Search This Blog

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What's That Bug?

One of our difficulties with Nature Study on this part of the planet is, identification.  There is some serious diversity here in Peru! (and I'm not complaining!) It was said by Theodore Parker III, famous American field ornithologist, “Peru offers ‘bird-enthusiasts’ more than any other country in the world… Being here is like being a child visiting a huge store filled with new and fascinating toys”.  While the resources are vast for identification of wildlife native to North America, I have yet to find any comprehensive online resources for South America.  Lots of animals, birds and insects are similar but with variations, so it is difficult to nail any one specimen down, even with the best of sources.  So while we do have a couple of books as helps, I still many times am at a total loss.

Today for example, after several hours spent on looking to pinpoint several of our local bugs found on recent nature walks, this one stumped me, so I decided to submit a question.  Here it is:
My son spotted this bug while we were out on a nature walk.  It is a bright blue.  While I've spent several hours searching your site for something similar, all I've found is the masked hunter (but I doubt it is this because there was absolutely nothing this color anywhere near where we were... no blue carpet :).  It is similar in color to the blue-green citrus weevil, but it's body doesn't look like it as it's rather bumpy.  Just thought it'd be fun to identify it, though I didn't imagine it would be this hard... :)

He was about 2cm in length and was crossing a dirt road near a farm of coconut trees.  We live in 'ceja de selva' (which is on the eastern slopes of the Andes, above true rainforest level).

my images are here:

and here:

Any ideas?

All I know is, that it's possible that I've found a species that hasn't been discovered... and I want to name it if that is the case!  The Turquoise Blue Tuttle Beetle.  of course.

My Recommended Resources:
While we're on the subject of identification guides, here are the books we have:
(only one is specific to Peru, or South America for that matter)

Here are the books we'd like to have... someday: (why on earth are they so expensive?!)

My Helpful Links: (I will be adding to these as I find them... )
Birds of Peru - Tarapoto - page one, page two, page three
Rainforest Insects

Friday, February 26, 2010

Are you missing something?!

Here's the official site for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.  I'm sure we'll find some helpful information there!  Speaking of information... can somebody tell me what curling is?!  Is this a NEW event?  I'm pretty sure I've never ever heard of it!

I feel totally deprived not having watched a SINGLE event in this year's winter Olympics in Vancouver... I mean it's practically in my old backyard (I'm from Oregon!).

I bought a unit study on the Olympics thinking that my kids cannot possibly go their whole childhood never having watched an Olympics... but unless we have cable, we couldn't hope to see any action.  We definitely don't want cable... I won't go into details, but believe it or not the smut on the screen, in terms of smut-i-ness, beats what you'd see stateside one hundred to one.

Now that the games are all but over, I'm feeling withdrawals as I hear how all the teams have done.  Memory is bringing to mind how totally into the whole thing I was when I was younger and how much of an influence the Olympics had on my interest in sports and physical activity!  Oh me. Oh my.

Never fear, all is not lost!  I just found out that has event replays online!!!  woohoo!  I am SO excited!  You can probably guess what we'll be doing this evening, and tomorrow, and every free minute until they take them down!!

Oh yeah.
Oh no.

I just clicked on the link above and you'll NEVER guess what I found...
Due to Olympic broadcasting regulations, NBC is only allowed to show Olympic competition video on the internet to users in the United States and U.S. Territories (including Puerto Rico). Users outside of those locations will still have access to an extensive set of non-event video content on including the video listed below. 
Oh my.  NON-EVENT VIDEO CONTENT... Did you catch that part?!  NBC's the best!!  Not.
So, did anyone record them?!  Does anyone want to make us a 200 DVD collection from their recordings??  Sad.  I found the official broadcast for Peru here.  It's pretty much a disaster... can't understand it at all as it seems to have several video streams going simultaneously.  Junk.

Oh well.  Life goes on.  Someday, I'm going to get the whole experience with my kids.  As of today it's going on my bucket list!  So did you make a big deal of the Olympics in your family?  Did you even watch them? 

PS.  Okay, I know it's a little late for most of you, as the Olympics are officially over in TWO days :(  [sniff. sniff.]  ...but I just found a fellow CMer's blog with a post with lots of helpful links and Olympiad activity ideas.   Have a look here.  I know that I'm going to be doing a little theme on it in a couple weeks on our vacation week... so I'll be able to have the benefit of everyone's accumulative efforts!!  oh yeah.

PPS. I've been made aware of several sites that have post-olympic information, including videos of actual events!!  I am saved!  ;)  Thanks Erin!!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nature Walk... cont'd

We normally do our Nature Studies on Mondays... but it was raining.  hard.  which in Tarapoto, means mud.  LOTS of mud.  So, we went on Tuesday.  Even a day after the rains, we still had to turn back to take little miss sunshine to get cleaned up, she slipped in the mud not ten feet from our house.  Since we were late getting out, we didn't go far.  But we did go.  Here are some things we talked about...

"The aim in Nature study is to develop a realisation of God the Creator, and to infuse a sense of the beauty of Nature."
Lord Baden-Powell

It was HOT already at 10am! That's why my face is RED!
but the tree shot was too good to pass up... bent perfectly to make a seat :)

I love these little fingers.

This is SO sad!!! Garbage. This is a very bad habit here,
to just dump trash EVERYWHERE. It really ruins a beautiful view.

A few of the above pictures were taken of our local gas station's landscaping!
Hah! You CAN do nature study ANYwhere :)

And one of my favorites, right outside my door...

This guy is always waiting for us outside the window :)

So, did you go for a walk this week?
What's keeping you?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Composer Study: Edvard Grieg


Read Grieg's  Biography: (see links in left side bar for background, childhood, etc)

Listen to Classic For Kid's audio shows on Edvard Grieg HERE (you can also read the transcripts there).

Print this off for a timeline figure!!
Edvard Grieg
June 15, 1843 - Sept. 4, 1907

Image courtesy of Bergen Off. Library

Edvard Grieg Music to buy:

I am thinking about downloading this mp3 album from -
$9.49 for TONS of music

(38 tracks to be exact!):

This CD has several of the
AO selections on one disc: 
(Peer Gynt No.1&2, Finlandia, Norwegian Dances) $6.49 w/ prime shipping

And last but not least,
here's the album I would totally buy if the cover
art were the only consideration :)

Free downloads of AO term selections:
(I have downloaded and actually listened to all 3 - all perfectly suitable for a basic intro!)

Peer Gynt - look for 'McKeeverDuoGriegPeerGynt' - this is very nicely done!
Norwegian Dance No.2 - scroll 1/3 of the way down the page, look for 'Pianoteq Grieg' / Grieg Norwegian Dance 2 
Piano Concerto in A - Op.16, I,II, III - download links at the bottom of the page
Some helpful links:

Ambleside Online's Composer Schedule page - lists the composers to be studied each term
How we do Composer Study - A how-to by Fisher Academy, yay!  

And still more links (maybe helpful):
A teacher's lesson plan for an activity based on Grieg's Peer Gynt - The Tale of the Mountain King.  Looks fairly interesting.  

A wordsearch (pdf) with important words from Edvard Grieg's bio on the site (left click to save file as).
A unit study (pdf) from for your perusal... seems a bit technical/band class/ music lesson-ish to me, but heh, I know that someone could find it useful :)

A downloadable biography of Edvard Grieg, by Henry T. Finck - from (I have NO idea of it's literary quality...)
A lesson plan/activities from BBC's Parents' Music Room - Motivate your Child with Music, using Peer Gynt - Tale of the Mountain King including a how-to for teaching your kids how to compose some music themselves.


PS. Please leave a comment if you've found any other helpful resources online or from your library!  It would be helpful to everyone else who comes along!! 

Thanks everyone for pointing this one out!! We LOVED it!
Yay, for the Lego orchestra!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Day on Venus - an assignment

{An assignment.}

Draw a comic book strip called, "A Day on Venus".

{spelling has been corrected to aid understanding ;)}

The text:
* The unmanned space [craft] daring an exploding-proof robot to Venus.
** "Hello, I am sending this robot to find out what it's like on Venus and if we could live on it. The robot's name is R3D3.
*** "Here we go!"
**** "Ahhhhhh!"  CRASH.
*****Well, there goes the space ship, and I'm still in one piece!  Now, let's start with that..."
****** "Ahhh!  Run for the cave!"
******* "Huh?!"
******* As shown in the picture, not even robots can live on Venus.  "Help!"

But that's not all.  Maybe there's more.  There is some life...  [to be continued.]

*  *  *
They've decided to make a series about some robot-like creatures that live on Venus... may the fun begin.  I foresee an impending comic art tangent.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Science Junkie?

Have I ever mentioned that I REALLY like Jeannie Fulbright's Exploring Creation books?

Well, you might even say I have become an Exploring Creation junkie :)  A while back, I went ahead and bought about 4 from the series because I liked them that much... (well, that and they were on sale!)  I like them so much that apparently, I have gone completely hog wild with science reading requirements!  I'll have to do an honest to goodness review of the books themselves on another post.  The point of this post is to confess that, as of before working on this post, I was unaware that I have been requiring a double portion of science for two whole years in a row!  Oh my.  My poor over-schooled children.
Here's how it happened...

Since one of the options for AO science in y4 & y5 is out of print (and the library is not an option in Peru), I decided that meant I needed a substitution.  Obvious.  So, I subbed Astronomy in the missing book's place.  The problem is, I still have the boys reading the other two books, Fairy Land of Science & Nature Reader.  Not only that but I found an experiment book to replace the out-of-print book, that I also have them reading.  Yikes.  That's 4 science books. (*Note* It should be Exploring Creation OR the three other books; an either/or sort of thing)  I guess I just didn't want them to miss anything good!  I'm OUT of control! Well, for the last two years, it seems to have been perfectly fine and the boys certainly aren't any worse off :)  They didn't even notice!  hahahah!

Here's what the AO Advisory recommends:
Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Book 5 by Worthington Hooker, edited by Michael J. McHugh
The Fairy-land of Science by Arabella Buckley
Physics Lab in a Housewares Store by Robert Friedhoffer (another Friedhoffer book, or even another book of science experiments can be substitued if the book is hard to find - this book isn't worth paying inflated prices!)

OR   (somehow, I missed this ridiculously KEY word. perhaps I'd have actually noticed it if they'd at least emboldened the font. maybe.)

if you prefer, you can use any of the Exploring Creation With . . . series by Jeannie Fulbright for science in Years 3-6.
Unknowingly, I made the same double-up-fumble by using Botany alongside the other recommended books for AOy4, last year.  Again, the boys didn't realize it and though they would have been more delighted if we had had time to complete ALL the experiments, they still learned a LOT.

At the beginning of this year, we were still finishing up Jack's Insects from the previous year (it's yet ANOTHER added in science book... not an AO book, but a book that CM used. we LOVED it as a read aloud with everybody).  We finished that up by the end of the first term and again for some crazy reason, even though it wasn't even a scheduled book, I thought we needed something to replace it. 

Anyway, so there you have my confession.  Here's what science looks like this year.  We read all science related books and do Nature Study on Mondays.  We are using Astronomy as a read-aloud with everybody, the AOy1ers and the AOy5ers. 
Week 12 & 13:
What is Astronomy?

Week 14 & 15:
The Sun

Week 16 & 17:

Week 18 & 19:

Week 20 & 21:

Week 22:
The Moon

Week 23 & 24:
Week 25 & 26:
Space Rocks

Week 27:


Week 29 & 30:
Uranus and Neptune

Week 31 & 32:
Pluto and the Kuiper Belt

Week 33 & 34:
Stars and Galaxies

Week 35 & 36:
Space Travel
My AOy5ers are also reading independently:
The Nature Reader
The Backyard Scientist - substitute for the Physics in Houseware's store
Fairy Land of Science - from which they really seem to be picking up some great ideas for thought.  I'm glad we stuck with this one.

So, we're crazy.  I'm crazy.  4 science texts?  oh my.  I can't believe I didn't get it 'til now.  Do I recommend it?  Probably not.  Next time around I'll know better :) 
Practice makes perfect, right? 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nature Walk... call it 'study' if you will :)

Today's Discoveries...

"We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things."  - Charlotte Mason

"The Magic Plant" that shrivels when you touch it.

Now, why do you think it would do that? It's leaves fold up when you touch them!

It is rather shy, I guess.

This comes from the same plant when it's as big as a tree...

This is the 'full-blown' version

...the seed pod?

(close-up of the supposed seed pod)

Here they are ALL on the one branch.


Some other sights:

"The man who is blind to the beauties of Nature has missed half the pleasure of life." 
- Lord Baden-Powell 

Can you find the grasshopper? It's pretty small and camouflaged.

Pretty flower.

Another flower.


Ant house

Looking up... ;)

Footprints... or hoof prints I should say.


"An animal has been made by God just as you have been. He is therefore a fellow creature. He has not the power of speaking our language, but can feel pleasure or pain just as we can, and he can feel grateful to anyone who is kind to him. A Scout is always helpful to people who are crippled or blind or deaf and dumb; so he is good also to these dumb fellow-creatures of ours."  - Lord Baden-Powell

Monday, February 8, 2010

Land of the Silver Birch

This Term's Folksong:

Land of the Silver Birch

This is a different version than we learned from the Homestead Picker Folksong CDs. But the guy's voice is beautiful, and the quality sound of the guitar is rich and deep. We noted the differences in lyrics and then because there are word prompts and chord prompts for the guitar, we were able to follow along quite nicely.  He has an online guitar tutorial here (careful of unlovely image/ads on the same page). There's a page of printable lyrics HERE.

Michael Mitchell - Land of the Silver Birch Sing-a-long!  This is my kids first pick because it has fun sound effects and word prompts.  I liked that it was kid-safe with no inappropriate images.  The first verses were new to us, but that's the way with folksongs as oral tradition... everyone passes them on a little differently. 

See a mom-with-a-beautiful-accent's hand motions, watch her video here. I'm thinking that even though my kids laughed at the moose motions, the hands-on aspect would probably help my littlest littles learn it more quickly.

Free download - downloadable mp3 of a children's choir version at the bottom of the wiki page. I personally can't stand the choir version, but it is interesting to contrast the difference of music style.

Here is the emusic download link where you can listen to a sample first for free. You can also get a certain amount of free downloads but I don't know the details of that. (I used to have a membership, but got annoyed at the constant e-mails they sent and having search and figure out which music to download, but that was years ago, maybe it's better now).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Raising Real Men Book Release... with Write Shop prizes

An all new book about rearing boys is about to be released! There being 3 boys in our brood, it looks like it'd be something I'd be interested in reading! It's called Raising Real Men

Read a sample chapter from the new book, Raising Real Men here.

Plus there are freebies and prizes!!  You could win your choice of WriteShop Primary Teacher’s Guide w/Activity Set Worksheet Pack – worth up to $37.90!  Kim is also giving away a $35 gift certificate!  

There are several free downloads from Motherboard books as well.  So click on over there...

To be honest, I'm in it for the prizes!  But surely I am interested in checking out the new book as well ;)

We've just started using WriteShop and so far, I really like it... I'll have to give you my boy's opinions someday in the future... they're not generally very keen on any 'new' schoolwork in the beginning regardless of type or quality :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Blog Archive