Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wow! That just about covers it!

    Up early, I was busy getting things ready for school.  While I had no definite plan, I had some ideas of what I wanted to do with the boys today.   As the boys started waking one by one I had already placed some things around the room.  Evan immediately sat down and started sorting frogs by color.  I had found a few totes of teaching items I had stored in our garage and came across a few great games; Like this Frog/Math game.  I had planned to use it for Evan for math today but put it out with some of the activity cards for them to play with on their own if they wanted.  The boys all seemed drawn to the colorful frogs and I spotted each of them playing with them at one point or another sorting frogs by color or by species, lining them up, counting them to make sure they had them all, staging battles, etc.  At one point Alec and Evan had a complicated game going with the frogs, the fraction tiles and some boxes and paper.  I wasn't entirely sure what they were doing but they played so nicely with one another. 


     While waiting for his breakfast to cook, Alec started reading his new Zoobooks magazine and told us all about rattlesnakes and the new facts he was learning.  They also watched an episode of Wild Kratts and learned about wolf pups.  They are all quite knowledgeable about lots of animals.  I love when they learn science on their own but I had a different agenda for science this week---  human reproduction.  I'm honest enough to admit I have been dreading this-- for months!  I have put off answering their questions about babies and where they come from and how they come out, etc. because it makes me extremely squeamish and understandably uncomfortable.  If you're one of those moms who is totally at ease talking to her kids bout sex and babies and bodies-- I envy you!   I know it's supposed to be beautiful, I know it's a normal & natural fact of life, but honestly I've always thought if it as being quite icky.  Obviously they aren't ready to watch any videos on natural childbirth (I still wish I had not watched a video during childbirth classes!) but I do want to get scientific enough that they understand the sperm meets the egg and a baby grows, where sperm grows, where eggs are produced, and other necessary basics.  I have tons of children's books and can't stand even the simple pictures found within.  I have no desire to look at a uterus "from the inside" or see the inner working of the testes...  what can I say? I'm a wuss!  I hate anything having to do with blood/ internal organs and the working of the body; even with three boys and LOTS of exposure to blood, vomit, poop, etc. anything having to do with bodily fluids still makes me quite nauseous.   I have NO idea how to approach this with my boys but I know I must.  In fact the more I've started reading and researching I really wished I had approached all of this YEARS ago.  We should have talked about it from the time they became big brothers; young kinds are innocent and scientific and read no more into anything than what we say.  For them it would have just been a fact of life, but now they're older and I know that their questions are going to be much more uncomfortable for me to answer.  I also fear that with such an age span it's going to be hard to give each boy the information they want to know without giving them too much information.  I could obsess about this for many more months and years but I've decided it can not be put off any longer.  The older they get the harder this will be and I want them to feel comfortable talking about anything and everything with me.
      Armed with lots of books, a movie and some vague idea of what I wanted to accomplish we plunged right in.  I reminded them of all the questions they've asked me in the past year(s) and asked them if they had any idea or answers of their own.  Image my surprise when they all told me they hadn't been asking any questions.  So I tried to remind them... "must have been (and they all named a different brother)."  I shrugged and said it was still something we might as well cover.  My heart melted a little and I questioned my resolve to do this when my 10 year old informed me he KNEW where babies come from... it's when mom and dad kiss!  How sweet is that?!  I love that they all still have this innocence to them and I kind of hated to ruin it.  I reminded them that, like anything else having to do with our bodies, this is private.  I don't want to hear them talking to any friends or peers about it,  I don't want them "educating" others about what they learn.  We talked about animal babies, mammal babies, babies that hatch from eggs, those that grow inside their mothers, etc.  They knew that you need a male and female, an egg (that grows inside or outside the body), and love in order to make a baby.  They each asked about what it was like when I was pregnant with them, what they were like as babies, what their birth was like, etc.  They asked where in the mom's body a baby grows, how long it grows for and what happens if babies are born before or after that amount of time.   Once our talk was winding down I decided to plunge right in with the movie Where Did I Come From?  I had ordered this through our library and had already read the book to myself this morning so I knew what to expect (plus I read ALL the comments on Amazon so I was prepared for how explicit it was).  I can't say it was the perfect movie-- sometimes I thought they used a bit more detail than I would have liked and other times  I thought I would have preferred for them to use a bit more detail but overall I thought it did a pretty good job explaining it in an upbeat kid friendly sort of way.  The younger boys, in particular, kept giggling over different jokes and animations that helped relieve the tension I was feeling.  No one had any questions when the movie was over and they all seemed pretty happy with whatever they had learned.  I'm thinking Ian may have questions later on as he was pretty quiet during the whole thing but I also know he's a pretty shy and easily embarrassed kid and it may be months before he's every willing to voice what he's thinking.  I'm fine with that and am thinking I'll probably let this discussion drop for now and not pursue this for the next week as I originally planned.  They seem quite content with what they now know and I don't want to overwhelm them with too much information at once.  I'll wait until they ask a few more questions before delving in further.   I'll probably just start a lesson on our bodies instead since we've never really talked about all the part of it before and what they all do/ how they work.  I  have some pretty neat lung, muscle, blood, and bone crafts and experiments we can do. 
great book and resources for "the birds and the bees" talk

     We  headed downstairs and started working on math.  Each of the boys worked on their math minute and got 16/21 questions in their 8 and 12 times tables.  I know they were disappointed but I thought that was pretty good since we skipped them altogether last week.  I then had Ian work with our fraction tiles and write down equivalent fractions for 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4.  While he was doing that I asked Alec what he remembered about reading an analog clock.  He remembered quite a bit and we reviewed rather quickly.  I had found a clock lotto game in my bin of teaching supplies too and knowing Alec had not yet learning this skill I thought it would be something good to practice this week.  He did great!  He picked up on it in no time and we played a game together.  He followed up the game with two clock pages in his math book and then went on to do an extra page about bar graphs and tally marks.  He walked away smiling that he didn't have to do any math until Friday.  Ian had finished up with his equivalent fractions work and I pulled out a page in his workbook for him to work on further with the same skill.  I kept the fraction tiles on the table for him to work with as needed and helped him anytime a fraction dealt with larger numbers that we didn't have.  He really seemed to be getting the hang of it by the time we finished up the page together.  He then went on to do a page about elapsed time (which I've never taught him at all!). 

Our clock bingo/lotto game

   Evan, meanwhile, was getting bored and complaining that I wasn't working with him so seeing that the older boys were finishing up their work I joined Evan in the playroom and we sat down to read the book he picked out for today. We had not yet finished reading P is for Pancakes and I thought that after a week long break he may have extreme difficulty with it again.  But, while I can't say his reading was very fluent, he did read pretty well and remembered some rather long complex words.  I asked him when he was done if he'd like to re-read it yet again tomorrow for school or if he'd like to put it in his bin in his room to read by himself at bedtime.  He felt confident enough to bring it upstairs.  We then sat down to work on a bit of math.  Using the frogs and a few of the activity cards inside we counted by two's, added frogs, placed frogs in front of/ beside// behind other frogs, he listened and followed directions, worked on patterns, and even a bit of very basic multiplication. 

   I let all the boys play for a bit and then settled down to read the next two chapters in Harry Potter.  By the time we finished it was past lunch time.  The boys were starving and they all wanted me to cook something different for lunch.  I put them all to work making their own lunches (with a little bit of help from me; but not much!).  Evan made a grilled cheese sandwich.  He's been practicing using a frying pan and a spatula ever since he made himself a cheeseburger over the weekend.  I helped him assemble all the ingredients and let him spread the butter on the bread.  He thought it was so silly that we put the bread butter side out but when I explained that it helps it not stick to the pan he understood.  While he was cooking his grilled cheese Ian was making a box of macaroni and cheese.  We've made it together before so he only had to refer to the directions a few times and was pretty much able to do it all by himself.  Alec cut up some pita bread and made himself some pita chips.  They all assembled their whole plate of food-- Evan had grilled cheese, goldfish crackers and applesauce while Ian had salad with his macaroni and cheese and Alec settled on pita chips, hummus, strawberries, fruit snacks and a granola bar.  They all looked pretty proud of themselves when they sat down for lunch and Evan told me that if he keeps cooking like this he might just cook dinner every night.  I thought that sounded pretty good myself!

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    During (and after) lunch we watched The Little Travelers; Japan. It's a series of non- fiction movies that I had heard about through a homeschooling with Netflix group (though we do not have Netflix I find this an invaluable source for educational movies us all a lot of the Travel with Kids series that the boys just loved.  As soon as the hour long movie was over the boys begged me to see if I could request the next movie-- Bali from our library.   We learned a lot about various regions of Japan as we followed these two little sisters on their 3 month long adventure of living in Japan.  We saw calligraphy, origami, lots of temples & gardens, the cherry blossoms, parades, and authentic foods.  We learned about etiquette practices, traditions and past times throughout Japan.  It was wonderful!  The boys even practiced exiting a room without turning their back on anyone. 


  1. We are reading "It's not the stork" now. They of course laugh through the entire part about pooping. One thing I've done for nate in the past and I remember doing in school is tracing his whole body onto a huge piece of paper. Then have cut outs of all the organs, and have him glue them onto his body.

    1. I love that idea! I remember doing that in school myself and I did like that project.