Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend fun and learning

  Ian spent almost his entire weekend working.  He got to run the excavator and help clear trees from a local building lot.  He also got to help his father, grandfather and great grandfather repair a very small family hydroelectric plant.  They had to shovel out sand, find the leak, repair the building and check to make sure everything was running smoothly with the turbine.  He's happiest when he's working with real tools doing real jobs and this was such an amazing learning opportunity for him. 
   While he was working the other two boys were rotting their brains-- well, mostly they were watching TV and playing video games and as much as I try to view these two activities differently I still mostly view them as candy for the brain.  Too much is not necessarily a good or healthy thing; however, we have no rules when it comes to them playing or watching screens on the weekend.  Though they did get their Kindles taken away by late in the day on Saturday.  We had lots of fighting and arguments about their Minecraft world and since their behaviors have gotten more and more nasty towards one another it was time for me to step in and give them the jolt they needed to see their mistakes.  Hopefully two weeks of shared misery will help them bond. 
   The two younger boys did go with me to a few stores and I had them help me get a bit more of our Christmas shopping done.  Alec spent a portion of his day on Saturday finishing up his new chapter book Animal Spirits.  He's already requested the next book in the series!  Evan and I read a few books about sea turtles for his science fair report and while I didn't want to force him to do any actual schoolwork he wanted to read these books and willingly sat down with me for a few minutes on Sunday to dictate some facts he learned through reading that he'd like to include in his report.  Even though we read two non- fiction books Evan was great about pulling the facts out of the stories. We read I'll Follow the Moon and Baby Turtle's Tale and he came up with 9 sea turtle facts.  Many of which I didn't even remember myself!
    Alec had two back to back soccer games on Saturday afternoon.  His team won the first game and lost the second.  He had fun playing and we all enjoyed cheering them on.  The boys all have learned a lot about the game, the rules, how soccer is played, and how to work as a team.  Ian brought his extreme dot to dot book and Evan brought his color by number book to work on while Alec was playing.  They also used Alec's soccer play to play a bit of pass off to the side of the field.  They visited with family members and we kept an eye on the skies and the weather as it got progressively darker and stormy looking. 
   We watched Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure as our family movie on Saturday night and the boys just loved it.  I loved that they were engaged and even learning a bit about historical figures.  I was pretty surprised when they knew who Napoleon was before he was introduced as his character.  I'm not sure where they learned about him but I had paused the movie to ask them and they knew quite a bit about him.  They had some passing knowledge about most of the figures in the movie and loved watching their quasi- modern day antics.  I could easily use this movie as a jumping off point for some history lessons but I'll wait and see if they're interested in learning any more about any certain time period or historical figure.  I prefer to follow their interests whenever I can in learning about anything.
    We ended our weekend with a trip to a birthday party.  We have a family of friends that live pretty far away from us and we only make it to their house once or twice a year.  My boys didn't really know anyone at the party (other than the three boys that live there and the birthday baby) and yet they happily took off form the car and joined in all the play.  They played soccer, climbed, swung, ran around and had a ball.  Ian practiced his basketball skills and Alec finally got to be goalie (something he's really been wanting to do with his own soccer team).  There were occasional disagreements and squirmishes with all the kids but us parents just watched and let them police themselves.  One time I saw a disagreement settled with a quick round of rock, paper, scissors, another time an agreement was made based on the time left in the game. It was a wonderful end to our weekend and not one question was made about my kids social skills!  (And every homeschooler knows that's huge!)



   We finished up our book on CD on our long drive and came home to request the next (and last) one.  Re-listening to all the books was an excellent way to fill our time waiting for the new book to come out.  We'll hopefully have the audiobook in for the Blood of Olympus by the end of the week and we're all dying to know what happens.  The boys kept busy in the car using their color by number books, playing DS games as well as listening to the story.  Ian completed one whole page and it came out beautifully.  I can't say for sure what they are learning when working on their color by number books but they look so fun that I want my own! 

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