Tag Archives: J

Birds Unit Study

Birds

I know I have hinted and outright mentioned the birds study that Miss J was doing. She just finished it up. It came about because of her fascination with birds and wanting to learn more about different birds. She has been interested in birds since we did a birds book a few years ago. Since we read Look Up!, we have kept our binoculars on or near the kitchen table, which is where we can easily view the birds in the trees out back. We often grab them and study the birds that we can see and we really enjoy watching the cardinal family that comes back every year. This really factored into the decision to create a study, just for Miss J, the focused on birds. She has loved it.

birds unit study

My first resource is a bird study from Memoria Press titled “What’s That Bird?” When a local education store was cleaning out a couple years ago, I was able to get the old version of the teacher guide for this for a buck-fifty. I grabbed it. We used it to help us study the feathers, wings, migration, and more. It was a good overview of birds. We did not use the additional information in this study as it was geared quite a bit higher than 3rd grade.

We also watched Flight: The Genius of Birds, a video from Illustra Media. This video focuses on the dynamics of flight, what is required for birds to be able to fly, and how God’s design is perfect. The videography is just stunning in this video and we enjoy watching it. We learn quite a bit each time we rewatch.

We also checked out a bundle of bird books from the library and spent some time, early in the study, focused on nests, parts of the birds, feathers, and more. We used most of these books in conjunction with the pages from the Memoria Press guide we had.

The website All About Birds was a daily use. It has a good search engine on it so Miss J could easily search the type of bird she needed for that day. The information was thorough, yet accessible for one her age. It included identification, habitat, and food information, along with nest and egg details. There are bird calls to listen to and videos of the birds. This was a really good site for our study.

two page layout

I have a file from Homeschool Copywork that has coloring pages of birds. We printed these full-size and placed them in a three-prong folder. Each bird is identified. As she studied each bird, she colored it according to the images on the web site.

We also have a membership to NotebookingPages.com. This resource had a blank notebooking page for birds. I downloaded it and printed it out with four copies of it per page. Miss J would fill in one for each bird and then tape it to the back of the picture of the bird that she colored. There are several other page types on birds available in their science section. This resource is invaluable when creating your own unit studies.

The last thing I included in her study was copywork from John James Audobon. She studied a biography of him early on last fall and so including some of his most famous statements is a great way to keep him and his contributions in mind while benefitting her cursive work. These came from Homeschool Copywork.

bird quotes

This was a simple study that has given her lots of information. It has also been really easy to tie in with other work that we are doing, such as a study of the book “Bears on Hemlock Mountain.” It is not uncommon for us to be out and about somewhere and for her to state “I see a (whatever kind of bird).” We talk about it and she enjoys telling us how she knew what it was.

This is just one way in which we strive to encourage our girls’ in their learning and an example of what I wrote about for the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair week 3.

Blessings,
At Home.

Giraffe Party – Blogging Through the Alphabet

g-giraffe-partyg-giraffe-costume

Miss J just turned 8! I can hardly believe how fast the years are going, but I know every parent must feel that way. She invited her friends over for an animal party, though her focus was on giraffes. This is her favorite animal and has been for several years now.

She asked her friends to dress as their favorite animal, so, of course, she dressed as a giraffe. This was the easiest costume. Ever! I got a brown shirt that she had and turned it inside out. Using making tape, I just stuck pieces of different lengths on at different angles until the whole shirt was covered. I did the same with a pair of brown leggings that she had. We added to this a headband that I taped ears and horns (not what they are really called) onto. After putting her hair in a bun, she was the cutest giraffe I have ever seen.

We played pin the tail on the giraffe. For this, I gave each child a small piece of paper and had them draw their own giraffe tail. We had printed off a coloring page of a giraffe that I found through a search engine. We printed it on multiple pages and taped them together. Easy – peasy. Bonus? It is now a poster in Miss J’s room!

g-cake

We ordered pizza because salad, the food of giraffes, is just not the favorite thing for this 8 year old. We put her newest addition to her toys, Squinkie animals, onto the cake for decorations. We had blue kool-aid since giraffes drink water. Truly, easy party, y’all!

We had lots of fun and enjoyed our time with friends a lot. And now, I have an 8 year old.

g-giraffe-smiles

At Home.

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Electrical Circuits – Blogging Through the Alphabet

e-electrical-circuits-reed-switch

A while back, my dad pulled out a couple of electrical circuitry boards that he had used to teach my brothers some things about electricity when we were all younger. He gave them to us and I set them aside for another time. Well, that time came last week when we were all feeling a bit under the weather but we still wanted to accomplish something. You know that place, right?

e-electrical-circuits-title

Well, electrical circuits to the rescue. The day was saved. At least for Miss J. She was terribly excited to see these and to try them out, now that we had bought the right batteries to run them. We have to boards. Both of them are by Science Fair. One is 60 In One Electronic Project Kit. The other is 160 In One Electronic Project Kit. We started with the smaller one.

Turns out, these were WAYYYY easier to use than I had expected. The booklets that come with them explain how to hook them up, the order in which to hook the wires up, and what each setup is supposed to do. Then, it explains why it works (or it should – we did have a couple not work correctly).

e-electrical-circuit-hook-up

We worked on a basic on/off switch. We tried out hand at traffic lights (something didn’t work there). We used a reed switch to turn on and off a light. We did two or three other small projects and then we put it away for the time being. It won’t be put away for long and it is much closer at hand now than it was before.

e-electrical-circuit-book

There is probably a good reason to work through the projects from the start of the book but we just picked a chose. It was an exploration project at the time. I imagine we will take this up a bit more regimented at some point in the not too distant future because Miss J was so interested in it.

e-electrical-circuit-board

At Home.

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Blaze Books

billy-and-blaze-2

One thing that always thrills me is when I stumble upon a book that Miss J loves. This happened a couple of months ago when I somehow came upon the titles for a series of books about a horse named Blaze. These books were originally written back in the 1930s and are just wonderful! The drawings are imaginative and simple and the writing is superb.

These are early chapter books but they are not too hard for Miss J. In fact, they were the perfect fit. The branch of the library we normally go to did not have any of these books so I had to request the first one.

blaze-booksI got it home and had Miss J begin reading. She was hooked. She requested and read every single one our library system had.

The premise of the story is a friendship between a little boy named Billy and a horse named Blaze. They have adventures and get into some tight situations together. Through it all, the friendship grows stronger and stronger. These books are fun and simple and just right for a young reader.

The series by C. W. Anderson includes:

  • Billy and Blaze
  • Blaze and the Mountain Lion
  • Blaze and the Forest Fire
  • Blaze and Thunderbolt
  • Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony
  • Blaze and the Lost Quarry
  • Blaze Shows the Way
  • Blaze Finds the Trail

I think there are a few more but this gives you a pretty good idea of the extent of the series. Each one is about 50 pages long with stunning drawings. Each story is a thrill with a happy ending. Just what I want my younger child exposed to for now. The other stuff will come along soon enough.

At Home.

This post is included in the Homeschool Review Crew Homeschool Collection. Click the image below to see all of the posts included for March 2019.

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The Giggly Girls’ Perspective – Back to Homeschool

Giggly Girls' Perspective

I decided this year, I would give you a little bit of insight into the giggly girls’ perspectives on homeschooling.

E, age 11

E – age 11

What I like about Homeschool:

  • We don’t have an exact schedule.
  • We get breaks whenever we want.
  • We get fun field trips even when we’re older.
  • We’re on a review crew so we do most of our school on those products.
  • I only have 2 teachers! Yay!
  • I can learn things like sewing and cooking.
  • We can watch TV.

What I don’t like about Homeschool:

  • Everything is harder!
  • Reviewing math programs!

L, age 9

L – age 9

I think homeschooling is really fun. I like it a lot, and for a lot of reasons. One reason is because we, well, I, get to learn cursive. My mom says that public schools don’t teach cursive anymore, which I think is wrong. I also like it because while I do my writing, cursive, memory work, history, art, science, and math, I never feel pressured, like I sometimes did at public school. There it sometimes felt like it was about finishing your work, not learning. And, in first grade, my teacher only taught me half of telling time! I like homeschooling much better, and here, we add in God!

J, age 6

J – age 6

What I like about homeschool is the math and the writing.

Truly, these are their own words. We edited spelling and some of the grammar together. But, I did not edit their sentiments at all. Ya’ll, kids get the difference. I felt really, really happy when I read what L wrote about the pressure. She was 6 at the time. 6! And feeling the stress and pressure of completion, but not learning. It just makes my heart sing all the more that we brought them home.

When you start looking at research, there are so many reasons to bring them home. As E gets into her teen years, I see the difference that sleep makes. She is able to get the sleep she needs, which makes her attitude and ability to learn better. There is research being shared more often now that shows that the accumulation of lack of sleep is detrimental to young people. I am so glad that we can allow them the sleep they need, the learning the yearn for, and the enjoyment of subjects that “float their boat.”

I am not knocking public schools but I understand their hands are tied. My children are worth the investment of my time, effort, and money (yes, money – homeschooling is not cheap, though there are plenty of ways to cut costs – check out this post for some of my ideas). Not parenting them, of which overseeing their education is a part, has much, much too high a cost – our children.

I am so thrilled at the joy my girls are finding in education at home. Not school at home but education and learning. We are looking forward to a fun, enjoyable year filled with a variety of Review Crew products and delight led learning. Bring on the horses, sewing, cooking, writing, and math.

A list of all posts related to the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop 2015 came be found under the Back to Homeschool page.
At Home.

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

This post is part of the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop, sponsored by School House Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection. There are over 50 bloggers participating in the blog hop so you have lots of reading to do! Click on the picture to be taken to the listing of all participating bloggers and find something to encourage you today.

Review and Giveaway: Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers

I received a copy of this book from Family Christian in return for honest feedback and this post.

 

“I like that it talks about God and that it doesn’t sound sassy when you read it.” According to a six year old, that is all it takes. J loves this book on prayer!

Prayer Treasury

Prayer. It is such a beautiful thing. We are shown the perfect model of a prayer in Matthew 6 when Jesus is speaking to his disciples, teaching them to pray. We should follow his example and teach our children. Teaching our children about prayer is one of the best things we can do because it opens up their own personal conversations with God. Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers is a sweet collection of prayers that children can relate to every day and in all parts of their day.

The contents tell it all. With chapter titles like “Good Morning, God”, “In My Play and Through My Day”, and “Good Night, God”, from sun-up to sundown, there are prayers to fill your child’s day. To help him see that God is always there to hear him and to talk with him.

One of my favorite things about this collection is the use of Bible verses as prayer. There are a good number of prayers that are praying a Psalm. But it is not just Psalms. You will find Judges, Luke, Revelation, II Chronicles, Philippians, and more.

Along with God’s word, you will find examples of verses you might remember from your childhood.

p 85 excerptp 78 excerpt

You will also come across excerpts and verses and prayers from a number of well-known authors, including St. Francis of Assisi, Isaac Watts, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Louis Stevenson, among others.

illustrations 2aaThroughout this collection, your child will be thrilled with the bright, colorful, playful illustrations. The illustrations capture the child’s imagination and propel her forward with the desire to keep reading and revisiting the book often. I often found J sitting with the book, mesmerized with the lovely pictures.

 

 

 

A beautiful way to teach children to pray is to pray with them and illustrations 1aashow them examples of prayer. This collection is done is such a loving way that even beginning readers can read from it. J and I would sit together and she would practice her reading by reading prayers from this collection. (She is in Kindergarten and has about 100 sight words under her belt. That should help you see just how accessible this book is for children.)

We have really enjoyed getting review the >Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers by Max & Denalyn Lucado, illustrated by Lisa Anderson. You can purchase a copy through Family Christian.

We are also excited to be announcing our first ever giveaway, sponsored by Family Christian. Family Christian will send one winner a $10 gift certificate to be used on their site or in one of their stores. Click on the link below to be taken to the Rafflecopter. Good luck. At Home.

 

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Rafflecopter Giveaway for $10 Family Christian Gift Certificate

Be A Star! Reading Chart

Here is the next installment of reading charts. I have this set for 10 books a week because that is what the goal is for J. Please leave me a comment if you would like for these to not designate a length of time in which to read the books and I’ll leave it off of the next one so it is more useable for you.

Be A Star!

Be a Star Reading chart by At Home: where life happensBe A Star reading chart PDF
(click above for a printable PDF file of the chart)

At Home.

K is for … Keeping Track

K is for Keeping Track with a free printable chart from At Home: where life happens

As we get further along the reading trail, I find that it is so easy for me to lose track of what we have done each week. Part of this is because I have been a little lax about setting goals. The other part is that J doesn’t have a good way to tell what progress she is making. So, I have decided to make both of those concrete this month and into the future.

The goal: 10 books on level per week. More if she can but at least 10.
Progress measure: a chart that she can mark off.

Result:

K Keeping TrackK Keeping Track PDF

J asked for a chart so I created one for her. We are printing it off and posting it. Each time she completes a book, she gets to put a sticker over the next number on the chart. (Bonus: number practice and as she completes charts, counting by 10s.) She loves giraffes and purple so I chose those for this first chart. As we move along, I will be adding more charts for her and I will try to remember to share them with you all.

If you would like your own copy of this chart, just click the link below the picture for a PDF file to print.

I would enjoy hearing about the various ways you have kept track of reading with your students. Please share your ideas in the comments. And as J takes off with reading, we will be marking off numbers and completing charts. At Home.

H is for … hear, see, smell, taste, touch

H Christmas senses book

Today, we tackled the five senses with J, who is five. Both of her sisters made a senses book for Christmas when they were about five and she wanted to make one, too. So, we worked together to create a book similar to what they had done.

H layered book

 

We started off by making the book. We got five pieces of construction paper – red, white, green, pink, and gold. We laid them down in layers so that a small piece of each color was showing. Carefully, we folded it over so that more layers were created. Then, we stapled it.

J chose the words for each sense and I typed them up. H Christmas book words Print your copy by clicking here: At Christmas book PDF

 

After printing them, she cut the pieces of the sentences apart.

H cutting words

 

She then put the sentences together and glued them down on pages.

H cut and paste

After gluing the sentences down, she picked items to illustrate each of the sentences.

H items

And here is the finished product.

H Christmas Senses

Finding the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the season brought a lot of fun and joy into our day. At Home.

A Review: Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury title

“Hello.”
“Hola.”
“Hello.” (with more emphasis)
“Hola.” (with equally more emphasis)
“Hello. Hello. Hello.” (said in frustration)
“Hola. Hola. Hola!” (said with enthusiasm and understanding)

With this exchange in the first lesson, J was hooked on Middlebury Interactive Languages. J has been wanting to learn another language, preferably Spanish or Hawaiian, since her sisters are learning those languages. However, programs we have experienced are not easily accessible to a pre-reader or early reader. She was ecstatic when Middlebury Interactive Languages came up. It has been a great fit.

Middlebury Interactive Languages ReviewJ on computerJ is using one of the Spanish Courses, specifically Elementary Spanish 1, Grades K-2. She is using the course without a teacher but there is an option with a teacher. I do not know the details of the differences in the program when you add a teacher. She is five years old and working at a K/1 level so she fit this age group well. Middlebury has done an excellent job of exposing the students to a lot of vocabulary in the immersive approach that they employ in their programming.

An immersive approach to language learning implies that the students will be surrounded by that language and it will be the primary focus of the learning that happens. Each unit contains an story, myth, or legend from a Spanish-speaking culture and the materials for that unit are built on the story, myth, or legend. The K-2 lessons focus mainly on vocabulary. The student learns these words through stories, songs, games, and various practice activities. Middlebury uses the immersive approach effectively. You can read more about Middlebury’s use of the immersive approach and their development of these lessons on their website.

Some Kid-related Information

The very first lesson J logged onto began with a click-to-color activity on greetings. Next, she saw a folk tale told entirely in Spanish. It was illustrated with cartoon characters and the words (in Spanish) were on the screen as they were said. It was done in such a way that she paid a lot of attention to it. She picked up several words and their meanings just by watching that folk tale. She was also exposed to some important elements of the culture. In order to ensure that the student understood the elements that were the focus, there was a review and a repeat of the folk tale. This was followed by three practice activities using the greetings from the folk tale in different ways. The lesson ended with a speaking lab where the student can listen to the word or phrase, record their own speaking, and compare their pronunciation.

activities

Two of the pages to print out and complete.

Throughout the lessons that J has completed, the activities have been varied. Some of the activities and teaching modes used have been a video, click-and-drag activities, coloring pages to print off and use, click-to-activate activities, putting things in order, worksheets to print off and complete, answering questions, speaking labs, and more. The variety of activities has been a definite bonus and has helped a lot in making this a program that J enjoys using. She looks forward to using Middlebury because within each lesson there are a minimum of 5 different activities.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

One example of the activities that the student is given.

Each lesson includes what is called a speaking lab. This is an activity that includes a button to click on to hear the program speak the word or phrase. Then it is the student’s turn to record their voice saying the same word or phrase. To do the recording, we used a Logitech camera that plugs into a USB port and has a built in microphone. It worked well on our desktop computer. We would just plug the camera in, hit record and then click allow (only had to click this the first time after it was plugged in), and then speak to be recorded. J really liked having the microphone available to record herself and listen to her pronunciations. She seems to have a pretty good ear for languages and was able to correct some of her pronunciation just by listening to the program and them listening to herself. This was one of the bonuses of Middlebury.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

An example of the Speaking Lab.

 Some Grown-up Information

Middlebury Interactive Languages has a dashboard where you can access the lessons via the calendar or the table of contents, as well as accessing the grade book. For our family, the grade book was not very important. It does show the grade for activities that are graded. They are graded by whether or not the student got the answers correct and it doesn’t affect the student’s ability to move on. If you have a need to see each activity and the date it was completed on, you have to make sure that you check the box “show course work” in the upper right hand corner or you will only see the quizzes and tests. If you need to be able to print a grade report, you have that ability. The only “complaint” that I have about the dashboard is that it is awkward. It is not intuitive to use but it is not all that hard to figure out.

One other thing that was a little bit strange is the way the lessons were scheduled. Middlebury suggests 2 – 3 lessons per week for K-2. For us, the lessons were scheduled on the calendar with five a week. This means that if we looked at the calendar, we were behind. Additionally, that shows up on the grade report. It shows as a due date and a completed date for the course work. This means that the student’s dates will be show up as late after the first day. I don’t know if this is typical scheduling for Middlebury or not. It didn’t bother us at all but is just something to be aware of.

Middlebury Interactive Languages is an online course. You will need a computer with internet access to be able to use this course. For the Elementary Spanish 1, K-2 course, the microphone is optional but definitely made a difference in the experience. You will also need to register and pay for the course of your choice. The Spanish Courses differ in cost. The Elementary Spanish 1, K-2 course is $119 for one student for one semester without a teacher.

worksheetThis is definitely a well-liked program here. J asks all the time to be able to do a lesson. Of course, that distracts E who wants to be a part of the lessons. She is ten and in the 5th grade but these lessons are still fun for her to do and be a part of. We try to schedule the lessons so that J can run the computer and answer the questions with E sitting beside her. But, if we can’t do that, E just comes and redoes a lesson. That is easy to do by just clicking the lesson from the table of contents or calendar and starting it over. It is not graded after the first time a student goes through the activity but that didn’t matter for our purposes.

So, Spanish will continue in the lesson plans with J and E enjoying the unique way Middlebury presents the language. At Home.

You can connect with Middlebury Interactive Languages on social media through the following links.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Middlebury-Interactive-Languages/141015515949753
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Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/middinteractive/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/b/110371351490550861545/110371351490550861545/posts

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