A Day in the Life 4(of some very busy kids)

One of the things I am going to attempt to do this year is make a weekly “Day in the Life” post. Knowing myself it will be rather random despite my intention but if I try to remember it will be a good way to remind myself of how much the kids are actually learning on a day to day basis.

I got Brain Age for my DS from my hubby for Christmas. I was mildly excited–not thrilled because I HATE math games (struggling with dyscalculia makes math NOT FUN, not even Soduko.) Anyway I tried it out and spent some time stuck at “walking speed ” doing math problem after math problem. Blech. Eventually, however, I figured out how to unlock new games, some of which were reading and spatial which are my areas of expertise.

The cool things is the kids saw me playing and wanted to try. Rachel and Esther both set up accounts and even attacked the 20 and 100 timed math problems and the reading aloud (which are taken from books I read in late high school and college–like The Turn of the Screw and The Warden.) Issac has even tackled the non-reading ones like number memory. This little game has done what I have struggled to do with the oldest two–both of whom struggle with dyslexia/dyscalculia. They are writing numbers as answers to timed math problems trying to beat their old times (yes you use the stylus to write the numbers and it misreads if you write the number backwards, meaning that Esther has FINALLY learned how to write her teens and higher numbers in the right order and Rachel has figured out the difference between 2 and 5 when writing.) Praise the Lord!

I should mention that I have spent years working on these things with them–I have tried doing daily practice, fighting with them about working, battling it out to get them to do a single worksheet. And along comes one little video game that keeps daily records, has them write and gives them incentives that they enjoy (persevering means that you get an extra large stamp and may be able to get your brainage lower (mine is down to 25 from the 80 I got when I started.) The girls are determined to get into first place against me and this stuff is NOT EASY.

What else have we been doing? Watching a Martha Stewart Baking video together because the kids picked it out at the library (we have a slew of new recipes to adapt!) Watching some of my childhood favorites (Goonies and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and talking about the cultural significance of the films as well as all the historical characters that showed up in Bill and Ted. We have also watched the making of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure at Rachel’s request–she has been trying to figure out how they make movies and so wanted to watch the documentary. This also led to some great discussion on how we learn and how movies are made.

Rachel was feeling a bit icky again (teeth are coming in) and watched a cartoon they got for Christmas–Around the World in 80 Days. This lead to an hour long discussion and questioning about how they lost a day. She explained to me her theory (she knows her Narnia and thought that time went faster and slower in different places) and then we discussed how it worked for real using ball I drew a map on and then later watching some live web cams around the world to see what it looked like at our time. (Another thing I had already “taught ” but which obviously didn’t stick although now she really gets it.)

The kids also spent several hours playing that they were farmers (we got Harvest Moon so they decided to play it in “real life” pretend play–I would explain but it was way to elaborate and included using Magnetix to make plants that “grew” each day). They also spent several hours playing “school” in the school room–Rachel was teaching Esther and Issac reading and some other subjects (Esther for fun–she reads better than Rachel, Issac because he wants to learn and is trying o figure it out.) They also played outside in the snow for some time (which I later found out they were walking and sled riding to and from “school” and that that was all part of the big, elaborate game), cleaned the kitchen up for dinner, did laundry, and worked on Esther’s new paint-by-number. It has been a busy day and lots of learning without “teaching” has occurred. In fact, a lot of things that I had TRIED to teach them when they weren’t interested were learned a few minutes because they wanted to learn it. Very cool.

Update: Just after I posted this I went to read to the kids (we just finished the last Elyon book , Rachel has decided to make her own way through the next series by the same author and is on chapter 5 so we are instead rereading the Half-Magic books after our Bible reading each night.) The kids were being awfully quiet so I went to find them–I found Esther doing the math problems on Brain Age, again (btw those are addition, subtraction, multiplication 0-9), Rachel reading the book Esther is pictured with, and Issac taking a bath because he wanted to.

About the pictures:

The only non-Esther shot is Rachel in the car yesterday right after she discovered that she did, indeed, love Almonds (our favorite car food). The rest are Esther while she showed me some of the things they had been doing today as well as a bit later when I caught her playing the math part of Brain Age, again. The 3 table tent was their farm house. The rake was part rake, part horse. The book is a new favorite from the library: Miss Hunnicutt’s Hat. Oh, and the crazy falling shot was her falling onto the old papasan cushion that they decided to keep after the chair broke and which was where they were planting their “garden” today. Oh, and don’t mind the mess–they were playing dress up for the farmer thing which required that the dress-up box be dumped in order to find everything. 🙂