Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Connections

What a GLORIOUS WEEK! It wasn't because everybody's attitudes were perfect at every moment. It wasn't because we got everything done that we had planned.

It was because I saw some Connections being made. I felt like all we have worked toward this year came to fruition in this one week.

MANY times this week, Brynne would be reading one book and making connections from what she has read and learned in other books. She drew things out of picture books that she had learned in studying The Secret Garden and things she had learned in non-fiction books about plants. I smiled more times than I can count this week. YES!

On that note, there is SO MUCH READING going on in this house all the time! Brynne has read three shy of 100 BOOKS this year! Many days, she reads two to three books, both non-fiction and fiction, and a chapter of her current Puppy Place chapter book. She is connecting to the stories like I have always dreamed she would. She has also read at least three unassigned books just because she wanted to.

Even Dawson is doing more and more reading. He is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, as an assigned piece of literature. We read, together, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and finished it this week. He bought eight books at the library used book sale on Wednesday night, from the Halo and Star Wars series. He was also very excited to get the new Brian Selznick book, Wonderstruck. He has begun to connect with subject matters and authors and do his own personal reading. I have dreamed of this day!

Another huge moment this week was when I noticed how Dawson now spends the most of his time "learning" instead of being "taught". With the exception of our read-a-louds, a little bit of history and/or science, and some help with Driver's Ed (it is a Parent-taught course!), Dawson is doing all of his work independently. I provide him with his materials, and he uses those to learn what he is needing to learn. Sometimes he even branches out and does his own thing. This week he wrote his own math problem based on what he has been learning in Algebra.

A really fun thing that we found this week, thanks to my comrade from The Usual Mayhem, is Sparklebox! I now have it on my Bookmarks Bar because there are just so many things on there to be used! One such really cool thing is the Playdough Mats.There are so many themes to choose from. Brynne loved them! I love connecting to new tools. This was my Favorite Resource this week! (I can't wait to dig into the Olympics materials for our first unit study of the next school year.)


1. On Monday we did a little mini-unit on The Great Kapok Tree by Cooperative Learning 365 to learn about the Kapok tree in the rainforest. Brynne learned about the different levels of the rainforest and what animals live there. Then she used one of the free printables and did an animal sort.

2. To finish up our Earth Day activities, Brynne graded our green activities in our home with an Earth Day Report Card. What we found was that we have improved in 10 areas over the past year and we have about 10 areas where we could improve more. Brynne vowed to work on shutting off her bedroom light when she is not in her room.

3. Here are the fun plant unit playdough mats I printed from Sparklebox. Loads of fun and so many units to choose from! We will be using these VERY VERY often. In fact, I need to buy more fresh playdough just for this reason.

4. More dissections! This week Dawson dissected a female frog (thousands of eggs to dig through) and a perch. With the perch, I really just gave Dawson the diagram and let him explore. Several times I heard him say, "Cool" or "That's interesting." He wasn't talking to me. He was just thinking out loud.

5. Trees! We counted the rings on this tree stump in our yard and determined that this tree would have been "born" about the same time Brynne's Great Grandma Alice was. We learned about stems and leaves this week, and Brynne made a paper plate tree trunk parts diagram with a paper plate. I got this from Sue's Free Plant Unit Study from Funtastic Unit Studies. Stay tuned because Sue contacted me to see if I would like to review the ENTIRE BOOK this unit came from. Of course I gladly accepted because this unit has been incredible! I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us!

Now we are taking off for a few days. My brother is visiting from Portland, Oregon, so me and the kids are heading to Missouri to stay with my parents for a few days and to visit with him. My sister's baby shower is also this Saturday. So we will be celebrating the upcoming birth of my sweet niece, and there will be lots of family to see, as well. Lastly, but certainly not leastly, we will get to spend some much-needed time with my Kyndal. I have been missing her.

Linking up this week with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Susan at Learning ALL the Time!




4 comments:

  1. Victory!!! I love when the light bulb goes off, it is very reaffirming. I love having a family that loves to read - your tracking of how many books Brynne has read has inspired an idea for me. Thanks!!

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  2. I like your collage! Looks like a great week. I love it when the connections start being made.

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  3. Great photos! And thanks for the mention, Nicole! Glad you enjoy Sparklebox as much as we do.

    Trying very hard not to be jealous about the whole plant unit study - how wonderful for you both!

    One suggestion: If you go to www.Nurturestore.co.uk, she has a free downloadable Play Dough book that's full of tons of homemade playdough recipes. It's saved us a ton of time and money and smells better than the store-bought.

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  4. Looks like a great week! I love the book The Great Kapok Tree. I like the idea of an Earth Day Report card too:)

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