Monday, March 9, 2015

Out for a Snow Walk

Today was a fun day filled with learning.  We did a LOT of reading and mostly I followed the boys' lead in what they wanted to do.  We covered math, history and geography as well as getting in lots of fresh air.

Here is what a typical winter day of homeschooling looks like:




We learned all about animal adaptations and communication today watching The Science of Disney Imagineering Animal Adaptions: Communication.  We were really excited to discover that this movie was now available through inter- library loan at our library.  We've watched (and re-watched) all the other Science of Disney Imagineering movies and we just love them.  This one was equally as wonderful.  Alec and Evan, in particular, loved to see all the animals.  Many of them we don't remember seeing at Disney on any of our trips but it was still very fun and educational.

Alec read a chapter in Danger In The Darkest Hour out loud to us and I read two more chapters later on in the day.  We're trying to read a few chapters a day.  The book is due back soon and we can't renew it since other people are waiting with requests.  We are determined to finish it though and we're all anxious to hear what will happen to Jack and Annie in Nazi territory.

We also read The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II.  This was one part of the war I had never heard about.  The Nazi army had allied forces surrounded and stranded on a peninsula off the northern coast of France.  An 861 ship armada, comprised of volunteers & enlisted men alike with boats of all shapes and sizes helped rescue more than 338,000 soldiers from the enemies' hands.  It was a compelling story told by the point of a view of young girl who posed as an older boy to help her father in his rescue efforts. We just loved it.
 
 Alec spent most of his morning reading the next book in his Guardians of Ga' Hoole.  He was so busy reading he forgot to get dressed, make his bed, clean his room, or even get started on his schoolwork.  He ended up having to work pretty hard all afternoon to get caught up but I'm trying real hard to back off on all the reminders and nagging.  If his schoolwork and chores aren't done then he just can't watch TV or play video games like his brothers until everything is done.  Besides he was reading!

Ian read a few chapters in his Weirder School book and Evan tried to read Drip, Drop to me.  I'm not sure if it was just that Evan wasn't focused or if he was rusty after not reading all weekend but his reading was downright painful today; he got stuck on such simple words as had, the, and get.  I tried not to dwell on it overmuch and hope that tomorrow will be better.
 
Evan did work with me for a good 15 minutes or so on Khan Academy and has now completed 50%  of the k-2 curriculum.  We also completed two pages in his workbook about adding 10.  This time he had to add 10 to two and three digit numbers.  He seemed to catch on pretty quickly. Tomorrow he'll be working with adding 100 so we reviewed that page as well.

Ian also worked on Khan Academy and completed one page in his math workbook comparing measurements.

Late in the afternoon I finally sat with Alec at the computer and we worked on Khan Academy together.  The fourth grade work is getting really difficult really fast and I'm not sure how to back it down a bit for him.  I'm sure if he got a lot of them wrong it would suggest more practice areas for him to work on but he's way to much of a perfectionist for that to work. He would rather sit there for 20 minutes on one problem and get it right after a lot of tears and frustration than admit he doesn't know it, take a random guess and get it wrong.  I did notice he needs a lot of practice subtracting with borrowing and as much as he'll hate it I think we'll stop and focus on that for a bit.  I think it's a skill that will really help him in the higher math he's working with.

 He set aside the computer and worked on a page with multiplication reviews today.  I thought it would be an easy break for him and suggested that he try it since most of his "easy" workbook pages are finished up at this point.
 
 Ian had settled down with me early this morning before anyone else was ready for school and we worked on his history report.  He dictated some facts to me and we have one whole page completed about the history of the bulldozer.  We also laid out his pictures and facts on his display board and figured out how everything would best fit.  I'm feeling really good about how much we're completing!

Evan and I sat down to read two more books about South Korea today.  We read Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth & South Korea (Countries).  He only managed to come up with any few facts about South Korea and we have about one typed page for his report.  He has been learning a lot and retaining the information though so I think that's good enough.  We'll start looking for some pictures to print out and help fill up his board tomorrow, being younger his board tends to be more picture oriented than the older boys.
 
 It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 40's.  I wanted to get out and take advantage of the nice weather.  We donned ski pants and boot to keep us dry and put one some sweatshirts.  The boys were super excited not to have winter coats on and asked if we could walk in the woods.  We all thought that sounded great until we started walking and sinking; up to our knees or even thighs!  It was slow going for most of us.  Alec had no problems since he tends to be able to walk on top of the snow and barely sinks in at all.  Evan was smart and as he crawled by on his hands and knees and told me "I'm distributing my weight more evenly."  I had no gloves and couldn't crawl even if I had wanted to.  I hardly think that technique would have worked for me anyway, it certainly didn't work for Ian.

The older boys had a snowball fight and Evan wanted to go check on their fort.  The weight of the snow made the walls cave in a bit and he was disappointed but knew they could fix it one day this spring or summer.  After 10 minutes or so of walking around we turned back and followed our own footsteps home.  I figured we still go to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine but boy does it make me anxious for spring.  I can't wait to do school outside, to pack away 99% of our books and enjoy being out in nature, to see green grass and wear flip flops.

Spreading out his weight like a polar bear on the ice 

Hiding in the trees during the snowball fight

Their fort with all the snow still packed on and around it

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