I'm such a sucker! I took my kids "screens" away before school a few days ago and told them they can't have them back for quite a while since they have such a hard time turning them off and starting school for the day. That lasted all of one day since they all convinced me this morning that the screens they wanted to do were actually school. I resisted at first but eventually caved. It's rainy and cold and we're stuck inside again so why not, right? They watched the rest of Harry Potter and the Half- Blood Prince and Ian also worked on the Kindle finishing up some more of Leo's ship. I ended up caving in because they're right-- this IS school! We're reading Harry Potter and comparing the movies to the books. We're reading the Heroes of Olympus and Ian is doing a follow up project to his reading; recreating the ship he heard described in the story in a virtual world using creativity and problem solving. I caved because I was proud and happy that they're so interested in what we've been studying that they want to immerse themselves in these fictional worlds. What better way to foster a love of reading, books and stories than to let them eat, sleep, and breathe it all day long? They pretend to be Harry and all the assorted characters that go along with the book in their everyday play. It's not unusual to hear them making up spells, talking about curses and counter curses. It's not unusual to hear them talking of being Percy Jackson or any of those assorted character eithers. It's led to talk of all sorts of mythical creatures and we even read a non-fiction book about the history of gargoyles the other night because Evan is so interested in gargoyles, griffins, and things like that and requested we read that book at bedtime.
Ian finished up his Argo II ship; complete with gold dragon head and all. It was amazing! And then accidentally set fire to the boat when he tried to put fire in each of the fireplaces. He learned the hard way how quickly fire spreads and he used both water and bricks to try and stop the fire but he just could not get it under control quickly enough. He was a bit sad and dejected when the whole ship burned up but he was determined to rebuild it-- bigger and better.
I had pulled out a box of Base 10 cubes and units this morning; just strewing to see what they'd do with it. Not surprisingly, they used them much like they would use building blocks. They built houses, pyramids and larger blocks of cubes. Ian made a three story house at one point and then had a lot of fun demolishing it. They stacked the 100's to make another thousand cube and compared the height and length to see if they were the same.
The younger boys really wanted to listen to more of the Mark of Athena and wanted to know if they could just go sit in the car and listen to the story. I explained that listening to the radio without the car running will ruin my battery and that we can't turn the car on while it's the garage because it could kill us with fumes. Ian took the chance to jump on the opportunity to take a road trip. He got a gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops for his birthday and has been wanting to go to the store to spend it. He set aside some cash he made and has a list of ideas of things he'd like to look for. He finally convinced the younger boys it would be fun and that we could stop and see all the animals (both live and stuffed) while we were there so the next thing I knew they were packing lunches and I was looking up directions.
Though horribly dark and rainy skies persisted all day long we still had a great time. We listened to two more complete disks in our story and we're 2/3 of the way through the story. We've had a few questions crop up here and there but I love that usually one of the other boys can answer whomever has the question. We watched the fish in the tank and tried to identify them using the sign posted nearby. We checked out the turtles and watched them for quite some time. The boys thought it was so funny when one of the turtles slowly climbed right up and over another turtle. Ian went through the store looking for the items on his list keeping a running tab in his head to make sure he didn't go over his budget. They talked to fellow shoppers about lures and fishing and which lures work the best for which fish. When it came time to check out I let Ian go through the line by himself and handle his own transaction.
Once home the younger two boys spent the afternoon playing Harry Potter. I kept hearing yells of "Expectopratonum" and "Alohamora." I even had to laugh when I heard Alec say "I solemnly swear I am up to no good." They had so much fun playing and inventing different scenarios together. They're anxious for me to read more of the book to them so they can learn more spells. They came to me a few times and asked me if I remembered a certain spell and in dire cases made up their own!
While they were busy playing Ian was busy cleaning. He told me he needed to clean through and organize his Lego bins again. He wanted to separate each Lego piece by it's use (one bin for wheels, another bin for two piece bricks, a separate bin for one piece bricks, etc.). We had to readjust our categories every once in a while and his room definitely looks more messy now as often happens when you're in the midst of cleaning and organizing but he has some good ideas and he's determined to get everything sorted just right so it will be easier to find them. \
It was a great learning day even though we didn't do any school; and really those are the days I like best!