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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nature Study: Feathers as Clothing

Lora, Lora, escapadora! 
{escapist parrot!!}

I love her colors (or his as the case may be :).  She is beautiful, you'll probably agree.
But she is the most amazing persistent bird when it comes to getting out of her cage.
She spent weeks working away at the chicken wire until last week,
finally she'd managed to make a bird sized escape route.
We'd be all for letting her stay in the tree... but she has her mind set
on finding her soulmate and will not be convinced to stay put.
Her name is Aurora.  She is rather lovely.  :)
Her colors may seem rather attention-getting to N.Americans, but you
should see her in the lime tree...  but that's just the thing.  You CAN'T see her.
Her colors help her blend in perfectly in the jungle trees.
We're told she'll perhaps talk, if we're consistent with her... we shall see. 
When we first got her she seemed really tame, she would stay on a shoulder, or an arm.
But as soon as we brought her home and put her in the lime tree, perhaps she began to
remember her nest, but she has been restless ever since.

"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds."


"Birds seem to know perfectly well the beauty
of their plumage. Not only do they try to show
it off, as the peacock when he spreads his tail,
but they seem to feel shame when their feathers
are injured or soiled. One white feather coming
in where it does not belong will make a bird
very unhappy. He will work and tug at it to
pull it out, and often make himself actually ill
over the trouble."
Olive Miller                           
The Childrens' Book of Birds

Different types of feathers:
(We cooked our chickens!  yes. I can't believe I just said that either, but it's true... :S
but before they went, I made sure that we would be supplied with feathers for our bird study... 
I know. I felt appropriately guilty. It was all rather grim. Tried to make the best of it!)

1) Flight feathers - stiff feathers found on wings and tail
2) Clothing feathers - those found on the breast and body
3) Downy feathers - white and downy under the clothing feathers (tighty-whiteys)
4) Thread feathers - among clothing feathers
5) Powder down feathers - particular to some cockatoos & herons
6) Plumes - fancy feathers for dress up :) - seen on ostriches, peacocks, roosters, etc.

Reasons for different colored feathers:
1) Mother birds are usually colored with drab colors to help hide them and their nests from predators!
2) The daddies have special colors to help them find a mate.

Discussion is about to resume on the AOy0 list soon!  Join in HERE.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ambleside Online audiobooks - on SALE! - or even FREE!

I read through the entire book of Our Island Story with my two oldest boys.  I feel like it is quite an accomplishment as it stretched over several school years!  Our Island Story (alternately known as An Island Story as well) by HE Marshall is a spine history text for the first 4 years of Ambleside Online.  But the second time through, now that I am teaching more than just one year, I LOVE having the audio version for my y1 girl!  I just play the audio right here on the computer and she does her narration as normal.  Many times we listen to it together, but I've had her listen alone as well and draw her narration or just come and find me to tell it back. has a sale going on that you can find a lot of AO titles for $7.49!  Go check it out if you are interested in audios because the regular prices range anywhere from $10 - $30...

Our Island Story: Complete by H.E. Marshall
I bought mine for $38!!  This version is on sale for $25!  oh man!  

Some other titles on  (look under the Classic Literature category for more)
ahh.  free.  but there is one really annoying thing about free... beggars can't be choosy.  There are a lot of volunteer readers that do not read clearly or have pesky issues with their microphone resulting in terrible sound.  Or there's that special feature that if you regularly listen to librivox recordings, your kids will have the intro memorized in no time, "This is a librivox recording.  All librivox recordings are in the public domain..."  Yes.  kind of annoying over time.  All said, free is a very good price!!  Here is a REALLY helpful page I just found the other day that lists all the recordings of books on the Ambleside Online booklist in years 1-4 HERERecordings of the books on the Ambleside Online booklist for years 5-8 HERE.

Summer is fun for stocking up while things are on sale!  

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Ann Voskamp's, A Child's Geography on SALE.

    Just wanted to give any of you a head's up on a sale for one of my favorite homeschool resources!
    I know a lot of you either already use or are planning to use A Child's Geography by Ann Voskamp.  We've loved both of them!

    We're currently using Exploring the Holy Land with my 5, 7, 11 and 12 yos. I'd say you could use this for 1-8th graders (it's recommended for 1-6th). We love doing the lessons and adding in map skills at every section break, plus fun activity links.  These are on sale for a limited time.  We've loved our study! 

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    some grasshopper fun

    "His eyes look like they are transparent.  You can see right through them to the gritty stuff inside."

    He landed on the door as we were making words.  We saw him, photographed him, admired him, sang to him, and then all at once, he flew away...until another day.

    The poetry of earth is never dead:
    When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
    And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
    From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
    That is the Grasshopper's--he takes the lead
    In summer luxury,--he has never done
    With his delights; for when tired out with fun
    He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.

    John Keats

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    sketch tuesday: roadtrip

    Okay, so I know that today is NOT tuesday.  But admittedly, I'm all messed up.  My husband being a missionary/preacher he is always SUPER busy on weekends and so has declared, that Monday being our family day, we will not do school but rather have a break and school Saturdays instead.  Hmmm.  Well that does toss things up a bit.  We are so used to our schedule and the days that correspond neatly to the subjects that we normally tackle on them... and yeah.  We're messed up.

    But, my kids feel proud to see their stuff up here on my blog, even if it IS wednesday...  and I thought, here's a chance to remind you all about getting your sketches ready because this time you have 2 weeks to get your sketches ready!  Barb will be taking the week off, but you can send your sketches in any time so start thinking about it now!!  :)

    Here's ours from last week:

    Go here for more information on next week's theme: Sketch Tuesday: Gone Wild-Everglades

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Nature Study - June 8th

    The real color of these flowers almost hurt my eyes they were so intensely pink.
    I didn't change the coloring in the picture...

    red hot cheet-o flower


    whirly-gig spinny flower
    (obviously not its official name)

    zapote. grows on trees and is not very yummy

    lovely flutterby

    spider checking out the view

    red hot cheet-o flower, again.

    we saw about 203 of these kind of butterflies flitting about.

    pinon colorado (name in Spanish)

    red hot cheet-o flower, again.  you may be noticing a recurrent theme by now.
    these obviously caught my attention.  I still can't believe how it looks like someone pulled a cheet-o out of his pocket that had gotten mixed up with his spilled bag of previously sucked on red hot candies.

    a cocoon!  woohoo!

    can you see the leaf that doesn't belong?!  hilarious I was about 3 inches away from this flowering plant taking its picture when of a sudden I noticed a leaf that highly resembled a praying mantis we had caught and studied extensively last year... hahahah!

    Notes for the Journal...

    Weather: fresh from previous day rain.  Cloudy with some sun.
    Route: We walked straight up our road, onto the high road, cut across the empty field down to the highway. We crossed the highway and found the praying mantis in the old weigh station.  Went the back road up through the empty lot, recrossed the highway at the gas station to home.
    Treasures: we brought home one of the red hot cheet-o flowers and a green nut of some sort.

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Artist Study: Monet {part four}

    This week we did something different and fun for artist study.   Since we've read up quite a bit now on Monet and have a pretty good overall sense of his works (apart from seeing them in person of course!), we decided to have another hands-on lesson.  I think I will call it manual narration...

    What we did:
    Each person chose their favorite print from our Monet selections.  They were allowed to look, memorizing it, as long as they needed, but once they were ready, they were to turn it over and sketch as well as they could from memory.

    Once finished with everything they could remember, they could look back again at their print and fill in the details.  They did a REALLY good job!  I think that one key to success on this is that I joined them in the effort.  I was the first one to set out on the project and the last one to finish.
    It was too much fun to pass up!

    I took the idea from here :)
    "Sometimes we study [the print], and then I ask them to pose as the picture (not doable with landscapes!) sometimes after looking at it intently, I ask them to sketch it, roughly, for me, explaining the main idea is not to duplicate it perfectly but to give the idea of where things are in the painting."  ~Wendi AO Picture Study Page

    Helpful Links:
    Some of my favorite information I've run across lately online in regard to Picture Study are:
    Richele's Art Appreciation - Picture Talks at her blog, Barefoot Voyage
    and Picture Talks by Miss K. R. Hammond of the P.N.E.U.
    I posted on how we make our prints for artist study HERE.

    My artist study posts: Monet
    {part one}
    {part two}
    {part three}

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    story of math

    Leave it to BBC to produce a really cool math (tv?) series and then I found it online for free! woohoo!  My kids are not overly fascinated by math, but this video really made it come to life for them.  So, I would think that math-y kids will REALLY like this video!  I'd recommend it especially for kids in the Y4 of MEP as we are working with different base numbers which is shown in real life near the beginning of the video.

    It is called the History of Mathematics, and while we've only gotten through the first 2 parts (our internet is quite sluggish), I too am looking forward to finishing the series. While what I've seen is VERY good, I haven't previewed the entire thing yet, so be careful with tender eyes.  They do a good job with matching beautiful videography with engaging music.  We are liking it.  Here's the first one:

    (follow the previous link, at the end of part one of the video, 
    it automatically launches into part 2 - 4)
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