Thursday, April 3, 2014

Frog watch!

   Evan read another book to me and worked on putting our United States puzzle together all by himself.  He refused anyone's help and I was pretty impressed to see how many states he was able to recognize. He also read a few of the names to me and repeated every state name and capital after the robotic puzzle voice.
   Ian did another page in his math workbook and we finished watching the second National Treasure movie together.  He knew the man that was shot in the theatre was Abe Lincoln, before the movie told him that.  He also learned a bit about Mount Rushmore, the white house and Buckingham palace. 
    We listened to some more of The Lost Hero and I'm continually impressed with Evan, in particular.  While all the boys follow along and enjoy the story I do worry that we often listen to books that are above Evan's comprehension level; well, I know that is not the case with this story because he often makes excited predictions about what's about to happen. He's usually right too!
    At the grocery store Ian and I each grabbed a carriage and set to work filling them.  I put Evan in charge of our list and asked Alec to help him.  I would call out what I was picking up and he would ask Alec if he had found the right word or not.  If he made a mistake we'd ask him to think about what letter it starts with and often I'd give him a hint as to where on the paper it was written.  Ian is at the age where I can tell him a few things I need and he'll go pick them up with his cart so we finish groceries just a bit sooner than I would otherwise. 
    Once home all the boys went outside to play for quite a while then they made themselves breakfast (or snack), and played a board game together.  They played a game called Amazon that Alec had gotten for last year's geography fair.  It's a very basic game to play but they just love it.  The stakes were high as the winner got to pick the next activity.  They worked so cooperatively to play the game, clean up the game (and the kitchen) and then all worked out a pitcher, a catcher and a batter and headed out to play wiffle ball.  Together!  Without fighting or yelling and no one even ended up in tears or anything!  It was genuine progress! 

    We decided we were going to skip traditional school work today and head out on a hike as soon as the cakes I was baking were done cooking.  Unfortunately, the heating element on the oven blew and the cakes never cooked!  After realizing this, and running to a neighbor's house to cook the cakes, I also realized I needed some more frosting colors to decorate the cake and a box to transport the cake to the party.  So once we finished lunch we all piled into the car and headed to the craft store.  On the way we decided to stop and have our nature hike.  It was just too important not to.

     We spent an hour and half in the woods.  We had a blast!  We saw and heard TONS of frogs today.  Stopping by many ponds and vernal pools to watch and listen.  We observed trees, the flow of water, the difference in the forest at this time of year compared to late spring, summer and even fall and winter.  We were shocked to discover that the road we walked on just a few weeks ago was completely underwater.  Much of the trails and the place was underwater due to all the snow melt and rain we've been having.  The boys stopped to pet a few dogs and one owner even offered to show the boys how to give the dog a treat and then let them try.  Alec wouldn't get anywhere near close to any of the dogs we saw but admired from a far while Evan and Ian jumped at the chance to meet new animals. 
       We examined a flattened snake and had so many great discussions; mostly about science!  Alec started asking about the past ice age and how long it lasted, how ice ages start, if that's why we have a cold climate now, and on and on.  Ian joined in with asking questions too and I did my best to answer them or steer them toward coming up with their own answers.  We talked about dissecting frogs and a virtual program I found on-line that lets you see inside a frog's body.  We talked about why people dissect frogs, fish, cats, and other animals as well as why doctors study cadavers.  The boys then went onto a lengthy discussion about surgeries and how people don't bleed to death.  We talked about the heart, what it looks like, how it works, and debated whether or not we could find a video or game about it.  It was great!  I love all the constant questions they have about the world around them and see such signs of budding scientists! 
pointing out frogs to one another

we noticed a lot of tree rot and downed trees

we noticed the way the grass was lying; as if water
had passed by/over it recently

a few trees grown into one giant tree

An injured frog Ian rescued and put back in the pond

this little guy kept trying to hop onto the ice

he made it!

Frogs kind of hop/flop on the ice and snow; not very graceful!

Alec pointed out that this tree is growing on TOP of the rock

inspecting a dead snake

Look at all the water!  Every single other trail was blocked by water. 

       Once home we headed back outside and spent the rest of our evening playing wiffle ball, riding bikes and scooters, and playing.  It was so warm out that the boys were even taking off their socks and shoes.  They were filthy and they were having a ball! 

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