Sunday, April 19, 2009

Our Bird Study


I have been gathering info for this post so it has taken me a little longer to get to it. I mentioned awhile back on a friends blog about a bird coloring book that I printed (a freebie from online) that spurred us on into a whole bird study. My friend Ginny asked for me to post about that bird coloring book (sorry it took so long). It is interesting how homeschooling works sometimes, one thing leads to another and all of the sudden, you find yourself knee deep into a unit study. That is how it turned out for us in our bird study.

During our transition into our new home here, a lot of our school books were packed up and unreachable so we had to improvise on our curriculum. I found a free bird coloring book online (HERE) and thought I would print it and use it for science. I took my printed copy to the print store to make another copy and had it spiral bound for safe keeping.

Each day the girls look up the bird online (HERE) and learn about that particular bird. We look at different pictures, listen to the call/song, notice it's field markings, that kind of stuff. At first, we were doing 2 birds a day, but we weren't retaining much info on each bird. We also save an image of the bird as our desktop background to help reinforce identifying it. This is teaching the girls how to do their own research, how to use google (don't worry, I am right there), and other computer skills.

We have a great yard for bird watching. A few large trees and our home backs up to a big wooded area. It seems to be a wonderful habitat for lots of birds. We wanted to make sure we were well prepared for bird watching right here at home. We always have a our new "kid friendly" field guide, binoculars and log sitting on the window sill waiting to be used.
We are keeping a log of the different birds that we are able to identify in our own yard. Just this morning we saw a tufted titmouse on the deck (HERE). If we hadn't been learning about birds, we would not have been able to identify it so quickly and accurately.

We have also gone on bird watching hikes in the yard and surrounding woods. That was a great outing (just out the back door). The girls loved gathering their supplies for the hike and we spent a beautiful spring afternoon soaking up God's creation.

We work as a team to identify a bird while we are watching. One is observing and describing and the other one is looking it up in the field guide.I love this kind of hands on learning. It is amazing how much info that the kids can learn when we aren't busy doing workbooks for school. Soon I will post all about our owl pellet dissection.

9 comments:

Tiffany said...

That sounds like a great unit study. I may completely copy you and do the same thing with Grace and Joe. Hannah and I did a great bird study and lapbook two years ago. I'm actually trying to decide what to do with Grace and Joe after we finish our Night Creatures study and this sounds great. We have TONS of birds in our yard. Just today we watched a woodpecker. Thanks for sharing.

K-Sue said...

What a great study! You are so right about one thing leading to another, and finding yourself knee-deep in a unit study. Isn't it fun to not have to worry, as our local teachers do, that FCATs are coming and each child must obtain and retain this certain body of info, and they cannot wait a few months til testing is done - IT MUST BE DONE NOW! Thank you for sharing this, and these links. I know we will do a bird study eventually.

DebiH. said...

I just downloaded the book, it is very comprehensive! I don't know when I will fit it in but it looks too good to pass up!

Ginny said...

Thank you so much for posting this!!! I have never done a unit study with Seth, although he sort of does his own unit studies, we just call them his "special interests" which is an asperger's thing. I will be getting this printed and bound this week, and I think that Seth will love it! Thanks again :)

Permission to Mother said...

I want to enroll myself in your school. You are a fun teacher.

Susan said...

Chad (4th grade) is SO into bird watching lately and wants to identify them by their call, etc. Just right for that age. We often get our bird book out when looking at the birds in our little yard.

Susan said...

Those grandkids must take after their Papa, huh?

Randi Sue said...

We are studying birds right now, too. Thanks!

Tickled Pink Talk said...

This sounds great! I don't homeschool my boys, but my youngest LOVES birds. We have the same bird book you do :) We see many birds out our kitchen window. I am printing the book as I type. Chase is going to love it. We have a card game called Professor Noggin's Birds of North America and I bet your girls would love it. Especially since they are experts now :)
Gabi