Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blink and It's Over

By the title you may assume I'm talking about childhood.  All us moms know that it seems like children grow by leaps and bounds every single time we blink.  We're told to enjoy every moment because it's short and they're so precious.

And they're right.

Childhood passes quickly.

But I'm not talking about childhood,  today I'm talking about our schoolwork.  


With a dentist appointment scheduled for Evan this morning and some errands to run, I knew we needed a shortened day of school today.  I asked the boys to do math and reading and told them they would be free to spend the rest of the day however they liked.  Needless to say they were thrilled.

We  have days when there is just so much going on that we don't have time to fit in a full day's worth of school.  Sometimes we have appointments scheduled during school hours, we have homeschool activities planned, we have field trips, or we have family obligations.

As long as it doesn't happen ALL the time we can work around the time crunch.

On those days that time seems to be against us we have several options:

  • Do a shortened day of work and just cover the basics
  • Bring the work with us and have the kids work in the car
  • Give them some fast review sheets
  • Declare a day off
  • Rely on Unschooling: focus on what my kids are learning outside of school.  

Today we combined a shortened day of school with Unschooling

Our Shortened Day  of School:

Math:

All three boys chose to complete two more pages in their math books.

 Ian finished up working with circumference and diameter and the book introduced him to the concept of Pi.  Not bad for 5th grade math.

Evan also only has 8 or 10 pages left in his book and he'll be finishing up grade 2 by the end of next week!  Today he subtracted two digit numbers with borrowing, added two digit numbers with regrouping, and worked with arrays.

Alec picked a page reviewing his 4 times tables and then a page at the end of the book working with word problems; he did so much better with the word problems today.  I still find it odd that he enjoys all the work at the END of the 4th grade book better than the work at the beginning of it!

Reading and Language Arts:
Alec went to read his Warrior book while Ian and I read the next chapter in The Hunger Games.

Ian did a little extra schoolwork and completed a page in his spelling book working with adding -s or -es to the end of words.

Evan wanted to try his sight word stackers and as he read them to me I kept track of those that he's already learned and told him I'm going to switch those out with new words.  He told me he figured I would be doing that and assured me he's ready for new words.  When I think that it's only been one month since we made these towers I'm stunned that he's learned over 20 words--in just one month!

He then sat with me and read Jump, Pup! He did awesome and told me that he likes to end the school day with reading because he thinks reading is easy.  I'm so glad!  All the boys were thrilled to be completed school in an hour.


He challenged himself to make a tall tower today! 

How We Combine Traditional Schooling With Unschooling:


Our Unschooling Day:
We had a bit of a science lesson this morning too before school even began.  We made homemade donuts using biscuit dough.  We followed this recipe and the boys all helped.

Adding in some extra math practice: I asked Evan how many donuts we'd be making as I was cutting up the dough.  I explained that if I had 10 and cut them all in half I would have two groups of 10.  After a bit of thinking he told me that 10+10 was 20.  I then asked the older boys to figure out how many we could each eat they used their division facts to quickly figure out we could each have 5 if we wanted.

We covered life skills and cooking too.  Alec was the only one not afraid of the hot oil so I showed him how to gently drop them in the oil and quickly move out of the way of any splashing/ spitting oil. He did good and was so happy to roll them in the powdered sugar, cocoa mix, or sugar/cinnamon mixture once they had cooled a bit.

We discovered a few of the last donuts didn't cook all the way through browning so much on the outside so fast that the heat did not cook them properly.  We talked about why that was and some of the properties of hot oil.  We set the pan aside to cool and ate our breakfast.

Unfortunately the real science lesson came a bit later when I thought the oil was all cooled off and went to rinse the pan out.  The combination of the cold water and the (apparently) still hot/warm oil set off a series of volcanic like explosions of oil.  Luckily, no one was nearby (other than me and I can move pretty fast when needed) so no one was hurt.

We had a bit of a messy and oily kitchen afterwards but I assured the boys I could have it cleaned in no time.

It led to a great discussion of why that happened, of why we NEVER put water on a grease/ oil fire, how to avoid that from happening again in the future, and so on.

Nothing like being a homeschool mom to use every possible scenario as a teaching moment!  I bet this is one they won't soon forget!
They were very yummy though!  


They came inside and asked to play air hockey.  We played a few rounds and then we all sat down to play Jenga working on math/logic skills.


Learning life skills at the dentist.  Evan did an amazing job.  He needed new sealants put on his bottom molar since he had already worn the first set off (and our amazing dentist refused to charge me for them since he felt they should have lasted better than that).  Unbeknownst to me, on top of needing sealants on his top two molars, Evan also needed a bit of drilling done.  The dentist assured me that they don't even consider the marks he had on his teeth cavities since they weren't yet cavities but that they were starting to form.  He had scheduled an hour to do the procedure in case he had to use Novocaine since they do drill and fill them in a similar manner to prevent future cavities from forming. Evan flew threw it all without batting an eyelash and we were in and out in under 30 minutes with three new sealants and two cavities prevented.

Adding some socialization into our day.  We had a nice lunch visiting with my mother in law and we were all reluctant to see it end.  As much as try to take advantage of seeing family often it still never quite seems like enough.  We parted ways to run our separate errands.

The boys and I headed to Target, Lowe's and the grocery store.  We listened to our book on CD for part of the car ride home (reading/language arts).

We had a lot of time to talk in the car and it's amazing all the conversations we have and all the various topics we manage to cover:

  • Today we talked about septic tanks; the job of the septic tanks and how to care for them.  
  • We also talked about fraternal versus identical twins (how in one the egg splits and in another the woman actually has two eggs that are fertilized at the same time),
  • The genetic disposition to have twins, how to tell identical twins and fraternal twins apart when they're the same gender, how a woman's body handles twins, what a full- term baby means, what types of care a preemie might need, and birthdays-- all things I never imagined ever talking about!  The boys were interested though and kept asking even more questions.  
  • We talked about how one twin is always older (but usually only by a few minutes).  
  • How twins could technically have different birthdays or even different birth years depending on when the mom goes into labor and the space of time between births.  It's always tricky to answer their questions appropriately but today's talk was a great one.  Alec and Ian in particular kept asking more questions and relating my answers to people we know or TV/movies they've seen.  I'd say we covered more than our fair share of science today.

   Linking Up With:
Family Friday Link-Up Party

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