Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Getting out of the House: Turning a Bad Homeschooling Day Around

We did not have a good start to our homeschooling day today.  


Our morning started out OK but soon deteriorated as soon as I pulled out our schoolwork.  I was not sure if we could turn the day around or not.


The boys didn't seem to enjoy or understand most of what I picked out to work on for school today

We had a tear filled, anxiety ridden morning of school.  


I have no idea what was so hard or stressful and found myself wondering more than once if they were all overtired or just being lazy today.

Math: 
The older boys each had their math workbooks and they could pick any two pages to do.  Ian was completely baffled by the idea of finding area today; some of it had to do with the larger numbers being used I'm sure but it was as if he had forgotten everything he ever learned about finding area.  It wasn't until later in the morning that I was able to sit right beside him (and he told me step by step exactly what to do and what to write where!) that he was able to complete his work.

Alec forgot how to round and ended up getting half a page of problems wrong so he was upset that he had to go back and correct all of his work.  I typically cross out half the problems on the page and only make him do a small portion of them but after seeing how much he was struggling I asked him to complete more and that caused even more tears.

Writing:
The older boys each had a small writing assignment today too.

I found some Star Wars acrostic poems and thought that it would be fun.  The boys agreed... until they realized that they couldn't just write any old word that started with the letter they were on (to give you an idea Alec tried to write "ham" for the H in Han Solo).

I explained that the word or phrase they were going to use should in some way apply to the character they were writing about.  They balked at that and I actually sent Ian to his room to cool off and take a break since he was already all worked up about his math this seemed to send him right over the edge.

They eventually settled and regrouped themselves and came up with great acrostic poems; one about Han Solo and one about Stormtroopers.  It was just one of those where schooling felt like pulling teeth!

I Can't Help Everyone At the Same Time! 

 I think part of their angst stems from the fact that I am usually pretty busy helping Evan with his schoolwork and I rely on the older boys to be more independent.

 I realize some days they just can't be or won't be independent for whatever reason but I still tend to make them wait until after I'm done with Evan.  When he's on a roll I try not to let anything interfere.

 This morning he was on a roll!

He read 4 Dick and Jane stories to me.  We sat and read The Coin Counting book together.  I was introducing the coins to him.  We went over what they were called and how much they were worth.  I then had two coin Star Wars sheets for him to work on.

I knew he'd need my help adding up money amounts with quarters in the mix and that he'd most likely need reminders on which coins were which and how much they were worth.  He did amazing!

 He was really interested in it too so that certainly helped.

Evan at 7 he sees that money is important.

He ended his school day by dictating words to me.  We had a Yoda worksheet working with digraph blends and he had to come up with words that started or ended with certain blends.  He did really well.
   

Taking a Much Needed Break!

We went to visit my husband at work and had a great lunch.

I noticed Evan reading a lot of the signs posted around the lunchroom.

Alec had fun drawing and writing on the white board, leaving pictures for all of the workers.

They wanted to get an additional snack and since they have some for sale I saw a perfect opportunity to apply Evan's math lesson.  He read the sign to me that said soda .50 and snacks .75 cents.  He told me it would take 2 quarters to buy a soda and 3 to buy a snack.  Since Alec and Evan were buying snacks he told me he was going to need 6 quarters.  I was so happy to see how quickly he was catching on!  Alec told Evan that 6 quarters equaled 1.50.

Getting Some Fresh Air and Studying Nature:
 

Whenever we have a day that is not going well we find that heading outside really helps!

I don't know if it's the space, the freedom to move and run, the ability to shout and yell, the fresh air or the beauty of nature but getting outside seems to center us all and help us find our way back to being happy!

After lunch I took the boys walking on a trail along the river.

There are pages of a children's book set along the whole walk and we stopped to read it; all three boys took turns reading!

We saw lots of birds too-- orioles, robins, a red- winged black bird, and a heron.  Alec pointed out a robin's egg and we noticed a nest right above it.  Evan found a smaller nest that had blown out of a tree along the trail.

We watched the water & they commented on how low the water is since we haven't been having much rain.  We took note of the different trees and the younger boys had fun running around playing with sticks.
Reading Bear Wants More 

The nest Evan found 

Can you find the red winged black bird?

The robin's egg 

The Robin's nest 

Getting some New Materials:

 When we were done our walk we headed to run some errands.  We had planned to stop at Barnes and Noble and turn in the boys' summer reading sheets so that was our first stop.

All three boys curled up and started reading books!

All that schoolwork we stressed about all morning and here they were; eagerly learning and teaching themselves!

Evan and I read I Love You Daddy.

Ian read a picture book about construction trucks.

Alec started reading the new book he thought he might like to take home as his free book.  It was a graphic novel called Amulet.

Evan then convinced me to buy him the third Gameknight 999 book and Alec asked me to buy him the second book in the Jedi Training Academy.

Alec finished Amulet by the time we got home and immediately dove into Jedi Training Academy.

He then sat in the car for the next hour devouring that book too.
     
 While I can't afford to buy them new books each time we have a bad day I do realize the need for new and exciting materials every now and then to get them excited about school once again.  
 
I love to see him reading!  

Checking out a new book series 

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