10 Fun Ways We've Learned and Played Lately

Fiona wearing Anna's glasses, photo by Toria Bayer

We’re plugging on here. It’s been 3 1/2 weeks now since Daryl’s hip replacement surgery and he’s still on bedrest.  He’s recovering well, all things considered.  I keep saying that if you have to be stuck inside for six weeks in Minnesota, you might as well do it in February when there’s not much to miss!

We’ve fought our way back from several colds, flus, mastitis, sinus infections and other maladies.  We’re all hanging on, though.

Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to here…

1.  Jack and I played Roll 100, a dice addition/multiplication game I picked up at the MHA conference vendor area one year.

2.  Toria and Anna have been doing Khan Academy for math.

3.  Jack and Alex had a playdate with friends. This was the second Saturday in a row that Alex got to go to his HSing buddy Alex’s house for the day, and Jack’s first time joining them to hang out with Alex’s older brother Zach.  The boys had a fabulous time and we’re on for next Saturday too.

4.  Toria and Jack completed the Dragon Box algebra game. It’s a paid app available on apple and android devices and is very clever.  I downloaded it for my Google Nexus and I think it cost $6.  Both kids got through all of the levels in a day (by choice!).  It allows for four individual accounts and is fun enough that Daryl even did the levels for fun.  Recommended.

5.  Toria has been going down educational rabbit holes. I always smile to hear the latest things she’s educated herself about.  Some of the topics this week include ghettos, maps, psychology, the U.S. budget for military spending and NASA, and crime, just to name the few that I can remember.

She has also signed up for a psychology class through Coursera that starts in May.

6.  I’ve been experimenting like mad with GF baking. I’ve made three cakes and one batch of muffins this week!  The muffins (blueberry-cranberry with fresh lemon glaze) were especially fabulous.

7.  We’ve started a presidents project. I printed out small pictures of all of the presidents and bought some large index cards, and we’re pasting them to the cards with a few important events and facts on each card.  Once they’re complete, we’ll tape them in order along the wall next to the ceiling as a temporary timeline.

I’ll post links and pictures once it’s finished.

8.  I’ve been reading Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths as a read-aloud to Anna, Jack and Alex. We are enjoying the book but Anna (quite an expert on Greek mythology) keeps interrupting to complain that the stories are “wrong” compared to the stories she knows from her other sources.  It’s led to many talks about various interpretations of the myths.

I think the book is fairly well written but the teacher’s kid in me cannot get over the many sentences that start with conjunctions in some of the stories.  About every other sentence in some places starts with “And” or “But.”  I have no problem with breaking this picky grammar rule once in a while in conversation, blogging or occasional writing, but it annoys me to see it used really excessively, the way it is in some of the stories.

Also, some of the stories have incomplete sentences such as:

For they were joyous scenes.

Again, I can get on board with occasional bad grammar for the sake of good writing, but I dislike masses of it when the author seems to simply not know the rules.

Yes, I’m one of those.  😉

That said, the author was apparently one of the most highly regarded on mythology, and did just fine with his writing as far as the rest of the world was concerned.  According to Wikipedia:

Bernard Evslin (1922-1993) was an American author best known for his adaptations of Greek mythology. With over seventy titles, which include both novel-length retellings and short stories, Evslin is one of the most widely published authors of classical mythology in the world. His best-known work is Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths, which has sold more than ten million copies worldwide and has been translated into ten different languages. An estimated 30 million students have come into contact with Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths due to its repeated use in high school and college classrooms over the years. This bestselling anthology includes such well-known stories as “Theseus and the Minotaur” and “Perseus and Medusa.” He also published non-Hellenic titles such as The Green Hero, based on the Irish mythological character Finn McCool.

Evslin won many awards for his writing, including the National Education Association Award in 1961, National Education Award nomination in 1975, best television documentary on an Educational Theme Award, Washington Irving Children’s Book Choice Award, and Westchester Library Association Award.

So that shows what I know.  😉

On the plus side, we are enjoying how many gods, goddesses, demi gods, nature myths, fables and such are in the book.  I like that they are short enough to keep the kids’ interest and they do a good job of succinctly telling each story.

I have been reading a few at a time, while giving the kids colored pencils and paper to illustrate the stories (however they like) as they listen.  I find this is a good way to keep their hands happy so they can concentrate.

(Note:  I got a review copy for my Kindle via Net Galley.)

9.  Jack has been inventing and creating. He’s been using recycling to make robot arms, throwing stars, rocket shoes and more for Alex and others.  He also came up with the idea for a moveable tail.  He planned to string tin cans end to end with a string through them, with the end attached to Alex’s shoe, so when Alex moved his foot it would pull the tension in the tail.  Alas, the bottoms of all of our cans are rounded and he has to come up with a new prototype.

Look at this robot he made for Alex for Christmas.  I think he rocks at recycled creations!  🙂

10. The kids have been… blogging, reading, watching MythBusters, writing songs, writing novels, drawing, painting, doing ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), talking to friends on the phone, cooking, playing in the snow, doing chores, watching shows on Netflix, emailing, helping care for D during his recovery (Anna is quite helpful for the night shift so I can sleep!), shopping, beading, playing with Legos, using blocks, doing copywork, playing educational iPod games, taking pictures, chatting online, running errands, playing physics games online, making up jokes, doing Suduko puzzles, watching Crash Courses on history and science, organizing their rooms, redecorating, and so forth.

On the agenda this week: The Bill of Rights, more myths, some lapbooks, more math, lots more crafts, lots more reading aloud, cooking with one kid each day, handwriting with the boys, starting a poetry unit with everybody, signing the kids up for the writers’ conference, and doing at least 5 things I have pinned on my educational Pinterest boards.

Wish me luck!



2 thoughts on “10 Fun Ways We've Learned and Played Lately

    • Thanks Kez! It always feels like we’re doing nothing at all. You know how it is. 🙂 And yes, I really like Dragonbox. I wish it were longer, though. Both kids finished it so quickly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s