This Mom’s Loft: Spring Break Edition

Yes, this past week was Spring Break here in the Loft – nine days (counting the two weekends) of no school and getting ready for the final push to the end of the year. I had been waiting for this week to come almost since Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January. Heck, I’d been waiting since Presidents’ Day in February. We didn’t have that day off as planned because we had to make up our one snow day so far this year. We all needed the break; and we have taken full advantage.

The way I ‘do’ Spring Break is similar to the way I ‘do’ summer break. We have a theme to each day of the week, which I got from Pinterest and both Ninja Cat and Danger Boy like knowing what to expect each day. We have Make Something Monday, Time to Read Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday and Something Fun Friday.

Most of our days started out like a Saturday, me in bed until all of 7:45 with Danger Boy up and taking Bucky out for his morning duties. Ninja Cat wasn’t usually too far behind and then we had breakfast. We all would tinker on electronics until 9 or 9:30 then they dressed and brushed while I got some house work started (laundry or dishes). They would join me for a bit then it was time to get on with the theme of the day.

Monday

Monday we went to the Games Workshop Bunker close to us. Yes, we are a geeky family and we are getting our boys into painting figurines. We had dropped by there a week before after Ninja Cat’s best friend’s birthday party at Sky Zone and they really seemed to enjoy themselves, so I thought why not expose them to a little hands on time. So, we proceeded to carry an old box on unpainted figures, some paint that I had to bring back from near desiccation and a few brushes. James, the manager there is amazing! He was so good with both boys and handling the couple of customers that came in while we were there. He let them sit at a table while he demonstrated several techniques of painting. They sat, enraptured.

Tuesday

For Time to Read Tuesday, we spent some time at the library (duh!) after a very enjoyable lunch with Hubby at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Ninja Cat is currently obsessed with Big Nate books, so he picked out two of those and nearly finished one while Danger Boy and I picked out Geronimo Stilton, comic books and even The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for him to read. Then once we got home, and after a little more house work, we spent some time reading until it was time to get dinner ready.

Wednesday

What’s Cooking Wednesday found us making a picnic lunch and taking it to a park near my best friend ‘Eeyore’.  She, her little village, and we all needed some time outside. So the four of us (yes, we took Bucky) got our Vitamin D the natural way that day.

Thursday

Thursday was probably our busiest day. It’s usually Thoughtful Thursday, where we do something nice for someone else whether we know them or not. But, this Thursday brought about quite a few Scout oriented things. We went to a local radio station and toured how the voices get from the booths to our car and met some really nice people. Ninja Cat and Danger Boy were … enthusiastic. They especially liked the snack machine. That’s three dollars I’ll never get back. But it was worth it to me for them to have such a great time there.

We talked about what they learned on the way home, changed clothes and went to Panera Bread for a nice lunch and some time for them to play chess. We sampled things off their new menu (tortellini alfredo and penne Bolognese), both of which were very good. Lastly, we made sure to write our thank you notes to our host at Clear Channel. It was Thoughtful Thursday after all.

Friday

My boys always like Fridays. It’s Something Fun Friday. We went to Shelby Farms Park (yes, we took Bucky) with the same friend we met Wednesday. But this time was a little different. On the way, Ninja Cat got sick, yeah physically sick. I was in the process of turning around until he said getting sick made him feel better and he still wanted to go. So we went. So we ate (except for Ninja Cat). So we blew bubbles. So we sat in the grass and drew what we saw around us. So we went home and I let them gorge on video games until Hubby came home early. His boss was amazing and let him go home at 3:00 with the edict “It’s too pretty outside to work.” I love his new job.

I want ideas for this summer or even next Spring Break. What did you do/are you going to do for Spring Break this year?

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Of Mice and Ninjas

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord … ” This verse from Colossians is one that we should all bear in mind no matter our circumstance – whether it’s an outside the home job, working inside the home, being at school, whatever. And this is a verse that came to me too late recently while Danger Boy and Ninja Cat and I were working on their Reading Fair boards.

What is Reading Fair, you may ask. Go ahead you may ask? I’m glad you asked. Reading Fair is a cross between a book report and a science fair project. Each child took a book that they like (supposedly one they have read, more on that later), and build a poster style presentation on it using certain criteria. It has to have things like the title (obviously), publisher and published date, plot summary, setting, mood and things like that.

So when my boys decided they wanted to do one, I figured it would be a good chance to let them take on a project mostly on their own.  It wasn’t required for a grade, it was strictly extra credit. And they are pretty creative, so I thought this would a simple, easy project they could accomplish with little intervention from me.

I was wrong.

Cover of "Night of the Ninjas"
Cover of Night of the Ninjas

First of all, they procrastinated. That doesn’t surprise me. They are kids, boys and do take after their mother. Second, apparently after being out of school for a week or so they forgot how to use a computer to type a simple word document. This surprises me a little more, I told them I would do the font changes for them if they needed the help, but they didn’t even want to type. Third, Ninja Cat didn’t even read the book. It was a Magic Tree House book. I was surprised that he picked it because his current hyperfocus in books is Vordak the Incomprehensible: How to Grow Up and Rule the World. But, his brother gave him Night of the Ninjas for Christmas. So he wanted to do that instead after I bought a black board. I’m just glad Vordak’s favorite color and a ninja’s favorite color is black. He did get the book read in 30 minutes (no kidding). So we were able to proceed with his eventual dictation.

Cover of "A Christmas Tale (Geronimo Stil...
Cover of A Christmas Tale (Geronimo Stilton)

Danger Boy had his book read – Geronimo Stilton: A Christmas Tale. But he didn’t seem to be interested in decorating his board beyond the necessary elements. I should say the one thing he did do beyond is that at the end of the book there is a list of ways to say Merry Christmas in different languages. So again, I took dictation and manipulated the font to the desired format and let him go.

Then it was off to the actual design. Then things got interesting. Danger Boy threw his pieces on the board, some with glue some with tape, drew a small Geronimo Stilton on there and was done. Image

Ninja Cat took a little more time because he ended up doing his version of the cover in chalk on his board. We had been on a Spotlight (the name of the gifted program at school) field trip recently to an art center where they worked with chalk and he really enjoyed it So he got some for Christmas and decided this was a great place to use them. Image

I guess all of this is to say that the biggest thing gained out of this for them is hopefully some time management and project skills. They are in third grade after all. And I left the design and construction of the boards totally up to them.  The biggest thing I gained is that we need to talk about that Colossians verse before we get in too deep on our science fair projects – which they’re doing research on as we speak, by they way. More to come on that.

What are some ways you help/did help your younger children learn time management/project skills? I’d love to hear fresh ideas.