Easy times though very engaged...

We have had a few easy week here. The girls are getting into a daily rhythm and are whinging less. The last couple of Mondays were even nice and we had lovely treats at the end of the day. Yep, chocolate! Henry and I took the bus over to the UQ campus for him to be a part of another couple of studies at the psychology department. These two were about tool manipulation and play invention in four year olds. The Boy loves going on the bus and hanging out with just me for an hour or so. I think he also likes all the attention from the psychology students running the studies and he tells people he 'goes to uni to talk to the students'. Well, he is not wrong! He also likes the little gifts at the end of each visit. Who doesn't love new crayons or a new toothbrush?

At the end of last month we saw NannyO and PoppyO off when they left for their European holiday. PoppyO gave us all a scare when he had a fall before even getting to our place! They stayed with us for a few days and gee the children enjoyed them being here. The girls caught up on some of their knitting with NannyO though she spent most of the time making new scarves and hats for me. It has been a little cold here this winter! So far the holiday is going well over there and I am hoping they will find time to catch up with some dear friends of mine. Perhaps we will make it over to the UK some time in the future.

The children are all enjoying their music lessons. I dug out my old guitar and Lily has decided that is what she wants to learn for now. Since her first lesson last week I have let her play on the guitar any time she wants and she gently strums for a few minutes every couple of hours. She says it is very difficult but she still wants to try. Check out the picture of Lily below when her teacher began to show her how to play! 

It was Papa's birthday the other week and Lily spent hours making a robot for him out of a cardboard box. Yesterday she spend most of the afternoon making a Phantom House inspired by one of the games on Animal Jam. I am always amazed at how well she can focus and for how long she can stay on task with something she is passionate about. It is usually something to do with paper, sticky tape and scissors. And sometimes a mess. Now if we can only channel that tenacity for other things...

We have been visiting our local library regularly this year. Lots of books have captured the children's imagination though Walking Your Octopus in one I am going to have to buy. The language is a little beyond what we normally read and the illustrations are just wonderful. Also, the children now all know what a cephalopod is and how to walk it! It really was lots of fun to read it a couple of times a day. Every. Single. Day. For a month. 

We have had some lovely discovery learning lately. Lily found a bird's nest that had fallen out of one of the tuckeroos in the driveway. They were fascinated by how the bird had weaved the nest and how the fluffy baby feathers remained. They were a little upset at the thought of the eggs being stolen or broken as a result of the nest falling to the ground. But then we talked about how it was probably not in use any more as the eggs had hatched and the baby birds flew away. They were much happier with the latter scenario. We had a family friend come and teach the girls how to make honey puffs, a Greek delicacy. They stood and listened with Arthur patiently for about 10mins then our neighbours came over and no one can compete with playtime with their favourite friends! While the kids were playing the grown ups got stuck into the honey puffs which were delicious!
The girls are going really well with their maths at the moment. We are using Easy Learn Maths workbooks and it is a curriculum we are all enjoying so far. They also have a few maths activities on Study Ladder every day but it is the workbooks where I see real progress. I created a number board for the kitchen (where we do most of our lessons together) and all the kids have had fun looking at patterns, adding and subtracting. I am hoping that they will look at the board every day and eventually commit the number relationships to memory with relative ease. It has only been up a week but I notice the girls looking at the board every time they have to add or subtract numbers they would normally work out on their hand or with a number line and it has made a real difference to their confidence and speed of calculation. It is really cute when they play 'school' together and one asks the others to add or subtract numbers. Henry has learned most of the numbers up to 100 in just a week! I also have paper copies of the number board too so we can colour in certain numbers and predict patterns.
Last week I was thinking about how tired the three of them are at the end of each day. It is possible they are even more fatigued than when they were at school and I was wondering why. They are up at about 7am every morning. They have breakfast and play for a couple of hours which usually involves running through and/or around the house. Then they do their chores and the girls sit down to work on their lessons. I recently discovered that if I send them for a run around the house and get them to do a few star jumps after the first part of the lessons, they can focus much better on  the second half. Then they play for a couple more hours, have an hour of free computer time (Animal Jam) then they play some more. They stop every couple of hours to eat then they are off again.
Whatever they are doing throughout they day - they are engaged. It is rare that any of them sit still and just doing nothing. In fact I don't think I have ever seen any of them do that! We don't usually have TV during the week unless there is a video I want them to watch and even then they are not still. Lily watches TV standing on her head! That is just the days we are home. Other days include playing in the park for up to four hours at a time. They have to stay still in the car though we are usually listening to an audiobook (the Enid Blyton books are so entertaining!) and discussing what is going on in the story. So from 7am to nearly 7pm every day they are thinking and or doing. They are physically and mentally engaged in something all day every day and really, it is no wonder they are exhausted at bed time! Gee, I am exhausted just watching them :)