Using what works

With lots of rain pouring down we knew we weren't going to be heading outside to work on our fort.  The boys were bummed and are really chomping at the bit for a day off.

We couldn't really take a day off though since we HAVE to finish everything for the geography fair.  But I did think I could make school a bit more fun today and let them use video games for some/ most of their learning. 

I find using video games makes the boys more excited about doing schoolwork and I am all about using whatever works to get them eager and interested in learning!

Ian added some small pieces of aluminum foil to his bin of sand; it's his "faux bauxite mine."  Since bauxite is mainly used to make aluminum we thought it might be a fun twist for the kids to have something to mine for during the geography fair.  He broke off bits of tin foil and rolled them up into little balls and hid them throughout the bin.

Evan went to ABCya! and played sight word bingo using he pre-primer words.  He played three games and then went onto play Marble math.  He played through all 5 levels and the bonus marble drop.  He made a few mistakes but you have to score 80% or better to go the next level so he did really well.

He then read a new book to me called P is for Pancakes but with long words like "delicious" in it he struggled a bit.  I told him we'd re-read it again tomorrow and then he can put it in his room in his book bin. 

While Evan and I were working on the computer and reading stories, Ian was working on his math workbook.  He picked a page where you had to order numbers from least to greatest.  Not completely understanding the directions he put all the numbers on the entire page in order!

He was frustrated and sighing because he kept having to erase numbers and move them down because there were numbers he didn't see.  I finally went over to see what was frustrating him and I explained that he was only supposed to order the five numbers in each row; not the whole page.  I then had him tell me the order of the few he had left and told him that if he ever came across another page in this book that worked on ordering numbers from least to greatest or greatest to least he could skip it since he OBVIOUSLY gets how to put numbers in order!

I felt so bad that he, once again, made the work harder for himself than it needed to be. 

Alec and I made his faux sushi for his Japan report.

We cooked up a batch of Rice Krispie treats, pressed them into a 13x9 pan and let them cool.  We then cut out small rectangles and put a Swedish Fish on each square and wrapped them with Fruit By The Foot strips as our seaweed.  They came out adorable and the kids can't wait to dig in and eat them.

I had Alec working on the computer playing Coin Combo (where he had to add up various coins to get the amount shown) and then let him chose a reading game from  He decided to  play the plural girls game and picked out what the plural noun was for each singular noun shown.  He played a few times through for both games.

When he was done playing Ian also played a game on Funbrain.  He tried plural girls too but he picked the option to spell the words himself instead of choosing the one that was spelled right.  He also tried playing stay afloat which is a version of hangman using larger vocabulary words.
We checked on our butterflies and our windowsill plants.  The younger two boys had planted some beans while we were at the farm the other weekend and they have plants growing out of the cartons.  They were very excited to see how much they've grown in just a short amount of time.

We also started making a garden of leftover kitchen scraps.  We finished off our stalk of celery and put the stub into a cup of water.  The boys thought the celery might drown (I was hoping it would grow some roots) but we've discovered that the celery stalks are already starting to grow back!

We offered to participate in a culture exchange a few months back and our family from England finally contacted us and told us that their box of goods is all ready to be shipped out.

So we sat together and typed them a letter explaining what the objects in the box had to do with our home state (or country if it was something like the flag).  We learned a lot about the history of our state and our role in the invention of many modern objects, toys and treats.

We had almost three pages by the time we finished.  We also copied off a recipe for apple pie to go along with the jar of nutmeg we picked up to put in the box and we're anxious to mail it out.  Do you know what all of these items have to do with Connecticut?

In between the schoolwork the boys all took turns playing our new Lego Harry Potter Wii game that we picked up last night.  They were all taking turns and getting along fairly well and as long as their schoolwork was getting done I didn't mind.

I also pulled out a box of magnetic blocks I had bought to save for a rainy day.  Ian had a great time building a house and his brothers soon joined him.  They worked together to build a three story building with attached garages and outbuildings.

Their completed building
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