Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Can we call it a day?

   With Alec having a mid- morning dentist appointment I knew we weren't going to be getting a whole lot of anything done today.  I had lots of ideas in my head but, again seemed to have trouble focusing and deciding what to do with the boys.  I have made the mistake of following so many bloggers and boards and homeschooling site that I have an over abundance of ideas.  I keep looking at so many nice curriculum materials and thinking about next year but I hesitate to buy anything for fear that we won't use any of it.  In my heart I am unschooler who is just waiting for her kids to take the reigns.  I'm so bad with keeping things structured; mainly because my boys don't seem to thrive that way.  That's too bad too because I KNOW I would!  I love structure!! I love routing and I love order.  They don't.  They're carefree boys and they like to be continually surprised and excited.  Unless they don't like what like I've planned and then they complain.  I wanted them that  excitement was not in the cards for today.  I needed quick and I needed easy so I could mentally check school off of my checklist for the day and let them go play and have fun (in other words-- unschool!).
    While I was walking around thinking of what we should do for today Ian was busy playing with our magnetic blocks again this morning.  He disassembled yesterday's house and rearranged the blocks to make a giant space ship complete with docking station and landing pad.  It only took him minutes to have the whole thing completed.  He just amazes me with his creativity and his building skills.  The kid who will give up on any worksheet within seconds of receiving it  (& who gets so overwhelmed with making mistakes) will think nothing of trying a million times to get a building just right even if a part of it keeps collapsing.  It's great to see him build his confidence and persevere though.  His space ship was quite impressive and I told him so.  I don't think I could have come up with anything like that! 

    They sat down to eat breakfast and watched a bit more of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1.  I'm fearful this is going to be a bit too scary for Alec and Evan but so far they seem OK with it.  I am so glad they're all open to listening to the series though since, in my opinion anyway, the books are always better.  Once breakfast was over and they were all dressed and ready for the day we started our school work.
    Ian wanted to take his math minute first and he was so bummed that he was just 2 problems away from completing all of his multiplication facts.  It was made even worse by the fact that after just two days Alec did complete his 12 times tables and has finished all of his facts.  He was so excited and proud of himself.  He had  been several tables behind Ian when he discovered that saying the facts out loud to me worked much better for him than writing them down.  He has started saying them all out loud to me each day and caught right up-- a point he was gleefully pointing out to Ian in his innocence and enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, that just made Ian feel even worse.  I tried to cheer Ian up by reminding him that he's only 2 questions away and is sure to have them done by the end of the week so we'll get to wrap our day on Friday with our ice cream sundae party!  That made him smile.  Now I just hope and pray he can get them finished by Friday or else I'm going to have a few very sad boys on my hands.  The older boys went on to work in their math workbooks rather than play another game today.  Ian chose to work on a page that multiplied and divided by 10 using decimal points while Alec chose 4 pages working with the 2-10 times tables.  Alec really wanted to work ahead and not have any math work for the rest of the week.  While both boys completed all pages in record time and didn't get anything wrong I did wonder if Ian was really learning the material or just regurgitating what the page showed him to do.  I don't think he understands WHY the decimal point moves when multiplying or dividing with 10 but he quickly caught onto the fact that in order to get the right answer that's all you need to do.  I was reminded of why I don't really like worksheets as I watched him working and debated if he was learning anything or not.  Is he really going to remember that's all he did the next time he has to multiply or divide by 10?  I don't know and I told him my concerns.  He shrugged, told me it was easy and he thinks he'll remember it or else he'll just write it down next time so he doesn't forget.  I guess if he's not worried I wont either. 
     While they were working on math, Evan and I were playing sight word Bang! and he did great with the words.  He has so much fun with this really simple game.  Of course it doesn't hurt that I almost always loose and get three Bangs first.  Today I managed to find all three Bang! cards before he even found one!  I think this batch of sight words is finally sinking in!  I've noticed  his attention to words and letters growing lately.  He walked up to me beaming with pride on Mother's day and told me that his life jacket was purchased at Bass Pro Shops since it has those words written inside.  He then showed me where the words were and reminded me that "those aren't even sight words mom!"  He reminded us all again today that he was able to read those words.  I think that pride and  determination to read other environmental print is really going to help him make reading click-- and hopefully soon.  He's working so hard and doing really well but he knows he can't really read well on his own yet though I keep encouraging him to try.  We also read another book called I'm Not Afraid of Anything.  We sounded out the title together and took a picture walk.  He then read through the entire book and I told him he could put it up in his room since he didn't have any difficulty with this one.  Once we were done reading we started to play Add A Bug together for his math practice.  We have long since gotten rid of the 1,2,3 dice that came with the game and we play with regular dice.  We also make up rules as we go along; like deciding when to end the game.   He did a great job adding up every roll of the dice and also with reading every square he landed on.  He wasn't even upset when he lost 15-0; he just shrugged him shoulders and said "oh well, at least the game is over."  Apparently as much as he wanted to play, it must not have been as much fun as he remembered. 
   Our game was interrupted by a phone call from my husband and after several reminders to keep it down while I was on the phone I ended up yelling at all the boys and sent them outside.  They ended up playing together until it was time to leave.  I could have called them back inside when I was done on the phone but they were having so much fun together and I love to see them soaking up the fresh air and sunshine.  They dug in the sand, laid on our dock and watched the fish swimming by, they played Heroes of Olympus, Harry Potter, X-men and more. 
    They were all so well behaved at the dentist that I had to give them a special treat.  I seriously had to; I was complimented multiple times by several people about how well behaved they all were!  When I told the boys they deserved a treat they all clamored for McDonalds and as much as I loathe the place my pocket book agreed it was the best treat that it could afford.  We had a nice lunch and then headed shopping since they were all invited to a birthday party this weekend.  The boys kept thanking me for taking them out to lunch and I reminded them that it was well deserved for their excellent behavior.  Ian put it very succinctly; "see mom, when you let us play screens we're occupied and that makes us well behaved."  They had been playing Scribblenaughts and Minecraft the whole time.  I'm  not sure how Evan managed to play Scribblenaughts on his own the entire time I was with Alec getting his teeth cleaned but he did.  Ian showed me the bridge and building he's working on building and we talked a bit about how he's going to modify his next attempt at the Argo II ship he wants to build. 
     We were in the store for a good 30 minutes while all the boys compared toys and debated about which were the best choices for their friend, which were the best value for the money we spent, and which ones they'd like the most if it was their birthday.  They finally compromised on what to buy and they all left happy.  We headed home and Ian excitedly took his new remote control Jet Ski outside to play with in the lake.  He bought it with his own money while we were at the store and he was anxious to see how well it would work.  He had to stand on shore since it is quite chilly & cloudy today. 


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