Monday, August 19, 2013

Waffles, ducks and library books

      My younger two sons have been obsessed with Lego's since Evan came home with his new Batman set last week.  I'm loving how wonderfully they've been working together.  They spent all day Saturday locked in Evan's room together in their pajamas, Alec spent most of the day yesterday in his room, and they both decided to stay in their own rooms this morning and play with their Lego's.  They've built new things, re- built old sets that fell apart and searched every inch of their rooms for all the Batman minifigures and accessories.  I even spent a portion of my day helping Alec re-build his Batcave.   The only one that seemed to be having a rough morning was Ian.  he doesn't know what to do with himself anymore.  I try to make suggestions but mostly I'm waiting for him to take the reigns.  He finally came to me around 8:30 or so and asked if I could make some waffles since we had run out of the ones I made a few weeks ago and kept in the freezer for them.  I was ready to say sure when "I can help you make some" popped out of my mouth.  Ian was all for that and set to work before I even followed him down the stairs. 
     I came down to find the cook book on the counter and him pouring through the index under "w" to find waffles.  I pulled down the big bowl we use and helped him by reading aloud the ingredients as he pulled the stuff we needed off the pantry shelves.  Then I let him take over.  He read the instructions and was getting ready to measure everything out when I asked if he thought we should make a double batch like I usually do so we'd have enough to put in the freezer.  He agreed that a double batch was a good idea and then set about figuring out how much of each ingredient listed he would need.  Right off the bat it was a bit tricky.  The recipe called for 1 3/4 cups flour.  He knew that was 2 cups and thought for a minute and said 6/4.  I was so proud that he figured out, logically, how to add fractions!  I then quickly drew a diagram for him of two circles, cut into fourths and we counted as I colored in 6 of them. He looked at the drawing and said that's 1 1/2 cups.  I reminded him we already knew we needed 2 cups and after a slight pause said... "so 3 1/2 cups of flour."  He continued through the rest of the recipe adding and reducing fractions to their simplest form.  Following the directions and making simply delicious waffles.  Self- guided math discovery mixed in with some tasty kitchen science-- I love it! 

My quick sketch


       After breakfast I was on the computer using our local library's on- line program to keep track of our books and movies.  We always have so many checked out and at various times that I have a hard time keeping track of our due dates.  As I pulled up each boy's card I read aloud the books that would be due back this week and asked them to get the books they wanted to return and tell me which ones they wanted to re-new.  Next thing I knew Alec was reading in his room.  He read an entire book and lined up a bunch more to read later.  They've started swapping books and taking turns reading the same ones.  It's great to see them all branching out and reading different types of books than they would normally pick out.  Ian and Evan decided to head into Evan's room and play Lego's for a bit together.  Ian gets a bit sick of his sets and loves to take a turn helping Evan with his sets.  They work together so nicely and I know Evan has learned a lot with Ian's help. 

My bookworm! 



      While they were all occupied for a bit I headed into my craft room to get some scrapbooking done.  Alec soon joined me and read aloud from the book he was reading, teaching me all about the Starling bird and how it is an invasive species in North America.  He's been hooked on this set of books called Animal Invaders and has read at least a half dozen of the books in the series so far.  He's learned a lot and has been teaching my husband and I all about these animals and how they are affecting their new habitats.  Ian came in and asked if he could finally make a soda and Mentos volcano today so I cleaned up and headed outside with him.
    Ian has done this experiment a few times in the last year but he just loves it!  He got the diet soda, Mentos and paper all ready and headed out the end of the dock.  Evan wanted to watch and help so they set off the volcano and managed to stay pretty dry.  They each tried a Mentos to see how it tasted and then decided to stay outside and play.  Alec stayed inside and played in a sink of water with all of his animal characters.  We had several families of ducks that came over to visit and we fed them some bread.   Once the second family showed up I did call Alec down to see if he'd like to feed them as well.  We had ducks on all sides of the dock and it was neat to notice how they swam and used their webbed feet to keep themselves in place when the waves came from a big boat passing by.  We watched them half swim, half- fly across the surface of the water when they got scared or excited to reach a piece of bread.  We listened to their happy quacking noises and sounds as they ate and we compared the two set of ducklings.  One set of babies was much bigger than the other and had more adult- looking feathers that weren't so downy.  Ian settled in at the end of the dock with the rest of his bread and a net and tried to go fishing while one of the mama ducks settled down with her babies to nap on the shore.  Ever watchful she stood like a sentry and watched over them while they rested.  Alec thought this was so neat he ran to grab his camera to take a picture. 



Feeding the ducks

Watching them nap on our beach

         We went in to have lunch and watch a quick episode of Wild Kratts.  The boys were bummed that all the Wild Kratts movies were due back today, but since we've seen every episode at least a few times (and can always request the movies again) I didn't feel too bad about returning them.   we snuggled in Ian's bed for a bit and read some more of the Call of the Wild and then we headed out to the library and started listening to The Indian Returns (the sequel to the Indian in the Cupboard) while in the car.  At the library all of the boys picked out so many books.  I thought it was going to be a quick trip since no one really wanted to go to the library.  Alec found a book he wanted to look through to see if he'd like to take it home and out of boredom Ian picked up a book about Times Square called One Times Square.  Ian and I looked through the whole book and learned a lot about the history of that area of New York as well as just some basic historical facts about the second world war and such.   I was amazed at his attentiveness and we must have sat there for a good 15 minutes.   As we were finishing up one of the librarians came over and asked if we'd like to go through the cart of new non- fiction kids books before she put them on the shelf.  We are known by name at the library, since we're there so often, and she thought we'd rather go through the cart before she put them away so we would have less to look through.  My boys were like kids in a candy store.  They devoured and cart and immediately started reading books on the way home!  I was so surprised by their book choices too.  Evan picked out a bunch of dinosaur books (while I have seen him play with our dinosaur toys, I've never had him show any interest in their names or anything).  Ian picked out a variety of books from sports, to robots, to a cookbook to legends and myths.   Alec picked out a bunch of books about animals and then several about different countries and even math!

        Alec remembered he wanted to use his Mad Libs today and put his book aside in the car to ask me to fill in the blanks.  He worked on spelling all the answers I gave him as well as penmanship and learning new terminology.  Heck, I even learned something new (or re-learned since it did sound familiar but I just couldn't place it!)  He asked me for a superlative adjective and I was stumped.  He read the sentences all around and told me he thought it was something like best, greatest, awesome, etc.  According to the definition I found on-line it's basically a word ending in -est that compares three or more nouns.  Once I read the definition, I did remember learning about them and had no problem giving him a word, but once again I was struck by all those tiny little moments of learning that make up our day.  They just don't seem to ever end.  Even once we got home from the library Alec dove into books and read until dinnertime.  Evan pulled out toys and created a road race from Ct to New York City.  Ian went to play outside in the sand and dirt using his trucks, screens and shovel to make a rock quarry, a river and a mine.  Their interests are always changing, always evolving and always surprising me.  I love that with delight- directed learning they are free to choose to learn about what interests them at the moment.  They can dive into a subject for months at a time or just skim the surface.  They can revisit topics or learn about them on the spot as they pertain to what they are doing.  It's freeing to have their education as flexible as our schedule!

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