A Mid Day Change of Plans!

   I'm really starting to feel the pressure of our science fair next week; we were supposed to work on the reports yesterday but with karate, errands, my sister coming to visit with my nephews and soccer practice we just never got around to it.  I knew inviting my sister over meant we would probably not have time to work on their reports.  We haven't seen gotten together in a while for the kids to just play and be kids and the weather was so nice that I didn't want to postpone their trip.  But I did worry about getting any work done.  All three boys worked on some of their math workbooks in the car and Evan worked on a phonics page while the older boys worked on some cursive but that was all we did for school.  I was fine with it, really I was.  They had a fabulous afternoon riding bikes, scooters, and skateboards.  They made up races, experimented with riding on the skateboard using their feet, their butts, and their bellies.  They played ball and made up some games of pass, some 1/2 soccer games and whatever else they wanted to do.  My sister and I got to talk and visit and it was just a fabulous afternoon.  I can't regret it; I just wish someone could have been working on the boys reports for us while we were playing.  At the time I figured we had most of today to get their reports done and so I wasn't worried.... until I happened to look at the calendar and realized we weren't going to be home today either.  Oops!

Their completed house
    Alec had an orthodontic appointment this morning and we had our gym class planned for this afternoon.  I worked my hardest to get the boys up and going early this morning so that we could hopefully get something done before heading out today.  I hesitated to interrupt when they were all playing so nicely together.  The boys worked together to build an amazing house with our magna blocks.  Eventually they finished up and got all ready for the day.  Evan worked on making his sea turtle puppet so we could display his craft at the science fair.  He did such a great job coloring and cutting and I just love the end result.  He does too so that's even better.

Evan's finished puppet

           While Evan was working on that the older two boys took their math minute -- still working on dividing by 8.  Ian then asked if he could sit at the computer and start typing up his report on the VCR as part of his writing for the day.  Of course I said yes! I was so excited that he was taking it upon himself to type his own report instead of trying to dictate it to me and expecting me to type it up for him.  Alec worked on finishing his letter to Santa from Monday. 

   We piled into the car when it was time to go and I had all the boys bring their math workbooks with them.  Evan also brought along his phonics book and they all worked on their schoolwork while we were driving.  Evan chose another subtraction page while Ian worked on real life word problems involving time and elapsed time.  Alec was still working on his letter to Santa.  At one point they all needed my help and I had to remind them I was driving.  Evan didn't know a few of the people and aliens from the Star Wars series in order to figure out whether he needed to add an n or an m to finish the word.  Ian had some pretty difficult problems that required multiple steps and so I walked him through the problem asking him questions and allowing him to solve the computations. 
   We arrived at the orthodontist and all the boys learned a lot about teeth.  We got to look in Alec's mouth to see how his teeth line up and what they should look like.  We go to see several x-rays of Alec's teeth and watch them take molds of Alec's mouth.  It was really neat to see the materials they use to make the molds, how they make the molds, and to see the final molded product.  Since the boys seemed to eager and asked a few questions here and there the staff was great about explaining what they were doing and why.  It was a great lesson!  Unfortunately, it's going to be an expensive one since he needs a palatial expander as well as some braces. 
    Once home we learned that our gym class had been canceled since both the instructor and the helper were sick.  I was sad they were sick and we weren't going to get to go to gym and have lots of fun but I was a bit relieved to think we might find time to get some schoolwork done.  The phone rang and my husband asked if my oldest could head to work for the rest of the day.  Ian was so excited to head out in the truck with my father in law and I knew he'd have a great day working. 
   It ended up working out great that Ian was gone.  The younger two boys and I got a lot of schoolwork done.  Evan and I finished up Evan's board.  We cut out all the letters for his title using my Cricut.  I let Evan push all the buttons and helped him spell sea turtle.  We also read two more books about sea turtles-- Turtle Tide and Turtles in my Sandbox.  I asked Evan to pick out a few books to read to me and he chose to re-read Moo! (his favorite book right now) and another elephant and piggy book called  I Broke My Trunk!  He loves these books but I don't think of them as early readers because there are some rather long words in the story.  He did AMAZING!  I was blown away by his reading and it was made all the better by his giggling. 

  Alec and I sat down and finished up the sea otter side of his board.  We looked up a few additional facts together on the computer, attached a few pictures and planned what we'll work on tomorrow to finish up.  We printed out some coloring sheets and activity pages about otters to bring with us as his hands on project.  He finally decided on his snack too and I'm feeling pretty good that we have two project just about 100% done.  Alec finished up his school day by logging onto the computer and requesting the next Spirit Animals book from our library.  He also completed a review sheet in his math workbook about dividing by 2.  I was surprised to find that we're about a third of the way through the boys math books.  I know we've been using them a lot these past few weeks but up until then I hadn't thought we'd used them much at all.  I'm feeling pretty good that we might actually finish one book in our homeschooling journey... maybe. 
   We spent of our afternoon checking out their pumpkins.  They had carved pumpkins over the weekend and they're already starting to mold.  They've noticed the color and textures changing.  We looked at all the fuzz, talked about what mold spores are, and why we have mold spores.  We looked closely at the outside of the pumpkin too and noticed color changes happening there.  We noticed that the carved sections are starting to shrivel, shrink, and flop inward.  I call that science.  The pumpkin carving was a lesson in and of itself too.  They got to see the insides of a pumpkin, smell the pumpkin and help scoop it out.  We learned that seeds float in water but the pulp sinks to the bottom.  We learned that pumpkin carving is messy, even with a disposable table cloth.  They learned patience while waiting for one another to finish with our carving tools.  We roasted pumpkin seeds and all the boys tried them.  The kids each picked their own pattern (Ian choosing to make his own despite my protests that it might not come out well), transferred the patterns to their pumpkin, and worked on carving them by themselves.  They came out amazing; even Ian's pumpkin which I ended up just loving.  It was so "him" and I congratulated him on not listening to me and having faith in himself. 
Carving away

drawing his pattern onto the pumpkin

Ian's completed excavator

Alec starts carving

Evan's finished pumpkin

Ian's finished pumpkin complete with candle


The outer skin of the pumpkin wrinkles as it molds

This is the mold; they noticed that it hangs stalactites

    With only two kids home it was a pretty quiet afternoon.  They locked themselves in Evan's room and played with all of his stuffed animals and Legos.  I love listening to their dramatic play.  They use such expression when making their animals talk and play out such funny scenes.  I got to catch up on all sort of computer work (OK, really I just blogged, caught up on Facebook and read a lot of funny blogs but doesn't it sound better when I call it work?) and housework.


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