Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pioneering and parenting questions

      The boys were eager to head outside yesterday morning.  We started making a fort over the weekend and the boys were real eager to get to work.  My husband spent his Easter Sunday afternoon working with two of the boys to put in some posts to hold up our fort walls.  We then cut some skinny trees/ branches and wove them in between our posts; basket style.  Since we need branches that are skinny enough to be flexible and bend it is pretty slow going but the boys are willing to work for this.  We spent hours this morning trekking into the woods with our wheelbarrow and scouting around for sticks and trees.  Ian used a machete to cut down skinny trees and the two younger boys used knives, machetes, and clippers to trim the branches off the skinny tree trunks.  It was slow going and I was so nervous the whole time!  I want my boys to be confident in using tools but I hate being the one watching them using the tools.  I always envision a thousand different ways in which they could hurt themselves or each other.  We felt like pioneers, going into the woods, finding what we needed and figuring out to hold everything together; how to trek it back to our fort, how to manage our time most effectively.   It was great!  They gained confidence with each swipe of the blade and I was thinking about our society and how overly cautious and safe we seem to becoming. I'm sure some of you are raising eyebrows at the fact that all three of my boys were using blades today (as I already stated it made me nervous!) but I also think that it's a real part of growing up to use real tools, teaching kids to respect the tools and what they can do, properly holding them and using them.  We start them young around here I guess and luckily we made it through the morning with only a few minor injuries (blisters, scrapes, etc.).  We managed to get two of the three walls a good 1/3 of the way done and then we decided to take a break.  Phew! Those pioneers must have been good sleepers since just a morning of labor was making us all tired. 
The posts are in!

cutting down saplings

The walls are started

Using a wheelbarrow while running

     We transferred our caterpillars from the cup they came in into the butterfly garden.  They are all in their chrysalises and should hatch into butterflies by next week.  The boys also played with their squirt guns they got for Easter as well as their B'Loonies.  They were trying really hard to blow the biggest bubbles they could and pinch off the bubble just right so that it didn't deflate.  They tried attaching the to the tables, their arms, and even other bubbles.  They tried to squirt their water guns the farthest, experimented what happened if they shot them over each other's heads, at the sand, water, and rocks, etc.  They watched an episode of Wild Kratts and told us all about birds at the dinner table.  What budding little scientists!
Our chrysalises make a smiley face!

Blowing a B'loonie

He got it to stick to his arm

    For math the boys spent a good portion of their morning playing with our new 100's chart that I got in this weekend.  It's a big plastic board with all the numbers on it & it came with matching number tiles as well as red and blue tiles that the boys can use to find and make patterns.  We counted by three's and covered them all with red, they counted by 10's (on their own while they were playing) and covered those with red tiles as well.  They were talking about the amount of poachers in various countries (facts they totally made up by the way) and covered up those numbers with blue tiles.  They talked/ negotiated prices for various toys and covered up those numbers with the colored tiles.  They needed money to set up animal preserves to save the animals from poachers.   I'm thinking this was mostly prompted by our trip to the movies to see Rio2 over the weekend, but I can't be sure.  The older boys also took their math minute tests and Ian worked on a page in his workbook working with multiples of 6,7, & 8. 
counting by three's

    Evan worked on a sight word Easter egg coloring page.  He read all the color words to me and a few of the sight words too.  We worked together to do the actual coloring since he doesn't really enjoy coloring.  I had him tell me what color to color each word and then I'd go ahead and fill in a small section for him.  We then sat down together and read a book.  He's in the level c books in his reader pack and since he still doesn't seem to retain a ton of the sight words I warned him these might be a bit tougher to read and we might have to come up with a different solution for reading for a while. He read through the story The Pizza That Pete Made pretty well with very few mistakes.  His fluency was very halting but I liked that he was actually looking at the words and trying to make the best guess for the sounds they make (when we got to the page where they were cooking the pizza he didn't say stove right away since he noticed it started with "o" when I made the "o" sound he said "oven!").   We'll re-read it again tomorrow and maybe we'll just spend a few days on each book instead of a new book each day.  We'll see how it goes.  I know he's making progress but it is slow going and I don't want to push him to do more.  He loves reading and listening to stories and I know one day the whole reading thing will just click for him and he'll take off with it.  In the meantime we'll work slow and steady at his own pace.

    I didn't make the older boys read as part of our schoolwork today because they have been reading a lot lately on their own.  I had pulled out a book I ordered for Ian called  The Body Book for Boys.  It's all about puberty and the changes his body will be going through.  I told him I had bought it in case he wanted to read anything or had any questions he was too embarrassed to ask us about.  We talked a bit about some of the changes he'll be going through in the next few years and that puberty lasts until age 17/18 so the changes are pretty gradual.  I could tell he was already getting embarrassed so I stopped the discussion there.  Later, I found Alec reading through the book and he set it aside rather guiltily when I walked into the room.  I know he has a few years yet before he has to worry about it but I assured him that if he wanted to read the book that was OK too.  They've all started asking all sorts of uncomfortable questions about where babies come from, how they get into and out of their moms bellies, what tampons and maxi pads are and what they're used for; all those sorts of wonderful questions that I just don't feel ready to answer.  But ready or not I guess I need to just dive in.  Anyone know of any great books/ stories for kids that explain about sex and babies?  All the books I've read about talking to your kids about sex recommend starting with story books that illustrate (in a PG kind of way) the body parts, how they are used, how the sperm gets to the egg, etc.,  but I can't seem to find any!  I remember my dad gave a pretty good book to my sister & I (not that I really appreciated that since I thought it was pretty icky and embarrassing at the time) but it illustrated and explained the point quite nicely without leaving a whole ton of questions and yet I can't seem to find any books that are straight and to the point. I want something fairly scientific and yet brief enough that we can read it in a sitting. Anyone know of any? 


  1. Hi! I am a homeschooling mom of 6 and I just happened across your blog today when I was looking for a boy template for a diorama one of my kiddos are making. Thanks! I read your most recent entry and I have a suggestion for you ~ God's Design For Sex Series -- there are 4 books. I have gotten them from the library and while I haven't used them for all my kiddos I have used them for a couple ~ if your library doesn't carry them you can buy them at the Christiabook.com * Blessings, E

  2. Thanks! I'll have to check those out.