Carpe Diem! Learning to Seize the Day

I had so much planned for today but the morning kind of got away from me and it was late by the time we sat down to start school.  Then the snow started so we rushed to finish up our schoolwork and head outside.

We try so hard to seize the day in our homeschool. We often set aside our schoolwork when the snow is calling or when we have those perfect sunny days in early spring.

While schoolwork is important, I know that my boys are always learning.  There are lessons that are more important than what they find in a book.  Lessons can be fund in nature, lessons can be found in life... and sometimes the best lessons are those that aren't planned.

Sometimes, like today, we try to do a bit of schoolwork but we almost always set aside our work in favor of learning through play.

 Luckily, even with rushing through our schoolwork I was able to see quite a bit of growth and progress for all three boys.

        Here's what I observed playing math games today:
  • Evan and I played a Snowman Bump addition game.  Rolling two dice we'd add them up, put a marker on our answer and hope that we rolled that answer again to put a second marker on it and lock it in.  The one with the most double markers at the end won and today that was Evan.  While playing he rolled two sixes and when I said "oh, six plus six" he quickly answered "12!"  He didn't even have to count any dots he just knew.  When I asked him how he knew he answered "I just remember."  I'm so glad he's really starting to, not only pick up on the concept of adding, but also memorizing the basic facts! 

  • The older two boys had a marshmallow multiples worksheet.  Unlike the other roll and cover multiplying sheet the boys have been doing this one required them to only roll one die and cover all the multiples of that number-- so if they rolled a three they could cover 3, 6, 9, 12, 30, etc.  The only time I made them ignore that rule was when Ian rolled a 1 and wanted to cover everything on his whole board.  While that technically was correct I wanted them to work a bit harder than that.  Yet I was glad to see they "got" the concept of the paper. 
  • Alec amazed me when he covered all the numbers ending in 5 and 0 when he rolled a 5 and then covered almost all of the even numbers when he rolled a two.  I asked him how he knew numbers like 52 and 32 were multiples of 2 so he explained that when counting by two's the pattern always ends with 2, 4, 6, 8, 0 and then just keeps repeating over and over.  Wow!  He's only 7!!  How does he just get that??  I love watching his little mind at work. 
  • Ian struggled a little bit more than Alec, but not much.  Many times he pretty much knew he was right he just didn't understand how he was right.  He asked me if 84 was a multiple of 4, told me he was pretty sure it was but had no idea what you would multiply by 4 to get 84.  So I walked him through dividing the answer by the multiple to get the number.  I asked him how many times 4 could go into 8 and he told me 2, then I asked him how many times 4 could go into 4 (he had to think a while) then he said one.  So I explained that 4 times 21 was 48 so yes,  it was a multiple of 4.  We did the same thing when he rolled a 2 and knew instinctively that 32 was a multiple of 2 but, again, he wasn't sure HOW.  While Alec will go with his gut and trust his instincts on following patterns Ian really tries very hard to understand and KNOW the answers for sure.  So again, I walked him through it... how many times can 2 go into 3, he told me 1 with 1 left over.  I explained that the leftover one goes with the two to make 12 and so then we need to know how many times 2 goes into 12.  He thought for a bit and kept reapeating 2 times what equals 12 before telling me 6.  Yep, I said, 2 times 16 equals 32.  He then went on to cover every even number on his board. 
We haven't had a really good snowstorm that we could actually play in yet and today I decided that 19 sounded downright warm compared to our negative temperatures last week.

 Carpe diem!  

We headed outside... forgetting all about schoolwork.  

The books will still be here next week, but with the way our weather has been going back and forth the snow probably wont.  We had a ball and played outside for well over 2 hours.

We painted snow and the boys tried mixing colors (very successfully I might add!) without any input from me.  They brought out red, blue, green, and yellow and made those four colors as well as turquoise and purple.  Alec drew a blue bald eagle in the snow, Evan made an abstract painting, Ian made a mini volcano and then used the rest of the colored water to make a treasure hunt trail for his brothers to follow. 


Evan's coloring the driveway

Alec starts work on his picture

It's a bald eagle!
Alec and Evan follow Ian's treasure hunt trail

apparently it's a hard trail to follow

While shoveling off the driveway we discovered that most of the water fell through the snow and froze as colored ice on the pavement.  What a neat bit of science that was! 

Evan slid down the slide all covered with snow and all the boys thought that looked like so much fun they spent a long time trying to cover the slide back up with snow.  At first Evan took shovelfuls of snow and tried to dump them on the slide but eventually he couldn't reach high enough.  They then decided to fill a bucket up with snow and dump it on the slide.  They soon learned to sprinkle the snow onto the slide and it was pretty neat to watch the snow fill and pile upon itself.

They learned the hard way though that if you bump the slide all the snow goes sliding right off on it's own.  They soon tired of walking up and down the ladder with the bucket and asked if they could rig up a pulley to pull the bucket up.  I didn't happen to have a spare pulley handy but they soon decided that looping a rope around the handle above the slide would work the same way.  They wondered if the bucket would tip since it was tied only on one side (and it did) but they found just a small packing down of the snow kept most of it in the bucket.  A time or two the bucket got stuck under the slide while Alec was pulling it up and so he experimented with starting the bucket in different places on the ground before pulling it up.  He soon noticed that no matter where the bucket started it immediately fell right to the same place as soon as he lifted if up off the ground.  Simple science discovery at it's best! 

the abandoned shovel and slide

we're trying to fill it in with a bucket now

hooking up our bucket "pulley" system

filling up the slide with snow

Ian is in charge of getting the bucket full of snow

Ian  been out playing real early this morning as soon as he had noticed that it snowed last night and he had had enough of playing with his brothers.  He decided to come inside and watch some of Highway Thru Hell.  The younger two boys continued to play outside.  They were building pretend fires with sticks, making a house under the climber, and enjoying some long needed fresh air.

 Alec tried tying up a smaller bucket to the rope to see if that would keep it from getting stuck on the slide.  Ian ended up back outside and finished shoveling off the driveway.  Evan found that the empty rope spool made for a neat toy.  He drove it around the driveway looking at the tracks it made.

The boys played outside for at least another hour.  Alec and Evan had the whole elaborate pretend play thing going on where they had super powers and everything.  I love when they're hard at work using their imagination.

"It's like a Christmas tree-- come see the pattern, mom"
I'm so glad we set aside our school books today to make these memories.


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