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Monday, May 31, 2010

Handbook of Nature Study - bird book links

ooh!  I just have to share what I found for Nature Study of birds! 

a few of our favorite nature study books

The following are books mentioned as additional resources in the Handbook of Nature Study that I found available online... unless otherwise mentioned these are intended as resources for the parent/teacher's use to better herself as wellspring of interesting information for her always curious children.

I plan to continue to scour around for more as the study/discussion on the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock continues through the summer.  Yay for free books!

PS.  Sorry I am SUCH a weirdo.  I thought this was a scheduled post for yesterday and all along it was just a draft... :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Champion hen-catcher

Re:Year 0 HNS Discussion Birds (ppgs. 26-35); Introduction & Lessons 1,2,3

I'm in agreement with the rest who've mentioned that this lesson isn't meant to be worked out in its entirety for children who are very young (she even mentions that in some places, as well as in the bibliography certain resources are recommended only for the adults). It is GREAT for us moms to have prepared ourselves so that in casual conversation with our littles we can give them just the pieces of information that we think will spark ideas in their little minds. The hope being that those little tidbits will ignite a whole train of grand ideas and thoughts... we never know what all goes on in those little heads!!

My answers didn't differ enough from everyone else's to merit a repeat here.  Let it suffice to say that learning about bird life has caught my attention as I've been following the birds outside for sometime now since finding a nest with eggs...

Another thing that is interesting to me is how God has designed the whole camouflage aspect and how differently dressed birds have different habits, like the fancy oriole that she mentions. wow!
I already knew most of this, but it was fun to hear her take on that particular bird.

The birds we have here in Peru are DIVERSE. Peru is known to have the largest diversity of birds anywhere in the world... suffice it to say I have lots of favorites ;) but my special backyard visitors are probably most loved. As for beautiful, tanagers, McCaws, King Vulture, all the varieties of mealy parrots... then there are the UGLY birds... toucan (seriously misproportioned!), turkeys, Groove-billed Anis...

I love this discussion!  I'm very excited to play along.


PS. We just had a blast tonight as the chickens got out of their coop and my 5yo was the champion and caught both hens. If you've never had chickens perhaps you wouldn't understand how VERY challenging this is!! ;)

PPS.  I think I mentioned on list that I posted the bibliography links... it's scheduled for tomorrow!!  so please come back again!!  ;)  You'll be glad you did!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nature Study... discussion!

“A love of Nature, implanted so early that it will seem to them hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health, and good humour.”
Charlotte Mason; Home Education, vol.1, 71.

Over the summer on the yahoo group for AO year 0*, we're going to be discussing Nature Study... especially focusing on Anna Botsford Comstock's, Handbook of Nature Study!  I'm excited because nature study is one of my FAVORITE things in life!

Click here to join the group!

We're even starting out with birds... what could be better?!  We are studying birds right now!  Don't tell my kids that though, I don't even think they know it!  :)  We do the directed study of nature VERY loosely.  I like to teach them without them knowing it... it's fun!

All this discussion is for us mommies who need help!  Some of the recent discussion includes, "What is a pin feather and where can I find one?"  "Why are the female birds so drab and the males so important and flashy?"  "How to identify the different kinds of feathers?"  This is my favorite post today.  And here's a link someone posted on soaring that will be really neat information for me since we have TONS of vultures around here...

Read this just posted this last week... Nature Study: An Integration of Disciplines by Deborah and HollyAnne Dobbins, on the ChildlightUSA Weblog: Supporting a Charlotte Mason Education Worldwide

*Ambleside Online year 0 is for kids before they are officially of-age to start an official AO year.  CM suggests that in the first six years that the child should be free to explore, imagine and observe the world... even apart from formal schooling there is so much to learn! 

. . . the chief function of the child--his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life--is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge got in this way; and that, therefore, the endeavour of his parents should be to put him in the way of making acquaintance freely with Nature and natural objects.
Charlotte Mason (Volume 1, Home Education, pg. 96)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peruvian boys spin tops

As I mentioned in last weeks' Snapshot Summary, all Peruvians under 20 who've grown up in this part of the jungle know how to play tops [trompos]... When in Peru do as the Peruvians do, right?!

I'm made of wood, a nail and string... I fly spinning through the air... if I miss I might get hit with a machete...

(of course.)

Definition of terms:
Trompo: Top
Pita: String
Clavo: Nail
Jonla: Circle
Pepa: Aguaje pit (the size of a smallish egg)
Mepiada: twirl hit
Mepa: whack, punishment for losing...
(meted out with the point of the top, a knife or a machete)
Piojoso: cheater  (I know a person who's trompo is falling apart because he's a cheater, he's only gotten caught like 5 times ever)

"Trompos is something you do when you're bored.  And since the kids don't play marbles as much anymore (like as much as they did last month...heheh. ;), we play trompos."  - Cullen.

Here's the wiki on trompos (in English)... of course it's not the exactly the same as you will see here,
but the Spanish wiki is WAY better... if only you could all read it ;)

The boys on the street rank themselves by trompo skill:

"Gino is the champion of everybody.
Big Victor is the champion of me and Teddy.
Little Victor and Joel are the champions of Josiah.
Siah is the champion of Diego.
Diego is the champion of nobody."

Here's a game in process... 
1) pits are planted we're winding up... 2) Cullen gets the first strike.  3) Teddy rewinds his top after having given his first strike.


3 different games:

1) Golf - You tie the trompo onto the end of the string and you swing the thing toward an aguaje pit trying to hit it into the circle.  You have like 10 tries to hit it...  If you don't get it into the circle within ten hits, your opponent gets to whack your top 10 times (with the point of your top, a knife or a machete).  If you get it in within 10, for example in 7 hits, you get to hit your opponent the remainder...3 times.  So no matter what your top gets hit... that's why it's not a very popular game. :)

2) Spinning [Trompeada] - You make a circle about 2 meters in diameter (the length of your 'pita' or string).  Put an aguaje pit for every person playing (it's worth 5 hits against you).  You wind up your trompo and try to hit any of the pits out, if you don't hit any out it's not very much good luck.  If you hit your own pepa out it removes all whacks against you and you can keep throwing trying to hit everyone else's trompo. If you hit someone else's pit out of the circle you get to hit them with 10 whacks. If you cheat you get 50 whacks!  Like if you kick or push out your pit.  If your trompo stays within the circle after it's done spinning, your opponent get to whack you ten times...

[okay... if anyone wants to know the specifics we'll have to really work this out, because it's REALLY complicated! ]


3) Twirling - the same as above except you swing it (tied like in golf) instead of throwing.  There are all kinds of twirl moves like machine gun, helicopter, meteorite, etc.

Trompo Nitty Gritty:

"The cost of the trompo depends on the size.  A big one with a 2 meter string is S./2, a smaller one with a 1.5 meter string is S./1.*  There is another one called a punto acha (I've only seen one of those in my whole life) with like a 3 meter string that costs S./10.  It's HUGE!  The trompo is like 4 inches high with a 5 inch peg...  The nail is always longer when you buy it, but it wears down.  I gave my old one to Siah because the nail is worn way down."

"The wider the trompo is, the longer it spins."

"I like to wear the nail down as soon as I get it so that I can spin it on my hand.  Otherwise it would make a hole."

"Some tops are not made well.  Like this one, it's junk!  The top part where the string wraps around can't be too slippery or too narrow or the string will slip off."

"I've only had one trompo be split into quarters from a whacking, and that was when I wasn't as good.  That was when I was playing spinning, and because they used a screwdriver."

Incredible video of a Colombian professional trompo player.
When watching this video Cullen exclaimed, "Who is that?!  I wanna get that guy's autograph!

* 2.80 nuevo soles / $1.00

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

sketch tuesday: desserts

So, here we go again!  Another Sketch Tuesday!!  

Stay tuned because we're working on a Peruvian culture post that we'll post later this week!

Here's a clue... I'm made of wood, a nail and string... I fly spinning through the air... if I miss I might get hit with a machete...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

MEP organization... in pictures

Our math organization in pictures... :)

We use MEP.  We like MEP.  That is, those of us that like math like MEP...
and thankfully, most of us around here like math.

MEP is available to homeschoolers, and we can access all the MEP lessons, teacher's books, overhead masters, manipulatives (number cards and lines) online for FREE.  However, in order to use the curriculum, it must needs be printed.  In this post, I'm going to show you how I did that.  And how we keep our math things in order.  :)   If you would like to have a feel for how we do math, you can hop over to this post at Jeanne's ohpeacefulday!  we do very much the same thing.

[If you don't use MEP, this post will be very boring.  You have permission to skip to the end.
your welcome.]

On the computer...

1) First of all I have a folder on my computer named MEP (very intuitive, yes?)
2) Inside that folder are more folders... Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, etc.  (yes, I downloaded them all at once)  Some of the files used to be password protected, but the password was accessible by e-mail. 
3) Inside those folders are folders titled... Practice book, Lesson Plans, Copymasters, and Spanish (MEP has years 1-3 in Spanish!  woohoo!)
4) In each of those folders are the pdf files that correspond for that year's math.

This way I can find what I want very quickly (even offline) when I have to print off the next section.

Getting ready for Year One...

1) I print off the Practice book first.  This is the book that the student actually looks at for her lesson.  For year one I print the pages full size* and put them in a binder.  For my boys in year four I actually print them as half sheets of paper to save paper and ink (more on how to do that in a moment).  There are 175 pages if you print off the whole thing at once.  Double sided that would be almost 90 sheets of paper.  I only print one pdf file section at a time, 15 double sided pages.

(note the pages from the files are size A4... 
that means you should check the 
option when printing that says fit to printable 
area or adjust the page/paper 
size settings if you print to normal letter size paper - 8.5x11)

2) Next I print off the Lesson Plans.  These ones I do print in booklet style to save paper and ink.  [How to print booklet option: After I click the print button, in my printer settings I look for the option that says Page Handling or Page Layout (or something similar to that) and I choose booklet printing (not to be confused with multiple pages per sheet which will print the pages side by side not like a booklet).
(258 pages divided by 4 per sheet = 65 pages)

I make sure that the page size is set to A4 and the paper size to whatever paper I'm printing to.  My printer handles the rest.  I can fold them in half and have a little book... but I cut mine down the center and have it spiral bound like this: 

You'll notice it's crooked... yeah, my printer was having issues. VERY troublesome.

3) I print off the Copy Masters that correspond with the lessons I'm teaching.  You could print ALL of these off at the same time or in sections like I do the Lesson Plans.  It is nice because they have divided the lessons up in the same way for Practice Book, Lesson Plans and Copy Masters.  I print them off booklet style again but I don't spiral bind these I leave them loose leaf and tuck them inside the Lesson plan book to hold the place.  I don't use them all... but they have been SUPER helpful and it is worth it to have them handy... (150 pages divided by 4 per sheet = about 37 pages)

4) Lastly,  there are the posters.  You will need Posters 1-10 during the first half of the year one book.  I was printing them off as I came to them which was rather disruptive to the lesson.  It is easier to have them printed off ahead of time and stored in plastic sheet protectors like this: 

Of course, there are a lot of MEP users who just pull them up on the computer screen and look at them.  That might work for you too.  I prefer to have them printed.

5) Here are our math things.  I collect crayola marker caps from the markers that have dried up, poker chips, little stuff that we can use as counters like pop lids, bottle caps, etc.  I also have a handful of dice and some peanut butter jar lids for sorting.  I printed off the MEP number & shape cards and keep those in one of those snack size zip locs...  All of this goes in the little orange basket that we pull out each day at math time.  Also seen above kept in a sheet protector are the number lines.  I keep one copy in the notebook and I give one to Bria to keep in her notebook.  We use the number line quite often.

For a comprehensive discussion on the compatibility of MEP and CM read Jeanne's post here.
Jeanne has another post that blows this one out of the water for an intro to MEP.  It's pretty long and has EVERYTHING you'll ever want to know... I'm just showing the different steps for getting organized that I've used which pretty much line up exactly with what she's already noted.

Here's the link to the yahoo group for MEP homeschool users

HAH!  My friend Phyllis just gave me an award!  She's so nice.  Don'tcha think?  Well, I'm posting it here... I'm kinda unsure about the whole award thing.  Not that I am ungrateful.  I am not.  Well, you can read more about all that HERE.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday: Geography & Bible

image courtesy of lusi

Last week, I wrote about what we use and LOVE for our geography studies: Ann Voskamp's, A Child's Geography: Explore The Holy Land.  Today, we started a new chapter Isreal: The Land of Milk and Honey.  I'm VERY excited!  About 2 years ago, my BIL and SIL went to live in Israel for 9 months.  I was SO jealous.  I wanted very badly to go and tour Israel while my sweet sister Sarah was there.  My in-laws went to visit them in our stead.  :)  Anyway, I asked her to send us some Israeli paraphenalia... and she DID!  a potato chip bag, some food labels, tourist maps and such.  My MIL found some really cool laminated placemats with cool info about Israel.  I'm thrilled to be finally able to use them for more than just protecting the table!!

Of course they're in Trujillo.  Shoot.

I'll definitely have to have them sent to us!

Here's another thing we do to complement our geography studies on Wednesdays...

First thing every morning we read something for 'Bible'... we've done all sorts of things ranging from reading straight through the Bible itself, The Child's Story Bible, to Randy Alcorn's Heaven for Kids.  But currently we are re-reading Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings. Oh, it's good.  It might be my favorite resource for teaching the Bible. 

Anyway, in the morning after Bible time on Wednesdays we haphazardly select a country from Window on the World: When We Pray God Works**, we read it, get out the globe and then pause to let it all soak in a minute.  We finish as each of us pray for some aspect of God's work among the people of that country.  It has been amazing how it has not only opened our kids eyes to other peoples of the world, but how to pray for and love them.  It's awesome.  My kids ask for it every week!!

Books we've used for Bible:

Free resource on Turkey from Voice of the Martyrs:  HERE.
You'll have to sign up for their newsletter... but why not be up-to-date on what's happening around the world with the persecuted church... it would be totally worth it!!

**[Window on the World is a nicely bound book that features 85 different people groups.  The full color glossy pages are captivating for the littles and the magazine-type layout holds the attention of the older group.  It is easy to read and very informative.  Each chapter includes a little information on culture, history and the country's religious climate as of 2001.]

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

sketch tuesday: airports

My kids are really getting into this... I love it, because it is easy art... no cajoling, no bribery, just kids who want to see their art hung up next to someone else's.  They spend time making something they can be proud of, I scan it and send it off.  It's as simple that.  Hooray for Barb, creator of Sketch Tuesdays!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Artist Study: Monet {part three}

Here's what we're doing today...  

The hands-on part of artist study got put off until Saturday. again.  :)  Maybe it's becoming a habit?!  Well, it's okay.  Saturday school is fine as long as you don't know it's school.  Oh and just so you know, I make no promises about doing this much artist study for every artist!  ;)  I really like Monet...

We're going to notice how Monet captured light through his beautiful portrayal of shadows and reflections.  Then we're going to try and imitate it.  Lots o' fun!  Just wait 'til you see our masterpieces!

We're looking at the following groups of prints for shadow:
Notice how the shadows are not just black or grey but different shades of color...

Shading lessons by a homeschooler!
Lesson 1 and Lesson 2

Then we're looking at these three pieces to study how Monet did  reflection:
We'll also talk about what happens to the reflection when the water is moving.

An reflective activity on Monet's use of reflection: Reflections in Water

Helpful Links:
Our Artist Study Pages
Monet {part one}
Monet {part two}

Inspiration from: All Things Beautiful

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday: Geography

"Mom, this book makes me love Turkey!  I just LOVE it!  I mean I'm sure there are probably some bad things about it that the book doesn't say, but..."
{voice trails off as the reading takes him in...}

This is what we are using for Geography in y5 because, well... we love Ann.  and it's excellent.  and of course all the kids can participate... so we are taking a voyage full of imagery and new and exciting discoveries in the middle east. 

Everybody finds a cushion to take a ride on the magic flying carpet through Turkey.  After the lesson, each little starting with the youngest records his/her finds on the 'tape recorder' and then charts the discoveries on their very own hand loved map.  Here are some of our recordings:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nature Study: Jungle animals

Yesterday we decided to take our friend away to live with his associates.  Where he can have a normal life where his troublemaking is not so vexatious... where his relations can identify with his tendency to demonstrate immodesty... where he will be happier... where he can be a monkey!

Here are some other things we saw at the animal refuge... 
can you identify who these things belong to?

Here the monkeys from my womb are saying goodbye...

Do they all look like they've lost a best friend?! this picture was a second try.
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