Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Marble race, Water bottle fountains and so much more!

           I was floored as I watched my youngest write out his thankful leaves this morning.  With just a bit of help exaggerating the sounds he was able to sound out each word and write the letters without any help.  He's showing such tremendous results in just two short weeks.  He was beaming, he was so proud of himself.  After filling out his leaves he did yet another maze/ dot- to- dot (I'm seriously running out of them and need to get him on a new kick for math!).   I asked him if he'd like to work together on a word search since I had one for young kids all about Thanksgiving but he remembered we brought one home from the science fair and he wanted to do that one instead.  He told me he wanted to find T- I- G- E- R first and I said do you know what that says as I made the "t" sound.  He repeated "t" and shouts out "tiger!"  I think my mouth fell open!  I'm really hoping to get some word games assembled later today that we can play this week.  It's always a struggle to find that happy medium between planning time, teaching time, and just plain old regular time to enjoy my kids.  Some days I feel like I spend most of the time planning and I don't like that, but I do like to have fun activities for us to do and they take prep. work.  After struggling for a while to find a few of the words on the word search Evan started whining that it was hard and he didn't like it.  I tried to cajole him to keep going but then he said I don't want to do it.  Not wanting to push him I said "OK, we don't have to" as I crumbled up the paper and threw it away.  Not meaning to punish him or getting upset but just realizing this was probably too much for him.  Well, he started crying and carrying on about how he's never going to another science fair and will never get another paper like that again.  I felt bad, but I explained to him that he told me he didn't want to do it and I wasn't going to make him.  I was just listening to his words and when I told him that he said "but, mom I was just whining!"  At least he's honest!  I had to laugh as I tried to explain to him that I'm not a mind reader and don't enjoy hearing him whine and complain.  Oh well, live and learn I guess (for both of us!).
           Ian, who is always my first one ready everyday, had his leaves written up and his McRuffy math lesson done before his brothers had even had breakfast.  I called him over the computer and asked him to go through my Pinterest boards looking for some fun stuff to do today.  He decided he wanted to make a water bottle fountain.  We had all the supplies so I agreed but told him he needed to wait until his brothers were ready, since I knew they'd enjoy it too.   He too sat down to work on a word search, it was much more difficult and meant for older kids.  Next thing I knew him and Alec were working together (nicely and cooperatively!) to try and find the words.  I went upstairs to do some housework and later found the two of them locked together in Alec's room playing.  I have no idea WHAT they were playing but I didn't want to interrupt.  They were laughing and giggling and getting along and I wasn't about to interrupt that!  Unfortunately, Evan felt left out and stormed around sulking and slamming doors.  Too bad they can't all be happy at the same time, it would make my life so much easier.
           Once the boys came downstairs they asked if they could buy Christmas gifts for each other.  Each year I allow them to pick out something for each other and I usually pay for it but this year I warned them that I expected them to pay for all the gifts themselves.  They did a great job finding wonderful gifts for each other (and their dad too) all while staying within their budget!  What a great real- life math lesson. 
          We did our water bottle fountain and it was fantastically fun!  The boys loved it.  We filled up the bottle twice and the balloon four times. 

          Ian sat down to read a few books to Evan; they each chose one and since they both love trucks that's what they chose to read about.  B is for Bulldozer and Roadwork. 

            Alec and I played Yahtzee for math.  There's so much to learn there; addition, multiplication, writing double digit numbers, etc.  Ian joined in for our second round and then I set the boys up with some exploratory play. 

           I cut two pool noodles in half (lengthwise) and had them each find a marble or two.  Instant marble maze!  It's super easy to just use a sharp knife and run it down the side of the noodle.   I gave them a stopwatch and they timed each ball, each race, they experiment with different heights, different angles, turning the maze on it's side, making a curve, a tunnel, and even taping some together to make a monorail.  They played, discovered, and explored for almost a half hour negotiating and problem solving their way through any problems.  It was great and great fun too!   They didn't want to stop and eat lunch when it was ready so I just let them keep playing.  We finally found the fun in our homeschooling again!  Today was wonderful. 

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