Weekly Wrap-Up: Thanksgiving, Crafts and the Animals

I learned a valuable lesson this week: ditching the "plans" and going with some tangents and my children's interests is a GOOD thing. We kept our normal schedule with math, grammar and writing, but really just let the spirit lead us with everything else. I did try to get in a couple of history lessons (we are getting so close to the Civil War) so we didn't lose our good flow of history, though. I was very happy with our week!

One oft he highlights of the week. was our trip to see the BBC Orchestra play at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta. The conductor was Keith Lockhart. I had heard so many wonderful things about him, and finally got to see him in person. They played an all Russian program, and in the second half played Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. Just Miss B and I went, and we really enjoyed ourselves! We talked a lot about instruments of the orchestra, seating arrangements, audience etiquette, etc... We need to do a full unit about the orchestra after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday we had a clay class with a fabulous art teacher. We have taken classes with her before, but this was the first time GMan participated. Miss B made a huge mug with leaf impressions. She did it all by herself. I was so proud of her - I was busy helping GMan with a shaker he was making so I didn't have time to assist her. She did great all on her own. We go back in two weeks to paint the pottery.

I had seen this very cute fall leaf craft posted at Heart of the Matter, and decided to give it a try. The kids spent a lot of time outside this week because it was so beautiful. One day I just sent them into the yard and told them to collect as many interesting leaves, berries and grasses as they could find. Then, I asked them the create their own picture with the materials. Miss B enjoyed it very much. GMan enjoyed picking everything, but once inside the house seemed frustrated with the activity and wound up just drawing something on his own.

Miss B's finished masterpiece was called "Turkey in the Woods". So cute.

Thursday was such a fun day. We took a trip to Zoo Atlanta with some other homeschooling friends. We had the BEST time. The zoo just welcomed a baby panda two weeks ago. Of course we didn't see the mom and baby, but we did see two other pandas, and we saw a picture of the baby (who is about the size of a stick of butter!). You can also see the panda on the zoo's panda cam.

I told my kids to each choose one animal they wanted to research further in the upcoming weeks. Miss B chose the giant panda, and GMan chose the orangutan. One of the keepers talked to us about the orangutans at the zoo and told us they are training them to do simple matching games on the computer (which is inside a tree and the animals interact with it!)... the orangutans get the game right 80% of the time!

In honor of our trip to the zoo, we read a Boxcar Children book - The Mystery of the Mixed Up Zoo. We love Boxcar books, and this one didn't disappoint us.

We also continued reading Stories of the Pilgrims online. Right now the Pilgrims are going to be led to the new world by Captain Miles Standish. We can't wait to journey with them more next week!

Gman completed a very cute free unit from Simple Schooling called "Autumn Fun Book". It had copywork, coloring, puzzles, alphabetizing, and some comprehension questions. He loves written work and this was right up his alley.

Miss B finished the second book in the Percy Jackson series, The Sea of Monsters. She read it in just a couple of days and wants the third book quite badly! I love that she has so much time to read and that she enjoys reading. I'm a sucker for books and she knows that if she reads them I will be happy to add to her library (which I know will be her brother's library one day!).

At the very end of the week I discovered a GREAT game for the iPhone/iPad/iTouch called Math Bingo. If you have one of these devices you HAVE to get Math Bingo. It makes drills so much fun and even I'm addicted to playing Bungee Bugs! I can't say enough good things about this app!

My favorite thing about the week was that it was very unstructured. I was a little worried my kids wouldn't handle that well, but they are getting better at it. This morning while I was fixing breakfast they got out an animal matching game and starting playing together happily. They were chatting with each other about the animals in the game and facts they had learned about those animals at the zoo yesterday. It was one of those warm, fuzzy moments where I was so glad to be homeschooling. (Trust me, sometimes the warm, fuzzy moments are far and few between, so I savored this.)

Next week we are taking the whole week off and I plan to take a big blogging break. Happy Thanksgiving!

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