Friday, April 24, 2015

Making the Most of it

More and more as we continue on this journey of homeschooling I realize that it's pretty important to show my boys how to make the most of whatever we're given.  

It's a real gift to be able to make the most out of our days; whether they include learning or not.

On days when we do just a little bit of schoolwork I expect them to get the most out of it.

We also try to make the most of the time we spend together as a family; focusing on traditions, making memories, and having fun.

Enjoying every moment we are given is not always easy but it is something I am trying to instill in my boys.

Today was a lazy, fun, laid back kind of day and we need that too sometimes.  Part of making the most of all our days includes having fun and making connections with other people too.

I would never say we're isolated or anti- social but sometimes it's easy to get bogged down in routine or pass up purely "fun" stuff for the more "educational" stuff but looking back over our day I was reminded how important it is to kick back and relax.

Spending time with others who share our lifestyle, concerns, and beliefs is so rewarding and necessary at times. We also need to make the most of our play times and was happy to see that today we did just that.

Before heading out we made the most of our day together learning new skills, connecting with one another, and it was pretty amazing watching my boys take the initiative to work on their schooling. 

Working Together in the Kitchen: 
The boys each made their own breakfast and worked together to make some egg sandwiches.  As they were finishing up their breakfast I was getting ready to start making Ian's cake.  We're having a small family party for him tomorrow night and he picked out a delicious looking no-bake cake.

Alec saw me getting out all the ingredients and wanted to help.  He's really getting into this whole baking and cooking thing lately and I love seeing how excited he gets.  He pitched in and together we mixed up the peanut butter layer for our Peanut Butter Caramel No Bake Ice Box Cake.  We measured, mixed and tasted.

If our cake comes out tasting anywhere near as good as the one on the other website looks we'll be one lucky family tomorrow!


Self- Guided Schoolwork with the Boys:
Ian:

He had already settled himself down to do his math and completed two pages in his workbook working with reading floor plans and figuring out area.  He really enjoyed it and thought it was pretty easy.  

He then asked if he could do some spelling work instead of reading today.  I agreed but reminded him that we're so close to finishing The Hunger Games.  He then changed his mind and we read two chapters together.  He read a total of 6 pages and we occasionally stopped to review what was happening or to go over some vocabulary words.  He's enjoying this series so much and reading so well.  I know I keep saying that (over and over everyday) but I'm just so amazed.  I never thought I'd see the day where he was willingly reading a long chapter book without any pictures at all and breezing through words like hypodermic!

Evan:
Evan snuggled up to me asking for help on his math.  He, of course, meant "mom can you write everything while I dictate to you?" but didn't really say that out loud.  He just sort of handed me the pencil and workbook and chose two pages that both worked on subtracting two digit by two digit numbers with regrouping.

I was impressed because the running commentary seemed to go like this me:  Can we take 8 away from 5?  Evan: no, so cross off the other 5 make it a 4 and then bring that over to the 5 and make it 15.  I'd follow his instructions and rewrite the problem the way he explained.  Then either adding on or counting backward he would tell me the answer to the problems.  We must have done a good 30 problems total and he never once stumbled or made a mistake!

He then wanted to go through the book and count up how many pages are left.  He only has 10 pages left and he looked to me with excitement in his eyes and told me he's going to finish the book next week.  I've already decided we're going to spend the time until September playing games and having fun retaining what he's learned so far before we buy another book.

I know it's going to be hard to find another book he enjoys as much as his Star Wars books.

Evan brought out the book Pete the Cat: Pete Gets a Pet and read it out loud for all of us to read.  He did an excellent job.  He was surprised to see how long the story was and I told him we didn't have to read it all in one sitting.

So imagine our surprise and his feeling of accomplishment when he did!  He read the whole thing and it didn't take him very long at all.

Alec
He sat next to Evan and I reading his Warriors book.

Alec brought his math workbook in the car and completed two pages with the 9's time table.  He had just about finished when we arrived at the park so I told him he could set it aside and go play.

They had worked so hard all morning and it was time for them to enjoy themselves:  

The younger two boys took right off and began running, climbing and swinging the moment we arrived.  Ian hung back a bit and seemed rather bored for quite some time.

He's getting to that age when hanging around a playground is just not fun or cool anymore.

Luckily, a large group of older kids showed up and he eventually took off with them across the park to play soccer.  He willingly walked out of my sight to go play with this group of kids and I was glad to see him spreading his wings a bit.

We played in the windy, cold, sunny weather for over 2 hours.  The kids made up games and had a ball.

All us moms had a great time re-connecting and talking.

It's a great big gab fest and I think it's something we all need; kids and adults alike.  There's nothing like spending time with friends just hanging out, playing, and having fun to show us the importance of embracing every moment.

Living life to it's fullest.

Making it all count.

This kid just can't pass up a set of monkey bars!

Swinging with friends 

Ian playing soccer with the older kids before they took off for the field

Balancing
Family Fun Time:    
The boys asked me to read some more of our Harry Potter book and reminded me that we hadn't had time to read any of it yesterday.  We didn't have much time today either so we only read part of the next chapter.

We listened to The Red Pyramid together in the car.

Once home the boys settled together on the couch to watch Penguins of Madagascar.  Alec had picked the movie out at the library yesterday and all the boys thought it was hilarious.  It was great to hear them all giggling and laughing together.  

We also picked out a fun (and dare I say educational?) movie for our family movie night tonight: Night at The Museum 3.  I've been dying to watch it with the boys.

We've watched all the other night at the museum movies and we love how they're both funny & entertaining as well as just a bit educational.  Many of the characters in the movies have made great jumping off points for future lessons.  We've also found that as we stumble upon things like the map of Amelia Earhart's trip that we saw at the New England Air Museum that we immediately think of the movies and start filtering out what parts are fact and what parts are fiction.

I often find historical fiction books and movies are some of the best ways to capture the boys interests.  Every little bit helps!

It's been awhile since we've had a nice family movie night and we were all looking to it.  It's the first night since we've gotten our new furniture in that we've all sat together to watch anything.  It will be nice to finally have enough seats for everyone!

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