hunter show I had recorded about snakes in Arizona. 
       We signed up for a new trampoline class that started this afternoon.  The boys were so excited they could hardly wait!  But, they had to wait since the class wasn't until after lunch.  So this morning we filled out our postcards, did another lesson in our math books, finished our Alaska study, and read another chapter in our book.  In order to finish our Alaska study we read quite a few books.  In America The Beautiful: Alaska we just flipped through looking at the pictures and reading the captions, but we read How Do You Say Goodbye to an Elephant?, Eskimo Boy; Life in an Inupiaq Eskimo Village, Sled Dog, and Akiak; a Tale From the Iditarod.  The boys then colored in Alaska on their U. S. maps, and filled out the sheet with the state flower, bird, flag, etc that we've been using for our other states.  I sent Ian to his room for some independent reading while Alec finished up all his morning work.  Then they all went outside to play for a bit before lunch.  After lunch Alec and I quickly looked up an echidna that we had heard about at the zoo on Tuesday.  It's one of only two mammals that lay eggs (the platypus is the other) but we had never heard of it and Alec was extremely curious as to what this animal was.  They also watched a Wild America documentary about panda bears and a breeding program they are conducting in China to try and prevent pandas from becoming extinct.  By then it was finally time to go to the trampoline class. 
         The trampoline place was awesome!  The boys had so much fun.  Before class even started the boys were peeking into the gym and noticed all sorts of state & country flags as well as the Olympic flag.  It led to a great discussion of flags and a mini quiz (which I'm happy to say Alec recognized Florida's and Ian did too with a few hints!).   It was a 2 hour class and with 10 jumpers signed up I wasn't sure how much time they'd each get to be jumping but there are 10 trampolines so they were quite literally jumping almost the whole time.  Two hours actually turned out to be a bit too much for Evan and he pretty much quit after an hour and a half.  I was assuming that everyone wouldn't be jumping at once but they did.  I also wasn't sure how structured this would be but it was very structured and all the boys took direction well.  I was told Ian seemed very mature for his age and listened exceptionally well.  Both Ian and Alec loved the class and immediately thanked me for signing them up when we got into the car.  Evan didn't really love it and told me he'd rather not go back (even though I asked him repeatedly if he liked it and wanted to continue taking classes BEFORE I paid for it)!  I had no idea how nerve racking it would be for me to watch them though. They land pretty hard sometimes and I kept picturing broken bones or major injuries.  The coach is very insistent that they do things a special way in order to avoid injury but with three young kids I'm realistic enough to know that doesn't always happen as with any sport injuries are possible.  I do think I'll bring a book next week though so I can try to divert my attention a bit.  It was a great experience and I can't wait to see how they progress over the next several weeks of classes.   I love that they are so willing to try new things! 
       After trampoline class Evan went with his grandmother for the night to sleep over and she was taking him shopping.  It's such fun!  They love that they can sleep over during the "school week" now that they aren't in a "real" school and can sometimes stay up later on a school night.  I'm sure he'll sleep pretty good for her tonight too after tiring himself out this afternoon. 
       Alec had soccer practice again tonight after trampoline class (bet he'll sleep well tonight too!) so it was just Ian and I.  My husband handles soccer practice so I typically just drop Alec off at the field and come home with the other two to feed them dinner and get Evan ready for bed.  It was so quiet I didn't quite know what to do with just Ian around.  He played outside until dinnertime and then did his chores.  After his chores he very sweetly asked if there was anything he could do to help me.   I was so touched by his offer but was busy baking for a local church's bake sale and he decided he'd rather play outside.  Once it got dark he suggested we play a game and I readily agreed.  My children are at that age where they just love board games especially Life, Monopoly and Yahtzee. 
       We currently have monopoly all set up in our dining room since we have an on-going game in place.   My boys have learned so much from playing these games.  They can add the dice numbers quickly, count money, and make change, figure out the cost of the rent, houses, and hotels.  They can both figure out double the rent when they own all the properties of the same colors.  They've learned to negotiate trades and try very hard to use good sportsmanship.  They read a lot too during the games; often reading the spaces everyone else lands on too or the community chest cards for us.  It's great practice with a lot of harder words and they don't even care that they're reading because they're having so much fun playing.  I love learning through play and that is what we emphasize every day for all of our boys.  I try not to push them too much (other than reading on their own and some writing activities every now and then which I feel are too important to ignore completely); if they don't want to do an assignment or a project they don't have to.   I'll try to cover the same material in a game format, a unique & different way, or by reading aloud to them from an interesting book but I know if they aren't interested they aren't learning and my one goal of homeschooling is to get my kids interested and excited about what they are learning.   

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