Tuesday, October 1, 2013

More math computer games and LOTS of reading

    I kept trying to think of something fun and math- like where the boys might not realize they were learning math, but just having fun.  I find all sorts of math games and ideas all the time but I just couldn't come up with any today.  I was thinking I would let them fall back on unschooling but they actually asked me what we were going to do for school today.  I decided to let the older two boys play some math games on the computer.  While this may not sound like much I find that the boys play games that require a  much higher level of math than they would ever do for me in a game or on a worksheet. 
      Alec and Ian went to Math Playground and  they each tried out a few games.  Ian tried out Space Racer X, where he had to quickly answer multiplication problems to steer his spaceship around meteors.  He didn't bother to read the instructions and then got very frustrated when he kept dying.  I finally convinced him to read the directions and he gave it another try but he had a hard time using the keyboard to type in the answers correctly and quickly and decided to try another game.  He decided to try Escape from Fraction Manor.  He loved it!  I loved that he was being forced to compare fractions.  It was quite tricky too!  Alec was watching over Ian's shoulder by the time Ian's turn was coming to an end and he couldn't wait to take over.  Ian eagerly headed outside to play with the dirt and his trucks while Alec took over the computer.  He played Escape from Fraction Manor, Gap Zappers (also a fraction game), Pumpkin Multiples, and Sliding Block.  He loved it and kept begging me to let him play longer.  He learned how to compare fractions, add fractions, what an improper fraction is, orders of operations, the greater than/ less than sign, what multiples mean (and the multiples of 2 and 4), he applied problem solving and geometry skills-- not bad for a morning of playing games on the computer!

      We headed out for a full day of errands.  We stopped at the post office, library, gas station, and apple orchard.  We picked apples, bought corn, mums, pumpkins, cider, and candy apples.  The boys tried a new variety of apple, worked together to push and pull the full wagons of stuff to our car, watched apple cider being made, trucks being loaded and unloaded, and even a conveyor & assembly line sorting and bagging apples.
        From the apple orchard we headed to the grocery store.  We talked about organic vs. non- organic food, we compared prices, worked on listening skills, cooperation and keeping our hands to ourselves.  They helped push the carriage, load and unload the carriage and even pull groceries from the shelves.  While we were driving around the boys were looking at books from the library.  Alec read the entire Weird School Book Mr. Macky is Wacky as well as I Dare You Not to Yawn.  Ian read a few chapters in his Weird School Book Mr Tony is Full of Baloney.  He also read a few picture books to Evan.  Together they read I Dare You Not to Yawn, Tip Tip Dig Dig, and Construction Countdown.  I was feeling bad that we didn't have a book on CD to listen to until I heard them all reading so avidly.  Alec couldn't resist reading some funny snippets from his book out loud from time to time and Evan even tried to looking at I Dare You Not to Yawn starting from the back and working his way forward pointing out what a silly book it would be if his mom put him to bed first in the dark, then gave him a kiss, then had him put on his pajamas, and doing everything in reverse.  All the boys were in a silly mood and they were laughing a lot.  It's so nice to have these kinds of days and memories to look back on.
       Once home I was busy putting everything away and they all decided to go their separate ways.  Ian, once again headed outside.  Alec wanted to play some more games on Math Playground and Evan want to work on his Lego's.  Evan also played with his Indiana Jones dress up set and came into the kitchen telling me "mom, I never did math today!"  I told him I wanted to work with him on counting by 10's.  I recited the numbers for him a few times and then asked him to say them with me.  I had him try one last time by himself and called an end to math.  He then asked if he could play the frog math game on the computer.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  He started describing the game over and over and I eventually realized he was talking about Treefrog Treasure.   I loaded up the game for him but told him he was going to have to play by himself; I had to get all the groceries put away.  I was amazed that he was able to go through several of the levels without any help since it's all about fractions! 
         The boys started getting bored on their own and came in looking to see if I was ready to play whiffle ball yet.  It has become a daily game around here and they just love it.  I wasn't quite ready yet though so Alec stayed on the computer and Ian and Evan went to play in another room.  Ian looked through all his baby scrapbooks and Evan called me excitedly into the room to show me that my plant has a flower and a few new shoots on it.  This plant was near to dying so I was excited too.  We talked about what revived the plant.  We then watered it and picked off any brown leaves.  We headed out to play ball and the older boys even tried their hand at pitching today.  They did a wonderful job. 
        We sat down to an early dinner since Alec was starting Karate tonight.  Evan told us all how to spell his last name again and counted by 10's to 100!  The other boys filled their dad in about our day while Alec and I headed out.  He was nervous and excited for his first class.  We had no idea what to expect but the first "class" only had three students in it and lasted for 20 min. or so.  Alec learned a bit about the philosophy behind Karate, some of the Dojang rules, and a few basic stances and moves.  He was then given a sentence to memorize (which he had down pat by the time we got home!).  He also couldn't wait to practice and show his dad and brothers all that he learned tonight. 
       While we were gone the other two boys went fishing with their dad.  They went to their new "honey hole (as they refer to it) to catch some whoppers."  They had a good time and got to visit with their great aunt as well.   We read even more books before bed and I was amazed when Evan read a few words to me from Tip Tip Dig Dig.   I really am getting excited watching him starting to take off on all this new learning. 

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