Thursday, March 5, 2015

Qubits and Brain Games

We had a fun day today!

It was one of those days where our lessons just seemed to flow.  We meandered from one subject to the next and took time to stop and play in between.  No one really fought and it was just one of those idyllic homeschooling days filled with lots of learning activities.

We don't often have idyllic homeschooling days in March.  By the end of winter we're all pretty sick and tired of one another and of being stuck inside the house.

But today we proved that idyllic winter homeschooling days are possible. 




It's always the sign of a great day when the boys want to help out and ask if they can participate!

 Alec wanted to help me make the blueberry coffee cake.

Since the coffee cake was my final recipe of the morning we were down to just a few clean measuring cups and spoons.  He did great adding fractions together to measure out enough of each material without me telling him what he needed to do.

 I read the recipe out loud to him (since the area we were working in was pretty small and the book had to be across the counter from him).

It came out delicious and it was nice to have some help in the kitchen.

 
All the boys took turns looking through our microscope at some point throughout the morning.

I had it packed away in it's case so it wouldn't get broken and well, you know the saying, "out of sight; out of mind?"  We had forgotten about it, but the kids were once again enthused about looking through it.

They were able to check out some slides that they hadn't looked at before.  We talked about the different lenses and what they did as well as how to handle the machine.  They asked me questions about the various slides and what the parts were that were shown on them.

They seem really engaged and I promised to pick up some blank slides so we could look at some lake water and other stuff under the microscope this spring and summer.






















 
I had printed a few math worksheets off the computer last night.  

Ian and Alec worked on a math page that compared fractions.  The two written fractions for each equation also had a drawing of each fraction above them.  They could shade in the fraction and then compare the shaded areas to determine which was greater.

Evan rolled dice and worked on a paper composing numbers using 10's and 1's.  He had to draw the sticks and cubes and I pulled out our case of blocks to show him.  He completed the page quite quickly and then had fun playing with the cubes, ten sticks, and 100's blocks for a bit.  He compared them and tried to add up enough sticks to make a 1,000 cube.


Math is always more fun for Alec when he can use markers

 

















 

Ian had gotten a box of Qubits for Christmas and had not yet opened them.  When I found the unopened box in his room last night I told him we'd play with them for school.

The boys weren't sure about the blocks at first; they're flat and they snap together and they were having a hard time getting them to do much of anything.

After a bit though they started making bridges and all sorts of wonderful 3-dimensional shapes.

Alec and Evan dismantled one building and started lying them end to end.  They decided to hang them off the balcony in our great room to see if the chain was long enough to touch the ground.  They measured how much more space they had to go to the ground and measured the sticks to see how long they were to determine how many more they needed.

After their second attempt they made a chain long enough to touch the floor.  They turned the chain into a corral fence and connected them together in one giant circle.

The only suggestion they offered to me was to buy more blocks so they could make even more things out of them.  I guess they were a hit!





Measuring how much is left 


While they played with the Qubits, I read another chapter in Danger in the Darkest Hour.  

We also finished up our Harry Potter book during snack today.

We decided to take a small break before starting the last Harry Potter book.  The boys want to focus on their geography and history fair projects for a bit and asked if we could have a Harry Potter themed week or two of school during the reading of the last book.  I agreed but only if we finished up all the other stuff we're working on first-both our fair projects and also our World War II unit.
    
Alec worked on his new spelling list today.

We decided to write all of his words in dry erase marker on the window in the living room.

Evan played a matching game for some added phonics fun today.  He had a mat with pictures on it; 9 of them to be precise.  He had to read the 9 word cards and match the word to the picture.  He had a pretty easy time of it and then settled down to read Biscuit Meets the Class Pet.


Evan and Ian donned their winter gear and headed out to play.  

Ian brought his trucks up to the deck to play in the partially shoveled snow.  We have so much snow outside now that it's impossible to play outside without getting stuck.  Ian has been anxiously awaiting the day he could get back outside and dig with his trucks.

He immediately clung to the suggestion to bring his trucks up where the snow wasn't so deep.  It was lightly snowing out and the weather was pretty mild today so it was good for them to get out.



We had to head to the library again today.  We had a few more movies that were due back (that the boys made sure to watch last night) and Evan needed some more story books to read.  We listened to our book on CD in the car and switched to the next disk.  We also discovered that a few new things had come in for us since yesterday and we hurried home to watch some movies and have some lunch.

The boys migrated to the kitchen one by one today and ate their lunches at all different times.  I did read two more books about Korea to Evan during his lunch.  We read Good-bye 382 Shin Dang Dong and Peach Heaven .  We learned that Korea has a monsoon season and that they are famous for their peaches; most of which they export.


 After/ during lunches we watched a few more episodes of Brain Games.

We love this show!

We rented a few disks from our library and they deal with how the brain works.  They teach through the show using brain teasers and optical allusions.  It was entertaining and educational.  Most of the games allow the viewer to play along and then they slow it down and show how they did it.  The games were simple enough that even Evan could play along.  None of the boys had wanted to watch but I put it in to watch and wasn't surprised to find all the boys enthralled before long.

 After the movie Ian and I took turns reading aloud and finished up the last two chapters of his Genius Files book.  I don't often make him read aloud, nor do I often get to hear him reading.  When I do I am often struck by how far his reading has progressed these past few years of homeschooling.  Unfortunately, I don't think he always notices the difference.  His vocabulary has expanded so he stumbles over fewer words.  I think he's also getting better at predicting what the author is going to say.  He reads with greater fluency and definitely comprehends better.  I don't think he'll ever love to read but at least I know he'll be able to!

Our learning day just seemed to flow today and I found that the boys often initiated what we were going to be doing,  They always seem happiest when our days just seem to organically flow and learning is not forced.  


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