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"For the Birds" Kickoff ~ Book and Activities for Week of January 3rd

If you are joining us on our "For the Birds" study (and I don't think anyone is, but here's the info anyway), here are all of the specifics for the books and activities we will be doing:

Our main book will be About Birds: A Guide for Children written by Cathryn Sill and illustrated by John Sill.


TEACHER AND BIRDER Cathryn Sill explains to children what birds are, what they do, and how they live. Accompanied by beautifully detailed illustrations from noted wildlife illustrator John Sill. We will be doing the following activities throughout the week:
Graphing - I am going to just make a simple graph with the following headings across the top of a poster board: Feathers, Hatch from Eggs, Nest on the Ground, Nest up High, No Nest, Travel in Groups, Travels Alone, Swims, Runs, Use Bills to Gather Food, Sings, Small Size, Large Size. We will then read the book and write the names of the birds under each of the categories where they fall.
Egg Identification - We are additional…

For the Birds ~ Week of January 3rd {extra book needed}

Although on Thursday I will post more specifics, I wanted to leave a quick note to say that I requested an additional book from the library today to help with our egg identification activity we will do. And I wanted to give you enough notice so you can check one out from your library. Any bird egg book, with illustrations, will work. I will be using Bird Eggs by Helen Frost.

"For the Birds" takes flight in 7 days!

It couldn't be a better time for us to start a Bird study. Over Christmas our very popular nest, in the corner of our back porch, was a hotbed of activity. A finch family claimed it and started fluffing it and preparing it for later use. Several cardinal mates were frequenting our backyard. And then all of a sudden a female flew into our master bedroom window, stunning her for a period of time. I was so worried about her, but she got to feeling better and flew away. I am excited for Brynne and I to get our study underway.

As a reminder, we will be concentrating on one book a week, and doing various types of activities related to the book.

You can go here to see the full list of books we will read between January 3rd and Spring Break. The books we will read in January are:

January 3rd ~ About Birds by Cathryn Sill



January 10th ~ Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems



January 17th ~ Owl Babies by Martin Waddell



January 24th ~ Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles


All of th…

For the Birds

Inspired by the Christmas Book and Activity a Day challenge hosted by Shannon at Welcome to our Wonderland, (which we loved, loved, loved) and in conjunction with the Bird focus we will have in our The Outdoor Hour challenges for 2011, I will be starting a Bird Book and Activity challenge starting January 3, 2011.

Each week we will read a specific bird book (on Monday, and then again throughout the week for review), some will be fiction and some will be non-fiction. With that book we will do specific activities and/or crafts throughout the week.

I don't necessarily want to do a Linky or anything, but I would love for you to join me if you would like. I plan to post, on Thursdays, the book we will read the following week and all of the activities we plan to do. By posting all of the information about the book and activities ahead of time, as well as all supplies needed, I hope to make it easier for you to join in on the fun. All of the books we will be using are in our public libra…

A Coop Lesson in Bartering

One Friday a month Brynne's Homeschool Coop has a "Fun Day" and a different mom signs up to lead it. This month the mom suggested that we have our kids bring homemade goods, set up tables and barter with each other to exchange them. This was great for us because Brynne has also been learning about Colonial times where bartering was a normal activity.

We made five different things to barter:

Spicy Pretzels ($1) ~Gift for dads

Handmade Crystal Ornaments ($1) ~ Gift for moms

"Game of Graces" ($3) and "Hopscotch kits" ($1)~ Gifts for sisters


"Ball and Cup" ($2) ~ Gift for brothers

Brynne set up her "Taulman Trading Post" with a green table cloth and Christmas angel piece of fabric.


She bartered away! She got some great items for herself and was able to trade for gifts for every member of her family. And she successfully traded away every one of her items.




It was a great lesson and so much fun!

It's a Wrap!

And I don't mean presents ... I haven't started that yet! No, I mean this semester! I can't believe we have completed a semester! We officially ended school on Tuesday to prepare for the Christmas season. My public school children do not finish until tomorrow, but since we are preparing for an Old-Fashioned Christmas this year, as part of our studies on Colonial Williamsburg, we have had lots to do.

Here is a recap of our semester:

Dawson, 8th Grade: In Social studies, Dawson has completed in depth studies on Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and is half-way through Ancient Rome. Included in that has been Science studies on deserts, the human body and rocks and minerals. After about 6 weeks of Saxon Pre-Algebra, we switched to Life of Fred. He has completed the Fractions book and is now on Decimals and Percents. Language Arts has had him working on sentence structure, nouns and doing lots and lots of writing. His Spelling has come from his social studies and science units, prim…

Bear Stays Up for Christmas

Bear Stays Up for Christmas written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman was a fun book demonstrating such sweet friendship.

In this enchanting holiday story for young readers, Bear's friends are determined to keep him awake for Christmas. So they wake Bear up and he helps find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, sing Christmas songs--and discovers that giving is one of the best presents of all.



For her activity Brynne painted glue on a pinecone and shook it in a bag full of ground cinnamon. She colored a bear holding a heart and cut it out to glue its pieces to the cinnamon pinecone "body".

We'll be finishing up some books this week from our Christmas Book and Activity a Day list, but won't be doing any designated activities because of our plans to spend the rest of the week making handmade Christmas decorations for our tree.

A Christmas Star

This will be our last week to participate in the Christmas Book and Activity a Day challenge hosted by Shannon at Welcome to our Wonderland. In fact, tomorrow will be our last official day. We finished school for the Christmas break today and plan to spend the rest of the week making Christmas decorations for our Old Fashioned Christmas. We will then be off for the following two weeks spending some time with family, enjoying some downtime at home and celebrating Eli's 7th birthday.

Yesterday we read A Christmas Star written by Linda Oatman High and illustrated by Ronald Himler.

During the Great Depression, a holiday miracle reminds all of the true meaning of Christmas.
As we were already making Salt Dough ornaments for our tree, Brynne started out by making some stars. She rolled the dough and cut them herself. She will also be painting them.

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ {Christmas and Crystals}

What an extremely productive and interesting week! I think this might be the first week that we didn't have one "down" day. We were into our lessons every day and got a lot accomplished. In fact, Dawson even had his best efforts shown on Friday when I wasn't even home!

Brynne ~ 1st Grade
We scaled back some on Brynne's 3 R's studies this week, except that we had a huge emphasis on Reading. My goal with her this week was to concentrate on learning about Colonial Williamsburg and in doing our Christmas Book and Activity a Day challenges. She did learn about the letter "I" this week (did her tracer pages and mini-book), but mostly we just read "I" books. We are gearing up for next week when we will complete our Felicity and Colonial Williamsburg lapbook on Monday and Tuesday and then make homemade Colonial Christmas decorations the rest of the week in anticipation of Christmas.

Some highlights from our week this week were in making the Game o…

My First Nutcracker

I'm going to be honest .. I half-heartedly read this book to Brynne this morning, and she half-heartedly listened. She wasn't too interested and I didn't imagine that she would be. Starting out it just seemed "more" than she would want to listen to and follow.

But .... after she finished the book, she sat ENGROSSED in a dvr'd showing of The Nutcracker performed by the Berlin State Ballet. She was loving it! Then I had checked out a cd of The Nutcracker (performed by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, strangely enough). We listed to it on the way to Coop. While she was listening to the music she looked at the book we had read that morning and told her own story based on the music.


I was blown away that she was so into it! While watching the ballet she said, "Daddy needs to watch this." Her and daddy would enjoy it.

Her enthusiasm was such a nice surprise! What a great way to end our week with the Christmas Book and Activity a Day.

Week 3 ~ Christmas Book and Activity a Day

For Week 3 of the Christmas Book and Activity a Day challenge given by Welcome to our Wonderland, we will be reading the following books:

Monday, December 13th ~ Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson (supplies needed: brown paint, cinnamon)


Tuesday, December 14th ~ Silent Night, Holy Night: a song for the world by Warner Thuswaldner and Patricia Crampton (supplies needed: construction paper, scissors, yarn)


Wednesday, December 15th ~ I've Seen Santa by David Bedford (supplies needed: cotton balls, dice, construction paper)


Thursday, December 16th ~ Magical Christmas by Meg Clibbon and Lucy Clibbon (supplies needed: hot cocoa, candy cane, marshmallows)


Friday, December 17th ~ A Christmas Star by Linda Oatman High (supplies needed: wax paper, glue, glitter)