We started our day by watching a movie about Hawaii. We had started learning about this state quite a while ago and I would really like to wrap it up within the next week. It was a great movie that only focused on the large island of Hawaii but showed a lot of the culture and climate of the island. We saw a luau, watched them make leis, and saw a volcano. Now the boys are asking me to go there on vacation. I hate to crush their dreams but that's not going to happen any time soon, so I answered with my typical, vague "maybe someday."
Next we dove into some math. It's been a while since I tested the boys on their facts so the older boys each did a minute timed test on addition/ multiplication facts. They've definitely improved since the last test so I was quite pleased. Evan, once again, wanted to do a dot- to- dot and Ian and Alec each did a compute and color sheet. But sadly, the lessons didn't go well today either. Ian's was on multiplication facts for 8-12 so he needed quite a bit of help. I knew he would as it was the first time I had introduced any of these facts but before I could even say anything he started in with attitude, sighing and whining. I told him I had planned to help and all he needed to do was ask or wait patiently. He wasn't the only unhappy one either. Since Alec enjoys these coloring sheets so much I spent most of the afternoon yesterday searching for more add and color and subtract and color worksheets; not being able to find any I decided to make my own. I printed out a few of the free coloring printables I could find for fall, wrote some simple addition and subtraction sentences on them and put my own color key at the bottom. Well, Alec complained that the numbers were hard to read, that he didn't have enough space to write his answers, that he didn't like the colors chosen, etc. I just got up and walked away from the table. I told them they could do the sheets or not but I was done with math for today. After all of us calmed down a bit the boys did manage to finish their work and I had hoped we'd go on with our day.
I wanted to finish up reading about pumpkins by reading The Pumpkin Patch, and The Pumpkin Book. I had no sooner sat down with the boys and read two pages of The Pumpkin Patch before I had Nerf bullets whizzing by my head (as I'm writing this I realize it sounds quite funny but at the time I was fuming!). I'm pretty tolerant about toys and the occasional playing while working but I draw the line at them being downright rude while I'm reading. I stood up, grabbed the guns out of their hands and sent them all to their rooms while reminding them (rather loudly) that this was the second day in a row that things were going awfully bad and it wasn't boding well for our homeschooling efforts. We had planned to head to a homeschooling Halloween party at our local library but I told them they could just forget about it. I hate to take away fun, social occasions like that but this is one time I think they really need a reminder that there are consequences for their actions. The time out really made me think too; we're starting to rely pretty heavily on worksheets around here again and that's not our usual homeschooling style. Being a teacher myself, I am comfortable with worksheets and like the cut and dried," yep they know it" or "they're not really get it and need more practice" that I can visually, tangibly see using worksheets. Plus I often fall into the habit of using them because they are quick and easy, but I think the boys are getting bored and are just really bad at verbalizing that. I'll definitely have to come up with some more hands on stuff for tomorrow. I think for math we'll sort, count, measure, weigh, and graph their Halloween candy/ treats.
We tried again to read our books after we had all had our "time out" and even managed to complete our dreaded writing assignment. Today I asked them to write a quick how to book on carving pumpkins. I first helped them by brainstorming all we learned and remembered about carving pumpkins. They wrote all four steps without complaining! It was a huge break through for us. After our rough morning I decided enough was enough for one day. They're all headed out to play and we'll head for walk with some friends later too.