Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Plugging Away

    We had such a great day today.  I'm so proud of my boys and how much they are growing and learning.  They all laid around relaxing this morning while I finished up my workout.  Evan has started watching YouTube videos about Harry Potter Minecraft.  The boys are just in awe when they hear of Pokemon or Harry Potter versions for Minecraft because they just love the idea of combining two of their passions.  Alec was up in his room watching Pokemon movies (and we all thought he was still sleeping).  Ian was watching some shows he had recorded on our DVR.  I've found that more than anything I need peace and quiet when I wake up.  I've gotten so used to being left alone and getting everything checked off of my own personal checklist that I honestly don't think we could go back to "no screens" in the morning.  I just can't handle the voices talking at me all morning long.  Many people need their coffee, I need my workout, my shower, and my make up on (if I'm going to be wearing any).
    When I was dressed and ready, I offered to cook breakfast for everyone.  I found a cinnamon roll pancake recipe that looked so scrumptious I just couldn't resist.  They helped me set the table, pour drinks, take out the fresh fruit, and started the sausage for me.  By the time we settled down with our breakfast they were asking about our day.  We started by starting another chapter book.  To continue on in our World War II unit we've started reading Danger in the Darkest Hour.  It's a new book in the Magic Tree House series.  They call it a stepping stone book, and while I'm not yet sure what that means we're really enjoying another book with Jack and Annie; we really missed them! We ended up reading two chapters and the boys were concerned that Jack and Annie are going to be parachuting behind enemy lies; "won't that make them better targets for the bad guys?"  We can't wait to hear what will happen next!
    I sent the boys to get ready and we all worked together to get some vacuuming and dusting done.  each boy pitched in and did a few rooms.  They finished up at different times and then came to see what was set out and set up at the kitchen table.  Now, rather than give a moment by moment summary it will just be easier for me to break them into subjects since the boys tend to all work on different subjects at different times and we were all over the place today.
    Math-- All three boys spent 20 minutes on Khan academy.  At some point throughout the day all the boys also worked on one page in their math workbooks.  Alec worked on reading a chart and comparing speeds and times.  He loves charts and bar graphs so it was a good page for him.  Evan did some more practice with greater than & less than and counting.  I almost found his page laughably easy compared to what he can do on Khan.  Comparing 2 to 15 when he was comparing numbers up into the 900's seems pretty basic, but he loves it and he was happy to complete it on his own so I let him be.  Ian completed another page in his measurement book.
   Spelling/ Reading--  Alec completed his spelling list last week and went onto the long I sound.  We had a new list of twenty words and I asked him if he just wanted to write them once each first before playing games with them or if he wanted to go right to Spelling City.  Ian was already on our other computer playing Spelling City games with his spelling words but Alec surprised me and asked if I could quiz him on the new words.  He barely even glanced at them but not one to discourage them I said sure and cautioned him that he might have a hard time.  He got 15 correct.  He then asked if he could just practice the 5 he got wrong and of course I agreed!  He wrote those 5 words and then played Hang Mouse on spelling city (after I modified the list to only have his 5 new words).  Pretty sure we'll be moving on to the next list next week!  Evan worked on a page in his Star Wars reading book and filled missing words in the blanks.  Evan also read Biscuit in the Garden to me.
     Writing-- Evan told me he wrote the words in his reading book and that counted as writing.  Since it's only been this past year that I've made his older brothers start writing I let it slide.  Alec wrote four sentences using the writing prompt:  If you were forced to spend the rest of your life in a zoo, a museum, or a library which would you choose and why?  He, of course, picked the zoo claiming that the library wouldn't have nearly enough books to last him a lifetime! I loved knowing that he was probably right.  He had some great reasons why he'd love to live in a zoo and while he complained a bit he did a great job with only a few small capitalization errors.  He was so shocked that only though he still only wrote four sentences his writing paragraph was so much longer today taking up part of both sides of the paper.  Ian was uninspired by the prompt and so we started looking through books and the internet for inspiration.  Alec posed the question "If you could only buy one piece of heavy equipment for life what would it be and why?"  Ian asked if he could change that to two pieces and started writing furiously.  He too used both sides of the paper.  I explained to the boys that it must mean they are writing with more details and that's a good thing.
    History-- On top of reading the two chapter in the Magic Tree House we did a bit of work on our history/ geography fair projects today.  Alec worked with me and with his dictation we typed up a page for his history fair report.  He's decided on a way to approach his topic and I think he has a good idea of what still needs to be done.  Evan and I read two more books about South Korea.  These two books took place in ancient Korea and we learned a lot about the "old" ways.  We read The Firekeeper's Son and The Royal Bee.
    We finally paused for lunch and read another half chapter in Harry Potter (which we finished during an early dinner for the boys).  We had planned to head out and run some errands after lunch.  We had a lot of movies and books that were due back at the library but Alec and Evan had not finished the movie they had been watching.  They asked if they could finish it before we left so they took off to watch it while Ian played Minecraft on his Kindle and waited for them.  I got a few household tasks done while waiting for them and then we all piled in the car.
    We stopped at the library first and picked up all our books and movies that were on hold.  Evan helped me pick out a new book on CD.  We're listening to a story called Inkheart.  It's by the same author as Dragon Rider and we're hoping to love it just as much.  We were even more excited when we learned that there is a movie out about the book.  We'll have to follow up the book with the movie! We made it through the first two chapters and so far it's pretty interesting.  It's about a girl who lives with her dad.  They are avid readers and have stack and stacks of books everywhere.  When a mysterious man shows up on their doorstep they start packing for a secret trip.  We can't wait to hear where they go.
    We stopped briefly at Target, where Evan asked me to buy him a stuffed animal with the promise he'd pay be back at home later.  I asked him how much money he had and he told me he had a 5 and 9 ones so that was $14.  It was all said so quickly and added up so fast I just had to marvel.  The animal was only $10 and so he knew he'd have $4 left for something else.  Once home he counted the money out of his bank by himself and came to me with his $10.
     We headed to Petco next and learned even more about caring for fish.  Who knew they were such hard work?!  We've lost all three go-light tetras at this point and when they tested the water the ammonia levels were still very high (higher than we've gotten a reading at home!).  The guy patiently explained to Alec that he has to clean deep down into the rocks and not just change out the water in the top of the tank.  Logically, this made perfect sense and I'm not sure why we didn't realize that ourselves but we hadn't.  We have been changing the water a few times a week but only scooping up the top 1/4 of the tank for our 1/4 tank change.  He suggested we stir up all the rocks and get all the gunk up and floating before changing out the water to clean the tank more.  So that's what we did, but not before the boys checked out all the fish.  Alec fell in love with one in particular and is worried that it will get sold before he has a chance to buy it.  They compared prices of fish, looked at the price of lizards and hermit crabs too. We stopped to buy some stuff for our cat and we talked about how expensive animals are and can be.  We talked about vet visits, food, medicines, and all the other paraphernalia needed for various pets.
    Once home we cleaned the tank and the boys settled in to enjoy watching some movies and playing some video games.  Alec and Evan often snuggle together and play the same game side by side.  Other times they enjoy playing different games and showing each other the progress they've been making.  They all stopped to make themselves dinner and that's when I finished our Harry Potter chapter.  Alec and Evan then went back to watching Harry Potter Minecraft videos while Ian got ready for basketball.  It was another unbelievably full day.  I don't know how we're managing to get so much done in a day but I'll take it for now.  We're dying for spring and I'm sure we'll have many "sun" days off to enjoy the parks and beaches.

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