The boys started their day by watching, yet another, episode of Wild Kratts. This one was all about zebras and we learned that zebras have black skin and the white fur that grows in to make the stripe pattern. After watching the show Alec and Evan played Wild Kratts on- line at pbskids.org for a bit before I made them shut down all screens and start other work for today. We had planned on going hiking again today but woke up to wet, rainy weather so we came up with a back up plan. The boys really wanted to go visit their great grandmother and I thought that was a perfect idea; but we had to finish school work first.
For math today we focused on drills. I don't often do this with the boys as I know they think it's kind of boring but now that they are really starting to get the hand of addition and multiplication I want to start doing timed drills to focus on speed and accuracy. It literally only takes one minute and I'll keep drilling them on each set of facts until they get 20 correct in a minute. Alec is starting with plus 3 and Ian's on times 3; I find the sheets at http://www.math-drills.com/. I used this site when I was teaching, it's quick and easy to find what drills you're looking for. We also made up some flash cards to study with and I hope to move them through each fact within a week or two. Normally the timed test would only be part of our math lesson but with making up flash cards also it took up our whole math time. While the older boys did this Evan asked to work on a maze and dot- to- dot sheet of numbers 1- 25 to which I readily agreed.
For reading today I had them read a book of their choosing while I ate breakfast and prepped for dinner tonight while playing sight word bingo with Evan (yeah I'm a master at multi- tasking!). Once I was done I had the older boys retell what they had read and asked them comprehension questions to make sure they understood what they had read. I then read aloud a chapter from our new Magic Treehouse book. I pulled out their cursive books today and had them each work for a bit on them. I even coaxed Evan into doing some practice writing. He now recognizes most of his letters but, like his brothers, hates to write. They all surprised me though, Evan completed a whole sheet of the entire alphabet in both upper and lower case! He as beaming when he handed it to me with a "ta- da!" Alec and Ian each did an entire page in their books too without complaint! I just keep thinking baby steps, just a bit of writing here and there will add up over time. It's the approach I take to any subject the boys really object to. I try not to force them to do work because I don't want them to hate school and hate learning. I'm trying to show them learning can be fun. I want them to love to learn and be excited about what we're learning. That said, pretty much everything we did today was not fun, but I made sure the math, writing and reading only lasted for a few minutes each. Then they don't mind so much and will agree to do the work knowing it's short lived and that was all we were going to be doing for today.