Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Take a Hike!

   The sun was shining and it was pretty warm today; warm enough that I told the kids if they'd go hiking I'd make them a special treat when we got home.  We dressed in ski pants and snow boots and headed out.  The fresh air and sunlight was so nice!  We saw and heard many birds, looked at the footprints and paw prints that were embedded in the snow, and just marveled at how different everything looks in the woods during the various seasons. 

  Once home, we made our own Shamrock Shakes.  We followed this recipe.  They were super easy to make and very delicious (well, they were super easy to make once we fixed our broken blender).  The boys helped me measure and prepare our snack.  They were really excited when I pulled out the whipped cream and sprinkles.  While they enjoyed their snack we went over what we were going to be doing for school today.  This is where our fun ended and died for the day.   I had debated about just scrapping the schoolwork altogether since we had such a nice hike and a nice morning but I had so many ideas planned for St. Patrick's day and I had spent quite a bit of time last night getting everything ready and planned that I didn't just want to ignore our work.  I thought I had fun activities planned but the boys did not think they were so fun.  They actually had to work and think today and within five minutes of starting school I didn't even care that they were all miserable because I was miserable too and I was angry.  I don't think I am much of a task master when it comes to my kids and what we do for school but lately anytime they  have to pick up a pencil or a marker they immediately start whining and complaining and I can't help think of all the work they'd be doing in school and thinking they should be thanking me for the little I make them do. 

     The boys decided to start their day with writing.  I was pretty surprised because they HATE writing.  We wrote about what we would do if we found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  For once I made Alec and Ian write a very long story and kept asking them for more and more details.  This was not the best way to start our day as it led to many tears, lots of frustration and tons of complaining.  It was not fun, but I hope they were really proud of the stories they came up with them they were done.  I certainly was impressed.  But I warned them that they'll be expected to write 10 page  papers at some point in their life and that everything they write can't just be one long list separated by comma's and "ands."  Whether they want to be writers or not they will have to write at times and they need to practice.  Period! 

      Since Evan only wrote a few words on his paper he was the first one to start math.  He had a 100's chart activity.  I saw this adorable pot of gold idea and tried to think of a fun way I could do it at home and decided that I would cut gold coins out of paper and write the numbers on them.  I thought this was adorable and would be fun.  We had a little green bowl and I told Evan that as he pulled each coin out of the bowl he had to identify the number and color it in on his 100's chart.  He whined after pulling the first number, and the second, third, and fourth.  It went on and on and on until he had a full blown tantrum.  He knocked over the bowl and threw the marker across the room.  I sent him to his room to cool off, but made him finish a bit more of the paper when he came back.  I didn't expect him to the whole thing today but I wanted him to make decent progress on it. 

       The older boys had their math minutes and they both cheered when Alec passed his 4 times tables.  They then went to work on a brain teaser.  I warned them that this was going to be tricky and they'd probably have to erase several times.  I explained that brain teasers are not usually easy to figure out because we have to think outside the box.  Ian decided to get a scrap piece of paper and write all the numbers from 1-9 on it; cut it up and then move them around as needed.   He grumbled and complained and told me hated brain teasers.  In under 5 minutes he solved the puzzle and told me it "was easy."  (Seriously, some days I wonder why I don't run screaming from the house).   Once Ian was finished he gave Alec his little squares of paper and in no time Alec was able to solve his brain teaser as well. 

all finished

      We read Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie DePaola and we started a new chapter book called The St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Mystery.  We picked up a few books at the library last night after much searching and scrambling around (since all the other St. Patrick's day books were already checked out).  We always love Tomie DePaola's books and so far we are enjoying the mystery book.  We ended up reading three chapters. 
     We finished our day with a fun art project.  We used our hands and green paint to make four leaf covers.  I have plans to turn these into a writing project for tomorrow (May God help me; I'm going to ask them to write twice in one week!).  For today they had fun painting their hands and feeling the slimy finger paints on their hands. 

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