S[ick]! Yet learning a lot!

      My kids are all feeling pretty miserable.  It all started last Friday when Ian woke up all stuffed up and was running a temp.  It has slowly passed from one kid to the next.  Luckily the temp didn't even last 24 hours and so we're just left with cold symptoms.  While Ian is feeling almost 100% better, the other two sound awful.  Granted they are only sick with some summer colds and have an occasional low- grade temp so it could be much worse, but I still have to keep reminding myself that it's been almost a year since the boys were sick and I should be grateful.  I am grateful!  For the most part they feel fine all day but they aren't sleeping well at night and I don't want to wear them out even more and have them get even sicker so we're taking it pretty easy.
     We did attempt a family outing yesterday and it was a lot of fun, but by the time we got home Evan was very tired and ended up spending the rest of the day on the couch watching movies and playing video games.  I've started wondering what they are all learning each day as we continue to mostly unschool.  It's hard to see all the progress they're making.   Today I'm loving this quote by Clavin &Hobbs: (and saying it over and over again like a mantra!) 

    I can't always see those day to day changes but when I look at the boys I can see how much they've grown, learned and developed over the past year.  It's funny how, whenever I'm stressing that we haven't gotten around to much schoolwork they show me that they just don't need me to teach them much.  While eating breakfast this morning Evan was quizzing Alec in math... "how much is 100 plus 6 plus 7?"  Alec, who mostly thinks out loud says "6 +6 is 12 so 6 +7 is 13-- right mom?  so then 113 because I remember that you can add in any order."  I was impressed.  Then they went off and happily played together for a few HOURS.  They pulled out all the Mario toys, the pirate ship and our plastic dinosaur mountain and played out an elaborate scene where Mario and Luigi needed the pirate ship to rescue the princess from the cave using the anchor.  It was great and for the most part they didn't argue at all.  While these two were busy eating and playing Ian was still sleeping and never woke up until past 9 (I'm thinking he's feeling better, sleeping better and catching up on lost sleep).
     Once he woke the boys asked to start school.  I hadn't planned on teaching today but I figured if they were healthy enough to play all morning and healthy enough to ask me to please start school, they were healthy enough to last through a few stories and activities. 
    We all snuggled on the couch and started reading a chapter in Surviving the Applewhites.  It's a book about a boy who has been kicked out of every other school and whose family turns to a homeschooling family for help.  I thought the boys would really like it since it was about a homeschooling family.  We don't find many books about those; but I'm not so sure I like it.  We 're only on chapter two and already the boy has talked about marijuana and smoking!  I think I'll set this book aside for me to finish reading before we go any further.  I don't pre- read any of our books or even view the videos I show for homeschooling and this sometimes backfires on me.   We also read Camping.  The boys have been asking to have a camp out in the yard again so they can eat outside, sit by the fire and roast marshmallows, watch the stars come out and hunt for fire flies.  As soon as we get a break in the weather we'll pitch our tent.  This book was beautifully illustrated and talked about the importance of quiet time in nature.  We enjoyed it. 
      For math we read a book called Mummy Math: an Adventure in Geometry.  The boys pointed out the shapes on each of the pages and Evan learned such terms as Sphere, Triangular prism, etc.  This was a review for the older two boys but they definitely needed the review.  At first they couldn't remember quite a few of the words (and to be honest, neither could I!).  We looked for geometric shapes around the house too. 
      The boys were getting very antsy to start science though.  For almost a week now I've planned on teaching them about the phases of the moon using Oreo cookies.  We've seen several lessons abound on Pinterest and I bought Oreos last week, but we've been busy and I was waiting for a few books on the phases of the moon to come in from the library.  We sat down to read The Moon Seems to Change and learned all the names of the phases of the moon.  There was a hands on activity in the back of the book too that we decided to do at the spur of the moment.  We took an orange, a pencil, a marker and a flashlight and they each took a turn playing the sun and the Earth.  We took a pencil and inserted it into the orange deep enough that the orange would not fall off (if you don't want to waste an orange I think it would work well with a nice big ball of play dough).  We then used the marker to make a black line around the orange from where the pencil met the orange to the other side so we ended up with two hemispheres and drew an x on one side.  It was time to head up to Ian's room, where it was still nice and dark) and start our demonstration.  Evan got to be the Earth first and he held the "moon" with the x- side facing himself, slightly above his head.  Alec, who was our first "sun", stood facing Evan and turned on the flashlight.  Evan could only see a black circle where he was holding the moon.  As he rotated slowly on the spot (and while Alec held the flashlight super still) he could see the crescent appear and slowly grow bigger until his back was to Alec and the moon appeared in full (remember he's holding it above his head so the flashlight shines directly on the whole moon).  As Evan continued to turn the full moon slowly got smaller and smaller until there was just a crescent left and then it was back to a black spot.  Alec then got to be the Earth while Ian was the sun and then Ian was the Earth while Evan was the sun.  It was a fun quick, easy explanation about how the sun, moon and Earth make the phases of the moon.  Once downstairs they were eager to open the Oreo packages and get to work.  I helped them open the Oreos and pull them apart.  I made sure they all had at least 8 full sides of Oreos to work with (since they tended to break I wanted to make sure they had extra).  Using a plastic knife they scraped off part of the filling to make the various moon shapes.  This project proved way to hard for Evan and I ended up making his and lining them up for him then asking him to point to each phase of the moon as I called them out (and I did NOT call them out in order).  Ian had the easiest time and quickly labeled his phases.  Once everyone was done they got to eat the Oreos and I gave them some milk.  While they were eating we also read I Took the Moon for a Walk.

Ian's finished project

Alec's project



    We then headed out to the bank and the library.  We finished up the Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One and started re-listening to Good Morning, Gorillas of the Magic Tree House Series while in the car.  I was only planning to drop off books and pick up the few we had on hold (just a quick in and out since I thought the boys weren't feeling all that well and I'm always afraid to spread our germs), but the boys took off scouring the cases and we came home with a heaping, huge pile of books!  They also wanted to fill out paws for the reading program.  I was amazed to realize this morning that Alec had read 19 books while the other two boys each had read 11 in just under a week.  Alec really wanted to fill out 20 paws so he quickly read another book while we were at the library.  It was great!  They found a large floor rug of the United States and all took turns sitting on various states like Texas, California and Hawaii.  They all wanted to look at their books on the way home instead of listening to our book on CD so I turned off the radio and we had a very quiet ride home. 
      We made lunch when we returned home and the boys asked to eat on TV trays in the playroom so they could watch the new movie we brought home from the library on the lost city of Atlantis.  It was a whopping 100 degrees out today and the lake is warmer than bathwater by now so I had planned to stay inside anyway.  We talked about the legend of the lost city and then I let them be watching their movie.  We found it neat that Hercules was mentioned as part of the legend and I like that it tied in with our Greek Mythology study.  They really seemed to enjoy the movie a lot, but Evan seemed to get stuffier and more miserable as the movie progressed & I decided boredom or not, school was over for today. 
     Alec and Evan decided they wanted to play Wii and turned on World of Zoo while Ian headed up to watch some TV in my room.  He set our DVR to record the Turtleman, which is a wonderful non- fiction show about animals.  Shh!  Don't tell them they're learning! 


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