Friday, July 31, 2009

It's Not That We Didn't Learn Anything Last Year..

I was just waiting for those amazing profound learning experiences rather than rejoicing in the daily learning that takes place in our home. So I think a list is in order!

Stuff we learned:

*It's OK to change math curricula mid-stream. It's even good when one child just isn't getting it!
*Steve Demme is a really good math teacher.
*Sometimes letting a beginning reader have a used second-grade reading book accelerates reading faster than months of phonics.
*Being laid back about history and science means we do less history and science.
*I think my kids need change sometimes. We moved from Spelling Power to Spelling Wisdom and back to Spelling Power in the last two years.
*Make sure to not miscount the last few days of school. I did and realized we had a week more than I had planned.
*My girls are so creative. (But I already knew that.)
*Buy all the things I'll need in advance. (Or wait weeks to do the science project that we need the stuff for!)
*I really like scheduling our school so that we are out earlier than the public schools. It's such a good breather for all of us before the busy-ness of summer begins.
*Faith is ready for more of a challenge.
*Hope really likes her piano lessons, and she is very good at piano.
*Joy and Grace love watching their math on DVD.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There are some things I'd rather not have to know

What we have learned about evacuating from hurricanes:

*Some places with no pet policies will accept pets if you're evacuating.

*The vet can give you a sedative for your pets when you travel.

*While the sedative doesn't work on all animals, it does work on our hyper dog!

*The cat is a great car traveler if she's in her carrier. (She didn't meow once. And that's with no sedative!)

*The cat REALLY DOESN'T LIKE using any litter box but her own!!!

*The most important things fit into a few Rubbermaid boxes.

*Paul's GPS on his Blackberry is great for finding alternate ways home when the main road is like a parking lot.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

They Were Just Mostly Dead

Today we heard the chirping of little birds outside. I thought I saw one flying on our back porch. When it hit our French door, I went to investigate. The dog had caught a small bird. Sadly, it died.

However, we discovered that the bird was one of "our" baby birds that we thought had died. The other three were very much alive and were all learning to fly. We kept Callie in, and we were able to observe the little birds as they tested their wings for the first time. They really are cute! We were so happy that we were wrong about them and that Jack had not yet had time to dispose of the nest.

Here's one of our little birds resting from its big day.

Another view of the bird.

I know it's rather small, in the big scheme of things, but we are really thankful that the little birds were not dead! God is so gracious! Not even a sparrow falls that He does not know about!

Nature Study in Our Own Back Yard

** UPDATED: The birds are actually alive!! More in my next post!

While we do have a formal science curriculum for the older girls, nature study happens on a more spontaneous basis. Our back yard is big enough to be home to several different wildflowers and several insect species. The girls all enjoy playing outside, and often they will notice some aspect of God's creation. Spring is a great time to do nature study! So far we've been able to observe some wonderful things.

Last week we discovered that the nest in our playhouse had some baby birds in it! The girls and I would check in on them and watch them. This weekend noticed that they had died. We don't know why, but I suspect last week's strong winds must have injured the mother bird. We were all sad for them, but we knew that there was really nothing we could have done to help them.

Yesterday, I checked the jar with the cocoon that we've been watching for months! Everyone told me to just throw the jar away. Surely the caterpillar had just died. But I waited. And yesterday we had a moth in the jar! It was so still that at first I thought it had died, but as I tried to dump it out of the jar it moved. Its wings resembled tree bark when they were closed, but they opened to reveal beautiful eye spots!

Today the girls discovered that the roly-polies (aka pill bugs) that we were keeping in a jar had had babies. The girls brought home the roly-polies from a family friend's house on Easter. We researched them and discovered that their official name is wood louse. Fortunately, they are NOT related to lice. They are actually crustaceans!

If you look on the leaf, the two small objects are the baby woodlice. They look just like the adults except they're tiny and they are mostly white. They really are cute! The girls are already planning ways to keep them.

So even though we live in the suburbs, we have had some wonderful nature study opportunities in our own back yard!