Making Connections

making connections

Making Connections

Before you get confused, I don’t mean meeting new people when I refer to making connections. That is a completely different subject. I mean making connections in the brain synapses. Those are one of the big reasons we like unit studies, but that’s not the only reason. (See the post on unit studies for more on that subject.)

Making connections in the brain takes dry facts and places them in real life. For example, we had visited Fort Ticonderoga in New York where we observed a saw pit in action. When we came across a reference to a saw pit in The World Of Captain John Smith by Genevieve Foster, I told my children we had seen one, and sought to find out from them where that had been. One of them answered, “Fort Ti!” Those are the kinds of connections I mean. They’re the ones that make one connect the dots, so-to-speak, giving more evidence on something to make it more sure in one’s mind.


It’s this idea of making connections that is why my family tend to get a membership to a particular museum or zoo for a year and then visit it multiple times during that year. After just one exposure, little is remembered. A second will literally second the first, in the same way that one might second a motion and thus make it established. Further trips just continue to add more detail and depth to learn and remember.

This pattern of asking our children if they remember something or a place is a regular occurrence with us. We want them to continue to grow in their knowledge of subjects, and these connections help establish ideas and information.

As I said, making connections is one of the reasons we use unit studies. It makes sense to me to teach spelling and grammar from something we are already studying rather than having a completely unrelated list of words to memorize. Not only does that then necessitate more books and therefore time on the child’s part as well as the parent to check it, but it also doesn’t join the dots, so the words have little to no meaning to them.

There is evidence that says that being bright lies less in the size of a person’s brain, but more in the connections from neuron to other neurons in the brain. Who knew that dot to dots would make you smart?

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