Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter Bird Study: Chickadee

This week our nature study focused on  Chickadee Study. We were surprised at how many varieties of chickadee there are! To the best of my knowledge, the chickadees indigenous to our area are the black-capped chickadee and the Carolina chickadee. [Addendum: I checked today at my nature center, and the naturalist looked it up. Apparently we are too far north for the Carolina chickadee.]

I tried to be organized, but when I was preparing for the time with the children it just seemed things wouldn't go right for everything I had hoped to do. So, I read in advance the information in the Comstock Book of Nature Study, which was very helpful. So, we got to learn about the chickadees in general, listened to the difference in bird calls of both species, and the kids drew the black-capped chickadee. [Trying very hard to determine the difference between Black-capped Chickadee and Carolina Chickadee. Answer: Black-capped Chickadee has a stripe of white on the wings that is missing from the Carolina Chickadee, and is a bit smaller, not that it is easy to determine which is bigger. They move so fast it's hard to see whether the wing has a stripe or not!]

We really enjoyed learning that the chickadees are such friends to our local agriculture, planting themselves here throughout the winter to locate and eat insect eggs that they find on the trees. I was also interested to learn that you can attract chickadees and keep them nearby by putting out beef fat or a beef bone, smearing a nearby tree with the fat every two weeks. I thought that was intriguing!

I opted to not take a nature walk that day. The kids had outdoor play instead. I intend to return to the chickadee topic next week to finish the study and see if we can do some chickadee spotting. Not sure if it will involve photos, but we will try to capture some chickadee photos from our dining room bird watching spot just in case. (Walking outdoors with boys who want to run does not seem conducive to spotting birds who fly away when things are noisy...)

I'm behind on the winter study schedule at this point, and getting behinder. So, I might try to squeeze in some of the twig study at the end of next week...

So, I'm working on getting caught up. I'll try to post posts in timely fashion. Gotta go! Have a great weekend.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up and Finding my MoJo

Trying to implement a weekly meme on  Saturday for wrap-up and mojo will be challenging for me. (mojo = mother's journal) I don't know how I will do, but here goes for today!

This week in our homeschool we did:

Bible: Awana's work and Bible readings from Ephesians;

Math: Horizons 6, Lessons 81 through 85

Ambleside Online, Year 4, Week 29. This included:
Nature Walk: Silent Nature Walk (I'm like so behind on these challenges -- this is the one from three weeks ago!)  - The boys opted for taped mouths to remind themselves to keep silent! (I have not yet made my "Friday" Nature walk post, or I would have linked to it. It is still upcoming.)

 A little ice on the water. Note the child on the right is only in a hoodie sweatshirt. This was two days before our little storm. We now have a 1" layer of snow covered with a light icy crust. I'm too lazy to take that photo right now -- it might be the straw that keeps me from getting this post done...

Okay, back to the wrap-up, AO 4 week 29 also included some:

Composer Study: Felix Mendelssohn, listening to

Songs Without Words Op.19 No.1 in E Major

I have learned that unsupervised YouTube use by the kids will not be permitted. For example, next week I want them to listen to Mendelssohn, the original Wedding March, but I found offensive comments had been posted below it on YouTube. How sad.

Artist Study: Focused on the life and works of Albert Bierstadt, particularly:
Facts from Wikipedia biography;
The Wetterhorn;
The Rocky Mountains;
Looking Down Yosemite Valley;
Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains;
Seal Rock; and

We read Madam How and Lady Why, chapter 8

We read The Story Book of Science, chapters 32, 33 and 34 (we're playing "catch-up" to where we are supposed to be in the book, which would be chapters 62 and 63)

We began our co-op studies of Bob Jones Life Sciences. We independently did chapters 1 and 2 last week, and this week together we did a quiz on Chapter 2, and moved into readings and activities in Chapter 3. Yesterday we did a lab from the Student Activities book on acids and bases, using litmus paper. The kids seemed to enjoy it, and one of the boys, at least, was disappointed that the designated teacher did not choose to test saliva for its acidity, so he took some litmus paper to test it on his own. Sorry, we didn't get photos this time. We are hoping the kids will be able to enjoy this Science more, now that we are getting into the hands on stuff.

Literature: This week we finished our reading of the book Kidnapped, by Robert Lewis Stevenson. I found it's ending abrupt and unexpected... "That's all? But what about... What happens to..."  ::sigh::

We also finished listening to the recorded book of On The Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We're scrambling, hurriedly, trying to get to where we are supposed to be, which is to be reading By The Shores of Silver Lake, but we're not there yet. You might think that's next, but we skipped and are going back to Farmer Boy, because we have the recorded book checked out, and we're getting these done so nicely by listening to them when we're in the car!

We read, "Cupid and Psyche" (Chapter X), from Bullfinch's Age of Fable.

We read The Incredible Journey, Ch. 5.

We read At the Back of the North Wind, by George MacDonald, ch. 1 

We read poetry by Emily Dickinson (we're trying for a poem a day, but not there yet...)

Social Studies:
We read George Washington's World, pages 234 - 255 (playing catch-up - somehow my assignments had gotten off the correct schedule)

We read This Country of Ours, chapter 56 ("The Darkest Hour, Trenton and Princeton")

We read Our Island Story, Ch. 95: George III—The Story of How America was Lost

Geography: No mapwork. We discussed country of origin of both our composer and our artist.

Physical Education: We did a lot of walking.

Health: (Our state requires we are educating regularly and diligently in Health and P.E.) We washed our hands a lot, drank lots of water, and ate healthy meals.

So, there's the wrap-up. Here comes the MoJo!

Here's what I'm laughing at today:

In Our Homeschool This Week: See Above
What's Working/Not Working in our Homeschool This Week:
I was having certain subjects I was struggling to get done in my homeschool this past fall. In my area I have only one other mother I know of using Ambleside Online, and she and I were chatting about how things were going. She was experiencing the same thing. She has certain subjects that she is strong in getting to, which are not mine, and I have certain subjects which I am strong at getting to, which are not hers.

It looked like a puzzle. So... guess what? After some talk, some Parent/Teacher conferences, and some prayer, we have teamed up, and this was Week 1! How did it go? Ups and downs, but compared to previous weeks, it was smashing! Amazing! Wonderful! Lots of good assignments done, character issues appearing and being worked on, and mommy fellowship to boot! We're both happy campers today. :) (Shouts out to you, NM, you know who you are! :)

a teaching heart See "Composer Study" above

Is anyone hosting a button for "Artist Study" posts?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Outdoor Hour Challenge: Winter Weather Walk; Silent Walk Challenge

We started our Outdoor Hour Challenge by discussing the winter challenge series and filling out the Winter Wonder notebooking pages from Harmony Arts Mom's Winter Challenge 2 series.

We started our Nature Study by looking over the Winter Wonder notebooking pages and filling them in. Then I explained the Silent Walk Challenge that we were about to undertake. The boys were not keen on the idea at first, but then the older one thought of a way that would make it more fun for him: duct tape! So the boys all administered duct tape, with the sweet princess declining.
Then the youngest decided to stay home with his mom, and then there were three. We first headed to the big oak (that makes me think of the tree we often see when watching "Little House on the Prairie" old episodes).
And it became clear that this would be a walk to challenge my zoom lens, because the kids were in a mood to run! And I just couldn't keep up. I also was going back and forth between wanting to catch the size of the tree in comparison to the child and wanting to capture photos of the child.
So point of interest #2 was a puddle in the field. The edges had a thin layer of ice. The tap, tap of the foot seemed to say, "Oh look! It's so thin it breaks under my weight!" (Yeah, could you please keep your shoes dry? Please?)

Barely time for me to catch up, and their off at a run again. So far, nature items spotted: oak tree, ice on puddle.
So, back to the notebooking page, man-made items spotted: tennis court, bridge...

Nature items spotted, maple tree, man-made items spotted, playground...
 man-made items: historic barn; nature items: conifer trees and
a gnarly old oak!

 Then there was this amazing tree on the slope of a hill. It offered so much fodder of interest. It's angle made its trunk climbable to a certain extent.

Its size was massive, and around on the other side of it was makes it what I call a "Peter Pan tree", as in a tree that offers the imagination the possibility that Peter Pan's cave might be underneath and this might be the secret entrance door...

Around the time I spotted the man-hole cover in the middle of the field, my son was discovering the drainage ditch above, which actually became an item of interest for the three for about ten minutes of silent plan and climbing. In the distance, up the hill, there was one more tree of interest, possibly a maple:
And then my camera gave me the message that we all dread: "Recharge Your Battery!" - and it would not talk to me any more.

So, we finished the walk, went home, and filled out the Notebooking Pages from Harmony Arts Mom's Winter Outdoor Hour Challenges #2.

I hope you have enjoyed this review of our nature walk!

This Term's Artist

To make my life easier, I am copying here this term's scheduled artist (Ambleside Online) and works here. I have already checked and know there are broken links. I will come back later to try to find better links.

2011-2012 TERM 2 Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) American; Hudson River School (This term's composer: Mendelssohn, Romantic) Biography, with links to other works
1. The Wetterhorn, 1857
2. Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak, 1863, or here
3. Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, 1865
4. Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 1868
5. Seal Rock, 1872
6. Last of the Buffalo, 1888
     Special interest:
          Sunlight and Shadow, 1862 (study of shadows falling on a church front)
          The Arch of Octavius (The Roman Fish Market), 1858
          Sunset in the Yosemite Valley, 1868
          Bridal Veil Falls, 1872
          On the Saco, (note the colors)
          Wikipedia has a nice collection of high quality works

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

AO Composer Study: Mendelsohn

I am working and working to be caught up and organized, but I feel like a hamster on a running wheel, like I'll never get there. (This analogy really works: when I work less, as in run less quickly, I still manage to keep things going, by God's grace; when I work, work, work, I still don't feel like I'm any farther ahead, because all I can see is that I missed this, I missed that... ::sigh::)

So, my Daily Lesson Planner is in sync with AO with the History reading assignments. I have transitioned my Science plans to dovetail with a friend, and we've started Bob Jones Life Sciences. We are in Lesson 3, and it won't get finished in this school year, but my friend will finish it during the summer, and I might or might not. I'm okay with doing just half of it. We were doing other Science before, so we're not going to come up as "insufficient" at our review. I don't want to sacrifice my summer over it unless something magical happens and my son suddenly starts to love it as we get into more hands-on activities, which we will.

So my focus today is getting Composer Study more up to snuff.

Eh.... I need to go do school. Homeschooling is getting in the way of my planning to homeschool. ;-)