Saturday, August 30, 2014

What It's Like Learning at Home

After a long week with lots of trips, we all decided we wanted to stay home on Friday. The boys seemed eager for some real school work.  As soon as they sat down to eat breakfast they asked me to read them a chapter from our Harry Potter book.
  


After breakfast we cleaned house for 20 or so minutes together.  Once the boys finished cleaning they just sort of gravitated toward the table and got to work.

Evan worked on writing number sentences to word problems in his Star Wars math book and finished up the alphabet review pages in his Star Wars reading book.

Alec completed 5 pages in his math workbook (by choice as I only asked him to complete two!).

Ian complained as he worked through two pages in his math workbook-- one on adding money together, and another on comparing decimals.  He did great and I let him do the second page orally along with me.  He just has it firmly in his head that he hates math, it's hard, and it's stupid.

The two older boys asked (YES-- ASKED!) to do their division minute test and both passed on this second attempt at the test.  They were happy to start putting together their spaghetti dinner pictures.

I've already promised a trip to the Olive Garden as a reward for learning all these math facts.  They were both pretty proud of themselves today!
   
Evan headed outside to play while the older boys finished up their math and took their math minute. I saw him running around the house and playing on the swings.  He came in excitedly and told us all we had to come see the toad he found.  We've found a lot of them over the last few weeks and the older boys excitement is starting to wane.  They told Evan they've seen enough toads but he told them they just had to come see this one since he was HUGE.  Evan's excitement was enough to motivate Alec, at least, and the two of them ran off to find the toad and examine him. 

When Evan came back inside he asked to read his book so he could be finished with school.  I warned him we would still have to learn some geography later but that I was happy to read with him.  He re-read I Like Bugs and did such a great job this second time around.

While we were reading, Ian read Frog Song and learned all about the different environments, sounds and behaviors of different frogs.


Alec worked on some coloring and just decided not to read today.  As long as the other two boys didn't notice and complain, I wasn't going to force him to read.  Alec is usually walking around with his nose buried in a book so I typically give him much more leeway in not reading during set school hours since he more than makes up for it at other times.

We wanted to head out for a morning walk and the boys all agreed they wanted to walk to their great, great aunt's house.

Alec asked if he could ride his bike and while I was reluctant to have him on our busy road with the cars zooming past I knew he would be within sight at least and figured it was good practice for him.  I did have to remind him not to listen to his MP3 player while riding and to watch and listen for vehicles.

We had a nice walk and saw toads, caterpillars, and even a bee/ hornet nest on the ground.  The boys were dismayed to find that their aunt was not at home but after a short rest in her yard we walked home talking about what we wanted for lunch when we made it back to our house.


Alec off in the distance on his bike-- when did he get so big?!

During lunch the boys asked me to read some more of our Harry Potter book and Alec read a few pages out loud for us too.
 
 After cleaning up our lunch I pulled out our books on New Jersey and we learned about the garden state.  We read G is for Garden State and The Legend of the Cape May Diamonds.

Before reading I had the boys find New Jersey on the map and asked them if they knew anything about New Jersey.

  • Alec pointed out it's neighbors on the map, reading all the states and waterways around it.  
  • Ian told me he thought they had a lot of mining associated with New Jersey too.  
  • We talked about the length of the shoreline and I told them a bit about Atlantic City and Cape May.  
  • The boys were happy to learn that the game Monopoly was based on New Jersey and that's where Boardwalk got it's name.  Since New Jersey was the first state to build a boardwalk near the beaches in order to keep the sand out of the hotel lobbies.  

After we were done reading and school was over for the day, they played Lego's and toys in their rooms and then came out an hour later in order to get ready for some jet ski rides with their grandmother.  It was a bit chilly out and no one wanted to stay in the water and swim.  Ian headed inside to work on something in his room (he's been cleaning out bits and pieces of it and wanted to finish up). 

I found Alec at the table drawing some pictures and offered to help him work some more on his peacock painting.  He set up all the paint supplies and we pulled up the pictures.  He sketched out the bird and started painting it in blue along with the outline of all it's feathers.  I worked with him and showed him the basic shape of the feathers and how to fill them in then he took over.


Evan pulled out his camera and started taking pictures of all his special rocks.  I was on the verge of suggesting he take pictures of me or the cat (or anything but rocks) and realized it really didn't matter.  Here he was exploring nature through the lens and it's not like I have to pay to develop pictures taken with his digital camera.

Instead I encouraged him to keep clicking away until he was completely happy with his photos.


Alec watched a YouTube video and was teaching himself to make the Frozen bracelet.  Ian and Evan went inside to see what Alec was making and all three boys ended up working on a new bracelet.


Evan put all the bands on the bracelet for a starburst bracelet and then asked if I'd help him loop them all where they go.  As I went along I marveled at the fact that he got all the bands on right and I didn't have to fix any!  He then started teaching Ian how to make one.  Ian has made many fishtail and other easy, finger bracelets but has never used the loom.  He decided to try a starburst bracelet and did a really great job on it too.  I guess Evan's a good teacher. 



We headed out to dinner and ran into some family.  The boys had fun talking and playing with their cousins and then settled down for dinner.  Alec enjoyed showing off his bracelet and comparing notes with his cousin about the different types of bracelets they've made.

By the time we were done eating and had gotten some ice cream the three boys made friends with an older couple and kept them well entertained with all their stories.

I wandered over as it was time to go and the man asked where they went to school.  I said they were homeschooled and he said he wasn't surprised since they were so well spoken and had such a great vocabulary.  They complimented us on what nice boys we have and how social they are.

It was so nice to hear! 

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