Yesterday the 2 older kids and I went to a bird and beaks class. We drove about 45 minutes away to a camping lodge where a woman name Jan Wells holds classes for homeschoolers once a month.
The kids and I had so much fun! We got there in the morning and didn't leave til the late afternoon.
First let me tell you about Jan Wells. Her company is called Within these Pages, she is from New Zealand and was a elementary school teacher with 26 years of experience. Now if you are like me and hear that, we can be skeptical. The education system stinks but she was trained in New Zealand where the literacy rate was the best in the world. She was so nice and I can tell she absolutely loves what she does now!! This was our first time meeting her and her excitement was infectious. The kids were not bored at all! She prides herself on being very Charlotte Mason based with some Jan mixed in.
The kids sat through a slide show q&a about birds their beaks and were not bored! Did I say that already, heehee. I was intrigued as well. We learned that when you look at its beak you can take a good guess of what they eat. But just looking at one thing is not all there is. Field markings are important too, does it have a brown or black crown? Bars of color on it's wings? We also learned why their feet look the way they do. After a packed lunch we went out on our field study and observed the birds. The kids did some math too! They had to take a tally of the birds that were preening, swimming, climbing, perching, flying building a nest or running. There were birds everywhere so they had no problems finding them. We stopped at different points on our field trip. We noticed in which areas birds were in the air mostly, or at bird feeders or constantly working on their nest. In the process of our search my daughter found a old nest she was able to add to her treasure bag.
Jan made sure they the kids were writing and drawing in their nature books that she had them make before we went out.
On top of some great field work they were able to see butterflies, tadpoles and many other little critters. I will tell you about the tadpoles tomorrow.
There were spots that they stopped at with beautiful sitting areas and they sat quietly and observed. The moms also sat quietly and appreciated the silence and listened to the songs and chirping of the Sparrows, Robins, Mockingbirds, Cat birds, Cow birds and many others.
When observation was over we headed back and put their tallies on a larger paper and made a bar graph. They reviewed what they learned and got some follow up activities to do this week. We are to select a species, listen to its sounds, observe weather, get some bird seed and weigh it in the morning put it out and at the end of the day weigh it again to see the average consumption, sketch the birds at the feeder and head to the library.
It was such a fun day! The kids learned so much about birds and cant wait to head back for another class next month!