Wednesday, May 7, 2014

All the subjects again today!

    We spent a lazy morning watching TV and playing video games.  Ian and I watched a few new episodes of Highway Thru Hell and watched the wreckers pulling out big rigs and learning a bit about avalanches and controlled release of avalanches.  In the back of my head I was trying to decide what we should do today.  Since the older two boys did some extra math work yesterday, I knew it was unlikely they'd want to work on any today unless I could find a fun way to sneak some in.   Days like today, I wish we had multiple computers.  We have so many new, fun, and educational websites and games that we've stumbled upon these past few days and they'd all willingly play games but oftentimes the arguing and the bickering as they each wait very impatiently for their turn makes it counter productive for me to assign them computer work.  We all end up frustrated and annoyed.  I thought I'd try to let them each have some time on the computer while occupying the others, but that doesn't always work out so well. 
     And honestly, today was no different.  I was yelling before we even started school, before they even had any idea what we had planned for the day, before I even knew it.  As soon as I asked them to turn of screens and start school I got sighs, arguments and all sorts of whining.  I told them that screens were no longer allowed on school mornings for the rest of the week since this was the second day in a row that it became a battle to start school.  I always spend the week after a vacation wondering why on Earth we even take a break; it's so much harder to get back into a routine and it makes things more stressful.  I'm much happier taking a random day off here and there rather than a whole week all at once.  But it's to late to change anything now and so we must just deal with what is and move on. 
      I had the older boys practice their flash cards and take their math minute.  Alec passed his 8 times tables and now both boys are onto their last test-- the 12 times table!  Once they were done I set Ian up on the computer playing Kahn Academy and suggested that Alec play with our new colored tiles while Evan and I read Lots of Spots together.  He did great with this new book and found it much easier than P is for Pancake.  Once he was done reading I took a new puzzle we had and wrote sight words on each of the puzzle piece and again on the puzzle board so all he had to do was match the sight words to put the puzzle together.  I thought it would be a fun way for him to practice sight words since all my boys enjoy puzzles.  It ended up being a reading and geography practice in one.  He pointed out many of  the landmarks pictured on the map and told me what country they were found in.  By the time he was finishing up Alec had joined him.  They also pulled out our new United States map puzzle and put that together too. 




     By the time the younger boys finished up their puzzles Ian was done on the computer and it was Alec's turn.  The boys were all talking about playing The Scrambled States of America game and I had Ian set it up while Alec and I worked on the computer.  He also worked on Kahn Academy and practiced telling time, adding three digit numbers with regrouping (which he easily did in his head!), some work with area, and identifying fractions. 
    We started playing The Scrambled States of America game but after the third argument and the first set of tears I walked away from the table.  I had no problem if they wanted to continue playing but I no longer wanted to play ref. and listen to their squabbles.  They ended up playing so much better when I was gone!  They got along and Evan was thrilled when he won-- all by himself without any help! 

     Afraid a re-match would mean his loss, Evan chose to work on the computer after the game ended and we played on ABCya matching upper case and lower case letters and practicing addition.  While he was working on the computer his two older brothers were writing.  Ian chose to copy a Shel Silverstein poem while Alec wanted to work on his cursive and practiced the letters L and M.  Alec finished quickly and watched over Evan's shoulder as he finished up his math game.  Alec then wanted to take a turn and played for a bit until I asked them if they were ready to hear some more Harry Potter.  We read another two chapters and we're only three chapters away from finishing so it's getting really good now! While I read Ian played with the math tiles I had put out on the table this morning.  He made a town with a lake, forest and city. 


      The boys made their own lunch again today with Ian heating up his leftovers from yesterday and Alec making some more pita chips.  Evan asked for my help in making macaroni and cheese.  He wanted to learn how to make it so I walked him through step by step and took over some of the more harder parts (like pouring out the boiling water).  While we sat to eat we watched Modern Marvels Architectural Wonders The Great Wall of China and learned so much!  Contrary to myth it is not visible from space, it is not one single great wall but many smaller walls, and it was not revered by Chinese until the Western world "discovered" it and started revering it themselves.  We learned about the horrible conditions of workers over the various years and the forced labor of many Chinese.  The movie was a bit to historical and dry for Evan, who chose to go and play instead but Alec (who's quite obsessed with learning about China and Japan) and Ian (who loves anything having to do with tools and building) were both glued to the movie.  I was impressed with their attention!
    I declared school "done" for the day and sent the boys outside to play.  They spent the afternoon riding bikes and scooters and paying Harry Potter/ Percy Jackson and other assorted games.   They found a bird's nest in the road and brought it over to show me.  They examined it to see what it was made out of, what size it was and what kind of bird might have used it.  We talked about how birds keep their nests in the trees and Alec decided to find a branch to put it back onto in case another bird would like to use it one day.  They played on our zip line a bit and then it was time to head out.

   Their second day of their Lego class went beautifully.  They had a great time and we were the last ones to leave.  Evan excitedly showed off his Grover (really it was a rover but he kept calling it a Grover and after a bit I decided it was just too cute to "fix").  The boys were quite reluctant to leave and talked animatedly about all that they had built and done.  We found that the teacher was also homeschooled and the boys thought that was just great. 


Evan's Grover

   

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