January 15, 2009

The Creativity of Sub Zero Weather

We had another great day, sometimes I think the colder it is outside the better school week we have. We are too cold to go anywhere and outdoor exercise is challenging which makes my mind work more creatively to keep everyone getting along and stimulated.

I started the day with history which is always a good subject for us, it has almost universally been my kids favorite subject through the years. We use Story of the World and really enjoy the story, the map work, the activities and even the coloring sheets. Today we were learning about the Assyrian empire. The kids did narrations which I record and save on the computer, they reenacted the fighting strategy of the Assyrians first against each other and then against me. They engineered and built a mobile siege tower out of k'nex and wooden blocks. They had to figure out how to build a wheel base that would support the blocks and allow them to create a battering ram. They used baskets (for shields like the Assyrians) and buckets and created a reenactment of the Assyrian strategy for destroying a walled city. They built up walls of dirt (pretended on this point I am not crazy) in front of their city wall (built with more wooden blocks) and drove their functioning mobile tower to the city walls and up the hill to use the battering ram to knock down the wall and overtake the city and its king (Maria happily played that role). I used a video recorder to keep a record of their reenactment which of course made them ham it up even more. We finished the lesson with me reading more about the fall of the Assyrian empire while they finished a coloring sheet and map work.

Book work was next, nothing really exciting or interesting to report here though Sirah has been into making up stories about pictures, coloring the pictures, copying the story she narrates to me and then making them into little mini books, todays was the story of a heart. The older kids also worked on their science presentations, today's topics were black holes and constellations.

A much needed PE break after lunch and the remainder of book work. PE is challenging in dangerous windchill weather. The kids are begging to go outside and sled and play in the snow (normally sufficient) but not possible today even I have standards and -13 with wind chills in the negative 30's is a line I am not willing to cross. So it was stair climbing circuit training: 10 times up and down our split level staircase 16 steps, then 10 pushups, 10 jumping jacks, 10 sit ups or crunches, back to the staircase, repeat. Maria was excused on account of a broken arm which Ciaran thought was unfair, she did opt to walk the stairs on her own later when they were finished.

Reading and free time during which they created an elaborate Ponyville play set which kept them busy for a long time and they built K'nex including creative wands that control whatever word you whisper into them (snow, dog, etc) that lasted until I whispered their names into one with a big stack of laundry nearby suddenly the wands were broken :) Maria chose to work on her book and play a geography game on the computer. She was very proud of the fact that she could beat both Serona and I at labeling the countries of the Middle East, she labeled 17 countries in 44 seconds with no mistakes, Serona and I each missed 3 and took more time. Try it yourself.

Now I have 6 loads of laundry to fold. I do know it is easier if I do it as it comes out of the dryer but I never seem to get to it, atleast it is all clean. Ciaran and Sirah are making brownies and Maria ran off to hide and read lest she be put to work folding laundry. Another great day, this is why I never stress in December when we are not schooling as much because I know January and February are wonderful months for getting stuff done.

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