Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fighting over math!

    It's not what you think!  My boys are fighting over who gets to play this new math game I downloaded onto my Kindle this weekend.  It's called 2048 and you have to combine sets of like numbers to get to 2048.  It's seriously addicting and I love that they're learning/ reinforcing math skills as they play and strategize. 

    Obviously, that's not all we did for math yesterday but I can't discount the hours (and yes they played for a few hours combined; we had hair cuts last night and they played in the car, at the hair dressers and even while they were getting their hair cut!) that they spent playing.  Ian did work on a few pages in his math book and I warned him that all the "easy" pages are quickly getting finished up  and I'm going to have to actually start teaching him lessons before he works on his math pages.  He looked daunted by that but I reminded him that it's a fifth grade book and if he could go through the whole thing independently without needed any help at all then he probably wasn't learning anything anyway.  The older boys also took their multiplication minutes and were each only 3 or 4 away from passing.  I pulled out our geobards and elastics and the boys played with those for a bit.  Alec developed a 4 grid tic tac toe board and we tried playing a few rounds.  Evan worked on making triangles of all different sizes and shapes.  He also made diamonds, squares, and lines with the elastics.  He was playing later on and counted by two's up to 16.  We learned the other night that he's very comfortable with applying math vocabulary to everyday situations when he informed us that putting peanut butter cups all around the cake was a great way to "line the perimeter."  Throughout the day as we talk and play he constantly asks us little math equations like what's 3-2 or what's 4+4 and stuff like that. 

He just couldn't put it down!


       Evan and I played sight word Bang! again and he cheered when I brought the container out of the cabinet.  We played until someone got three bangs and for once, I won.  After playing he re- read his book The Pizza that Pete Made to me and he didn't even make any mistakes.  It amazes me how quickly he's able to remember these stories. Words he can't recognize as sight words when we play games barely give him pause when we're reading them in a story! 
      While Evan and I were working together on his reading skills the older two boys each worked on a page in their dreaded cursive books.  Ian entertained us with a few of the jokes from his workbook, but they definitely grumbled and complained while working.  I reminded them that their cursive books count toward writing too since they're basically doing copywork.  They're learning punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure as well as learning how to string letters together to make words.  Besides, other than their math page it's the only thing I had planned for them to do today so I didn't feel like a totally awful mom for making them practice their cursive. 
     We ran a taste testing lab for science today-- the boys each got a handful of Jelly Belly jellybeans and we tried smelling them, tasting them, and identifying the flavors.  The boys have never had these kinds of jelly beans and it was funny to see their reactions to some of them.  We compared the taste of the jelly beans to our memories of the actual foods and agreed that in most cases we prefer the actual food.  They tried combining flavors like it said to on the bag and found that most "recipes" were a bit deceiving.  Alec argued that two blueberry and a buttered popcorn in now way tasted like blueberry muffins.  They ended up spitting out a lot of the jelly beans into the garbage bag and drank an awful lot of water so I can't say they love Jelly Belly jellybeans, but it was a fun lesson on using our taste buds.  (OK-- yes I know this is just having a snack but I love that I can take ANYTHING we do during a day and find a way to apply it to education!).
still playing even during "science."

     Ian started making his Guyanese fudge today and discovered that fudge is HARD to make.  "It takes FOREVER!" was the constant complaint I heard.  I had warned him several times that he did not pick an easy snack, but even I was unprepared for just how long it took to make fudge.  Well over an hour into it and we still had liquid.  It took almost a full three hours before we had fudge.  The poor kid was on the verge of tears since it was such a nice day out and all the boys really wanted to go work on our fort.  I hated to be a mean mom but we are required to have a snack to bring with us and there's no way to put fudge on hold for later.  I offered to take over stirring but that was about all I could do to help it along.  They all agreed it tasted really good when it was done and we definitely learned what all the different stages of fudge look like and why fudge is called a labor of love. 

    While waiting for the fudge to finish I had the boys eat some lunch and we watched Valiant, a cute cartoon movie about a squadron of carrier pigeons working to help the allied forces during World War II.  We saw mock commercials that were reminiscent of recruiting commericals during the same time period.  We saw Big Ben, heard air raid sirens, learned about spies and even learned that medals were given out to dogs, cats and pigeons for real after the war. 
    We spent the afternoon outside working on our fort.  We started out in the woods, but within minutes someone scraped their leg and we had to walk all the way back to the house without a single stick.  It seemed like such a waste to me so I encouraged the boys to look around the small patches of trees we have around our yard to see what we could use that might already be on the ground. We actually found quite a few and made the walls a bit higher.  We also worked on filling in the corner of the fort since it was looking pretty wimpy and see thru.  We compared today's photos with yesterday's "starting" photo and were pretty impressed with our progress. 
Inside the fort

outside looking in

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