Friday, February 21, 2014

The dreaded worksheets

    I really still am completely unmotivated to do any schoolwork with the boys.  The winter dole drums are here to stay and it doesn't help that it's a rainy, messy, gray day out.   Spring can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned and at this point we're all just hanging in there hoping we can make it another month or two until we can get out of this funk we're in.  Everyone is testy, antsy, and a bit uncooperative-- or so I thought.   In desperation for something to do today and some way to show that we're actually learning, I turned to the pile of worksheets I had printed off the computer and decided to use those today.  I don't love worksheets and try not to use them much with the boys but I'll freely admit we rely on them a lot during the winter. 
    Once I had everyone's papers separated into piles they all got to work.  The boys all decided to start with math.  Evan had an Olympic medal math page where he had to color all the medals whose sums added to 10.  He breezed through it rather quickly on his own without any counters or anything; I was impressed.  The older two boys had a compute and color sheet as well but they had addition and subtraction of three numbers.  It was a basic review sheet for them that we followed up with another multiplication minute. 


    They went on to Language arts.  The older two boys had an Olympic Synonym page where they matched the words at the bottom with the words inside each Olympic ring.  They matches synonyms like loud and noisy, narrate and tell, etc.  Evan had a mini book we put together simply titled "Little."  He read the title to me and then he went through and wrote the word little on each page filling in the blank.  As he read each page he colored the various items to match the color words in each sentence too. 


      We read a few more books today.  We read some more in our Breaking Stalin's Nose book and we followed that up with a book called My First Russian Words.  We browsed through the pages taking note of the Russian letters and spelling and trying to say a few of the words.  We also read Camels Don't Ski and a book about Olympic Skiier Lindsey Vonn.  Alec read Camels Don't Ski to us and used great expression and enthusiasm.  It never really surprises though, he's such a great reader and he loves it so much.  Last night we finished a chapter book just as the boys were heading off to bed, Alec and Ian are allowed to read for another half- hour if they choose and the next thing I new, Alec was downstairs at 8:30 handing me another chapter book.  I asked him what he was doing and he told me he read the whole book in the 30 minutes!  It was a good 50 pages.  That shocked me! 



    We watched a bit of the Olympics and talked about our favorite sports and why we enjoy the sports we enjoy.  We followed that up with a mini writing assignment.  I found these cute printable mini books called My Winter Olympic Sport.  The boys had to come up with their own sport, name it, draw a picture of the equipment needed to play the sport, make up the rules to the game, tell how many players were needed, how long they play, how the game is scored, etc.  They struggled a bit and grumbled here and there but they did a really great job using their imaginations to come up with some great sporting ideas. 

         Ian decided to combine ski jumping and slope style snowboarding so that snowboarders have to go off the high ski jump, flatten themselves out for a nice long jump and then after landing go through a small obstacle course like they do in slope style.  No surprise to me, his medal was made of gold with three diamond chips in it. 

     Evan came up with a completely new sport where you use a scooter that has an ice skating blade on the bottom of it instead of wheels and some really good gripping boots to sort of skate down an ice mountain.  It's a relay style race that last all night long and pretty much anything goes as long as you don't touch any of the other players.  They have jumps and tricks and helmets to keep them safe.  His medal was turquoise (his favorite color!). 

     Alec combined volleyball, badminton and table tennis to come up with a new sport he called volley tennis.  Using a ball the size of a volleyball (that's as light as a birdie since it's completely hollow inside), a large racket, and an extra large table you play a game similar to table tennis.  He had lots of rules and explained the scoring system in detail.  The games are played to 4 points and can last as long as needed.  His medal was orange and green (his two favorite colors).  They ended up having a lot of fun with this assignment and I found myself wishing there were a few blank pages added onto the back where they could have described their sport in even greater detail.  They had so much to say!

    For science we played with Ian's new container of Instant Snow and watched the powder grow as we added water to it.  The boys had fun shaping snowballs and snowmen with it. We talked about the unusual texture of the snow and once they tired of playing with the fake stuff, Ian and Evan headed outside.  Of course, when it was sunny, warm and beautiful outside yesterday I couldn't get them to go out unless I forced them, but today with the rain and fog they can't wait to get out.  Go figure! 




That's one big "snow"ball!


















   


      Ian has been busy drawing all sorts of logging trucks and making up a whole interconnected drawing of a logging site.  He's been hard at work on it for a few days now and I'm super impressed with how nicely his drawings are coming out and how hard he's working at it.  He's not usually my art student but he's having so much fun drawing out his future site in incredible detail. 

      All in all it ended up being a really great day! 

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