Monday, December 3, 2012

Manic Monday

          Monday's always feel hectic as we try to get all our school work done before we head out for trampoline class.  Today I was facing a very busy week and I have this list, that just keeps getting longer, running over and over through my head.  I was telling Ian yesterday that I'm so sad we don't have time to do all these fun Christmas crafts, activities and projects I found on Pinterest.  Our lives are just so busy this month.  Though, in talking with him we did decide that Wednesday will be our craft day this week; nothing but crafts all day!  So be sure to check back for some great kid- friendly crafts.
          Evan asked if he could, yet again, do some dot- to- dot sheets.  I handed him two and then we started work on Bob's Book #1- Mat.  I found this awesome website Royal Baloo that has printable activities for all the Bob's books.  These look very "school" like so Evan immediately groaned when I showed him them.  I asked him to just pick one for today.  He picked out a sheet where you have to find the same word as the one written at the start of the column.  I also asked him to help me sound out the words as we went.  He sounded out Mat and sat all by himself!  We read the book once here at home and then I told him he was done for now.  I figured he'd have two hours while his brothers were in class later today that we could play games and learn.   We're bringing sight word bingo, a deck of cards to play war, his new Bob book, and add- a- bug with us so he'll get plenty of reading and math practice in.  Plus, as he reminded me, he did math at breakfast.  While preparing his hot cocoa he told me he wanted 2 big marshmallows and 3 mini marshmallows.  I asked him how many in all and he told me 5.  I accidentally dropped in 4 marshmallows and said "Well, you have an extra one.  So now how many do you have?"  Without even thinking he yelled "6!"  Then said "I just did learning didn't I?"  I told him that was learning.  It was math.  Then I asked him what we call that when we add things together.  He thought for a minute and said (with a huge cheeky grin) "multiplication?"  God, I love that kid!
           We put another cotton ball on Santa's beard.  I found this adorable idea on Pinterest, it's basically an advent calendar that you count up to Christmas.  Santa is printed out without a beard, just numbers and you glue on a cotton ball each day until Santa's beard is full.  If you'd like one too you can print one out here.  They also have regular advent calendars my grandmother found with a small piece of candy inside each day that they've been using this year.  It's great practice for Evan since the numbers are not in order and you have to find the day you're looking for. 
           I handed Ian a Christmas Word Scramble worksheet for spelling practice this morning.  I was hoping it would be fun way to practice spelling but he was getting very aggravated.  I finally gave him a word bank and that seemed to help.  I just hate to see him get so frustrated over schoolwork.  I also had him do his next lesson in McRuffy since it's been quite a while since we've opened that book.  Today's lesson was on greater than/ less than and writing the symbols then he added three digit numbers on the bottom with some regrouping.  It's always a nice, quick, easy lesson so he doesn't mind this "real" school work.  He had already forgotten which way the symbols went (so he got them all wrong the first time), luckily he could tell me which was larger and I tried to help him remember by drawing teeth on his symbols and telling him the mouth always wants to eat the bigger number. 
            Alec arrived home from his sleepover and we finished reading Thanksgiving on Thursday and Bunnicula.  Then I had Alec work on the Christmas word jumble too.  I put a word bank on his paper before he even came home, hoping to head off any of his frustrations.  I also had him work in McRuffy since we're only on lesson 10 in his book.  By then it was time to leave for trampoline. 

Sorry they're so blurry; even with my flash & "sports" setting they're just moving to fast! 

           I feel like my life is a constant struggle between feeling like we're really learning and doing schoolwork and making their learning and lives fun and filled with a multitude of experiences.  Some days it's just so much easier (and quicker) to rely on worksheets and curriculum books since they are all laid out and show a nice orderly progression through learning.  Other days I think I'll never waste my time on curriculum books again since we don't use them all that often.  I wanted curriculum books so we could make sure we were covering what we're "supposed" to be learning but more often than not I get sidetracked by games, activities and ideas I find through sites like Pinterest.  It's probably a good balance but it still feels disjointed and disorganized to me.  There is no doubt in my mind that my kids are learning.  I see huge jumps in skills and confidence but I still wish I felt more organized.  It's never easy to step out-side your comfort zone but I am so glad I did.  I tell anyone who will listen how much I LOVE homeschooling. 

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