Friday, March 28, 2014

A Very Easy Day with Short, Simple Lessons

We had planned on heading out to a game day with our homeschool group and I knew I wanted the older boys to work on one page in their new math workbooks while Evan and I would play a sight word game and read a book together.

That's all the schoolwork I had planned.  I figured we'd keep it short and simple today!  



I believe in keeping most of our lessons short and sweet. 


  • I know that my boys don't always have the longest attention span and after 10 minutes or so they are not really paying attention anymore.
  • I know that my boys are more willing to work when I am not expecting more than they can give me.
  • I know that a lot of learning can happen when you add up short lessons over time. 
  • I know that not all learning has to happen through books or through my teaching so I plan  just a few short activities for us to do and then follow the boys lead for the rest of our day.   


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.

As soon as they opened their books 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.  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 too. 
    
I figured there would be a period of adjustment before the boys were comfortable working with workbooks; but they surprised me!

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.
   
We worked together in the kitchen to pack lunches and pulled out some games to bring with us to our homeschool game day.

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.


After lunch the boys all headed outside with their new wooden swords and axes.  They 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.

We had a nice easy day with just a bit of light schoolwork sprinkled in.  It was nice to get outside and spend so much time soaking in the fresh air. 

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