Monday, September 9, 2013

A Week In Review

      After finally posting last Tuesday's trip to the museum I decided I might as well catch you all up on what we've been doing.  As you could tell by my previous post, things had not been going well on this end.  I spent most of the week in a funk last week.  As much as I didn't plan on going back to school and back to lessons I was getting discouraged reading other people's blogs about how well school was going for them when I couldn't even get my boys on board with lots of fun field trips.  I was angry, frustrated and ready to quit.  Quit homeschooling, quit blogging, quit trying-- I think you see where I'm going with this.  The boys were off the wall and I just didn't have the patience to deal with them at all!  We had dentist appointments, hair cuts, needed to go banking, get gas, run errands, etc. and it was always a gamble as to whether they'd behave or not.  I was sick of threatening them, sick of taking things away and (honestly) sick of my boys.  I was done trying to keep the boys entertained since they didn't appreciate it anyway or even act appropriately while we were out.  We spent a lot more time at home and they spent a lot more time in their rooms--  A LOT MORE.    I think they've each spent at least a few hours every day in their rooms (not voluntarily!), but by this weekend we had much better behavior! 

       Science/ Nature Study: We spent a lot of time outside this last week too trying to spread out and find our own space.  We've encountered praying mantises, Peregrine Falcons, snakes and lots of wasps.  We were awed by the praying mantises, eagerly searching the skies and woods for further views of the falcon, desperately searching for the camera to take pictures of the snake, and running scared of the wasps.   My husband and Ian were walking in the woods, trying to cut a new/longer trail for the dirt bikes and four wheelers when they inadvertently stumbled upon a ground wasp nest.  Ian escaped with just one sting but my husband was stung at least 10- 15 times.  Understandably, the kids have been extra careful and fearful of wasps the past few days.  However, we can't deny that we've been finding them everywhere.  Not all the wasps look the same, they all have different nests and while we don't enjoy finding them, it's still pretty educational.  We've compared the colors of the different praying mantises we found as well as just studying how they look and use their limbs.  Alec has mastered the peregrine falcon call and mimics the sound quite often.  It's neat to see them all take such an interest in nature. 

       Physical Education: My boys have also been into sports a lot lately.  Ian asked me to pitch to him the other day while he played around with the bat and the next thing I knew all the boys wanted to play.  We've been talking about "real" baseball rules and our house rules.  We've discussed proper technique, used some new sports terminology and have had a lot of fun.  We've tried out different bats, different balls and set up our bases a few different ways.  We've practiced throwing and catching the ball.  The boys decided to try and throw the balls onto the roof and catch them when they came falling back down (of course, a few got stuck and we had to figure out how to get them down-- great problem solving lessons!).  The boys encourage one another while playing baseball and take turns willingly.  They made up their own game using the baseballs, a pair of flip flops (on their hands) and a bunch of rules about the grass line, the hill and the driveway that I'm still not sure of, but they all agreed and had fun playing together.  They also played basketball yesterday.  I've found them playing on our playscape a lot more too.  They're using the swings and Alec has been trying to climb along the top of our monkey bars.  The crazy kid will even lower himself down from the bars onto all the different swings and stuff.  How he can be fine trying these daring feats and hate all amusement park rides (calling them "scary") I'll never understand.  I'm much happier being strapped into something than climbing and hanging any day, but to each his own I guess.  Best of all, we've started back to our trampoline classes!  We stumbled upon these classes last fall and all the boys just love it.  I love that they get 2 hours of exercise for only $5 each!  I also love the control, safety, and vocabulary lessons they don't even know they're getting.  They were happy to see many of their old friends there too. 
Yep, he's holding the ball between two flip flops
     The boys have taken to riding four wheelers, bikes, and scooters once again too.  As the weather continues to cool off we spend less time in the lake and sand and more time on the lawn and hardtop.  When I kick them out of the house (usually for rough housing or really loud voices) they've been forced to rediscover ways to keep themselves occupied outside.  It's been great!  Ian is, of course, adding to his work site.  He has taken a large screen and loads up the dirt for his truck on the screen.  He keeps a second truck near by for his tailing pile.  Lots of digging, looking at rocks and dirt, sorting sizes, and exercise. 
         Socialization: We've spent time with family and friends over the last week or so too.   We went out to lunch with my husband one day.  My mom came to visit, we got to see the boys' cousins, aunt and uncle a few times and Ian spent a night sleeping over his grandmother's house with one of his cousins too.  Evan had a birthday party for one of his old school friends and came home with lots of great stories and treats-- that he willingly shared with his brothers!  I think the times apart have been a huge help in improving the boys' tolerance with one another too. 

       We're finding our way back to fun and enjoyment.  I'm finding new stores of patience I didn't realize I had and, once I sent them to bed right after dinner Friday night, they soon learned it was better to get along and have all been trying much harder too.  They've been reading up a storm in their rooms at night, before bed, and even in the car.  We're almost finished listening to Treasure Island while we drive around, but I find more and more that they'd rather read to themselves anyway.  I've heard much number and math talk, geography conversations (I've even found them looking at our wall maps talking about different countries and states) and even some History discussions.  While I definitely see the benefits and arguments for how and why unschooling works, it's just not something my boys embrace fully.  Luckily, it worked for this week and gave us just the break we needed.
Today's selection of books that Alec decided to bring into the car (and read!)

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