Thursday, May 1, 2014

A real day off with nothing to do.

   We spent a lazy morning in bed and hanging around in our pajamas yesterday.  My younger two boys had a sleepover the previous night and were up early ready to play (though they wanted to stay in Evan's room).  They brought out all their stuffed animals and staged battles, brought up their Nintendo DS games to play side by side and just hung out together.  Ian asked me to come lay in his bed with him and watch some more Harry Potter and Evan eventually joined us.  We had no plans to go anywhere and it was nice to know that we had nothing pressing going on; no school, no plans, no schedule.  We eventually migrated downstairs and watched the rest of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during breakfast.  While we were watching, I stumbled upon a great field trip idea but once the movie was over and I showed the boys they vetoed the idea.  Don't get me wrong; they love the idea and told me they want to go there just not yet.  They told me that they all wanted a pajama day, a bit of time to visit their great grandmother and a lot of time to just play.  So that's what we did-- or rather what they did. 
   I spent a lot of time on-line; too much time!  I know because I'm back to looking at curriculum books and having a hard time remembering why I don't buy them. I stumbled upon what I thought would be a great writing series-- Draw, Write, Now.  I think ALEC in particular would love the added art instruction along with the copywork for handwriting (which I could easily make cursive sometimes to continue that as well-- he seems to hate his cursive books!).  Then I saw that they make a corresponding history series-- Draw and Write Through History.  There are so many time periods to chose from and with drawing lessons, writing blurbs and my uncanny knack to find corresponding books at the library it could be a really great history series for us.  But ultimately I'm left to question if we'd use it? Would the boys think it's as awesome as I do?  Would it be yet another book we've bought in a long line of homeschooling materials that just sits there collecting dust?  I don't know.  I do know if I keep adding books and curriculum we're going to loose all our fun hands- on discovery time we play with now but of course I'm always worried about if we're covering enough, if we're covering the "right" material, if my boys will be fully functioning by the time they want to go out into the world on their own (or to high school/ college; whenever they choose to stop homeschooling).  For now I've added the books to my wish list on Amazon and will keep them in the back of my mind as possible winter work.  With summer looming in front of us I don't like to buy anything.  Summer is our fun time with just a bit of school thrown in.  Winter is school time with a but of fun thrown in (though we'd love to be "fun" all year after a few weeks of being inside we need structured things to do).   So perhaps I've found our winter study units; we'll see. 
     It was nice to have this week off and reflect.  Looking back over our two year journey I have to say I see so many more benefits to homeschooling than I first started with.  One of my sister in laws was saying that by day two of their spring break her kids were fighting and bickering so much she couldn't wait for break to be over.  "They were bored!" she said-- and I'm sure they were!  Our kids are growing up so programmed to be entertained; we plan so much of their lives for them.  And while I had to concede that my boys do still bicker and fight I was happy to report that it happens much less frequently!  They have to get along; 80% of the time they're the only playmates they have!  As soon as my boys woke up yesterday morning they asked if they could have another sleepover that same night.  They love spending time together in these fits and spurts and do act as one another's best friends on occasion.  They're slowly getting a bit better at occupying their own time-- they played for over two hours while I was on the computer looking at curriculum, writing my blog, exercising, doing laundry, etc.  They build with Lego sets, play with blocks, use their imagination and enjoy their time "off" from school.  They're much more competent at home doing chores, making their own breakfast and lunch, and cleaning up after themselves.  They're more confident, outgoing and sure of themselves.  When people ask if we like homeschooling we're all quick to answer that we LOVE it & we do.  My husband and I yell much less, the kids are happier than they've ever been, and as a family we seem to be such a stronger unit. 
Ian build a whole marina on this rainy morning

    We spent the whole afternoon at my grandmother's house visiting with her, playing with her cat and building such wonderful bonds with yet another generation.  The boys were mindful of the time though since they did not want to be late for their Lego class that they were taking.  Ian got a watch for his birthday over this past weekend and he has become a master at telling time (overnight-- I swear!).  He gives me updates all day long on what time it is; he tells me the time on his watch and compares it to the digital clocks around us letting me know how much they're off.  He put himself in charge of being on time for Lego class and gave me hourly and quarterly updates on the time.                
       Unfortunately, I think the boys were very disappointed in their Lego class, Evan in particular as he was so thankful to be picked up when it was over.  They've gotten quite spoiled with their summer Lego camp and were bummed to find that this class did not have any gears, motors or ways to make the Lego sets more interesting "all we did was just build with Lego pieces; that's it!  I could have done that at home."  Well, he wasn't wrong.  Luckily, I had taken a trip to the library while they were at class and our new book on CD came in so the boys were practically running to the car.  We listened to the Mark of Athena on the way home and the boys were bummed it was such a short ride.  I had picked out a ton of new books while trying to wait for their class to be over.  Some books are for us to read altogether as part of school next week-- I found a lot of historical picture books and historical fiction books for us to read, but some of the book were meant for each individual boy.  I was happy to find two more books on mining for gold for Ian, a few animal books for Alec, and a few easy reading books for Evan too.  I love that they get to eager to see what I've picked out for them! 

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