Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Just the Basics

Today we just had time to cover the basics in our schoolwork.  We have days where we try to cover many different subjects and other days when I'm thrilled to just cover some reading, spelling, and math.

Today we had a busy morning and I was just hoping to the basic math, spelling, and reading assignments done.


In covering the basics everyday the boys retain more, gain skills faster, and we make sure that they're prepared for life.  

If they can read well they can pick up any book and learn about whatever interests them.

If they are good at problem solving and figuring out math problems they can tackle new areas of learning with confidence, solve problems, and make good financial decisions as adults.

If we practice language arts skills they will be able to communicate more effectively through the written word.

I try to cover reading and math every day and throw in some sort of writing, spelling or language arts assignment.  I feel these subjects are too important not to cover each day.  

Ian had started watching The Hunger Games movie with my husband last night and really enjoyed it. Since my husband and I had both read the book series we kept pausing the movie to give Ian more background information.  He immediately started watching the rest of it this morning and we requested the book from the library.  I promised to help him read it and I love that he's just as excited about a book and movie series as I am.

So excited that I ignored my own "no screens before school" edict that I just decreed earlier this week!  Some days I feel so wishy- washy about all my rules and today was one of them.  It didn't hurt that we had early morning dentist appointments and we weren't planning on tackling any school work until afterwards anyway.

We had a great check up at the dentist and Evan even went back with the hygienist on his own.  He was perfectly happy and content and I could hear him talking her ear off most of the time he was back there.  It amazes to see how much he's grown in confidence and how much more social he is now that he's getting older.   Ian, not all that surprising, wanted me to sit with him.  He started telling the hygienist about how to tell the difference between white and red pine trees and she commented that we're always talking about nature or the environment and that the boys were lucky to spend so much time outside.

It's funny how it always takes someone else noticing and commenting before I realize it too.  We do spend a lot of time outside and we talk about nature so much; even when we're not outside

We arrived home and the boys were disappointed that I expected them to do any schoolwork today.

Reading: 
They soon got over it though and the two older boys headed up to their rooms to read.  Alec read a few more chapters in The First Collier while Ian read two more of his digger books.

Evan and I read two more Dick and Jane stories.  He hasn't needed any of my help to read any of these stories and I'm sure they're much to simple for him but I don't want to discourage him from reading anything.  He's enjoying them and I know that it's giving him confidence.  He's certainly reading faster, tracking his fingers under the words and self- correcting when he reads so fast he gets ahead of himself.  He even told me today that he thinks he'll read aloud to himself in his room tonight after we put him to bed.  I've been offering to let him stay up and read in his room like his older brothers do but he always insists he can't read on his own because he'll never know if he's making mistakes or not.  I thought it was a big step in the right direction if he's feeling confident enough to try reading on his own.

Spelling:
Right before we had left for the dentist, while the boys were waiting in the car, I ran through the house and hid eggs for Evan to find.



I had found a fun short vowel word game on-line that I printed out last night and prepared for school today.  He scoured the downstairs looking for the 20 hidden eggs.  I then explained that he had to open them one at a time and spell the word using the scrambled letters.  He had fun cracking the eggs open and willingly wrote the words down on the paper.  By the time he was half-way through he was getting tired of writing and the "fun" part of the activity seemed to have warn off; I told him next time I'd make sure to only hide 10 eggs and complete one worksheet page.  He loved it and had no problem at all spelling each and every one of the words.


The older boys finished reading and Alec went on to practice his spelling words.  He was having difficulty remembering how to spell any of them and so I quickly went onto Spelling City and added his word list.  He then played a word unscramble game.  He struggled with even remembering what words he was working with though and was happy to finish up with only three wrong in the end.  He decided he was hungry and went to make his lunch.  Ian completed another page in his spelling book working with -ble words.

Math:
Ian completed two more pages in his measurement book and worked on converting measurements back and forth from inches to feet to yards and every combination in between.  He did a great job but hated this math work today.  He had to multiply and divide by 3, 12, & 36 and the 36 really threw him.  Mostly I just sat near him so he could check each answer with me as he figured them out.

Evan and I sat down to complete two pages in his math book.  I quickly showed him how to add two digit numbers without regrouping and then left him to complete the rest on his own.  He did amazing!  Each page did have 19 problems on them and he got sick of writing down his answers so he asked me if I could take turns writing with him.  Of course I agreed and we were finished in just a few minutes.

 Alec had been sitting on my other side and was working in his math book as well.  He was turning fractions into decimals and decimals into fractions; working only with tenths and halves.  He ended up just telling me all the answers and didn't write any of it down either.   They really hate writing and I try to remember that the importance of their math work is to learn the math; not focus on writing.

Read Aloud:
We all ate lunch together and I read three or four more chapters in I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor (squeezing in some history to our day).  These chapters all had our main character in the midst of the battle with bombs and bullets raining down.  It was very action packed and I'm sure they would have willingly sat for even longer but I knew the boys wanted to head to the park to meet up with some friends this afternoon
     
Getting Outside and Socializing:
We packed up the car with helmets and scooters and headed for the park.  We listened to our book on Cd and finally put in the last disk.  The boys are anxious to see how this ends and kept making me turn off the book for a minute as they compared it to the movie.  They're finding that it's nothing like the book and as Evan put it "isn't that always the way?"   We've even discussed why movies are often so different from the books.  Evan told me he likes that in the books you can hear what the characters are thinking and feeling and hates that it all gets lost in the movie.  I couldn't agree more.

We arrived at the park and found that the snow was much deeper than we had anticipated.  We expected some snow to still be around but there was actually very few areas that didn't have snow on them.  Ian was disappointed that he couldn't ride his scooter and since most of the kids were Alec and Evan's age he ended up sitting and talking with us grownups for quite some time.  He also played his video game for a while.

It was quite surreal to see Alec and Evan out running and playing and have Ian sitting with video games; talk about role reversals!  At some point all of the boys were running, swinging and playing and we all enjoyed being out in the sun and fresh air.  It was beautiful out and we met a few more homeschooling moms and children, which is always nice.
 


Linking Up With: 
Small Victories Sunday Linkup

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