Saturday, August 9, 2014

Progress!

  We had a pretty busy day yesterday.  My sister was coming over with her three boys and first I wanted to clean the house a bit, get some schoolwork done with the boys and basically get everything on my "to do" list done by 10 am.  My day was a bit thrown off when Evan asked me to help him make another bracelet on the loom.  I had just gotten downstairs and had a ton of things I needed to do like take out the garbage, empty the dishwasher, etc. but instead I said sure and I sat down to walk him through making his own bracelet.  I'm always reluctant to put aside those things I think are so important and take those five or ten minutes; my usual response is "Yep, just give me a minute and then I'll help you."  Except it's never just a minute and often times I run out of time to help them so I was glad I set everything aside and just enjoyed helping him.  It was nice with just the two of us downstairs working on something together.  He got frustrated a few times when the bands fell off or he hooked the wrong band but his beaming smile of accomplishment when it was done was just priceless!

 

















   

    The boys did watch some TV, movies and played video games for part of the morning and I allowed it but kept reminding them that they were going to have to do at least two school subjects before our company came.  9:00 found my niece and nephew knocking on our door wanting to play and I felt so bad telling them that the boys had to do schoolwork today.  They sat around patiently, playing with the boys while they got ready for the day.  Evan pulled his two Star Wars books off the shelf and worked on the letters I and J and circled all the pictures that showed shapes cut into quarters. He was done in mere minutes.  He needed a bit of help with the I and J pages mainly because he didn't know what the pictures were showing or what the names of the Star Wars characters were. 
   By the time he finished the boys cousins had to leave and they didn't get to play at all. I was torn between relief and feeling bad.  Relief that we could accomplish all our schoolwork and feeling bad because even though they live so close I feel like it's been hard for the boys to play with their cousins this summer; our schedules don't seem to be meshing lately!  Since we had a quiet house and Alec was still not dressed, Evan and I sat down to read a book together.  We re-read Mary Had a Great Big Dog.  It's a book we haven't read in at least a month but he did amazingly well with it.  I really think his reading is progressing to the point where I think he can read and he just doesn't know it. 
   Once all the boys were dressed they asked me to read a chapter in Harry Potter and while I was reading Alec and Ian worked on their samurai coloring pages.  As I finished the chapter, Ian reluctantly pulled out his math workbook and he too worked on fractions.  We wrote the mixed fraction in it's "actual" form and it's reduced form based on the pictures shown.  He thought it was pretty easy so I was happy that at least some of the fractions are sinking in. 
    Ian was heading up to read a book when he told me he had already read the book Trout, Trout, Trout! (A fish Chant)  when he woke up this morning.  I told him that would count as reading for today and he could be done.  He headed outside to play in the sand and Evan headed out to play on the swing set.   It was now 10 and I told Alec he was going to have to bring all of his schoolwork to karate while Evan had class.  I hate to have a different set of standards for each of the boys, but the fact is that I do.  They aren't the same and I have to have different rules for everyone.  I don't typically make Alec read as part of his schoolwork because he reads SO much.  He picks up so much history, geography and a whole variety of other subjects up through his reading too.  Since we were alone in the house I told him he just had to bring his math book and do one page in that and I'd call school done for the day. 
   He headed outside to wait for his cousins and worked on making another loom band bracelet.  His cousins arrived and the boys all had fun running around playing together, making up games and enjoying the fresh air.  They played inside and outside, brought out all their Pok√©mon cards, went swimming for a bit and Alec worked on making a loom band necklace for his older cousin.  The boys had so much fun together and were reluctant to say good- bye when it was time for Evan's karate class.  I debated about skipping karate altogether but figured that was not in Evan's best interest. 
  
   We listened to our book on CD in the car and Alec worked on coloring in his color by number book.  He's working on two pictures at once and it's just so neat to watch the pictures emerge.  Evan had so much fun at karate and got to use padded swords for the whole class.  They played musical punching bags (like musical chairs but when the music stopped they had to find a bag and hit it with their sword; when you couldn't find a bag you were out and had to stand in the middle using a squat).

   Alec sat next to me and completed three pages in his math book.  We reviewed multiplication (and honestly I wanted to cry that after a whole year of reviewing facts they still haven't sunk in!),  he also worked on fractions; coloring in portions of the fraction that was shown, and finished up with a line of symmetry page using letters of the alphabet.  While he was working on his math I noticed that even though Ian had brought the Kindle he was playing learning games and not just regular old video games.  Ian played 2048 and Stack the States.  He loves to challenge himself to put all 50 states in the right place without making any mistakes!
   He wanted to play on my phone and so we traded.  I played Stack the States for a bit on the Kindle and showed Ian I can put all 50 states in the right place, on occasion when Alec asked if he could try.  He spent the rest of the class trying to put all 50 states where they belong and then he switched over to the actual Stack the States trivia game and answered a bunch of questions (and I do mean a bunch since his stack of states kept falling over and he had to work twice as hard to reach his goal line).   I can't tell you how much we just love this game. 
    Once my husband came home and the boys had eaten dinner we headed out for a family walk/ bike ride.  The older two boys wanted to ride their bikes and we reviewed bike safety, rules of the road and had a nice time.  We walked & biked to a nearby park where the boys were free to ride around.  It was almost 8 by the time we arrived back home and we all settled down to do push ups and sit ups.  The older boys were given an assignment by their karate teacher to practice sit ups and push ups at home each night and so far my husband has been great at getting them to comply.  The boys were excited that I was joining them last night too. 
   They ate a quick snack and got ready for bed.  Even though it was late I did agree to read a book with Evan when he asked.  We picked 10 Little Hot Dogs out of his stack of library books and by the mid- point of the book I was tearing up---- not because the book was so good or anything but because Evan did such an amazing job reading a brand new book.  I couldn't believe some of the words he was decoding (like jumping, playing, and blanket!  He loved reading all the blurbs near the dogs mouths too and sounded out bark, yip, ruff, arf, woof and, once I reminded him that yip had an I in it he took a second guess and came up with yap too.  He sounded out snuggle with us and remembered it; trying it out for the snuffle page but realized it wasn't quite the same.   At least three times I stopped to give him a high five and I hugged him so tight and kissed his forehead declaring "you're reading!'  He smiled, laughed, and finally agreed.  His older brother and dad came in to listen too and they all agreed he was doing a great job.  Towards the end of the book, I could tell he was getting tired.  He tried walking around, and obviously didn't read as well since he wasn't even looking at the book at times.  I offered to finish reading it t him but he really wanted to read it himself.  So I had him sit back down next to me and track our fingers under the words and he finished reading the book.  I'm so happy to finally see some real progress.  I'm bracing myself for the fluctuations and the arguments that he still can't read but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Plus I can already hear him reading with such great expression too! 
    Alec ended up staying up in his room until 10 o'clock reading his Secret Zoo book.  He's supposed to turn his light off at 9 and so I didn't realize he was up so late, luckily he can sleep as late as he needs to on Saturdays.  Ian also chose to stay up a bit past bedtime and read his Weirder School book.  It's one of the first times in a long time that I can remember him staying up in his room reading after we say good night. 

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