Thursday, April 9, 2009

Homeschool For the Birds

A couple months ago, Donny found Backyard Bird Watching for Kids on our bookshelf and wanted me to read it with him. He was fascinated by the information and continued to choose it for his pre-nap book every day, reading one chapter at a time, until we finally completed it. Now that spring is here, I wanted to use this interest to introduce a unit study of backyard birds. Read on for my list of bird-related activities that the children and I will be doing together this month.

- Genesis 1 - God created the birds of the air
- Genesis 8 - Noah sent out a raven and a dove
- 1 Kings 17 - God used ravens to provide food for Elijah
- Psalm 8 - praise of God, who put man in charge of the birds
- Psalm 50:11 - God knows every bird
- Matthew 6:26 - God provides for us just like he takes care of the birds

Books (a few of them, anyway):
- Backyard Bird Watching for Kids: How to Attract, Feed, and Provide Homes for Birds nonfiction by George Harrison
- Birds by Kevin Henkes
- The Happy Egg by Ruth Krauss
- Today at the Bluebird Cafe: A Branchful of Birds poetry by Deborah Ruddell
- Birdsongs: A Backwards Counting Book by Betsy Franco
- What Makes a Bird a Bird? by May Garelick
- Everything Bird: What Kids Really Want to Know about Birds
nonfiction by Cherie Winner

- practice writing letter B
- practice pronouncing and spelling "bird"
- talk to friends and relatives about the types of birds at their birdfeeders
- learn songs or poems about birds
- Donny and I are also working our way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Arts and crafts:
- create a milk jug bird feeder and hang in backyard
-build a bird house (probably a pretend one out of cardboard)
- make birds' nests treats with chow mein noodles, chocolate, and Peeps
- take pictures of backyard birds
- make a bird beak pop-up card

- read about characteristics of birds
- identify birds we see and observe their behavior
- listen to recordings of bird sounds (we found at a book/CD set called Know Your Bird Sounds at the library)

- interpret a chart of birds' favorite foods (in the Backyard Bird Watching for Kids book)
- count birds at the bird feeder
- create a chart to record birds we see

Other Possible Activities:
- watch Reading Rainbow: Birds of a Feather DVD from the library
- visit a local zoo or bird sanctuary to observe a variety of birds

Although we had the joy of watching a robin family outside of our apartment window last summer, it is even more fun to have our own yard so that we can hang a birdfeeder and see who comes to visit. The boys and I have already learned to identify some of the birds in our area, and we are discovering birds we never noticed before right outside our door. I am excited to continue our study of these friendly feathered creatures!

I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are mine.

Psalm 50:11

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