Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A quiet day

     With Alec down and out feeling pretty blah we had the TV on all day.  He definitely wasn't feeling like himself so Evan and Alec planned an entire day of TV watching.  With all the rain, sleet and SNOW (Ugh!  that dreaded four letter word...) we were getting today we were pretty much stuck inside anyway so I let all the boys enjoy extra screen time.  Ian watched Axe Men, Highway Thru Hell, and a non- fiction movie about construction trucks.  Alec and Evan watched a marathon of Ninjago videos learning all about Samurai warriors, ninjas. prophecies, and more.  I think it's amazing how much factual material can be snuck in through completely non- educational shows (though, I guess that then makes them educational?).  I often talk with the boys as they're watching and we talk about what is based on facts and what is pure fiction. 
      With the younger boys occupied, I turned my attention to Ian.  We finished up the other half of Friday's math page and since he did a second page on Friday that is all he had to do for today in his workbook.  We reviewed making equivalent fractions and he did most of the bottom section by himself, easily recognizing patterns in the numbers. He made notes as needed and a few mistakes but overall he did really well with this assignment.  He attempted his first 9 times table minute and managed to get 12 of the 21 problems right so I was pretty happy.  He wasn't but I find the boys are often hard on themselves and expect more than I do.

     He played on the computer for a bit.  He worked on some spelling skills on Spellingcity.com using another school's 4th grade spelling word list. We finished putting his Guyana Report together and typed up the final two pages on Guyana's mining industry.  We used the index in each of his books to find sections about mining and read all that we could about Guyana's mining industry.  I had him dictate facts to me, in his own words, while I typed them up for him in a bulleted list.  He printed out a few mining pictures (I showed him what to do with the first picture and then left him to find the rest).  The only things we have left is to cut out some letters for his display board using the Cricut, get some dirt/ sand to set up a pretend mining site, and try to cook up some tasty foods from Guyana!  Then we'll be all set.  That may sound like quit a bit more work to do but we have almost a month in which to do it so I'm feeling really good.  Ian and I talked about breaking down any job down into manageable steps.  I told him many tasks can sound hard and intimidating (like writing a 10 page paper) but if you break it down into steps and keep working at it eventually the job gets done one small step at a time.  I work with him to do a lot of the steps now, at this age, to model how I think these jobs are best accomplished.  My hope is that by high school he'll be doing all these steps on his own.   
     Once school was done Ian went to play in his room and I offered to watch the National Treasure movies with him.  He hadn't seen them yet and I thought they'd be very fun for him to watch.  I also like that these movies pack a lot of history into them along with the great story line of looking for treasure with all the adventure that entails.  Movies that are both entertaining, engaging and educational are the best!  We only ended up watching the first video since he wanted to go play outside.  While wet and messy out the sleet and snow had stopped and he was anxious to dig in the dirt. 
     Alec was feeling better and wanted to play a few games on the computer.  I let him play whatever he wanted; educational or not.  Evan also wanted a turn but since we only have one computer he had to wait.  While waiting I had him read me today's book and we counted to 100 by 10's and by 5's.  He had no trouble counting by 10's at all but he still stumbles a bit when counting by 5's so we'll keep working on that.  He still had some time to wait and he watched me work on the jigsaw puzzle for a bit and then he pitched in and helped out. He put in several pieces while working upside down!  It was a 750 piece puzzle so the pieces were small and the detailed images made it pretty difficult.  He constantly told me how hard it was but he kept working at it and he was so proud of himself every time he found a piece that fit. 
    Evan played on the computer while Alec decided to lay back down on the couch while playing his DS.  He was playing his Pokémon game and unlocked a secret mystery language.  He got a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote down the code so he wouldn't forget.  I love when something that I really can't stand-- like Pokémon video games prompt my kids to work on skills they can't stand-- like handwriting!  Writing and reading coded languages is one of Alec's favorite things to do and the fact that it helped him in his Pokémon game made it all the better. 

    We ended our day with a trip to the store and the library.  Alec was feeling better and I really needed to run and get him some more medicine and drop off all the books and movies that were due back at the library.  We picked  up new books and the next book in our book on CD series-- Son of Neptune.  "Oh Neptune, that's the god of the sea!  I wonder what he has to do with the story." That was Alec's exclamation.... I looked at him strangely and asked how he knew Neptune was the god of the sea (I did not even know that until I read the description!).  He wasn't entirely sure but thought he read about him in another book; "Maybe in the Jack and Annie books?" (that's how Alec refers to the Magic Tree House series).   He continually amazes me with his ability to remember facts and relate them to one another in patterns and links that mean so much to him.  He's the quintessential life learner! 

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