School and Snow-- you can have both

  Determined to do some school work today I warned the boys early this morning that we had to do SOMETHING educational today.  Ian nodded along as he watched the Curse of Oak Island and Alaska The Last Frontier.  The younger boys mumbled consent as they continued to play Minecraft on their Kindles.  I warned them that I was heading upstairs to get ready and I expected them all to be ready too.  I got side tracked fixing up my nails for the holidays.  It's a yucky rainy and snowy mix outside and wanting to feel festive and happy I put on some Jamberry snowflake nail wraps.  I'm probably one of the few people I know hoping we'll get dumped on in the next 24 hours.  It's been a really long time since we've had a white thanksgiving and I think it would be festive.  Of course, I don't have to travel in it either so that makes a huge difference.  I just hope and pray that everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving either way. 
   I finally came down around 10 and asked if anyone was ready to start school.  Since Evan had been following me around for the last 20 minutes asking if he could start school he got first dibs on my time.  We sat down and read another elephant and piggy book then worked on three pages in his phonics book.  He did absolutely awesome at it all.  He convinced me he only needed to do one page in his math book since he did three in his phonics book and that seemed like a fair deal to me so I agreed.  We opened his math book to a page on addition.  We had gone from 5 or 6 problems, complete with pictures to count, to a page of 30 or so problems with no pictures.  The problems had also changed from 4+2 and 5+6 to 10+9 and 13+ 5 so I was doubly glad we had decided on just one page today.  We took it problem by problem and he did great.  We took turns writing in the answers since he hates to write and mostly I just want to know if he can figure out the answers.  He remembered the "trick" with adding 10 and immediately knew that 10+9 was 19.  He always put the larger number in his head and counted on using his fingers when necessary.  If the problem was written 2+8 he'd immediately repeat "so 8+2..." and figure it out that way.  He's got a good grasp of addition and numbers so we'll just start working on memorizing addition facts.  From learning sight words I know he's not so great at memorizing but repetition works wonders.  We'll have to start playing some games with his addition facts and probably only focus on one family of facts at a time.  We finished up his schoolwork in record time today and I went to see what the older two boys were doing.

    Alec, who is barely 2/3 of the way through his book asked if he could just finish reading his book.  I get that he wants to finish up the book and that he loves reading so I said sure and hoped that he would be finished soon.  He finally came down (after he had finished his book) and worked on a page multiplying two digit by one digit numbers.  We counted up how many pages they completed and how many are left to fill in with their workbooks and they're about 1/3 of the way through it.  I was surprised since we really don't do pages all that often.  I told them if we kept up at his pace we'd be done their books by spring. 
   Ian was busy in his room building with his Lego pieces.  He put together a drill rig using a fan from an old loader and other assorted pieces.  Evan wanted to see what he had built and the next thing I knew they were building together.  I let them be until I heard some fighting and then encouraged Ian to either go read in his room or come work with me on some math.  He chose to read a chapter or two in his room with his new Roscoe Riley book we started last night.  He must really like the book since he was reading it after he was in bed last night too and is already on chapter 10.  He finished reading and reluctantly came down to work on some math.     
        While he might have grumbled and complained about having his math book out we ended up working on four pages!  This was HUGE.  Ian hates math.  He picked out a page on rounding to the nearest tenth, hundredth, and thousandth and completed it by himself getting them all right.  We then went through together and worked on a few pages since we discovered he was quite a few pages behind Alec.  He hates to write his answers out and the few pages we found together I had him just tell me the answers orally.  We worked on rounding decimals to the nearest whole number, deciding when to use inches/ feet/ yards or ounces/ pounds/tons in measurement and weights, and multiplying or dividing by 10.  We were done very quickly.  So quickly that Ian argued with me that we couldn't have done four pages.  Once I reviewed it with him and he saw that we really had accomplished a lot today.  He told me he was smiling underneath and imagining himself burning his book this summer once it was all done.  I'm thinking I should photograph a few of the completed pages if he's serious. 
    We ate lunch and read some more of our Harry Potter book.  We hurriedly got ready for our gym class and headed out.  We only had one other family show up but luckily they are a large boisterous group.  I think my boys had even more fun today than usual (other than a few minor injuries).  They played gaga ball.  They set up a mini obstacle course, used the jump ropes, and tried to balance on the Bosu Balls.  Evan tried doing jumping jacks on the Bosu,  Both him and Alec had a contest to see who could hop on one foot the longest while staying on the Bosu.  They flipped the Bosu balls over and balanced on the flat plastic side too.  They tried standing, sitting, and even walking from one to another.  It was lots of fun and I practically had to drag them away when it was all over. 
balancing himself

doing jumping jacks

     The roads were getting a bit slushy but we still decided to stop at the library anyway on our way home.  We had a few more books that had come in overnight and we had finished our book on CD.  The boys loved Dragon Rider and were sad to see that it was not part of a series.  I tried to encourage them to pick out another book on CD but no one really seemed to want to so we decided to take a mini break from them.  Alec is on his last book of the Warrior book series and checked out another 3 chapter books in the next series of Warrior books (we discovered there are many series within the series).  I also picked out a lot of Christmas books for us to read aloud and share together.  Something about winter always makes me want to snuggle up with a good book, my boys, some hot cocoa and a nice fire. 
    We headed home and the boys all geared up in their winter gear eager to play outside.  I filled up the wood rack and got fires going in both the woodstove and our fireplace.  Since it's our first snow storm of the season the kids couldn't wait to get out in it even though it was mostly rain with very little snow mixed in.  They were soaked within minutes but couldn't have cared less.  They built and destroyed a snowman, tried to go sledding and spent a good deal of time pushing snow around with the snow shovels. 


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