Friday, March 14, 2014

Geography day

  I really wasn't sure what we were going to be doing for school today. I am definitely in a funk as far as school and home goes.  I'm so sick of the same old routine we seem to have.

   Every year around this time I'm ready to climb the walls and just feel so blah.  I hate cleaning, cooking, planning, etc.  and feel resentful of all the time I spent doing things around the house. 

   I'm sure it's in direct correlation to the fact that we're basically trapped inside and haven't had any great, fun field trips and adventures in a while.  I'm craving fresh air, sunshine and flip flops.  I'm craving road trips, weeks where we aren't even home because we're out and about learning from life instead of books. 

    We had a great afternoon yesterday once school was done and we all relaxed together and ran errands so I was thinking that perhaps we'd just take a break from a school for today and maybe even for the next week or so, but the boys asked if they could work on their geography reports today and I didn't have the heart to say no.  Alec informed me yesterday that he was "going back to Japan" and since we've never been to Japan I assumed he was talking about his report and I was right.  He's been reading all of the Japan books we checked out of the library over the past month and luckily he's the kind of reader that retains much of what he reads since I returned them all as soon as he was done reading them.  He told me that reporting on Pok√©mon was too difficult since there isn't much information about their geography and history. 
    Alec wanted to re-watch Families of Japan today while he read a bit more in some of his Japan books and Evan wanted to watch the movie with him.  Since I can only work with one person at a time this worked out perfectly.  While they watched the movie Ian and I read another chapter in his Guyana book and wrote another half- page or so on his report.  We were doing well, I would read a chapter or two then stop and have him tell me in his own words what they were saying.  He struggles the most out of my three boys with reading and comprehension and these were thick text-book type texts so I wanted to make sure I wasn't loosing him in the vocabulary.  Once we finished the chapter he asked me to pull out my computer so he could add more to his report.  He dictated facts while I typed them.  He started to get confused and couldn't remember all the facts he wanted to include and he started to get very frustrated.  I suggested we stop and take a break for the day.  I worry about making him an independent learner especially since he's so adamant that he will be attending high school.  Luckily I have another four years to keep working with him (both in improving his skills and changing his mind-- I'm not a huge fan of the idea of high school... I'd rather see him attend a technical college but we'll see).
      By this time Alec and Evan had finished the movie and Alec wanted to start working on his report.  We printed a map of Japan off the internet for him to color later and sat down together at the computer.  He dictated facts to me about Japan and I typed and helped him organize those facts into sections.  He knows a lot about Japan and is trying to share everything he has ever read about every single fact.  I tried to help him comb through and pick out the most important facts.  When we finally finished up we had written a page and a half.  He was stuck on a thought that he was trying to express and asked if he could watch the movie one last time during lunch to help jog his memory.  So all three boys sat down and watched Families from Japan.... AGAIN! 

     After lunch Alec told me he thought he had most of the facts he wanted written down for now and all the boys asked "what else" we were going to do today.  I sat the two older boys down for their math minute and Ian was beyond excited that he passed his 7 times tables and now only needs to pass his 8, 9 and 12 times tables.  Alec was mad he was only 3 answers away from passing his three times tables.  I reassured him that it would happen and to just keep trying. 
    After math (if you can call one minute of math, math!) they worked in their cursive books while Evan and I brought a book about Madagascar into the living room to read together.  Alec wanted to use the TV trays and join us so he could hear about Madagascar too.  Once Ian was done his cursive he went to go play in his room and Alec started making his Japanese flag and coloring in his map of Japan. 

    When Evan and I finished reading I sat at the computer and asked him if he could remember any facts about Madagascar.  He came up with quite a few on his own and with a few questions from me and a couple glances at the book we soon had a page of bulleted facts about Madagascar.  I thought that was excellent progress! 
     Evan then asked if they could hunt for the rhyming shamrock words that we were supposed to do yesterday so I spent a few minutes hiding the 30 shamrocks and then they all went hunting.  When we had all 30 shamrocks we gathered around the coffee table, spread them out, and read the words.  Evan told me he knew that rhyming words had the same ending letters but I had made sure to include a few that did not (like rhyme and time).  I encouraged them to take turns looking for rhyming words and told the two older boys they were to look for rhyming words that were not spelled the same.  When they would find a pair I'd read them aloud and show them to Evan.  Evan managed to find quite a few pairs of rhyming words and the older boys learned a few new vocab words (like knoll and lane). 

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