birding

Stuff We Like :: 4.15.16

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

This week, Shelli's got the scoop on what's lighting up her April homeschool. 

spring

We’re a birding family, so we love the spring weather and watching the birds nest and fly about in our yard! My six-year-old especially loved this interactive website that lets you explore bird anatomy, and in the evenings we’re also enjoying watching some wild bird videos too.

 

at home/school/iife

in the magazine: Subscribers can download our free meal planning sheet (with spaces for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks because homeschoolers need spaces for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks!) when you log into the subscribers-only portal.

on the blog: Amy shares what she's learned teaching homeschoolers creative writing

on instagram: Why yes, our Friday nights are pretty thrilling

 

Homeschool

This month we’ve been learning about the Cherokee Indians because our local art museum has a Cherokee Basketry exhibit I want to attend, and this is an important part of our state’s history the boys should understand. (So, yes, this is a Mama-led activity!) I began by reading The Cherokee: native basket weavers by Therese DeAngelis, Sequoyah by Doraine Bennett, and The Cherokees by Jill Ward, which were all short (elementary level) books I checked out from the library.  Then we read the (middle school-ish) book Only the Names Remain by Alex W. Bealer, a sad account of the Trail of Tears. These were all good books.

 

My New Adventure

It’s not always about the boys’ projects around here. This spring I have been delving into the world of bread baking, and not only that, I have captured my own wild yeast, too! The series Cooked (exclusive to Netflix) inspired me. I am using the book Classic Sourdoughs, but it hasn’t answered all my questions, so I’ve frequented YouTube and friends on Twitter as well! (Thank you, Twitter friends!) After four loaves of bread, I’m still trying to get it right! (I did have great success with pizza dough, however.)

 

Books

The boys are constantly looking at our collection of Calvin and Hobbes books, which I keep on the kitchen table with the weekly newspaper. At least my nine-year-old is reading something without being told!

A couple of years ago, my nine-year-old lost interest in the Little House books when we got to By the Shores of Silver Lake. Now we’ve picked it up again, and he’s enjoying it. I think we’ll finish the series now!

For myself, I just finished reading Taking Lottie Home by Terry Kay. It’s a Southern novel, and I thought it was going to be predictable, but as the story gained momentum, I realized it was not! It was a very good read and a meaningful story.

 

T.V.

Our most current beloved documentaries: 

--NOVA’s Rise of the Robots (PBS)

--Nature’s Wild France (PBS)

--Cooked (Netflix exclusive)

--Chef’s Table (Netflix exclusive) (These last two were insanely great.)

Just for me: Mr. Selfridge (Masterpiece Theatre PBS; available on Amazon Prime)


Unit Study Inspiration: Birds

Love this roundup of books and resources for the Great Backyard Bird Hunt (in Feb.). This could be a stand-alone homeschool unit study on birds, too.

The Great Backyard Bird Count starts on Friday. Gear up to flex your citizen scientist muscle with these birding resources.

Read This

Hoot
By Carl Hiaasen

The Burgess Bird Book For Children by Thornton W. Burgess introduces kids to birds through Peter Rabbit stories, making it as fun to read as it is informative.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, tells the story of a boy’s efforts to save the habitat of a family of burrowing owls from an encroaching pancake restaurant.

Bright Wings, edited by Billy Collins, is a collection of poetry about birds.

 

Birds, Nests, and Eggs by Mel Boring, is just the thing for beginning birders. The book covers fifteen common birds, including their appearance, nesting habits, and ideas for bird-themed nature activities.

The Complete Birder: A Guide to Better Birding by Jack Connor is the perfect next step when you’ve mastered the basics of birding and want to sharpen your skills.

 

Watch This

Winged Migration
Starring Philippe Labro, Jacques Perrin

The Life of Birds, from the BBC collection and narrated by David Attenborough, is a seven-part documentary just packed with avian information.

Winged Migration uses fabulous cinematography to capture birds in flight.

 

Do This

Dissect an owl pellet. If you’re not up for the real thing, use the KidWings Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection.

Play birdsong bingo. Practice identifying bird sounds by playing a bingo style identification game with a birdsong CD. (We like Know Your Bird Sounds, Volume 1: Yard, Garden, and City Birds andKnow Your Bird Sounds, Volume 2: Birds of the Countryside.)

Audubon’s Birds of America Coloring Book, part of the excellent Dover coloring book series, lets your student birders put their observation skills to the test coloring in copies of Audubon’s bird illustrations.

 

This article was originally published in the spring 2015 issue of home/school/life.