Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How Do We Do It?

By the time I finally reminded the boys that I had a stack of schoolwork sitting on the table and we needed to do SOMETHING with our day it was pretty late.  

They were all supposed to have showers, vacuum and dust their rooms and put away their laundry this morning also.  They all forgotten and I was resigned to the fact that we should have to push some of today's work off until tomorrow.

Imagine my surprise when all of my boys managed to get everything done for the day that I asked and MORE!



In fact, it left me wonderful how we managed to do it all.  Sometimes I just don't know how we do it all.

Most of the time:

  1. We just keep working.  I keep our work fun and light and the boys want to work through it all.
  2. I have relaxed my standards just a bit to give us all a bit of room to maneuver.
  3. Allow for compromise.  My boys often  ask to change the work I have left out for them and as long as it's the same subject a good skill level for them I allow it.
  4. I follow the boys' lead.  Often I just plan the bare minimum for school and they add as we go along through our day. 
  5. I look for the learning.  Just because it's not assigned book work does not mean that my boys aren't learning.  

 It was well past 10 by the time Ian and Evan settled down to work.  Ian asked me if he could count up a huge Ziploc bag of coins for math today instead of working in his workbook on measurements.  I said sure and he settled into work.  I checked on him after a bit and saw that he had put piles of quarters into 5 rows with 10 columns.  He didn't know the word array but knew that setting the quarters up in rows and columns made it easier to add them up.  As he added more coins he still kept 5 rows and just added on columns so he had to count by 5's to find the total dollar amount of coins.


His array 
 Evan wanted to work in his Star Wars math book and he completed two pages working with place value up to 100.  We also completed part of his Verbal Math book and worked on quick recall of addition facts to 10.  He often uses nearby to fact to help him.  I can hear him mutter 5+5=10 so 5+4 must equal...9!

We also played sight word Go Fish! I had some sight word flash cards we had printed off of the computer (I made sure to print two sheets) and I dealt each of us 7 cards.  We put the rest in a pile in front of us and played traditional Go Fish but asked for sight words instead of numbers.  Evan LOVED this game.  It was a lot of fun and the repetition of asking for the same sight word over and over again was great.  We'll definitely be playing again-- just as soon as I find some decorative contact paper to help thicken up the cards and make it harder to see through them.  He finished up his school day by reading Biscuit Goes to School.

Playing sight word go fish 

Alec chose to work in his math workbook after his shower.  He had also cleaned and vacuumed his room (like I had asked all the boys to do).   Alec picked a page on finding the area of rectangles and squares.  We had never really worked on area much before so I reminded him of when we measured the walls of the basement to figure out the area of our walls and how much paint we would need.  I kept repeating "length times width" for every problem as he wrote the answer in.  He then went on to work on multiplying and dividing by 10.  It was a review but one that he really needed since he had forgotten how to do it at first.  It all came back to him quickly though and he completed his page in no time.
   
Ian and Alec wrote up their final drafts for our February postcards.  I'm hoping to mail them out soon and wanted them all done.  Alec protested and procrastinated and took forever to copy his writing over.  I really wish I could find a fun and engaging way to get all my kids to willingly to write but three years later and I'm ready to throw in the towel and just MAKE them write.   I used to think they hated trying to come up with the ideas of what to write, then I thought it was just the physical act of writing but I'm soon realizing that it's all of it.  But whether they hate it or not I'm seeing an improvement by just having them write these small little post cards each month and doing some small copy work or fill in the blank story prompts.  They're all just baby steps but at least we're moving.
 
 After they were done math and writing the two older boys went to read.  Ian read The Titanic Lost... and Found.  He really likes learning about the Titanic and ended up reading the whole book in one sitting.  Alec read another chapter in his owls of GaHoole book and then brought his book over to me. He showed me the pictures of the maps found in the front and told me all about the different owls, kingdoms and relationships that he's learned about so far.


We played a few fun geography games.

I had found some mini pictures of the 50 states.  We printed two sets and using about half of the cards we played a Memory game with them.  Alec ended up winning.  Alec took to telling us random facts about each state that was turned over; sometimes he told us the state capital, sometimes the state nickname, sometimes just the name of an important city.

 We also played a few games of United States Bingo.  I printed a Bingo game off the computer a long time ago and we finally settled down to play it today.  The boys enjoyed Bingo and Evan was thrilled to have finally won a game against his brothers.


Evan snapped a picture of us playing 


We broke for a late lunch.

The boys asked to watch a movie during lunch instead of listening to Harry Potter.  We decided to watch Families of Vietnam.

We went to look at our world map and found Vietnam on it.  We talked about what we thought the climate would be like.  The boys also asked me questions about the Vietnam war and World War II so we took a bit of time to discuss them both.  We settled in to watch the movie while we ate.  We enjoy these movies tremendously.  They're narrated by children and each video looks at a day in the life of a child in the city and one from the country.  

When the movie ended we were all still finishing up our food so the boys begged me to read some more of our Harry Potter book.  We got to the end of the chapter but it was a cliffhanger and so we decided to read 1/2 of the next chapter too.  It's great to see the delight in their faces as I read.
 
After lunch we decided to try one lat time to see if we could make colored icicles.  Ian cut an old soda bottle in half for us.  Alec mixed up the colors we were going to use and Evan helped punch holes in the sides of the cut bottle for us to thread yarn through and hang it by.  We had a small enough hole that water was only dripping out; like he instructions said and we went to hang it outside... too bad it was 36 degrees here today and it was not cold enough for the ice to form.  We left it hanging outside hoping that as the temperatures dropped we'd still have water left to freeze.  

It was a bit windy and our string was blowing
around so we tied it to a log and made sure
it was straight. 

Alec left out most of the liquid watercolors, food coloring containers and mini clear tubes so he could play around with mixing colors.  He was calling it color science and writing down his "recipes" so he'll know how to mix certain colors next time.


My color scientist 

Here are his recipes... 1 drop of purple, green and pink makes copper! 
Ian decided to go watch TV.  He watched Big Giant Swords and a few other shows that were on our DVR while Alec pulled out his watercolor kits.

He decided to try using some of his color recipes on his picture.  He pulled out his new Aquarelle butterfly mini picture and painted that.


More than 1/2 way done.  
All completed 
Evan went to play Mario Kart.  I loved that he kept shouting out his scores compared to the computer's scores and would tell me who was winning.  I have 335 and the computer has 337.  I'm loosing!  At one point he started telling me "I have 1 in the hundreds place, a three in the ten's place and 7 ones but the computer has 1 in the hundreds place, no tens, and 9 ones so I'm winning."  He often applies what we're going over in math to his real life as he goes about his day.  I just love it!

For getting a late start on any schoolwork we sure made up for it!

I think we accomplished more today than when we do start early and have a full course load.  I'm not sure how we managed to get so much done today.  I had hoped to get some math, reading and writing done today and perhaps a geography game but that was about all I had planned.  We just kept adding pieces in here and there and since the boys were willing and eager for even more to do I just kept going.
 

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