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Weekly Wrap-up ~ {Observations}

A lot of people post about the February homeschooling blahs, but I really don't feel as though I have had them. I have a great deal of excitement about what we are learning. And the kids seems to, as well. But then mid-week this week I hit a brick wall of exhaustion. And on Thursday I called school OFF on account of rain (and when I say school, I mean our homeschool and I kept my two public school kids home ... and it really was raining.) We took a pj day. I sat in my favorite chair and got caught up on some DVR'd shows and some computer work. I felt much better and was ready to go again on Friday.

Here's what we did on the other four days ...

Dawson ~ 8th Grade

We are moving strong through The Middle Ages. It's pretty interesting! This week we learned about the fall of the Roman Empire, the attacks of the barbarians, the reign of Charlemagne, and the rise of the feudalistic society. Yesterday we wrapped up our week by watching a video from The History Channel International called "Holy Grail in America".

Dawson almost completed his faux stained glass project. He just has some cleaning up to do on it. Here is a sneak peak into the masterpiece.

He is also writing a "mystery play", although I have given him a lot of freedom with it. Really, for me, I just want him to get a sense of how to write a play, any play. So, he chose to write something about an American Idol competition.

In science we are still studying Plant Science. I am working really had to be sure to present everything to him in a way that he will really understand it and retain it, because I know that for me it can be confusing. We are drawing diagrams and looking at diagrams and even watching some animations when necessary. This week we studied pollination, fertilization, germination, seed dispersal, cones and spores. Our herbs are coming along nicely!

In literature, we finished The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, and started Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray. Dawson thought that The Door in the Wall was kind of boring. It did a great job of setting the scene for Medieval times, but it didn't have a lot of action or emotion. We've only read the first chapter of Adam of the Road and we are hooked (it might be because there is a trusty dog involved!)

 For personal reading Dawson is reading The Merchant of Death by D.J. McHale, the first book in the Pendragon series.

Brynne ~ 1st Grade

We made this a whole week of Observations. It was so fun!

First we observed birds in our backyard. We started by re-watching Your Backyard  by Crowe'sNest Media and then sat outside and took photos of the birds visiting our backyard feeders. That day we saw Carolina Chickadees, male and female Dark-eyed Juncos, and a male Cardinal.

On Tuesday we observed the sun by making a sundial out of a paper plate and a straw. We checked our sundial at noon, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 and colored the shaded area made by the straw. We observed that the sun moves all day and that a sundial looks like a clock. We discussed how people of old used sundials to tell time.

On Wednesday we read the book Backyard Detective by Nic Bishop and Brynne used a magnifying glass to observe the different bugs that are in a typical backyard. She also played with her own bug collecting kit and collected items from our yard.

On Friday Brynne made observations of a paper sack containing an item by using her five senses. This is what she wrote:
  • It feels "hard". (felt it through the paper sack)
  • It sounds "bouncy". (shook it in the paper sack)
  • It smells "good". (smelled it with her eyes closed)
  • It tastes "sweet". (tasted it with her eyes closed)
  • It looks ... and she drew a picture of it (finally looked at it!)
  • It is "Smarties."
And she said the thing she observed as being the best was that she got to eat them!

In writing, Brynne wrote a letter to her penpal at BrainInTrainin and told her about her and "Maggie's" trip to our State Capitol. She did a story starter of "At the Capitol I ..." and she wrote "saw many seals." (She really loved seeing how many state seals she could find during our Scavenger Hunt.) And for dictation Brynne wrote, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

She also practiced properly writing her letters by using a wipeable mat I got at Target in the Dollar bin.

In Math we haved moved to learning numbers to 100 by grouping tens and ones. This was the first time she worked on a new assignment that I don't think she COMPLETELY "got it" right from the start. We got out our Lego's and she used them to make groups of tens and ones to complete her workbook pages.

 Then on Wednesday we got out our new grouping sticks. She LOVED, LOVED, LOVED using those and as soon as we started using them she picked up on the concept quickly! I will be writing a review of this product on Monday.

There was some impromptu learning going on this week, too. I love that! While making her "O" mini-book, we decided to put the pages in alphabetical order based on the "O" pictures on each page. Then while playing with her wipeable letter map, she decided to sort the letters based on the colors of the letters.

And finally in history we picked back up reading Meet Josefina. We took some time and made some castanuelas that the Spanish Americans used when dancing at a fandango. We followed the instructions for making Castanuelas (Castenets) here.

This was definitely a busy week despite our day off.

I observed that I do too much all the time and that I need to start taking a little bit of time for myself to avoid exhaustion and burnout. We are implementing a new plan with our school schedule starting on Monday.

To see what other homeschools got done this week, go visit Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. Sounds like a good week. Good for you for calling school off for a day. I think we can all use an extra day off every once in a while.

  2. Lots of fun stuff! And we all need a day off!


  3. Looks like a good week! Love the faux stained glass - and the dollar bin at Target! :)

  4. That stained glass project is awesome. Can't wait to see the finished project.

    I had to laugh. My boys had the exact same reaction to Door in the Wall. Too boring. They did like Adam of the Road.



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