Saturday, December 19, 2015

So Much Play! Are we really learning anything?

We had so much fun on Winter Bird day.  As an added bonus, through all that play, we covered Science for my 1st grader.  Well that's cool.

We started at the table as we do everyday.  We talked about birds and how some birds can stick around for the winter.  We actually have hummingbirds that stick around all winter.   Lachlan got started on his cardinal art project and Peter colored his Experience God coloring sheet.
Peter likes to have the story card in front of him when he colors so he can get everything just right.
This owl was from two days before.  He was sitting out so I had to snap a picture.  He actually has been worked on for a few days.  Adding wings and more feather lines.  I hung him up after this and Lachlan pointed out the row of Us.
Lachlan (6) colored on the bird then added the "snow" and feathers.
At some point during this art project Lachlan got mad, stormed off and said he was never going to do school again.  This happens quite often.  I let him go and eventually he comes back.  I just sat at the table and looked ahead to what was next with Mother Goose Time.  It was a Bird Matching Game.  The intent of the game was to teach the kids new kinds of birds and add to their vocabulary.  My two older boys have always loved birds and knew all of them already.  But it was still fun, got them moving, and got them excited about learning again. 
Here are the cards.  I hid one around the room and left the matching pair on the counter.
I gave Peter one of the cards that I had kept and asked him to find the matching bird somewhere in the room.  He flipped over almost all of the birds before he found the match.  I love how the names of the birds are on the cards and not just the pictures because now that my boys are older they are reading words even if they don't think they are.  They are looking at words and starting to recognize the patterns and similarities.  Of course finding a "match" is a math skill.  Falls into the Patterns and Sorting category of math.  So even though he already knew all the bird names, he was still practicing an important skill both in matching the images and matching the words.

I am going to go off on a tangent here but I think it is cool how these skills and lessons we learn blend into everyday life.  Recently I have gotten quite fed up with cleaning the play room.  Something in me must have just realized that they are completely capable of doing it themselves.  So I am now the classic Mom that says you can't have screen time until your room is clean.  The first response I got was, but it's too messy!  They weren't sure how to start.  So I told them to pick a "kind" of toy and sort by that kind first then pick another.  This was language we have learned through Mother Goose Time and it was addressed again in our Saxon Math 1 lessons.  First they picked the Dino's and put them in their box then the puppets and put them in their bucket and so on.   Just in case you needed another reason to ask your kids to clean their room, now you know, it's a lesson in math!
Of course Adam, my little man, wanted to join in on the fun too.  He doesn't know the bird names or the concept of matching.  But we talked about it a lot as we played. 
 He copied Peter by picking up the cards and flipping them over to look at them. 
 I showed him what a "match" looks like.  "They match" and pointed to the two of them together.  "Oh, oh, oh" he said. 
One of Peter's matches.  Lachlan heard the excitement out in the living room and eventually came back out to join us. 
Peter then hid the one set of the cards for Lachlan and he searched for the matching birds. 
When Lachlan was done with his turn we moved onto Winter Charades.  Lachlan and Peter love charades, we just recently discovered the game, I am not sure why I didn't think of it sooner.  So I was happy to see it show up in and MGT lesson.  We had a stack of cards with different vocabulary words we had been learning so far this month, like instruments.   Peter got trumpet.

I can't remember what this one is, but it's cute. 
Lachlan played too, he got drums.  If you have never played charades with your kids, I strongly recommend it.  So fun, and pretty precious.
 Adam acted out the cute baby with a ball card.  :)
After we were refreshed with a fun learning game I was able to get them back to the table for worksheet fun!  Lachlan the Goofy Santa worked on his Saxon Math 1 worksheet.
I put Peter to work in his More Math & More Literacy workbooks from Mother Goose Time. We haven't been very good at doing these books daily as we were for a while.  So I flipped through to find pages I knew Peter would like.  I chose the owl math page in the math book.  It was a subtraction page. 
Peter was able to do the math in his head and come up with the correct answer.  But towards the end the numbers were getting bigger and more challenging.  I was so proud to see him put the 1st grade Saxon math to work.  We have been working on math stories where you tell a story with pictures.  Jan had 7 baseball cards, she gave 5 to her friend.  Saxon has you put an X through those 5 rather than erase them.  Peter did the same.  He went back to the original group of owls and put an X through the number he was supposed to subtract.  This helped him to figure out the more challenging ones and then he went back to the beginning and did those the same way.  Peter has certainly been learning through listening to his brother's lessons.  Sometimes he joins us, he has his own Saxon Math 1 workbook for when he wants to join us, but he hasn't lately.   Of course he is always at the table with us and picking up on more than I will ever know. 
Same can be said for Adam.  He has been watching from the very beginning and picked up a pencil the very first time exactly like this.  Still just floors me when I see him pick it up with his left hand and position it perfectly in his right. 
It's not just his right hand that is getting a good fine motor work out here.  But the left hand holding the paper down as well, not to mention hand eye coordination. 
Peter moved onto the Literacy page and had to write the letter that each of the images at the top started with.  They either started with a V, X or an M which are our focus letters this month. 
He rocked it. 
At this point they were done with table time and needed to play.  I asked them if they would make a nest in the play room with pillows and blankets.  They looked at me a bit in shock at first because they would do this everyday if I would let them but it drives me a little bonkers sometimes.  We were preparing for the Life Science Lesson super fun game called Help the Bird.  We were given these "basic needs" cards.  These are the things a bird would need to stay and not have to fly south for the winter. 
They made a nest and took turns being the "sad bird".  Lachlan was the first sad bird and Peter chose the first needs card and then had to go find something to fulfill that need. 
Adam decided to park himself in front of me and serenade me with song.  Which was adorable of course, but made it hard to take pictures of what was going on in the background. 
 Peter brought Lachlan shelter in the form of a blanket. 
Now it was Peter's turn to be the sad bird and Lachlan picked the card "love".  He brought Peter a furry friend with a big heart on it's tummy like the heart on the card.  It was so fun to wait and see what they came up with. 
 The last two cards were Food and Water.  Lachlan was now the sad bird and Peter chose water. 
 Awe, Lachlan makes a pretty cute sad bird. 
We have this set of 5 water bottles that we keep in the door of the fridge.  The two older boys each have two colors they have chosen as theirs and they can fill them up on their own at the bathroom sink, it's been so nice!  Anyhow, Peter ran and got Lachlan's water bottle. 
 Mmm, the sad bird isn't quite so sad now that he has 3 out of his 4 needs met. 
 But he is still sad.  He is still hungry. 
 Peter is back in the nest waiting for food. 
I heard clanking and tinging and all sorts of sounds coming from the living room/kitchen.  I wasn't sure what was going on out there in Lachlan's search for food.  Then he came in with actual food, and not just any food, but Peter's favorite, bread with butter and honey. 
 That is one HAPPY bird. 
 Now just let me eat. 
Our bird now has all 4 of his needs met and he can stay for the winter.  And I now I have science covered for the day, heck the week.  That was easy and fun.
Seriously, so much play, so much fun and so much learning.  Our school days would be so boring with out Mother Goose Time.  My oldest is in 1st grade and my 4 year old, almost 5, can easily do all his brother's 1st grade curriculum.  But there is still so much to learn from Mother Goose Time.  It is a great topical learning lesson.  It gives us something to learn about in addition to the basic subjects.  Doing our math worksheets, reading our books and so on just gets dull.  With MGT we get to dive into a subject and really ask questions and discover so much more than we ever could with just workbooks.  It also helps us get out of our funk when we are having a rough moment. We are so thankful to have MGT as part of our day! 

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