An "Off' Day

      I was sitting here this morning thinking how some days my kids just "get it" and other days they don't.  Most of the time Ian knows all of his multiplication facts (Alec knows many of them too) but today when I had the two of them playing a multiplication game they were just making mistakes left and right.  Mostly we all laughed about it since I know they know how to multiply (and they were even getting most of their addition facts wrong too).  Obviously it was an off day when they weren't really focused on  math.  They did enjoy the game we played and the book they read though so we'll try playing again another day when they're more focused on our work and their brains are working better.  I had planned on reading Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumplestiltskin and having the two older boys play Zap It!   It turns out that Ian read the book to himself a few days ago and Alec read it to himself this morning before breakfast so I decided to skip re- reading the book and we went right to the math game.  To play Zap it! you just need some dice and colored counters or markers.   Players take turns rolling two dice and multiplying the numbers rolled.  If they get the answer right they take a counter and it's the next players turn.  If doubles are rolled they were Zapped and all counters must go back to the middle.  The one with the most counters at the end of the game wins.  You could have them tally rounds or we just set a timer.  I also modified the game a bit for Ian.  He had three dice; he had to roll the first two and add them then roll the third dice and multiply to find the answer.  My hope was to get him practicing more of the 6- 12 times tables and fewer of the 1-6 tables but he often rolled ones and twos anyway.  At the last minutes I realized he couldn't roll doubles for multiplication since there were three dice so I told him if the two dice he had to add ended up  being the same then he'd be zapped.  We were joking by the end of the game that Alec should have had black hair because he got Zap It! so many times.  Seriously, I think he rolled more doubles than non- doubles!  Funny thing was though that by the time the timer went off they both had only 1 counter and it ended up being a tie! 
       While the older boys were playing their game Evan and I read What's the Difference? An Endangered Animal Subtraction Story.  As we read I pointed out the subtraction sentence on each page and had him count to find the answer.  He loved the illustrations and the cute little poem on each page.  Once we were done reading I asked him if he wanted to count out loud, work on a dot to dot or practice adding.  He chose to count so he counted to 100 by 1's and by 10's and then he went to go play. 
     Once the older boys were done math Alec wanted to run his own science experiment and Ian went to play outside since the sun is shining again.  Alec explained his science experiment to me and while it sounded more like an art project I let him be and play and explore.  He took four containers, added gradual amounts of water and food coloring to each one and then tried mixing them to see what color he would get.  Mostly, he ended up with a lot of brown but he decided to dump out all the colors and try again.  The second time he got a variety of shades of blue and green.  By the time he finished up he had all four containers the exact same shade of green.

mixing the colors together

try #2
    We cleaned up and packed a lunch.  We headed to the library and to my grandmother's house.  The boys were dying to play with the kitten and had been asking to go visit her again.  I love that they are so enthusiastic about visiting her and are forcing me to get there much more often.  We often get so wrapped up in our schedules and lives that we neglect to visit her as often as we'd like.  I warned the boys before we left that they weren't to just watch the TV the entire time.  After two whole day of screens it was time to take a break.  They picked out toys and books to bring with them to my grandmother's and told me they'd mostly just play with the cat anyway. 
        We stopped at the library first since we had books to pick up and movies to return.  Alec told me he needed to look around for books while we were at there since he was out of reading books.   I love that it's hard to keep up with his reading.  We listened to some more of The Mystery of the Cupboard on the way to the library and my grandmother's and arrived just in time for lunch.  By this time Alec had read three books already (plus he somehow managed to listen to the book on CD too... this always amazes me.  I don't know how he reads, comprehends what he's reading all while listening to a story that he also comprehends)! 
         The boys spent the day playing with the cat, eating lots of junk food (that Great Gram is more than happy to provide!) and playing hide and seek.  The boys each put on a concert using my grandmother's organ and making up their own songs.  My grandmother remarked that Alec seems to have natural talent and should be taking lessons.  If only I money enough to pay for all the private lessons he "should" have.   Luckily, Alec has had piano lessons in the past and remembers how much he did not like practicing afterward so he was quite vocal about not taking lessons. 
Who wouldn't want to play with this adorable kitten?

Alec puts on a concert

Evan listens


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