Our Week: End of April

My boys continue to amaze me daily with how much they are growing, learning, exploring!  I've been learning a lot through them about the world and parenting.  It is definitely an adventure for the whole family.

I know I've said it before that these posts are just a small glimpse into our week at home.  They are also doing so much more but it is hard to capture it all.  Between skills learned at the YMCA, social interactions at play dates, learning at home, and more; we sure have a full life.  Not overly busy but very fulfilling.

There was plenty of rain near the beginning of the week, along with snow, hail, wind and sun.  
The boys have been checking regularly on the ditches and trenches they made in the back yard.  When the rain slows down the hose comes out to help.  We talked about how the digging they are doing is similar to what daddy and I have been working on around the house to create a drainage system around our foundation (yes all that water the boys are playing with is filling up the crawl space).  They also noticed that the water runs from the gravel area towards MJ's garden in a heavy rain.

One day I found some tulips starting to grow around all the construction in the front of the house.  It is a beautiful reminder of how God creates beauty from our messes.  Our lives can get pretty messy, ugly, busy but God is there working all the time to bring something beautiful forth.

TJ has been working so hard on his reading this past month.  He noticed that he could read some of the magnetic words on the fridge.  I suggested that he could try to write a sentence all on his own.  He is so proud of his first sentence "is the plant good for me".  Then he created a number of other ones by changing different words.  I showed TJ how to add extra adjective to add more description.  He came up with a super long sentence to surprise daddy after work; "I have a yellow candy and a happy monkey and she jumps".  We'll work on run on sentences some other time.  If you looked at our fridge today you would definitely get a good laugh and know that it is a house full of boys.  The two managed to manipulate the smaller words (even turning some upside down) to incorporate some good old fashioned bathroom humour into sentence writing.

Lego and robots are always popular.  The boys were given some Lego Mixels earlier in the week.  After building the kits they started using our Lego to make more little creatures.

MJ wanted to play construction site with me as we own a lot of trucks.  While playing TJ brought out daddy's old robotic arm toy to use as a crane.  Lots of hands on practice with fine motor skills, construction, and interacting with each other happens daily here.

Of course we just adore our time out in nature.  We have been on lots of hikes on our own and part of a group.  This week MJ and I played hide-and-seek.  Little harder to hide in the early spring while wearing bright clothes.  The children discovered salamanders under logs.  Here they are watching some worms burry back into the dirt.

MJ and two younger girls explored in and up the stream.  They climbed, ducked, balanced and explored a number of fallen trees along the way.

Each time we gather the group forms stronger bond.  The children are so happy to see their friends.  As parents we find such joy in observing and listening to their negations.  This week they were racing down hills, playing tag, and exploring the creek together.

I am so excited to be part of this child-led nature play group.  My friend and I are also working on starting a wonderful outdoor learning program similar in nature to our playgroup in our community.  You'll be hearing great things from us soon.

Hmm I hope this post isn't sounding too choppy.  The boys have just been doing so much this week!  

So in our down time this week I sort of wanted to check in with TJ and see where he was at with math since it isn't something we've been doing as much recently.  I don't often do a check-in but I was having one of those panicky moments that he might be falling behind.  Of course there is no need to worry about curious, inquisitive children who are constantly exploring and doing hands on learning.  TJ whizzed through 4 sections in the math book, and has covered all the grade 1 social studies and science.

MJ is my wonderful creative boy who beats to his own drum.  Whenever we are doing a certain activity, he'd rather just do his own thing.  I'm not worried at all about him growing up and not being able to follow directions.  He does perfectly well in swimming class and at his church program.  But at home I appreciate his unique way of going about things.  MJ also has a kindergarten workbook.  While I was checking-in with TJ, we looked at MJ's book too.  He did one page by following the directions.  The next page he decided to make it a connect the dots instead of doing what the activity was.  Then he decided that the book was really a farm cut-out book.  He went through all the pages to create the fabulous farm scene above, complete with a whale in the pond with a river, windmill, tree, barn, tractor with trailers.  He is totally not the type that would thrive in a traditional school setting or at least having to do work-sheets. CHECK out our FaceBook page for a video about his farm!

A friend of ours gave us some electric toothbrushes because they knew we wanted to make some doodle bots. We tried several different attempts but the motor wasn't strong enough to move the robot.  TJ got out one of his other robot pieces that we attached a marker to.  He them made a cute flying robot from the toothbrush after experimenting with using it for painting.  MJ made a bark grinder robot from his toothbrush.  Again you can see their videos explaining the robots on our Facebook Page.

At the end of the week one of our homeschool groups had a very belated spring egg hunt and nature walk.  The children had a blast searching for eggs, decorating walking sticks, nature scavenger hunt and a hike!!  We are organizing the literature fair for this group next month.

Congratulations to TJ for reaching his reading goal.  If you remember TJ has been learning to read naturally (see this post here).  He was so excited to be close to his goal that he started reading three to four books each day near the end of the week.  The final book TJ read was a wonderful book that my mother wrote.  My younger sister made all the creations for the pictures and her friend did the photography.  TJ was thrilled to be able to read it on his own knowing that the book was made by his family.  We took a trip to the book store where TJ chose a huge space book and we decided to help MJ find a book too.  MJ chose a little farm book with a white board marker and some magnetic animals (perfect for our creative little farmer).

A whole new world has opened up for TJ now.  He had a hard time sleeping last night so I gave him a book to look at.  He kept coming out of bed to show me all the different things he could now read on his own!

I have been posting a lot of extra pictures and even videos on our Facebook Page.  I hope you'll follow us here on the blog and on FB.

PLEASE do share what you have been up to.  You may inspire another family on their journey too!