Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Magnets, Movies, and Games Make Us Happy

The boys all happily playing in one room together with all their Lego sets I was not anxious to interrupt them and start school.  They had been so helpful with all the housework this morning that I didn't mind letting them have free time to play.  I love days when they're all getting along and everyone is smiling and happy.



When the boys came down to start school the first thing they noticed was the magnets and metal pieces I had put out.  They were drawn to this simple science play and spent a long time playing with all the magnets.

  • They tried shaking the magnets once things were stuck to them to see if they could get them to fall back off.  
  • They tried sticking all the magnets to each other.  
  • They used the magnets to pick up the metal pieces and move them all around.  
  • We discovered it was really hard to get the metal shards and pieces off the magnets!


"it's all hairy!"




The older boys settled in for some math fun-- I had written answers onto each bubble of some bubble wrap and handed them a stack of flash cards.  As they solved equations they could pop the answer.

They seemed to really enjoy this activity and it was great division fact practice.  They then practiced their multiplication cards and took their math minutes.  I love when math is accompanied by smiles and laughter! 


     
Evan wanted to make some noise too so he went into the living room and played pop the sight words.

I had these long bubble wrap tubes that came in my Amazon order and I wrote a sight word on each tube.  He would read me the sight word and then pop the word.  He tried jumping, karate chopping, using his stuffed animal, pulling the word apart, etc. to break open all the poppers.

He had so much fun experimenting with different ways and watching what happened when one word popped.

  • He noticed that the force sometimes made them pop open at both ends. 
  •  He noticed that sometimes the release of air moved other words around it.  
  • He noticed that if he pulled them apart the air released slowly and didn't make any noise (or else made a slight hissing sound).  
It was great that he added some uniquely science observations to his reading.  There's just something about jumping and making noise that makes these types of learning activities so much more fun!




For math Evan practiced jumping by 2's.  I took mini post it notes and wrote the numbers from 2- 60 (counting by two's only) on each note.  I set them down around our dining room table and Evan would hop from one note to the other calling out the number as he went.

It must have been a lot of fun because I found him doing this several times throughout the day; it was such a fun way to practice counting by two's!




 The older boys wrote another page in their cursive books and Evan wrote his entire name two times.  They all did really nice work using their best writing and as a bonus even Evan was able to write part of his name using a colored pen.  He thought that was just great.
   
Evan and I worked on making a sample Lemur for his Madagascar report.  This paper Lemur is going to be his hands- on project and we wanted to make sure we'd have all the supplies we needed packed up with us.  I also wanted to make sure it wasn't to hard or to time consuming a project for people to make.  I think we'll look around for some small sticky back googlie eyes to use since the eyes were really hard to cut out and besides, I think googlie eyes make most craft projects more fun for kids. 


Alec and I worked on the computer for a bit.  We went to Pinterest and looked up Japanese snack and craft ideas.  He decided he wanted to make paper lanterns as his hands- on project and so we settled down to make a sample.  He took out colored pencils and used his sample of Japanese writing to add some characters to his lantern.

Alec also spent part of his day looking through his bin of rubber stamp animals trying to find an animal that he could use as the passport stamp for the children who visit his table.  After a bit more reading about Japan and the animals that are found there.  He finally settled on a sea turtle stamp.  We had read that sea turtles will lay their eggs on a few of Japan's sandy beaches so he was quite excited about that. 

While working on Ian's Guyana project we've really been struggling with a hands- on activity to go along with it.  He really wanted to study Guyana because of the show Gold Rush.  He loves that people mine for gold and diamonds there.  In keeping with his truck obsession we finally decided to set up a mini mining site inside a tote/ bucket for the geography fair so he spent some time looking through our toy bins for the right kind of trucks.

We also printed out the information that he has written up and started assembling his board.  It's a good thing we did too-- we discovered he only has room for another 3-4 pages of "stuff" and he really wanted to write up a couple of pages about mining and print out some mining pictures.  So we deleted the half- page or so he had written up about their history.  I love that these homeschooling geography fairs are so flexible and allow the kids to really focus on what is important to them about each region they chose to learn about.


We watched a Disney World Of Music DVD during lunch and learned a lot about music.  The movie was great-- it combined Disney rides, sights, and movies with real music applications.

  • We learned what sheet music looks like, we learned about rhythm, melody, and beats.  
  • We learned about all the families of instruments and got to hear salsa music, classical music, and pop music samples.  
  • We saw adults and young children playing instruments and watched a whole orchestra playing together.  


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The DVD inspired the kids to find new way to make music and they started "playing" the table, the door, their empty IBC root beer bottles and so much more.  They talked about what was vibrating to make the sound each time and tried to determine which family of instruments it would fall into.  Evan brought down his guitar and the two younger boys spent the afternoon making up their own music, their own dances, their own songs, and their own way to play the guitar.


Ian pulled out some computer paper and sketched a drawing of a dragon that he wanted to add to his sword.  He has put several coats of red paint on it and wanted to end with a picture of a black dragon going down the blade of it.  Then the boys spent a bit of time playing outside and in their rooms with their Lego sets before getting ready for Karate.
  
 At karate we learned that Evan was chosen out of all the kids in his age group to be April's student of the month.  His master explained that he had been noticing how focused, well behaved and the "black belt attitude" that Evan has been exhibiting.  Evan was so proud and couldn't wait to tell everyone that he was student of the month.  All three boys earned the next stripe on their belt and Ian moves up to the next belt level during Friday's graduation ceremony.  I'm always a bit nervous for them on stripe evaluation night because the evaluations can get pretty tough and expectations are high.  Yet, they always seem to rise to the occasion and do quite well with the added pressure and expectations. 
  
This was one of those perfect homeschooling days where each subject was the right mix of fun and learning.  Each activity flowed to the next and we were able to just relax and have a good time with lots of smiles.
   

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