Thursday, July 17, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #1 - yep #1

After reading Barb's email a few days ago about going back and working the first few Outdoor Hour Challenges before 'jumping in' - I realized that was something we did not do. Since we've been working on the new flower gardens and :) my DH has been working on my bird feeder 'station' I thought we'd start back a bit.

We were on the way home from gymnastics and tae kwon do classes yesterday afternoon and I mentioned to the children that with all of the outdoor time we'd had as a family in the past couple of weeks - we hadn't taken time to work on our nature notebooks(journals). I asked each of them to tell me (narrate) their favorite nature 'memory' from the past couple of days. They AMAZED me -I am always surprised by the knowledge these little ones hold in and after giving all glory to God for creating such amazing children - I just have yet another confirmation of the educational road we are travelling. The time spent out of doors and the Charlotte Mason style education we've been using has always surpassed my expectations and constantly wipes out my doubts and fears. With Barb's Outdoor Hour Challenges planned out for us - it is just one more step to making things easier and giving us more time to be out of doors together versus sitting inside while I create these nature excursions on my own.

"Be anxious about nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6, 7

As I pray on these things - the Lord undoubtedly answers my prayers. First - with Barb's recent emails of old posts about not becoming overwhelmed and then my discussion in the car with my DC.
As I asked them to narrate their favorite experiences to me - they all had something different that had appealed to them.

Chance (my 6 yo DS) - described his close encounter with our friendly, little Black & White Warbler. This little bird is quite brave in his interactions with us. He appears to be just as interested in us as we are in him.

Chance described (orally) the black & white warbler in surprising detail. I asked him questions about where he saw him and what he was doing and I was quite delighted at the accuracy of his answers.

He then went on to tell him he also LOVED seeing one of the male robins that frequent our feeders.
Tenderly named "Mr. & Mrs. Robin" by dear mom :) these joyful birds visit us daily with such an accurate schedule!! We can ALWAYS anticipate them as SOON as the heat wave breaks in the evening. They begin with a cooling bath/drink in our bird bath and then some hopping all around the feeders' overflowed and spilled seed on the ground. He again described the Robins in detail and went on to tell me about the differences between the male and females. He then couldn't WAIT to sketch both of the birds out for me.

Here are two OLD entries he made in his nature journal from May when we first began studying the Robins...

HNS - We've been studying Robins since the spring when we found the robin's nest in our front tree. They are a common visitor and we've reviewed most of the HNS information on them but it was nice to work on p 62- series g -Summer reading and observations - this was a nice lead in to the summer observations. I LOVE how Ms. Comstock did this section with the robins as we can follow them thier entire season here.
Warblers were not in the HNS but I did manage to find some information on them in All the Birds of North America page 133-

Mniotilta varia 5 1/4" - Numerous in deciduous and mixed woods. Migrates early when trees bare; gleans insects from tree trunks, large limbs. Striped head and body. Male has black cheek patch, female gray. Spring male has black throat. Song: Weesy, weesy, weesy, high-pitched song.

Alyssa chose to tell me about a bird she saw. Unfortunately - I missed the bird so I can only go by her description. She is one of my 5 year old twins and probably
has the least descriptive narrations of the three but she was rather excited
about her bird and rambled on about it
She described it as black and white on its head, wings, and back and a yellow breast. She is looking through the All of the Birds of North America book now to try to identify him. This is one I have NOT seen myself outside. :) It is difficult to find anything in the HNS since I'm not quite sure which type of bird she observed. We'll spend some more time together outside trying to look for this bird and pray we observe him again together so I may help her in identifying him.

Briana chose to narrate to me about a butterfly she found and caught. She described a small, yellow butterfly to us that she managed to catch in her bug jar. She then caught a moth and looked at both of them very closely before letting them both go. She found the both of them on the children's marigold flowers.

We have not yet studied butterflies or moths so it brought a new interest into our nature study. She seems very interested in learning more about them.

Here you will find one of the children's marigolds that she found her butterfly on.

I looked up the butterflies in the HNS and did not identify her butterfly to be any located in the book. We pulled out our Usborne Spotter's Guides - Butterflies. We discussed the butterflies' proboscis and its importance.

Amazingly enough- later on in the day - my son and I were outside sitting and we looked at the marigolds to see four of these butterflies on the flowers. As we sat there - we were able to observe the butterflies' 'unroll' thier proboscis and begin probing into the marigold flowers with them. I've known what a proboscis was since I was a child but never really took the time or had the opportunity to sit and watch it in 'action'! It was quite the delight of the afternoon. I am posting some pictures below.

Here's another that really shows his proboscis

Now we need to try to identify these guys! :) It looks like we've got a lot to work on!! :)

1 comment:

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

So many good things to comment on in this blog entry but first...I think your butterfly is some sort of skipper. We have those too and what is unusual about them is that they don't fold their wings all the way up. You might check on that.

Your children did such a great time narrating back their nature finds. It really brings home to me that nature study can be on so many different levels. You can just observe as you go about life, sometimes you make the observations happen like when you went out to observe more in the marigolds, you can discuss, you can research, you can orally narrate or you can put something on paper. You pick as families how deep to go.

Thanks for going back and completing this challenge, I really enjoyed reading about it. :)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom