Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer assignments

We are in Summer mode. In the past I have done a Summer theme or unit study. I just can't seem to get that into gear this year. I have a bunch of books about Native Americans on the shelf but I just haven't gotten around to officially starting that unit. I have been feeling tired and I guess I need a break from planning things and trying to put things together. At least for a few weeks. In the mean time my kids can't just be left to their own devices all day long. Henry quickly resorts to whining about being bored and how much he NEEDS to play wii. So I came up with a new ticket solution that we are trying out.

They can earn tickets to earn wii time. This is something we have been doing for quite awhile now and it has been working quite nicely. Usually the kids have to do chores and practice piano to earn tickets. The tickets can then be turned in for computer/wii time. Each ticket is worth 5 min of time. To bribe encourage my kids to do some reading and writing I came up with a few new things they can do to earn tickets as well. They get one ticket for reading a book to Molly.

Molly has been in heaven the last few days. The boys take turns reading her books. I didn't put a limit on how many books they can read to her in a day but so far they each read her about two books everyday. So for two books they each earn two tickets. That is 10 minutes of wii time. And Molly gets 4 books read to her. It is a win/win/win situation for me, Molly and my boys! (Sophie is included in this deal but so far she hasn't taken me up on this opportunity)

Another new way the kids can earn tickets and therefore wii time.  I created a book report sheet that they can fill out for a book they have read. This filled out sheet earns them a wopping 3 tickets if completed to my specifications. So far they have each done one report a day. These can be very simple picture books, a fairytale or even a myth but the report requires some thinking, some writing, and even a little artwork. They have to tell me, in writing, who the protagonist is, what he/she wants to accomplish, what they are doing to try to do that, who is trying to stop them and how and of course how it is all resolved. They also have to draw a picture to accompany their report. All three kids have been doing reports. Sophie choose a James Herriot short story for her first report. Ian picked a greek myth and Henry choose Bears on Wheels. I didn't think he could do a report on such a simple book but after talking with him about the book we were able to come up with answers to each of the questions on the sheet. I wrote his answers down and he then copied the sentences. It worked.
They practice the piano each day to earn two tickets as well so they are able to rack up quite a bit of wii time each day. They don't use it every day. They usually save it up so they can have a good long hour or more of wii at a time. That is fine by me. They have earned it!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day

One of the flute players at band plays in another community band. She must be a very busy lady to play in two different community bands. She told me that her other band was doing a concert on Memorial Day. Knowing that my kids needed a good, memorable outing for this holiday I decided to take my kids to the cemetery where the program was being given. It sounded like a great way to make Memorial Day a little more than just a day off of work and school.
It was a beautiful, sunny but not hot morning. We sat and listened to the great patriotic music for awhile. Even sang along to some of the tunes.  We were quite a bit younger than most of the people there for this concert and service.  I loved it when the band played the marches for each of the branches of the Armed Services and the men or women who served in that branch stood to be recognized.  By far the most well represented in our area was the Navy.  My husband's father was in the Air Force so that has special meaning for him. 

This group, who got special recognition and shady seats were Pearl Harbor survivors.
We started the event with some free donuts, which my kids were really excited about since we never get donuts anymore. But after the concert they were almost as excited to get a free hot dog.

While in line the kids saw a few other kids with face paint so decided they too needed a little something.
Molly sat very still and got a little star painted on her arm.

Henry got an American Flag on his cheek.
Sophie got an eagle.

Ian is not interested in face painting. He had a better time sitting and listening to the program than waiting in line for a little something on his face.

It was a lovely way to spend some of our Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I am so glad we do cub scouts. My boys LOVE it. Ian looks forward to it every week and Henry can't wait until he can do more than just attend the pack meetings each month.

 Tonight's pack meeting was making water bottle rockets. We had to bring some soda bottles so of course I bought some soda, which is something we next to never get, and they got to drink soda for lunch today. But then getting to make them into rockets and shoot them was so beyond exciting.

They got in line over and over again so they could shoot their rockets. They could have done this all night.

Henry loves being able to participate with the scouts during these pack meetings. I am really glad they let siblings join in on the fun.
Even Sophie made one and shot it off a few times.

This guy loves being a cub scout!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Last Day of School

I know it may seem early to some people but tomorrow is our official last day of school.  I saw my ES today and filled in the last attendance sheet for the year.  I turned in things I knew I didn't need anymore. I gave my last report to her about what we have been doing.   This of course doesn't mean we don't have a whole bunch going on still.

We still have co-op which is putting on a play in a few weeks. Sophie needs a dress for her part in Shakespeare's Winter's tale. And the boys need costumes and props as well as a lot of practice for their roles in King Bidgood's in the Bathtub. Henry is playing the King and Ian is one of the pages. Molly thinks she is one of the court but we will see if that happens.

We finished up most everything we had planned for the year so I am happy. It has been hard to do school work the last few weeks because we have had such nice weather. My kids just want to play outside. And honestly I have let them. Before it gets too hot they should be out there as much as possible.

It may just be the novelty of it but I have been reading a lot the last week on my new Kindle which I got for Mother's day.  I have already made it through about 3 books (all pretty easy reads) one of them a library book that I checked out for my Kindle.  It has been a fun new tool. I wanted to call it a toy. But what makes me the most happy about it is that it doesn't interest my kids at all since there are no games on it. It isn't the Kindle Fire Tablet so all it will do is books. I do have a few free word games on my Kindle but so far none of them have interested these boys.  So this has been mine all mine and I have really enjoyed it!

But anyway... on to Summer Break.

Our Summers in the past have been the time we study American history. And this year my kids decided we should read Kaya, the American Girl, again and learn about the earliest people in America.  I think this sounds promising. The kids are telling me what they want to study! So it is off to the library for me to find books about a few different tribes. I think we will study Salmon again and perhaps Buffalo too. That sounds like a fun unit to kick off our Summer but I am happy to take it easy and light and let my kids enjoy some extra free time to run, bike, climb, and jump around outside.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Whiling away the hours

Afternoons are rarely quiet around here. We have a piano lesson, choir, park day, and co-op on some days but there is always a few hours in the afternoon when my kids have to actually entertain themselves. There are a few moments each day that isn't scripted or scheduled.  This is often how our house looks at a moment on one of those afternoons.
Each of the kids has their own book. 
Ian is digging into some Batman easy readers. 
Sophie is rereading Alice in Wonderland again. I am sure she has them pretty much memorized by now. She explained that she likes Through the Looking Glass better than the first adventures in Wonderland.
Molly has a whole basket of books by the blue chair that she goes through. Here she has Fox in Socks, one of my favorite read alouds (eyes roll). 
Henry LOVES the You wouldn't want to be series of books. I think this is the You wouldn't want to be a Medieval Knight or something. It isn't related to anything we are studying at the present time but it doesn't matter. Those books are GREAT!
Wait... now Ian has shifted to a Lego book. I believe this is a Star Wars Lego Encyclopedia. He checked it out of the library a few weeks ago and he has been reading and pouring over it almost non stop.  I think this boy could tell you about every single Star Wars Lego set ever made. He could explain every single weapon each robot has and how they are used. It is pretty amazing. I just wish I was more interested in knowing such things because he sure wants to tell me about them.

So that is a typical moment in a typical afternoon at our house. It doesn't always happen, there is certainly a fair amount of nerf gun battles, drawing and dress up that go on on some afternoons as well.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Can't Wait to be a Cub Scout

Sophie has been going to Activty Days (8-11 year old girls weekly activty) for a few years. My boys have been going to play at the church since she started attending. There were always kids to play with (other siblings of kids attending activites) and run around with for that hour. This all changed in January when Ian became a cub scout. Now Ian get to attend weekly activities too. So Henry has been feeling a lot left out. My boys are best friends and usually do everything together so this has been rather traumatic for Henry. He wants so badly to be a cub scout too.
 He gets really excited for the monthly pack meetings. He gets to attend those meetings and participate in the activities.
 The boys came home from this particular pack meeting so excited about campfires and toasting marsh mellows. Ian was especially excited about the Summer day camps that they talked about. Henry was very upset that he too wouldn't be able to go with Ian to these day camps where there would be archery and shooting and other fun boy activities.
 It doesn't help to tell him he will get to do those things when he is older. He wants to do them now.
It is just hard to be a younger brother and get to see all the great things your older brother gets to do.

Only about a year and some before he will be officially a cub scout too.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday School

Friday morning is not always the most productive for us. My kids are usually excited for co-op in the afternoon so have a very hard time concentrating on anything else. But I try really hard to get them to do some school work before lunch. Today we decided to do some history. We listened to two chapters of our Story of the World CDs. The two chapters about Julius Caesar. They colored and did a notebook page.
Sophie whipped out a full page about Julius Caesar on her notebook page. Ian colored in the words  along the edge and Henry told me all the reasons he couldn't write anything.
Molly just had a great time coloring in Julius Caesar. She gave him a green face.
She just loved having a picture taken of herself. She would have continued  to pose for pictures except I put the camera away so I could make lunch.

That is about all we fit into our school day before heading out to co-op. But I think the singing, art class and play practice count as a pretty good school day. There is even an audio book going as I type this. So, there is that as well. School work really is going on all day long here. It just doesn't always look much like school.