Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Western Connecticut State University

We went to Western Connecticut State University for a class about Meteorology.  I was so excited to bring Grace here.  Dr. Mel and Paul Piorek (two local meteorologists) attended this school and Dr. Mel helped build the new department.  We viewed the wall of monitors in the weather center and attended a class given by a graduating senior from the department.  The children then had the opportunity to tape a forecast in front of the green screen as if they were broadcasting it live on television.

I was so proud of Grace.  She took this past year as an independent study in weather.  She begins every day by watching The Weather Channel.  She has their app on her itouch and idolizes Stephanie Abrams.  By the way, if you know her through 6 degrees of separation, could you please ask her to write back to Grace?  It breaks my heart every time she checks the mailbox for a reply.  Grace has a doppler radar app on her itouch as well.  She has read countless non-fiction books about severe weather, watched just about every weather related video on Netflix, and over the year has become a bit of an expert on Hurricane Katrina. 

She read Ninth Ward aloud to me.  This is one of my favorite children’s books.  I love the style of writing, the ability of the main character to see the supernatural, her self-reliance and perseverance.  It is a must read if your child likes weather and historical fiction genres.  

Based on her love of this book, Grace then wrote two stories based on real weather events featuring the same main character.  One was set during Hurricane Katrina, for which she researched real timelines and damage reports.  The other was a tornado in Oklahoma in which she documented the same character’s experience in real time according to weather and eye witness reports.  She wrote a letter in the style of a five paragraph essay to her idol, Ms. Abrams, and talks about television meteorologists and storm chasers like they are a part of our family. 

A highlight of her year was seeing the imax movie made by the movie crew from Storm Chasers show on Discovery while we were in Chicago.  The tee shirt I bought for her there is a favorite article of clothing and must be clean at all times (she is wearing it above).
Grace could answer every question asked of the class.  It was a weather 101 class, so my expectation was that it would be mostly review.  However, as we were leaving, the student-teacher announced that WestConn has a bridge program that links many university departments to students in the community.  She began the bridge program for Meteorology and it will continue after her graduation this weekend.  Middle school students study under the guidance of a Meteorology Department student for a semester!  It would be a ride for us, about an hour each way, but I am signing her up for this opportunity.    Lilah and I can hang out in the gorgeous lobby of the science building doing something while Grace gets a unique opportunity to learn more about the field of science that she loves, discover a bit more about college, make new friends, and add a unique experience to her homeschooling resume!


  1. Looks like fun! We just saw a fabulous IMAX movie about a huge tornado research project. The footage was actually from a vehicle stationed inside a tornado. I think more than 200 meteorologists worked on this huge project. It was so interesting!

  2. That sounds like the same movie we saw in Chicago! We watched several seasons of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers. They had an imax photographer imbedded in their group who was trying to capture the inner workings of the tornado. Unfortunately Lilah hated the imax features and I had to sit the movie out with her but Grace LOVED it!

  3. I am so happy that Grace is going to be able to take that class. She is going to LOVE it. You rock.

  4. I just know we will see Grace on TWC one day. I love how much she loves weather and how many ways you allow her to pursue it. :)

  5. What a great opportunity for Grace!! So awesome that homeschooling allows for these opportunities and I admire how you seek them out and make the efforts/sacrifices for her to be part of them!

  6. How fun! Isn't great that she gets to do this since she's so interested in it? Not likely she'd get to do this stuff in public school.

    And unfortunately, I do not know Stephanie Abrams. :(

  7. I have to follow up with the head of the program. Unfortunately this has been exclusively for public school children and now is being opened up to homeschooling children as well.

  8. This is fantastic! Really what home education is all about. Finding a passion and having the time to run with it :)


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