Monday, September 24, 2012

Learning from our elders

      Today was a crazy day of errands as we prepare for our vacation.  We went to the library, the bank, and Walmart.  We finished packing our bags and then packed up the car.  The boys are so excited.  For the past 24 hours, I've heard all kinds of "I can't wait..."  they vary from jumping in the pool, going to Sea World, sitting on the top bunk of the bunk bed, and buying souvenirs.   It's always a bit crazy around here before vacation trying to get everything packed and ready.  This is the first family trip we've taken where I have had all three boys home with me and no time to just pack by myself during the day.   So, of course, I've enlisted their help and have had them working along side me as much as possible helping with the planning and packing.   Not sure how much they learned (or even helped) but they sure tried hard.
      Alec was so overjoyed to see our Dragon Keepers book #2, in at the library, that he read the whole first chapter out loud to us all while we were driving to visit the boys great great aunt.  Ian looked through a new construction book he had gotten in also but I know he couldn't have really read it yet since he was listening to the story too.  The boys are so sad we're leaving these new books home while we're gone but I don't want to have to worry about loosing a library book while on vacation.  Plus I figure if they're anxious to read them when we get home they'll be all the more focused on the stories. 
        We watched a science video this afternoon about gibbons.  We all had no idea that the numbers were declining in the wild due to the illegal pet trade.  We see many species of gibbons when we visit our local zoo.  We knew many of the calls they made but it was wonderful to see what their natural habitat would look like.  We also learned a lot more about how aggressive and territorial they are; something that's not always noticeable at the zoo. It was a great show and the boys wanted to watch another one about Orcas.  I promised them we could watch it tonight and that way we'll know a bit a about them before we see them at Sea World. 
          They played with some new toys and went outside too. Evan figured out how to get most of the new toys out of the package all by himself and even used the scissors safely. I was thrilled with this small show of independence since he does rely on all of us to do things for him more often than not. They rode bikes, used the swings and observed a really long worm on the ground, speculating as to why he was so big, where he was going and what he was doing. I'm always amazed at how much they find to do in one day and all that we accomplish.
        While visiting relatives this afternoon Ian and I worked on (helped finish) a 1,000 piece puzzle.  I keep thinking I want to set one up somewhere in the house for us to work on whenever we get bored and want something to do for a bit.  All of my kids enjoy puzzles and it's such a fun way to work on problem solving skills as well as improving their ability to really focus on details.  While Ian and I worked on the puzzle Alec played Uno and War (his two new card game obsessions), in fact, I think he played several games of each.  Evan was content to wander the house and look around.  He noticed so much stuff that reinforced many of the things we've been doing homeschooling.  He found a picture on the wall that was of a blacksmith shop- "look mom, just like at Old Sturbridge Village"  He talked about the bellows, the fire, and told me he thought the man was probably making a boarding ax too.  He noticed carvings of eagles, bison, mountain goats, ducks, beavers and other assorted animals.  He pointed to the painting of the salmon and told me they were swimming upstream to lay eggs, at which point his brother chimed in that it happens in Alaska.  Alec saw a book titled northern lights and told me it's also called the Aurora Borealis.  When the puzzle was all completed the boys looked at the birds and told me the red one was a cardinal, the blue one was a blue jay, the yellow one calls "potato chip!" and I reminded them it was called a golden finch.  The last one I really wasn't sure about.  Alec thought it might be a chickadee so he asked his great aunt, who knows a lot about birds, and sure enough he was right!   They played with paper, scissors and stickers and made picture collages out of them.  I love having my boys spend time with their elders since they are a wealth of information.  They talk about the history of our family and our town.  They teach the boys new games and introduce them to different foods.  Once again I had no intention of schooling today and yet they did some science, reading, art, history and math! 

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