Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bird Unit: Co-op

I am soooo excited that we are now a part of a once-a-month My Father’s World Adventures co-op with three other families. We (obviously) have 4 mom’s and 13, soon to be 14 kids. We decided to focus on science topics and experiments for our get-togethers.

Our first month, was on birds.


We started by having a short discussion on what makes birds unique from other animals. The kids came up with some great answers including: wings, beak, laying eggs, building nest, and claws. IMG_0228

Next I read a section from the Usborne Bird book, and we labeled the parts of a bird.

Treyton and G both had nests to show the other kids, and Treyton also had part of an egg shell he found in the yard. It’s always nice to have real-life examples in front of you to look at.

We also had real feathers (which Treyton had also found in the yard earlier this summer), which the kids closely examined. They then put drops of water on to illustrate how they are water proof, and keep a bird dry in the rain.

I asked the kids if they knew what day God made birds – they did – the 5th day. I told them that God made many different types of birds (there are over 9,000 kinds), and that He made each one different depending on where they live and what they eat.

Next, we did a beak experiment, illustrating this very thing. We had several different types of beaks (chopsticks, clothespins, staple remover, straw and spoon) and bird food (gummy worms, swedish fish in water, peanuts with their shell, sunflower seeds, and marshmallows). IMG_0224The kids tried to eat/pick up the different types of foods with the different types of beaks, to see which beak worked best with which type of food.  IMG_0222It’s always hard to know, how much the kids get out of a certain activity, but the overall goal was to illustrate that God made bird different to help them to survive where ever they live and whatever food they might eat, this experiment certainly did that.

Our “big” activity for the day was dissecting owl pellets. First I explained what they were, and then each of the kids went to work on their own owl pellet. I had copied an Owl Pellet bone Sheet for each of them so they were able to identify many of the bones they found.  

IMG_0225Each of the kids agreed that owl pellets were disgusting, but all of them participated and did a fabulous job! And, I think they all brought home their bones to show their dads later.

IMG_0227Towards the end, we had the kids pair up 5 different types of bird feet printables with the correct bird. This was no problem for any of them, once we explained what the different types of feet were for.


By this times, the kids (the boys, in particular) were restless so we finished with drawing a picture of a bird or a nest in their nature journals or on paper.

I think it went really great. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was a little nervous to teach a small group of first graders, thinking that I would try to over or under teach, but I think it was just right.


I’m not sure exactly what the preschool group all did, because I obviously wasn’t their teacher, but Lexie is still talking about it – she LOVED getting together with the other kids, the activities they did and especially getting some attention from other moms! IMG_0230

I know for sure that they counted eggs (a.k.a jelly beans), made bird feeders, made feather hats, talked about the letter Bb and read a couple bird books.


It was a great time. I am so happy to be a part of a group that not only uses the same curriculum, but that works so well together. I cannot wait to see what this year holds!!


Bird Feet Printable

Bird Beaks Printable

Bird Beak Adaptation Page (with PDF links)  

Beaks and Feet @ Biology Corner

Bird Unit @ Roger’s Family Blog

Monday, August 29, 2011

Treyton’s Reading Books (1st Quarter)

Treyton’s reading has been improving a lot over the past two months. Over the summer he participated in several reading programs, as well as completed a reading chart at home for even more incentive to read even when he wasn’t “doing school”. The incentives worked, and he has been reading almost every day. Here are a list of most of the books that he’s been reading and enjoying, through the first 9 weeks of school.

Go, Dog, Go PD Eastman

Clifford Makes the Team by Norman Bridwell

Go Away, Dog by Joan L. Nodset

Clifford Goes to the Doctor by Norman Bridwell

The Bobbsey Twins: Freddie and Flossie at the Beach by Laura Lee Hope

Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Wall-E: Smash Trash by Laura Driscoll

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

The Bobbsey Twins: Freddie and Flossie and Snap by Laura Lee Hope

Bobbsey Twins: Freddie and Flossie and the Train Ride by Laura Lee Hope

Cars: Old, New, Red, Blue by Melissa Lagonegro

DG Super Friends: Flying High by Nick Eliopulos

In addition to these books he read almost one Bible story a day from his My Father’s World first grade Bible Reader.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Field Trip: Heritage Hill

This week we had a last-minute field trip to Heritage Hill, a local (50-acre) living history museum.

We arrived to the museum at about 10:30 and left around 2:00, it was a really fun time, and guess what, we learned a few things too!!


We took the tram to the far end of the museum and then walked our way back. The kids were really excited about being able to ride the tram, every time it passed they would ask if we could get back on it.

IMG_0255Here are Treyton, M and S at the Maple Sugaring House. There wasn’t an actual “guide” in this particular building so we looked around, but I’ll be honest, we didn’t really know much about the process except that they took a big pot (a really heavy one) and hung it up from three chains above the fire pit, wherew e assumed they stirred it a lot! :)  IMG_0256At the Fur Trader’s Cabin the kids touched furs, tried on two different types of hats, and made nature leaf prints, which was how they identified and recorded leaves back then.


IMG_0259Next was the bark chapel. These were used by the missionaries to the area as the first churches because they were quick and easy to build, while waiting for a larger, more permanent church to be built. IMG_0264I was excited to go to the blacksmith shop because Tim’s grandpa actually was a blacksmith, which is one of the reasons why Tim and his family are in the metal business today.

IMG_0265Here the blacksmith is taking a heated piece of metal out of the fire. IMG_0266 … and twisting it…. He told us that even once the iron looses it’s “redness”, it’s still over 900 degrees.


Next, we went to the print shop where the kids were able to roll their own printing. It looked pretty hard to do, but both of the older kids were able to do it.


IMG_0276Treyton volunteered to be a part of the “bucket brigade” when we toured the Franklin Hose Company (Fire Hose Department), I was really proud of him.

IMG_0279All of the kids agreed that their favorite part was visiting and participating in a lesson at the one room schoolhouse. 

IMG_0285They loved writing on the slate boards, whereas I’ll admit they were a little “scratchy” for me.

IMG_0287 The teacher was nice and I thought the lesson was really cute.

IMG_0291The lesson included history (naming the first 6 presidents), math (figuring out how old George Washington was when he died), literature (reading a short story and answering questions about it), spelling (words from the story “cake” and “mother”)  IMG_0304When the students answered a question, they had to stand up say their answer and then sit back down. Treyton spelled the word “mother” (which I helped him with) in front of the class.

It was really cute, at one point M stood up to answer a question, and then Lexie raised her hand to answer a question. She stood up (like she was supposed to) and simple said “I don’t know” smiled really big and sat back down.

IMG_0306 Our second to last stop was the cheese-factory, which I personally think would have been a lot cooler if they would have had some cheese curd samples available…. I’m just saying.

IMG_0310I really thought the farm house was cool. To see how a typical family lived and the things they used, is just neat.

IMG_0315Treyton really thought their garden was cool, there were a few things in it I didn’t know what they were.

IMG_0319To prove that Audrey and I were there I got a few pictures of us in the kitchen.

IMG_0320 A great day, really it was. There’s nothing like real-life learning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

TOS Blog Hop

Feel free to check out the TOS Crew Blog Hop

Crew Blog Hop

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Usborne, Can’t Get Enough

If you aren't already aware Usborne is an incredible book company that offers 1000s of awesome children's book titles.

Recommended by many major curriculums including Sonlight and My Father’s World. I have become well acquainted with and fallen in love with many of their titles.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I read an Usborne book at LEAST once a week to my kids.

I am currently hosting an on-line Usborne book party, so if you are considering ordering an Usborne book soon, or perhaps your interest is peaked at what they have to offer, I would appreciate it if you would purchase through my party so that I could receive a small credit towards ordering books for our family.

The party closes on 9/1/2011

If you would like to start with some of my personal recommendations include:

  • I Can Draw Animals $4.99image
  • I Can Draw People (Both Treyton's favorite drawing books) $4.99
  • or if you are looking for a slightly more advanced drawing book I would recommend "Big Book of Things to Draw" $16.99
  • Any of the Beginner Level 1, which sell for $4.99 a piece (a great deal)
  • image
  • The Discovery Nature Series $8.99 a piece have a number of topics, the books include 48 pages of incredible pictures and age-appropriate content.


  • There are a bunch of princess/fairy books, as well as truck, tractor and dinosaur books for your young preschoolers.

If you are looking for something specific, just ask, I'm sure I can point you in a direction.

Enjoy looking around, and if you decide to make a purchase, thanks for helping me out.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

(Week 7): Adventures Week 3 - Jamestown

Button 2 This week we focused on Jamestown and the Life of Pocahontas.

IMG_0021As usual, we read lots of books this week, including:

Treyton had lots of fun learning about Native Americans, he had lots of questions about what their life was like, what they ate, how they lived, etc. I’m excited that next week we will be learning about Native Americans.

While I think Treyton did good this week and got the main points of the story, this week was a little tougher on him than the last three. There were more people (and names) to remember: John Smith, Pocahontas, Powhatan and John Rolfe; and that was a little tough for him. By the end of the week he did come up with Pocahontas’ name once, which is a big deal.

We happened to have a harvest of carrots this week, which led us to a discussion about the people of Jamestown and the Native Americans and how they had to grow their own food to live.


Treyton did both a narration and illustration this week. Here’s what he said: “Men came to North America they made a town with a wall. They called it Jamestown. Pocahontas was an Indian she liked to play. She was nice to the white men.”


We are both really getting the hang of MFW Adventures. It’s a lot of reading, which we enjoy, and I feel like we are both connecting with what we are learning about.

Treyton asks lots of questions, and our conversations, even when we’re not doing school often wind back to what we are learning about.

Next week we are learning about Native American’s which I am really excited about, I’ve got lots of extras planned, and have even borrowed some genuine artifacts from my sister-in-laws boyfriend, who is Potawatomi. Very exciting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Christopher Columbus Lapjournal

Even though we’ve technically moved on from week 2 in Adventures, it seems as though we can’t actually move on.

After completing the week, we visited the Columbus Nina and Pinta replicas, and I ended up picking up a Christopher Columbus activity book with lots of fun activities in it. We learned so much in the past two days that we decided to make some lap journal pages, even though we’re not doing “school” this week.

I was a lot more hands on in the actual putting together of these pages because it’s an off week, and because we had so much to put in our pages. IMG_0012

However, excluding some of the writing and coloring, Treyton insisted on doing most of it himself, which of course I was okay with.   IMG_0016

Our cover pages were a dot-to-dot, of Christopher Columbus and a few pictures of our field trip.


Coat of Arms: In the Christopher Columbus activity book that I picked up, it had a page of the Coat of Arms that Columbus received from the king and queen when he returned to Spain. Each of the quadrants represented something: the castle and lion represented Spain, the islands, because Columbus discovered Islands, and anchors because of his ship skills.

They offered a blank coat of arms for Treyton to use to design his own coat of arms. He chose to put on a cross, the American flag, a man with a shield (to show that he was brave), a bat and ball, and math numbers (two things that he is good at).

Ships: I also included a couple of flip books on the ships:

  • Which ship was Christopher Columbus’ favorite?
  • Which ship sank?
  • Which ship saw land first?
  • Which ship was Columbus on?

On the second page, I attached the poem ‘In 1492’ as well as Treyton’s narration after visiting the ships.

IMG_0017Next we attached a map of the World during Christopher Columbus’ day (obviously missing the Americas).

IMG_0018Included in the activity book was a dot-to-dot of Columbus’ first Voyage, I thought this was a creative assignment, and was a little upset I didn’t think of it myself ;)

IMG_0021 Here’s his narration from before, we just attached them to the lap-journaling pages.


And just in case you think our school is all pretty, clean and organized, here’s a small glimpse of reality.



Original MFW Adventures Week 2 – Christopher Columbus Post.

Christopher Columbus Field Trip

Monday, August 15, 2011

Homeschool Encouragement


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Christopher Columbus: Field Trip

At church this morning my friend Amanda told me about how her family was going to be going to see the Christopher Columbus ship replicas this week. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but knew I wanted to bring the kids (they were docked about an hour north of us).

The Nina and Pinta replicas travel up the east coast through the great lakes and then down the Mississippi River, docking at different ports.

I am sooo glad that we got to see them!!


The Nina replica was an exact size replica, however the Pinta was 15 feet longer than the original and a little wider as well.

IMG_0002We went aboard the Pinta first. Even in it’s larger size I was shocked by how small these boats were. I pictured so much bigger.

There were about 30 men aboard when Columbus sailed in 1492. IMG_0003The men would sleep above deck (with no bedding), as below deck was too full of animals, food and supplies. Being in the open sea, it was almost constantly wet from the ocean spray and mist coming aboard.

IMG_0005Christopher Columbus originally Captained (is that a word) the Santa Maria, but after it ran aground and sunk on Christmas Eve 1492, he went aboard the Nina and Captained that one.

IMG_0007 The Nina was the smallest of the three ships, and Christopher Columbus’ favorite.


In 1500s the ships were not built to make long trips across the ocean (because the people thought the world was flat), they mostly did port to port trips to trade food and supplies. They often would not last very long due to the wear and tear on the ships. Christopher Columbus discovered that pine tar would protect the wood, helping them to weather longer.


They had some pine tar there for us to smell, potent stuff. The men aboard the ships soon discovered that the pine tar was water-resistant so they would rub it on the skin and hair to protect themselves from the salt-water.  IMG_0012Spending that long on the ocean, and being constantly exposed to the elements (including the constant spray of salt-water) with no way to clean their skin, they would often get open soars which could result in infection and sickness. IMG_0015 The boat is also lined with rocks along the stern (we think that’s what we heard, though we don’t really remember) which helps keep the ship balanced. The crew lady actually said that the ship would never capsize because of them. (Though I don’t know if I believe that, they said the Titanic couldn’t sink, and we all know what happened there – I’m just saying it’s the Ocean, anything can happen.)

IMG_0016Another interesting thing we learned was that neither Christopher Columbus nor any of the men on his ship could swim. Most of them were actually deathly afraid of the water. IMG_0018 The upper deck (the part above the Captains quarters) was called the “poop deck”, but not for the reasons you might think. Christopher Columbus was a very religious man, and always said that his voyages were his mission from God. The shipmates all carried small statues with them to pray to and/or for good luck. These statues were called “Poopas” and they would tie them along the rail of the deck.

On the way home Treyton asked “I thought Columbus was a Christian, why did they have idols if he was a Christian?” I thought that was a very insightful question. IMG_0019

This was an amazingly well-timed field trip. God is so awesome.

Treyton was actually excited to go and after we left he said that he really liked it. The trip inspired him him to try to learn the names of the ships which was so exciting to see.