Thursday, September 25, 2014

Finally a day at home

  The boys exercised with my husband last night in the weight room and learned the proper way to use the equipment.  They wanted some popcorn for snack and we had to pop two bags so we had Alec and Ian read the instructions on the bags and then walked them through how to program our microwave for popcorn.  My husband gave them a mini lesson in how the microwave works explaining that the radio waves make the water molecules vibrate faster and faster causing them to give off heat.  We talked about why some foods cook so much faster than others.  They ate snack while watching Wheel of Fortune and trying to solve all the puzzles.  I had been feeling bad about not doing any real schoolwork for a while and then I realized that they had been doing so much learning- -- life learning!  They were working on reading comprehension, spelling, cooking (I do use that term loosely but hey cooking is cooking), science, and nutrition. 
   Even knowing all that I couldn't quiet the voices in my head telling me we needed to do more.  We really needed to do some actual  math and reading lessons today and we needed to do them sooner rather than later since we once again had a field trip planned.  I was hesitant to interrupt the boys though since they were all playing nicely.  Ian was watching Yukon Men and the other two boys were playing in the playroom with Evan's new superhero characters.  I started pulling out a few lessons and asked the boys how they'd like to do math today-- workbook page, Kindle or computer game, or verbal math.  They all chose verbal math!  I asked them to please do some math, some reading, and some writing today before we called it quits. 
    I started with Ian on his verbal math while the younger two boys got dressed, fed and ready for the day.  He did amazing and we finished up lesson 1 in the book.  That made me really gulp-- knowing we've only just finished lesson one in a book that is mainly meant for review, but I also know we can't do more than 25 or so problems in a day because their attention span is short and they start to take longer and longer to answer.  Once they start fooling around we typically quit.  On  the plus side they're getting them all right and they're enjoying math so I decided not to worry about it for now.  Once done his math Ian went upstairs to read quietly in his room for 15 minutes or so and read two more chapters in his Weird School book. 
   While Ian was upstairs  working quietly and Alec was still getting ready Evan and I worked on his verbal math book and we got part way through lesson 3.  We're adding numbers up to 6 in his head and working on the commutative property of addition.  We finished up rather quickly and so we sat down to start lesson 2 in his reading book.  We quickly reviewed the letters and sounds from lesson one and added in lesson 2's sounds and letters.  We did a few pages together orally and then I asked him to grab a book to read. He read I am Healthy to me and he did AMAZING!  The only two words he needed help with in the whole entire book were healthy and hooray all the other words he just breezed right through.  I was stunned and impressed.  I asked him when he was done how he did that and he replied "I don't know I just looked at the words and looked at the pictures and said the words."  I gave him a high five and told him he did excellent.  This is a level c book in our readers and the pictures cues aren't always as obvious-- on the page where the boys is eating an apple it says "I am healthy.  Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!" Evan told me he's better at reading now since he turned seven on Tuesday.  Sounds good to me!  Evan was begging to be done school so I told him to go play and take a nice long break we had covered a lot of material in just a short amount of time.
    Alec asked me to work on his verbal math with him and so we sat down together to finish up lesson 1 also.  I have Alec and Ian working in the same book and it's neat to see the different ways they go about solving problems.  We finished up quickly and Alec asked to take his math minute next.  I had printed out flashcards for all the 11 facts and he got them all right on the test today with several seconds to spare!  I was flabbergasted!  He then took off to his room to read quietly for at least 15 minutes and read River Otter Life and Endangered Species.
   Ian came to the table and wanted to take his math minute test.  He passed his 10's facts today and will move onto his 11's tomorrow.  He too had several seconds to spare and he was beaming with pride.  While he was at the table he decided to finish up his schoolwork and work in his Draw Write Now books.  He drew a picture of a loon and copied the sentences about migration into his book. 
    Evan saw Ian sitting down and decided to work on his writing too. I had him write his full name; first, middle and last and then we practiced a few of his old spelling words as well as some of the words from his reading lesson today. 

   Alec came downstairs with an old alphabet cipher he had made up and he wanted to write back and forth to one another in code.  I agreed and was secretly very excited that he was willingly writing!  He wrote me a sentence and while I was writing back to him he finished up his schoolwork too by doing the same Draw Write Now page that Ian had done.  He loves birds and animals and wanted to draw the loon in his own book. 
Alec's cipher


    With school ending by 10:30 we had a long day ahead of us and no real plan with how we were going to fill it up.  The forecast was showing a lot of rain for today so our field trip had been canceled and no one could agree on what to do for the day. I had suggested a trip to the library or the apple orchard but the boys didn't seem thrilled with either idea.  Alec and Evan settled in to work on their rainbow loom bracelets while Ian went to play outside with his trucks.  Alec pulled up the YouTube video on making butterfly confetti bracelets and tried to find where he had left off.  Evan asked me to help him make the outer layer of his frozen bracelet.  I had him help put all the bands on and showed him how to pull them off one by one to make the chain.  We got the bracelet  3/4 of the way done before he decided to quit and have a small snack. 
   Alec and Evan played Ninja Turtles outside for a while and then as the rain started coming down and it got cooler outside they all slowly migrated inside and started watching TV.  Normally I wouldn't really allow TV on a school day but I was so tired I was just happy they were quiet and agreeing on something to do.  We were all snuggled up together watching some new family favorites-- The Goldbergs and The Middle.  The boys started getting ready for lunch and I was doing laundry when we discovered that someone had left gum in their pockets for the second time in a week!  I'm not sure who it was but based on the fact that it was mostly Alec's laundry and he quietly came over and started to pick through the clothes with me pulling gum and wrappers off all the wet clothes leads me to believe it might have been his fault this time.  At least he now knows what happens to gum in the washing machine.  I was pretty impressed with myself that I didn't yell at all (though I may have sighed pretty deeply a good half a dozen times).  I know it wasn't intentional and it doesn't seem as though any clothes were ruined so it could have been worse. 
    While the boys ate lunch I read the next chapter in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Evan and Alec went to get their wands from Universal Studios and spent the afternoon playing and casting spells.  Ian and I played a few rounds of Memory and a game of Yahtzee.  It's been while since just him and I had played a game and I was happy to see how easily he was able to add up his score.  Poor kid lost all three games that we played though.  I ended up with two Yahtzees in one game!  I was happy to see he was a good sport about it and laughed and joked that today was just not his lucky day. 

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