Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fun with words

I know that hands on learning is best for my boys and so I try to make each and every subject as hands on as I possibly can.

I look for fun ways to cover the same materials as our books and we often make up our own games and science experiments.  

Today was a perfect example of that:

We dove right into math today. 

I had each of the boys try out their "magic boxes" we made yesterday (as we've taken to calling them) and use their flash cards (you can find our instructions here).  I told the older boys that this was the last day I was doing multiplication with them.  We'll still do our math minute each day but they are responsible for practicing them on their own.  I suggested they practice each morning when they wake up and each night before they head to bed.  They looked nervous but since they know and understand multiplication I feel like there's nothing left to teach; memorization takes time and nothing I do will help them memorize faster so we're moving on to division or perhaps two digit multiplication.

They both passed their math minute and are a bit nervous about taking their next minute tests.  Alec will move onto the four times tables and Ian is now working on his three times tables.

Evan managed to get all of his addition flashcards right too so I told him we'll move onto subtraction tomorrow.
Our Magic Boxes in use! 

With math done we moved onto writing and reading.

I told the older boys they could write on the windows with dry erase markers.  I gave them the option of writing a letter to their dad for him to read tonight or told them I could give them some spelling words to practice.  They both chose to write a letter.

 Evan thought that sounded like fun and wanted to practice his sight words by spelling them for me on our glass doors.  Ian wrote a nice long letter with lots of spelling and punctuation practice.

Alec decided to write a very short letter but since he made up his own alphabet code and wrote part of his message in code I was totally fine with that.  What a great imagination!

He's hoping his father will write him back in secret code tonight when he gets home and reads the message. 
Fun with sight words & spelling

Alec writing up the code breaker for his dad

Alec writing his coded message


While the older boys were finishing up their writing I played a sight word game with Evan.

I took our sight word cups and set them up with 5 in a row and asked him to tell me what sight word Batman was hidden under.  Evan then decided it would be more fun to put a mixture of good guys and bad guys under the cups and he had to find all the good guys before he stumbled upon a bad guy.  This was quite challenging and he got tons of sight word practice.  We played many rounds and ended up practicing 10 different sight words since I switched the cups out half way through playing. 

Batman is under IT

Oh man, Black Mantis is under LITTLE, we have to start the game over

After everyone was all done writing we read together.

We ended our Russia and Olympic study and while we're getting ready for our India study I picked a few "for fun" books.  We read Animals Definitely Should Not Wear Clothing and started a chapter in Wildside.  So far the boys are not impressed with this book and I did have to edit a few of the words for age appropriateness but I told them we'd give it another chapter or two and if we still don't like it we'll try another book.  It was recommended to us since we really enjoyed Science Fair and it's supposed to be a similar genre but we'll see. 

 We finished up our morning with a fun science experiment. 

We did a very basic sink/float experiment.  We've never done one before because my boys have a good sense of what floats and sinks and why.  We live on the lake and all summer long they try and bring different toys in with them, but I figured it was an easy and engaging hands on experiment for us to try today.

I had them scour the house and each pick 5-10 items they wanted to test.  We filled up a huge clear bin with water and took turns holding up an object and asking "sink or float?" once we all predicted we gave it a try.

They had a lot of fun and once or twice we were surprised by something that did sink or float when we all though otherwise.  My favorite times though were when something did float and they immediately asked "well, what about if we turned if this way" or "what about if we put this on top of it?  Do you think it would still float?"

 In the spirit of true scientists they then experimented to see what would happen if they changed it around.  It was great, quick and clean!

Linking Up With:

Christian Montessori Network

Tots and Me

A Kreative Whim


  1. I love that they both wrote their dad a letter on the windows! We will have to add that to our "Things to do" list! :-) #Learn&PlayLinkup

    1. It was so cute. Alec ended up making two copies of his secret code and they wrote back and forth for a few days!