Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Wild {flowers and ocean life, that is}

This was another great week! It seems our studies (and the beautiful weather) have been getting us out-and-about the last couple of weeks. This week we went on a field trip and a hike, and called it all "school".

Dawson ~ 8th Grade

Dawson and I began reading The Swiss Family Robinson and skipped ahead in our A World of Adventure Curriculum to the Age of Exploration. This was totally selfish on my part because I have never read The Swiss Family Robinson and since we are running out of time I was fearful we wouldn't get to it. In fact, we are only doing 17 days of the Age of Exploration, to read the book and do all of the lessons surrounding it, and then will be finishing our year going back to The Renaissance.

Since this Age is mostly about just reading about adventure, I have Dawson doing LOTS of vocabulary words from the chapters. I like the "flashcard method", so have him writing the words on one side and the definitions on the other for easy self-quizzing. Then I will make up a matching exam for him to do each Monday over the previous week's words.

To finish off The Middle Ages, I copied a timeline and synopsis from the curriculum for him to study for his final. I told him he needed to know everything on those four pages. Somewhere in our discussions I said that he would want to know the overall theme of the Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages. He commenced studying, and spent a couple of days "memorizing" the events on the timeline. When it was time for his final I handed him a piece of paper and said, "You have 3 questions. What is the overall theme of the Early Middle Ages, the High Middle Ages and the Late Middle Ages?" He was furious. He said, "I've spent all this time memorizing all these facts!" I reminded him that I told him, previously, exactly what would be on the final .. he just hadn't listened carefully. He learned a very valuable lesson about how sometimes (heck, many times) a student will spend tons of time studying something they do not see on a test. My Public School Pet Peeve ~ teachers at our public middle and high schools tend to give kids the EXACT test as a study guide and all the kids have to do is memorize and regurgitate. My son will not learn how to test that way. He may hate it, but he's going to do it right and in a way that will prepare him for college.

The science unit to go along with the Age of Exploration is Oceanography. I love the topic, but it is very weak for an 8th grader. I happened upon a book called Discover the Oceans: The World's Largest Ecosystem at our local library. It's not too long, and very well-written and intriguiging. So, we are going to use that book as our curriculum in addition to what we already have provided for us in A World of Adventure. I am also having Dawson do lots of diagramming and drawing.

One of the activities in Discover the Oceans this week was to demonstrate the amount of salt in sea water.

The first one was fresh water.

The second one was "brackish" containing only a pinch of salt. Still not bad.

The third one had a tablespoon of salt in it. Yuck!!!!

On Monday he is going to track how much sodium his daily diet contains.

On Tuesday he, Brynne and I went to the Oklahoma Aquarium for a field trip. We had a good time and actually learned a few new things.

Today while Brynne and I were at Coop I had Dawson do his entire day's lessons independently (with the exception of our The Swiss Family Robinson reading.) He had cleaned his room yesterday and thrown a closet-floor full pile of laundry down the laundry chute. So, I decided this would be a good Home Ec lesson for him. I taught him how to sort his laundry and how to do it. While we were gone he did all of his laundry and cleaned his bathroom without being told. He said he felt like a housewife.

Now he and Crusoe are off to the lake with their best friend for a weekend of boating, fishing and camping. They love those weekends!

Brynne ~ First Grade

Brynne and I are starting a unit on Easter. I purchased a unit study from NaturExplorers called Nature Studies through the Holidays: A Mini Book of Nature Studies for Easter. It will provide us with three weeks of Easter Nature studies.

I found some other great ideas while web surfing. So, we started our week out by making a Hill of Calvary that should be all ready for us by Easter.

Obviously this is just the beginning

We read The Legend of the Easter Egg, written by Lori Walburg and illustrated by James Bernardin. We finished our special nest and eggs, from last week, by blowing out the insides of eggs and then dying them. She wanted one to look like an owl's egg, one to look like a robin's and one to look like a blue bird's. It turned out so nice that we tied it into our fake tree in our living room.

Our other Focus book was The Parable of the Lily written by Liz Curtis Higgs. As part of that book we went on a wildflower nature hunt.

We also learned about the parts of a flower by making a simple craft. I got the idea from Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations.

We continued our study of Time by watching a video and reading a couple more books. But that wasn't the only Math we did. While eating lunch one day she was eating pepperonis and crackers. She had two more crackers and wanted more pepperonis and more crackers. So we had an impromptu lesson on pairs. I had her make pairs with her crackers and then tell me how many pepperonis she needed for each pair, etc. I love homeschooling.

She did her "T" activities and we planted flowers and went to Coop PE and Music and hung out together and played outside.

Like I said, it was another great week.

We are linking up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. What a great week! I love the egges/nest- they are beautiful.

  2. I'm going to have to look for that book on Oceans! My daughter is learning about Oceans as part of a Beyond Five In A Row study right now and that experiment would be perfect.

    Your kids are beautiful, by the way.

  3. You had a really great week! We've visited the OK Aquarium before but it was before my kiddos were school age. We should do that again sometime since we're not far. I'd do it just for the chance to eat at Los Cabos on the Riverfront:) It's one of the best Mexican restaurants this side of the border!

  4. We are going to start an oceans unit soon. Love the flexibility and extra stuff that I learn right along with the kids.

    I need to make a mental note for the parts of the flower project. So awesome!! We finished our spring unit already, but they would be fun to do again next year! I will have to bookmark you page.

    New follower from the link up.
    Have a great week!
    Visit our mayheim at

  5. It would seem that knowing the facts on the timeline would help to answer the question of what the overall themes are.
    I love the eggs. They are beautiful.


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