Friday, March 28, 2014

A very easy day

   We had planned on heading out to a game day with our homeschool group so I hadn't planned on having my kids so much in the way of schoolwork today.  The older two boys had their new math books come in yesterday so I knew I wanted them to work on one page in those and I figured Evan and I would play a sight word game and read a book together.  That's it; short and simple!  So, knowing I didn't have much planned I wasn't worried about starting school that early this morning.  I let the boys lay around after waking and they watched some TV and played some video games.  It's so nice to say "yes" to them!  They watched Wild Kratts, Duck Dynasty and played World of Zoo.  I even gave them the morning off from cleaning since I only had the two tubs on my list of things to clean today. 
    Somehow we still managed to start school at 9 this morning!  The older boys started with their math minute and both of them are just a few answers away from completing this round of facts.  Alec immediately asked if he could try saying them again instead of writing them.  His idea certainly has merit and I told him I'd think about it.  I like the idea of them getting used to writing their answers out since we write so little.  We finally agreed that if he still hasn't passed his 9 times tables in a week then he can say them out loud.  I love when they come up with ideas and way to compromise.

    We moved onto their new books and as soon as they opened them they both balked.  I told them to calm down, take deep breaths and only focus on the page we're working on for today.  Ian was still a bit apprehensive since he saw that it was a 5th grade workbook and he's only in 4th grade.  I promised him I would work with him and that since the book is going to take us close to a year to complete he would be in 5th grade for most of the book.  I went over today's assignment with him and while he wanted me to check his work repeatedly he really was getting it; though I had to continually point it out to him that he was getting it all right!  He had to practice multiplying by 10, 100, and 1,000.  I think it was the sheer size of the numbers that was intimidating him because he understood to add one zero to the end of any number being multiplied by 10, two zeros to any multiplied by 100, and three zeros to anything being multiplied by 1,000.  He had some difficulty deciding where the commas went in each of the numbers.  As part of this page he also had to break down answers that had been multiplied by 100 and 1,000 and come up with the original number-- he did great!  At dinner they were bragging to their dad about how easy it was even though it was hard work. 
     Alec's workbook page started with having him write out the number in words-- 3,452 as three thousand, four hundred fifty two.  It was great spelling practice for him and he breezed right through the page.  He also had to take some numbers that had been written out in words and write them as numbers.  The only one that stumped him was five thousand eight which he wrote as 5,08.  Once I showed him he only had numbers enough for five hundred eight he knew he had to add another zero and he knew he had to add it in BEFORE the 8.  He even looked at tomorrow's assignment and told me that was easy. 
     In between helping the boys with their math assignments I played a memory sight word game with Evan.  He totally kicked my butt!  He must have had at least 5 more matches than me by the end of the game.  I blamed it on his older brother's distracting me.  I'm normally quite good at memory games but I just couldn't focus today and so Evan won.  He read the majority of the words to me and had lots of fun working with his sight words. 

     The older boys finished their books right around the time we finished our game and I told them that since it was their first day with their new books and they had been dreading it so much I was going to give them the rest of the day off.  To which Alec replied "can that be all we do everyday?"  I just laughed and assured him one math worksheet a day was not a full school day.  Alec was pretending to eat the pizza picture off the front of his book and then Ian noticed he had money on the front of his book.  We added up how much money was showing and the boys were trying to figure out how many pizzas they could order with that amount of money.  Seeing the fun and excitement, I told them that when they finished these workbooks, which probably wouldn't be for a year or so, we could have a pizza party!  They were thrilled.  I was hopeful that it would keep us on task with using these books. 
     We worked together in the kitchen to pack lunches and pulled out some games to bring with us to our homeschool game day.  The younger two boys did not want to go at all today but since Ian did they were willing to go along with him.   Alec and I started adding up and figuring out the time he's been spending playing video games and watching recreational TV this week.  We've found that on average he's playing for 3 hours a day.  Seeing it written down and figured out he's been much more cooperative about taking breaks.  As much as I cringe at that three hours and want to cut him back to our two hour limit that I really do try to impose it's still very cold, windy and blechy (yes, I know that's not a word but it's how I feel about our winterish spring weather we've been having!) here lately and I just don't have the heart to kick them outside nor do I want to listen to constant refrains of "I'm bored!"  I know it will all be different soon when we finally get some nice warm weather (and by warm I mean we can leave the house in jeans and a sweatshirt without scarves, gloves, and winter jacket!). 
      Alec and Evan decided to start playing a game of Mario chess and Alec continues to teach Evan how to play.  They played a few rounds and I had to intervene a few time when Alec was getting frustrated with Evan.  I just kept reminding him that Evan was learning and yelling at him wasn't going to help.  Evan is such a good sport about loosing and he's determined to figure out the strategy to playing chess.  He loves Alec's Mario set and always wanted to play with it.  Alec doesn't usually want to play with Evan since he's not hard to play against so now Evan is really applying himself to try and learn. I love it!  Alec recruited me to play a game or two with him too. 

  While Evan and Alec played games Ian worked on his Lego's,  played in his room and then worked on finishing up his snake painting.   They all decided they didn't want to go to game day after all and settled down to have some lunch. They begged me to read some more of the Wildside.  So I read one more chapter.

   After lunch the boys all headed outside with their new wooden swords and axes.  To say I was a bit nervous was an understatement.  I'm a mom so I always worry about my boys; add in some really hard and thick weapons and it's just amplified!  They were fine though and played outside together for over an hour.  They had such fun playing in the woods and chopping trees (though I use that term loosely as they mostly just knocked small dead twigs off of trees).  They rode scooters and bikes and had some fun in the sun.
    Their grandmother called and took them to her house for the afternoon to work a bit in her yard raking and breaking up the ice.  I got the afternoon off & went to library and ran some errands alone.  I love my boys so much but it's like a little slice of heaven to have time to myself once in awhile.  It doesn't happen often, though, so when it does I've learned to really enjoy the moment and store it away for one of those  days where I wish I could have a break.   Once home they all went back outside to play with their cousins.  Ahhh! I love the coming of spring and days where they get overloaded on fresh air and sunshine!  They even played outside after dinner while my husband and I pitched in to do all their evening chores for them.     

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