Saturday, August 11, 2012

An Ornithologist in the Making

Olivia and I spent all of July studying birds in the book Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and the corresponding Junior Notebook from Apologia. She learned TONS about what makes a bird a bird, what makes them fly, all the different markings on them and how they mate and nest. She had to do experiments, observations, and projects that challenged her quite a bit, but she really enjoyed it; enough so that she has now said she wants to be an ornithologist!

A Tufted Titmouse on one of Olivia's homemade feeders
One of the nests we found in a tree in our yard. We had cut the tree down and it was clearly abandoned.
One experiment had Olivia build two identical bird feeders, fill them with different single-type seeds (in this case, sunflower and safflower) and then observe at the same time each day for a set period to see which one the birds preferred. Oh, and that's a black-capped chickadee.
Olivia doing her observations

As a reward for working so hard, Rebecca got her a birdhouse that she could paint.

 All-in-all, it was a great experience using the Apologia curriculum. The books are written in a conversational style and with interjected questions and comments that make her feel part of the reading. There is quite a bit of vocabulary which is good but can also be overwhelming at her age. I don't require that she give all the vocabulary back to us. I do require her to narrate (or tell back) what she has learned after most of the sections of reading. We are going to move on in the book to do butterflies and moths, then bats and finally all the other flying insects.

(This part written by Rebecca)To go along with this, John James Audubon was our artist for picture study. He was an ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. The library has some great child level books on his life and works. His works are both art and scientific sketches, real and detailed. Want to know more about picture study (and really anything else Charlotte Mason)? Here and here are resources. I use those two ladies' sites for help all the time. So a big thank you to them.

All Summer, we have been reading a book from Rod and Staff called Birds at My Window. We read it at the table usually during lunch. It is a great little book about a boy who gets excited to watch and learn about birds after his dad sets up a feeding station near one of their windows. Gabe and Ezra have also enjoyed this book and have taken to enjoying some birdwatching of their own. Previously, we read The Burgess Bird Book (just with Olivia) which is told from the perspective of a rabbit as he learns all about a variety of birds.

Olivia has previously done some bird studies. Here is a lapbook and fieldtrip we did the fall of 2010. And here is a post about our homeschool group with birds as our nature study topic.


Lacey said...

very cool! that book looks great. We got a cheap kids book about audobon with great pictures--is packed right now, but it was $3 at Ollies, i bet olivia would love it...

Becca said...

What a great find! She certainly did enjoy reading about his life. The library has several appropriate books.

Dana (Stan's wife, Isaac's mommy, Jesus-seeker) said...

You guys are doing such a great job schooling her.... I'm inspired! :)