Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Balancing summer fun and school work.

    The boys were beyond thrilled to be staying home today.  They were glad we didn't have plans to go anywhere but I warned them that if we were staying home we should probably get some schoolwork done.  SO, it wasn't all that surprising when they all disappeared on me.  They spent a good portion of the morning sitting in the car with their handheld devices playing video games.  I'm not entire sure why they chose to sit in the car and not in any of the other rooms of the house but they did.  It was very quiet so I didn't mind.  I took that quiet time to plan a few things for our day and ended up on Amazon looking at more curriculum supplies for next year.  I have no idea why I continue to be drawn in by workbooks, curriculum guides, and the like since we hardly ever use them.  I have become a bit more consistent with the boys this past year and, so far, we're actually sticking with our math workbooks that I bought the older boys.  I'm thinking we might actually finish them!  With Evan becoming a first grader this year I was thinking that perhaps I should buy him a math workbook too and we found this one that both he and I think he'll enjoy working in.  He's already asked me what happens if he does more than one page at a time and I explained that if he chooses to do multiple pages each time we sit down to work, like Alec does, then he wouldn't have to work in the book as often.  I took it as a good sign that he's already planning ahead.  I almost added a few other books to my cart but I restrained myself!  I forced myself to go through the books we already have and found a few I had forgotten about (see-- I'm AWFUL with workbooks/ curriculum!).
    Evan and I sat down to read another mini book today and then I told him that for practicing sight words I had a new book I wanted him to try called Cut and Paste Sight Word Sentences.  We read the three sight words at the bottom of the page, talked about capitalization, punctuation, the order of words, etc. and then he cut out the words.  He arranged them to make a sentence, glued it to his page, and copied the three words neatly on the handwriting line.  He really did not want to draw a picture to go with his sentence and I wasn't surprised since he hates to draw or even color.  I explained that for some kids drawing is a lot of fun and that is why the authors of the book leave a nice big space for kids to draw but that he did not HAVE to draw a picture.  He was happy that within 15 minutes he was done school for the day. 

    Ian wandered inside and I roped him into doing some school work too.  I told him I wanted to see him do 1 page in his math book and then either read a book (or a chapter in a book), pick a page in his comprehension book, pick a page in his writing workbook, a cursive page, or even pick a page out of Alec's Draw Wright Now book-- anything "language arts."  He chose to do a page in his math book adding decimals (which I don't recall ever doing with him but he related it to money and taught himself).  I checked on him part way through the page; saw that he had them all correct and told him he didn't have to do them all, it was obvious he understood what he was doing.  He then chose to try out the Draw Write Now book and drew a platypus.  He too seemed to enjoy the book and wanted to look at the other books in the series to see if there's one he'd like better; too bad they don't make a construction truck book he'd LOVE that!  He finally settled on a book about the arctic and is excited to learn about drawing dog sleds, orca whales and snowmobiles. 

The drawings come out so good too!



       While Alec was waiting for his turn with the Draw Write Now book he read the rest of his Minecraft book that he's been studying for days now & trying to learn how to better survive in survival mode.  I didn't make him do any math since he's still at least 6 or 7 pages ahead of Ian and they're trying to finish up their books around the same time for their pizza party.  Once he was done his drawing and writing about the skunk school was finished for the day.   I am always amazed by his creativity though.  While working on the background for the skunk he talked about the skunks habitat.  He drew a pile of dead leaves for the skunk to forage in for worms, he drew a stream lined with rocks and pebbles and even a pebble bridge for the skunk to cross so he could get back to his den (a hallowed out log) when he was done searching for food.  We flipped through the book to look at some of the other animals.  Alec loves both giant pandas and lesser pandas and he was excited to see the giant panda in his book.  He was bummed that the lesser panda wasn't there but noticed that the raccoon is.  He told me he thought he could probably use the raccoon page and just change it a bit to make it into a lesser panda.  I told him I could easily help him write up sentences to copy if he wanted to do that and right there on the spot we came up with four sentences we could use.  1.  Red pandas live in Asia. 2.  They like to eat bamboo. 3.  They are cousins of the raccoon.  4.  And they are also called lesser pandas.  He saw that there were many other books to chose from and asked me to order them all.  He loves being able to draw such adorable, accurate animal pictures.  I love having a writing curriculum that he loves to use! 


      I kind of hated that we only did a few "worksheet" type activities today but with summer vacation and friends/ relatives popping over to play we didn't have time for anything hands- on today.  I was kind of bummed at first that we had a lot of unexpected company show up only because we had planned to read a few more chapter in Harry Potter (the boys had been BEGGING me all morning but they hadn't all been in the same room at once to accomplish that yet), we were going to work on a few more Magic Science experiments, and the older two boys and I had planned a few fun art activities to bring outside with us today, but that's often how our summer goes and I've learned to be flexible.  We always have fun and it's great to spend time with our extended family too.  As long as we get a few things done here and there it's enough for me to know we're still plugging away at our lessons and having lots of fun.  We have all fall, winter and spring to work in peace and complete larger more time consuming projects.  I was kid of anxious to see how the boys felt about all their friends being on school vacation.  They understand why we school year round and even agree it's a good idea but I thought they might feel differently with all their friends being so excited and shouting over and over "school's over! It's summer vacation!"  But, my boys amazed me. They didn't seem upset at all.  They even pointed out that school was only over for a few months and then their friends would be right back in school whereas we do what amounts to 1/2 days all year round taking time off whenever we want.  They love homeschooling and are secure enough in our routine and our days to not feel bad or intimated that they're "different."  I was so glad! 
    We had a wonderful afternoon hanging out with cousins and aunts swimming in the lake and the pool.  They played with their 11 month old cousin helping her to walk, showing her toys, and listening to her "talk."  They ran, played, jumped and swam spending the whole day outside in the fresh air.  We ended our night with some fishing and then read book before bed; finally finishing another chapter in Harry Potter.  We're settling into a nice routine with staying up just a bit later enjoying the longer, lazier days of summer. 

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