Wednesday, September 5, 2012


            Since I was feeling bad we never got around to art or writing yesterday it was high on the priority list today, especially art.  It is my middle child's favorite subject and he has a real aptitude for it that I really want to encourage.  I felt like it had been so long since we'd done any art at all so today we did a "real" picture.   We taped watercolor paper to cardboard and painted both the skyline and the ground. Once dry we will paint trees using black paint and straws.   I saw this idea on, yep, you guessed it! Pinterest. This blog has tons of art ideas for children and I just loved so many of them. I choose the trees only because we went to the orchard Monday and I had most of the supplies on hand already.   Then we started another art project,  we painted the mountains and sprinkled them with salt for our Aurora Borealis paintings (you can find those instructions here).  We used watercolor for our background and mountains.  I was surprised when the boys remembered painting the Aurora Borealis on their puffin paintings they made at Alec's birthday party last year and using the salt with the watercolors too since I had totally forgotten all about it myself.  Before we started I showed them the completed projects I had found on- line so they would have an idea of what they were doing and then walked them through the projects step by step.  I did however, let them choose their own colors and add their own touches of creativity to their work.   Alec chose to make his sky at sunset using purple, orange, pink and light blue.  Ian and Evan used multiple colors on their mountains and while Evan sprinkled salt all over Ian only sprinkled salt at the top reasoning that snow only covers the top of the mountains.  Alec used pink for his mountains since they would be covered with snow and reflecting the Aurora Borealis colors.  Hard to argue with any of that logic. 

             Once those were set aside to dry we had breakfast-- today we made both Ian and Evan's breakfast recipes they made last week.  If you see my kids out in public today and they're bouncing off the walls you'll know why.   We had to increase Evan's recipe by 3 so the kids had to triple the recipe and tell me the amounts.  Ian's we had to decrease so they once again had to use division and fractions to figure it out.  The milkshake Ian made looked pretty good, and tasted pretty good too, if that one lick of the spoon was anything to go by... Evan's recipe however I just couldn't even imagine eating it.   Just looking at it made me want to gag, but the boys ate every last bite.  In fact, I think Alec and Evan added the milkshake to their bowls by the time breakfast was over.  After just one taste of each recipe the boys decided we "MUST do this more often!"  I told them if they continue to write the recipes down we'll continue to try them out (what could be better than self- guided writing?!). 

Evan's cereal-- apple jacks, potato chips and Oreo's... 
             They each started their own ABC book today. We brainstormed different versions they could make yesterday... a truck ABC, a favorite toy ABC, animal, zoo, or ocean animal ABC, travel/ vacation ABC... the possibilities were endless. They started by first writing a key word for every letter of the alphabet. We'll then worry about pictures and sentences for each page over the next few weeks or perhaps even months.  While Ian and Alec wrote up ideas of what page of their alphabet books would be about, Evan and I read an alphabet book and played a sight word game.  Evan usually fights me on anything having to do with learning but he was quite willing to play today.  I told him I didn't expect him to know any of the words since we've never done sight words and I promised to help him.  He matched every single one of his words to the card when it was called and ended up winning.  I figured even if he didn't learn any words he was at least matching them and learned "on" isn't the same as "no."  He already knows it matters what order the letters are in to make a word so I was happy.  Once he won and we cleared off his board I asked him if he remembered what any of them were.  He thought for a moment or two and then pointed "big", "out", "in".. I was shocked!  He remembered at least 4 of the words.  I'm sure I could pull out the board later and he won't remember them all but hey, it's a start!  The two older boys worked really hard for a while and came up with something for ALL of the alphabet letters.  I was quite impressed with their creativity. 

               Ian and I played multiplication war last night after his brothers were in bed.  This is essentially the card game war but we flipped over two cards and multiplied them (since he only has to know up to times 12 and not 13 we decided an Ace was worth one, Jacks were also worth 10, Queens were worth 11 and Kings were worth 12).  He did really well-- I discovered he knows his 1's, 2's, 4's, 9's, 10's and even 11's times tables really well.  A few times we'd turn over one card that was the same; like the time I had 8 x6 and he had 8x 4  he immediately knew that 8x6 was more without having to figure out the answers because "you have more groups of 8."  I didn't make him figure the answer out either since his logic was absolutely right and the concepts are just as important as being able to quickly compute.  We played another game this morning for math.  While Ian and I played Alec and Evan played regular war then.  It was a fun, but long, math lesson and I was a bit disappointed that Alec didn't really work on his skills at all but there's always tomorrow. 
         We watched two non- fiction movies about Alaska and I had the boys find Alaska on both the world map and the United States map.  We talked about the summer months where it's light all day long and how it's dark all day long in the winter months.  We talked about climate and, of course, the northern lights.  Alec knew quite a bit about the climate since he reads about arctic animals all the time and knew that the northern lights happened in arctic areas.  Ian watches all the Discovery Channel shows like Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold, Yukon Men, etc so he too knew a lot about this area already. 
         We read more of our Wonderstruck book and we're more than half- way through it now.  It's getting really good and I don't think any of us wanted to put it down.  But we had to move on.  We had some errands to run and we went to visit my Grandmother, who is in a nursing home.  We also stopped by the boys old school to say "hi" to all their old teachers.  It was a bit awkward for me since I used to work there but most every we met supported and encouraged us to keep at it.  It was a great afternoon.  Alec brought a bunch of books in the car to read to Evan.  It was adorable to listen to him imitate mouse's voice and all the other animals in the story.  He reads with tons of expression and will whisper when words are small and shout when words are large, he definitely picks up on all those reader clues.  Ian complained about all of Alec's voices and the next thing I knew Ian was asking to borrow a few of Evan's trucks books so he could read to himself and they all ended up reading while we drove around. 

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