Sunday, December 29, 2013

Scheduling Zoology I - Flying Creatures

Exploring Creation with Zoology I: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day

$39 at Barnes & Noble (click here).
Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, by Jeannie Fulbright (Apologia Science, Young Explorers Series) is written for use with children grades K-6. It covers all the flying creatures: birds, insects, flying reptiles (pterosaurs), and bats.

The course includes several components:
  • The textbook (required)
  • The notebooking journal (highly recommended)
  • Lab kit (optional)
  • Daily lesson plans (optional)
  • Lapbook CD-ROM (optional)
  • Lapbook package CD-ROM (optional)
This page provides links to articles and resources to help you implement this textbook at home or in the classroom.

This post was submitted to the 2/11/13 Blog Carnival!

How We Came to Use Flying Creatures

We began using “Flying Creatures” when our youngest son was a second grader. We wanted a science text that went beyond nature study and observation to some other science process skills, and we fell in love with the rigor, balance and Christian foundation of the “Exploring Creation” books.

We purchased the textbook and notebooking journal. As the notebooking journal includes a lesson scheduler, I did not purchase the daily lesson plans. I also did not purchase the lab kit, as this course uses primarily items that you can find in your kitchen.

Donna Young's Homeschool Resources and Printables has Table of Contents Planners for every book in the Apologia Science series, including Flying Creatures. For information on how to use these planners to help you schedule and make lesson plans for this book, see "What is a TOC Planner?" I started out using the TOC Planners, but found that the schedule included on pages 8-10 of the Notebooking Journal were sufficient for us. So, if you purchase the Notebooking Journal, you may not need another planner for this course.

See my "Flying Creatures" Pinterest board for more resources

Planning for Use of Flying Creatures, by Lesson Number

Below is the Table of Contents for this course, with links to information on each lesson, and links to the way we implemented each lesson in our homeschool day. I will also continue to add links to our nature studies, as the topics lend themselves to nature study. Check back often, as I update the links.

This organization is helpful if you start and stop within a given textbook (as we often do), or have to suspend a course for a period of time, for some reason.

Lesson 1: What is Zoology?
Lesson 2: What Makes a Bird a Bird?
Lesson 3: Birds of a Feather
Lesson 4: Flying Factuals
Lesson 5: Nesting
Lesson 6: Matching and Hatching
Lesson 7: Bats
Lesson 8: Flying Reptiles
Lesson 9: A First Look at Insects
Lesson 10: Insect Life Cycles and Life Styles
Lesson 11: Social Insects
Lesson 12: Beetles, Flies, and True Bugs
Lesson 13: Interesting Insects
Lesson 14: Order Lepidoptera 

More With Flying Creatures: Planning, by Month

The Notebooking Journal splits each Lesson over four sessions (2 per week), with the first session of each week mostly the hands-on portions and the second session being journaling activities. Our son loves the experiments and explorations, but the prospect of a whole day of journaling was daunting to him as a 2nd grader. We also enjoy more extended and frequent nature study, using the Outdoor Hour Challenges and other activities – we wanted more time for that, and less time per day spent inside working on notebooks. When we counted the actual number of tasks for the course, there were enough activities to do one per day, and allow more time for outdoor study – a solution that worked better for us. 

Here is a look at this way of scheduling Zoology I, which may be helpful for those of you who want to connect it to monthly nature studies.

Click on the links, above, to see related materials and nature studies for each lesson or month. See also my Pinterest Board, “Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day,” where I post links to helpful resources for use with this course.

Some "Flying Creatures" That Are NOT in This Textbook



Online Resources to Use with Flying Creatures

We have found these two websites to be extraordinarily helpful when studying our feeder birds and doing independent studies on birds:

"All About Birds" - from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. A vast resource full of videos, photos, drawings and audio clips to help with bird studies and ID in the field.

"What Bird" - from the Mitch Waite Group. An amazing online field guide that actually uses audio recordings from the "O Lab" (Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology). A bit more ad-laden that "All About Birds," but we like to tab both of them and go back and forth between the two.

Contact Us!

Let us know if there are other resources that would be helpful for you, as you study with Flying Creatures, and we'll be glad to link them up here. Just drop a line in the comment box, and I'll get right back to you!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Planning and Even MORE Poetry Resources!
Festus the Fish. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013

 "Be Ye Also Ready..."

We have a little betta (or Siamese fighting fish) that my youngest son named Festus. We don't know why. Festus used to live on my son's bookcase but we suspect his little fishy needs got neglected, amid soccer practice, LEGOs and other little boy activities. So I moved his bowl to the center of our dining room table, which might seem like an odd place, but he likes being the center of the action, and we kind of like him, too.

Bettas are labyrinth fish, which means they can breathe air directly, as well as taking in oxygen through their gills. This enables them to live in nearly dried up mud puddles in their native Southeast Asia, awaiting rains that will enable them to, once again, swim freely. It's always good to have a Plan B!

When rain does arrive, it triggers a series of "hurry up before the weather changes" kind of activities in the males. The males begin to blow bubbles in clumps of weeds, which they use to attract eligible bachelorettes, who then lay their eggs in these floating bubble nests. {We see this whenever I change the water in Festus's bowl, because he will spend the next few days happily blowing zillions of bubbles, preparing for the mate he hopes will come.}

It also causes the males to become even more colorful, and to fight intruders, which they do with an impressive display of gill flap flaring and fin raising. Our dinner forks have seen many a battle with Festus as the opponent. He's made a home for his family, and he will go down swinging to defend it!

Winter Plans/2013-14

In the winter, I feel a little bit like Festus must right now.  I am a summer girl, and winter makes me very restless (save this week, when our Connecticut weather soared into the mid-60's and I busted out the flip flops -- yes! -- and my cropped pants once again...).

Thankfully, I like to write, so I make plans and list for the coming months. Here is my "to-do" list for this winter, for this week's "List It Tuesday." How does it compare to yours?

List It Tuesday

1. Make a Seed List for 2014

I miss gardening dearly, so I make plans and seed lists (I subscribe to the Vegetable Garden Planner at Mother Earth News). My goal this year is to use all heirlooms, add companion plants (this worked so well last year), have my salad gardens in the yard, and my other crops in the five community plot beds I use (I wasn't good about getting to my lettuces and peas when they were not right there in front of me).

Other plots include...

  • Tomatoes and tomatillos (with borage, cilantro and parsley)...
  • Black popcorn and fava beans...
  • Chili peppers with sunflowers and nasturtiums...
  • Potatoes, fingerlings, and sweet potatoes, with parsnips, marigolds and alyssum...
  • Carrots/parsnips/peas sharing a plot with okra/eggplants...

2. Painting the Kitchen

I have countless household project lists. This winter, I decided to make monthly "to-do" lists, so that I could budget for purchases and schedule time for bigger things. Right now, I'm preparing to repaint my kitchen in THESE colors...
New Kitchen Colors (via Chip It!)

3. Blogging, Once a Week (or More)

THIS has been successful this month! I have given up on being a slave to a complicated blogging schedule, since I have many other things besides blogging to do! It was stressing me, and taking me away from my family. No bueno.

This month, I have been blogging about preparing  poetry workbooks for next year. I finished the last poetry workbook for next year, which I also saved in an e-book form to share with other teachers, parents and homeschool friends. The third poet for Ambleside Year 6 is Alfred Noyes (the author of the famous poem, "The Highwayman").
"Poetry of Alfred Noyes," (c) Kim M. Bennett. FREE.
 The e-book is 32 pages long, and I will use it in conjunction with Barbara McCoy's poetry analysis pages (they are intended for high school students, but language arts is my youngest son's strength, so will use them for his sixth grade studies, modifying them as needed).  I plan to bind ALL three poetry e-books into one workbook, supplemented with Celtic design pages copywork pages from the Notebooking Treasury (see the banner ad at the bottom of this post for more information on this great resource).

When I get ready to bind it all, I'll share the specifics of how I made this workbook (if you're like me, you need to know the steps!).

In case you missed the previous posts, here are the links to all three poetry e-books:

4. Set Aside One Day for Business

When you own your own business, you can find yourself working every day, all day. So I set aside one day (at least an evening) for business work, whether it's writing, grading assignments, sorting email or doing invoices. That way, what needs to get done, gets done, but doesn't encroach on other areas of life. Like sleep.

This winter, I have been working on writing a policy handbook for one of my clients. It's fun work, it's writing (which I love) and it fits well with my family schedule. From my mouth to God's ear -- this is the kind of work I'd like all the time.

5. Likewise, One Evening for School Work

I try hard not to take teaching work home with me. But we are encouraged NOT to email during instructional hours, so I allow myself one evening a week to do more than an "I'll check into that" email. AND to sort them. Because I hate a full inbox.

6. Take an Old Testament Survey Course

I've recommitted to my Bible course studies, and spent this morning charting out a course of study for myself -- Old Testament Survey this year -- and a schedule that (with God's help and my own dedication) I WILL commit to. As the first step toward completing my Old Testament Survey in 2014, I am taking an Old Testament overview this winter, through Christian Courses. I need to put this as a priority.

7. Homeschool Plans for 2014-15

I'm also beginning the planning of next year's homeschool, partly because we'll be changing up our arrangement next year, and because our son will be entering sixth grade -- which seems like a "big boy" grade to me. We are all excited about the many changes for our family for next year -- we'll keep you posted as they unfold!

As my son is entering 6th grade next year, I wanted more of his work to be independent, so that I could devote the "teacher time" to harder subjects or projects, where he will need more support. Hence, the development of workbooks to help guide him through the studies. This month, in addition to the poetry workbooks, I am developing a history workbook to accompany The Story of the World, Volume 4 (using activities from the corresponding activity book, and other things), and a geography workbook based on The Life of David Livingstone. Stay tuned for more on those in future blog posts.

And More on Thinking Summer Thoughts in Winter...

More wonderful ideas that keep me going until spring...

Monday, December 16, 2013

More Homeschool Poetry Resources

Snow, snow and more snow! (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013

A Winter Wonderland

Since we last chatted, we've had about a foot of snow, temperatures down to the teens and up to almost 40 degrees, one vehicle stuck precisely two times, one backyard clean-up day, one early dismissal (and a possible closure tomorrow), and a dead battery on a thermostat. But the snowblower started on the very first pull!

This has been a great week to get in a lot of work preparing workbooks for our youngest son to use next year.


Next Up... Carl Sandburg

Ambleside Year 6 includes a study of Carl Sandburg -- one of my favorite poets. As with the Robert Frost pieces (see, "... On a Snowy Evening"), I compiled a number of recommended poems of Carl Sandburg into e-book format.

Click the link to download a FREE copy of this 32-page e-book.

You can print the pages double sided or single-sided, with lined copywork paper on the reverse -- it's up to how you will use them. I will print them double-sided, and include pages from Harmony Art Mom's poetry analysis materials (see, "Poetry for High-Schoolers" for links to the pages, which include excellent response to poetry prompts). If you want some great copywork pages to use with these poems, see the variety of blank copywork pages at the Notebooking Treasury, including these Celtic design pages, with lines for a variety of length of stanzas for copying or dictation work.

More Poetry Planning

We will be studying Alfred Noyes for Term 3 next year. I was familiar with his poem, "The Highwayman," but not much else. Look for the next e-book with a selection of poetry by this English author.

We are also having a GREAT time planning our organic gardens for the coming spring. We hope to make really great use of our mini-greenhouse, and to can a bunch of food for next winter. Stay tuned for more gardening details!

Get 10% off gorilla grow tent when you shop at Valid until January 31, 2014.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

... On a Snowy Evening

A Child's Garden
Winter nature walk find. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013.

Winter Comes...

We had our first winter weather this week, awaking to a coating of snow and ice on cars, pavement, and tree branches on Monday. The day warmed up, after many delayed openings, and you could almost forget that winter is upon us.

So, just to keep us remembering that we DO live in New England, even more snow came on Tuesday, closing most schools and sending the rest home early. The kids can't wait for their first real snow day. This flip-flop girl can!

But the wintry weather makes for a great time to drink hot tea, wrap in a blanket, blog and think about school lessons and other cozy topics.

homeschool blog carnival
Click here for more information

Homeschool Planning for 2014-15

I am an overplanner. It just makes me feel good to have something well thought-out, even if I end up doing something different. So I am systematically going through each subject area of next year's curriculum and preparing materials now, while we're staying comfy inside, instead of in the summer and fall, when I'd prefer to be at the beach or in the garden. Because my little one is heading into 6th grade next year, I want to make as much of his studies self-directed as I can, leaving direct instruction time for the more complex tasks which require an adult (discussions, chemistry experiments, music lessons, for example).

Next year, we will combine materials from Ambleside Online and The Well-Trained Mind (I love the history texts from Ambleside, but also love the wee bit of structure of TWTM. This month, I am preparing the poetry materials for part of our literature studies.

My son likes to read poetry -- it's great for teaching rich language, and visual imagery, among so many other things. I wanted to create materials that could be as self-directed as possible, leaving me time to assist more with the things that really need a teacher, such as chemistry or writer's craft. So I compiled the poems suggested for this term into a workbook, of sorts, allowing space to illustrate each poem or take notes. You can print the pages out double-sided, or print them single-sided, and photocopy simple lined stationery on the reverse, if you'd like.

Ideas for how to use the poetry pages (from our own homeschool practice):
  • Read & illustrate (the simplest response)
  • Highlight a vocabulary word (e.g., shimmering) - use only pencil to illustrate the meaning of this word
  • Highlight a hard word (e.g., clandestine) - create a concept web of the word 
  • Circle specific details (words & phrases) - categorize them by part of speech
  • Circle words with your focus phonics or spelling pattern...
... anything you  can think of or whatever goes with your current spelling, grammar or writing focus.

The first set is a collection of poems by Robert Frost. I will print them out double-sided, and add in a 12-page set of notebooking pages on Robert Frost, from the Notebooking Treasury's Famous Poets Collection. I am currently waiting (with excitement!) for my ProClick Binder, which will allow me to bind my poems and other materials into oaktag and clear plastic covers to make soft-covered workbooks. The next sets will include the poets Carl Sandburg and Alfred Noyes.

For a great deal on the Notebooking Treasury, see the coupon, below -- we have been using the Treasury for most of our notebooking needs for the past five years -- the pages are wonderful. Do check it out.

A Child's Garden
(c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013. Click link for a free download. 54 pages.

Holiday Preparations

My dear friend, Lisa Kowalyshyn, from Kindred Crossings Farm LLC, raises grass-fed sheep and cattle, and produces (among many other things) organically-produced wool. My eldest son has been spending the last several weeks helping her button up the farm for the winter, spreading an incredible amount of manure over the fields and the vegetable garden. He loves it, and she appreciates the extra set of hands for the winter farm work.

The collaborative she belongs to uses the wool to create beautiful wool blankets and scarves that are perfect for holiday gift-giving. There is a new blanket design each year. The scarves come in a variety of gorgeous colors. I told her I wanted to share her photos and a link to her blog here -- please like Kindred Crossings Farm LLC on Facebook, too! {While my blog contains affiliate links, there are none for this listing -- it's totally a love thing!}. If you live in the Connecticut/Rhode Island/Massachusetts area, it's worth finding Lisa's products at the local farmer's markets, where she also sells her fresh, organically-produced lamb, beef and pork products.
Beautiful wool scarves, $15-$25 each,  from Kindred Crossings Farm, LLC. Order now for delivery by Christmas!

Next up...

Stay tuned for more homeschool materials sharing, and a sneak peak at our gardening plans (yes, the catalogs are already out! -- I miss summer...).