Saturday, July 29, 2017

5th Grade Homeschool Reading List

This year for 5th grade literature, I am focusing mostly on fiction, primarily because we already use living books for history and science, and the boys often choose non-fiction for their independent reading.
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I am aiming for an overall average of one book per month, with full flexility to adjust as necessary.  I also have a separate short list of higher-level, but age appropriate living picture books to "fill in the gaps" if necessary.  So anyway, these are some of the books I have in mind for this year, though this is definitely a rough draft.  I'm always open to changing the order or removing/replacing books as we go along.  {Most of these choices are from Beyond Five in a Row or Ambleside Online, plus a couple I chose because we own them.}

I'll continue to require narrations, but I'll also try to do something different with each book as paper "assessment" for portfolios.  I have one study guide scheduled, and that'll probably be the only one.  The rest of the assignments will be variations of a written narration -- I want to change it up a little (probably using pages from for each book so he doesn't always feel like he's doing the same thing, but I still want to try to keep it fairly Charlotte Mason friendly.

August - September:  Charlotte's Web by  E.B. White
To be honest, this wasn't on my list until we had the opportunity to review a study guide for this book for 4th-6th graders from Progeny Press.  We don't even normally do study guides, but I want him to be comfortable with them and the types of information generally present in them, so I figured a lighter read with a familiar story would be a good way to practice and start the year.  (I'm giving this one more time because of the study guide and because we have a trip planned during this time.)

October:  Homer Price by Robert McCloskey and Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
Homer Price is one of his choices.  I will focus on some of the language arts elements and the Writing questions from Beyond Five in a Row for this book.  At this point, I'll offer Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price for free reading, or let him save it for later.  These are also "lighter" free reads for Years 4-6 on Ambleside Online.

Rip Van Winkle is mentioned in Homer Price and there is a related lesson in the Beyond Guide. Since Homer Price is only six chapters, I thought this would help fill out the month.  We may also end the month of Oct. with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Both of these short stories are AO Y4 literature selections.

November:  The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty
I bought this book to go with our Early American History last year, but didn't get to it.  I think it'll be good for him to go more in-depth and refresh his memory.  So unless we find something else to go in this month, it seems fitting, and gives him at least one non-fiction book.  This is used in AO Y3 and Beautiful Feet Books Intermediate (4th-6th) Early American History.

December:  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
I remember reading this book in school!  I just have a feeling he will enjoy it.  It's a fairly short book, which works well for the month of December since we're usually busy with extra activities and holiday preparations.  This is one of the few I chose simply because we have it and it seemed to fit his personality, but I do think it's listed on AO's holiday page as well.

January:  The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I just happened to see this book at the store, and grabbed it on a whim.  After reading a little more about it, I think he will appreciate it.  It's probably one of the longest books on this list, so I put it in January.  January is always a slower month after the holidays and before co-op starts back up, so we'll have more "home" days.

February:  The Cricket in Times Square by Garth Williams
This is another Beyond Five in a Row book.  I don't have the manual yet, but intend to get it before then and work through some of the language arts/writing assignments.  He usually likes books like this (Stuart Little) so it seemed like a good choice.  This is also another AO "light" free read for Years 4-6.

March:  Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
This is a short read, but I think that's appropriate sometimes.  I thought it would be interesting to read close to the Iditarod.  (Since it is so short, we'll either fill in with some of those quality picture books, or move on to our April book.)

April:  Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The seems like another relatively easy read, and will give us a "beloved pet" story.  It also has a movie, so we can do a movie night and later do a compare-contrast for part our assessment.  This is one of the only other ones I chose that's not on a curriculum list I use for reference.

May:  The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
Another Beyond Five in a Row book!  Again, I plan to utilize some of the language arts and writing assignments to fill out his language arts.  I think this is also an AO free read.

This doesn't include the family read-alouds I do with all the kids, and the evening readings with just the boys, so he will be getting more poetry and literature that is not listed here.  I haven't decided if this list is too ambitious for a "meh" reader, but we'll take it one month at a time and see how it goes!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Crafty Classroom: USA Activity Bundle (review)

I have mentioned before that although we carry a lighter load during the summer months, we do not refrain from all educational or schoolish activities.  Learning is a lifelong adventure, and we don't stop just because it's hot outside.  During the summer months, I love to look for learning materials that are fun and light, but can be used to go more in-depth as desired.  This summer we were offered the opportunity to review a USA Activity Bundle from The Crafty Classroom, and it's a great tool for many different types of studies, and can certainly be used all year!

The USA Activity Bundle is a actually a combination of three smaller packs, each of which could be used individually, but can also be combined for a fun geography study.

U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook
This pack includes an activity page for each state.  The activity page includes a US map to mark the state, and a state map to mark the capitol, landmarks, major rivers, or whatever you would want your children to include.  Obviously older children could include more details.  There is also a picture of the state flag, bird and flower to color.  There are small text boxes to label the state's abbreviation, nickname, number of admittance, and to label the flower and bird.  There are also blank lines to write interesting facts or other notes the learner finds pertinent.  You'll need to provide your own atlas or resource for finding the information.  Older students could certainly do a supervised internet search.

At the end of the State by State file are two games:  USA Bingo and Roll Across America.  These are great to use with any geography study for multiple ages, and are a unique resource for children motivated by games.  They would easily help build visual recognition of states.  I suggest printing on card stock and laminating for durability.

U.S.A. State Bird Art Cards

This fun set includes 27 different birds that have been officially named state birds.  Each page includes multiple options.  A full-color bird fact card for children to fill in, a card to color, and a small bird and the name for memory/matching.  These are realistic birds, not cartoonish, which I really appreciate.  All of the states which use the specific bird are listed in a lighter font under the bird's name.  You'll need to find a field guide or other resource to fill in any facts.

These can be used alongside a geography study, but are also useful in other ways.  My younger song loves birds, and has spent the last several months pouring over field guides, reading bird books, listening to me read about birds, identifying birds with me outside, and so on and so forth.  This is another great addition to his bird journal where he is slowly drawing various birds as he learns about them, and the different cards means he can put whichever size fit best.  Sometimes he draws two birds to a page, so the smaller picture fits in nicely.

U.S.A. 50 State Mazes
This is exactly what it sounds like -- an outline of each state is filled with a maze!  This is just a fun tool for state studies, but is a great way to help with identifying the shape of states.  I think recognizing a state by its shape is just as helpful as seeing it "in place" on a map for overall recognition.  This has a K-3 age recommendation, but my boys are 3rd and 5th, and they are great for their ages.

My Thoughts
Combined, these three resources can be used to introduce a state or as a gentle state study for primary students.  Older students will want to go more in-depth, but this is a great starting point, or would make a great review.  This is definitely a "worksheet" based curriculum, but it's fairly casual and easy to implement, because there are no schedules or lesson plans.  In other words, this is not a set curriculum, but rather it is a flexible resource for you to use in whatever way works best for your family!

In addition to the USA Activity Bundle, crew members are reviewing Preschool and Kindergarten level alphabet and reading programs, as well as a K-2 paragraph writing program.  Be sure to check out their thoughts!

Crafty Classroom

Crafty Classroom {Reviews}
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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Family Studies Part 1: History, Geography and Science

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that my children can learn many of the same topics together.  Of course they each have their own individual skill based subjects--math, spelling, grammar, the like.  However, there's something special about that one room schoolhouse feel that can be provided with a living education.  Many subjects are less dependent on age and sequential skills and can be enjoyed together, giving us more to discuss and share with each other!  That means, our history, science, geography, literature and more are all done through living resources, and we do them together!

Curriculum Choices - History, Geography and Science
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I think this is our lineup for the year.  I have honestly changed my mind a few times over the last several weeks and bounced back and forth a little on this decision, but I think I've figured out loosely what I want to "do" this year!  These are the subjects that my 5th and 3rd graders will be doing together . . . though I'll be adapting as necessary to make them all more Charlotte Mason friendly. {For the record, I would call us eclectic with a CM influence.}

A History of Science - Beautiful Feet Books
When I first saw this course, I knew I wanted to try it.  It just looked delectable!  When we started Early American History last year, I found myself on the website looking at it, and Elliott said "I want to do that one!"  The boys love science.  Their favorite book from history last year was the Benjamin Franklin biography.  I'm really excited for this course.  I just had to wait until Emory was old enough for it.  It is written for 3rd-7th grade, with a suggested pace of 3 lessons/week for middle schoolers, but a slower pace for younger students.  We're going to loop it with the geography, so it might take us longer than a year and I'm okay with that.  It's a pretty heavy course and I'd rather go slow and enjoy it, then feel we have to cram it all in by some arbitrary deadline.  We will get a lot of history through the biographical approach, while still studying the scientific principles of many scientists.  It appears to cover a wide variety of topics, giving us a general overview year (or more) for science.  History and science, all rolled into pretty living books?  Yes, please!

A History of Science from Beautiful Feet Books

Geography through Literature - Beautiful Feet Books
I've been wanting to try this one for awhile too!  We already own a couple of the Holling C. Holling books and they are great, but I haven't been able to use them to their full potential.  I think the boys will love the mapping, so I ordered them both a set of maps.  This is a robust course if completely fleshed out, and could easily be expanded into a history/science/geography literature study if you wanted.  It very much reminds me of Five in a Row, in that sense.

Geography through Literature from Beautiful Feet Books

Five in a Row - Mixed Volumes 
We will continue to intersperse FIAR as desired.  These books are just lovely for all ages!  It makes me a little sad when I hear parents say their child is too old for picture books.  Surely we are never too old to appreciate a well-written and beautifully illustrated book!  I'll probably also use some of the other books that we aren't specifically rowing for the basis of some of our literature/language arts as well, especially Beyond for Elliott.

Five in a Row and Beyond Five in a Row

World History

We are using A History of Science for science, but because it uses the biographical approach and includes so much history, I don't want to overload the kids at this age with another full history curriculum.  I feel like the better option is to start with some "overview" living books and see where that takes us.  I bought this book, A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich, to use as a spine. I found good reviews and felt like it was the best choice for our needs. If we find specific interest in a topic, I have plenty of resources (Great Empires, ARTistic Pursuits, various reference books, etc) to expand, and of course we'll add living books and documentaries.

Elliott will also be keeping a Book of Centuries for all subjects, and this will help with the cohesiveness of study.

Nature Study
I reviewed this awhile back for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (I need to get my review posted on the blog!) but I've been inconsistent with using it. It has weekly nature study ideas, discussion starters, and journaling ideas.  Just a few of the extras include book suggestions, a poem, an art print to look up, and several craft, journaling or observational extension activities.  Although nature study is an all-ages endeavor, and this curriculum is adaptable for all ages, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this for someone who wanted a "curriculum" for Pre-K or Kindergarten.  I have not been the most consistent with nature study, but I'm adamant to buckle down on all of the enrichment subjects that make a Charlotte Mason education so rich.

Small Adventures Journal by Keiko Brodeur
I bought both boys one of these journals, because we do a lot of impromptu nature study through our outdoor time, but as I said, I struggle with intentional studies.  The journals have some interesting prompts to help us get started, but I think the boys can do it fairly independently without much guidance from me, so this is something they can do on their own if they wish. Since some of the activities will need to be recorded in a separate book, they'll use these in conjunction with their regular nature journals.

I have more to share - more literature, fine arts and other enrichment studies, as well as the boys' 3rd and 5th grade curriculum choices, but I have already written about Eleanor's Pre-K Plans.

Pre-K Plans

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Trust Fund {Movie review}

I don't often do movie reviews, but I was intrigued when I learned that the movie Trust Fund has ties to the homeschool community.  The producer and cinematographer, Issac Alongi of Mapelle Films, was a homeschooled student in the early 1980s, before homeschooling was even legal in many states.  Now, as a modern homeschool parent enjoying the benefits of homeschooling pioneers, I was happy to watch this movie by a homeschool graduate and share with my readers!

Trust Fund Movie

Trust Fund is a contemporary Prodigal Daughter story.  Reese is a young, aspiring writer with a free spirit.  She could have a job working for her family's publishing company, which you might think would be the dream opportunity for someone who wants to be a writer.  Yet, that isn't the life she dreams of for herself.  Her older sister Audrey, however, is a Type A personality.  She dutifully works for their father, assumes the role of responsible sibling, and doesn't understand her sister's carefree ways.

When Reese finds out that her father has been keeping a secret, one that is life changing for both herself and even her sister, she impulsively takes things into her own hands in order to live the life she thinks she's missing.  While she is chasing love and dreams in Italy, Audrey is bewildered by her father's behavior and attitude towards Reese's decisions.

It doesn't take long for Reese to return home with heartache and regret.  As the story continues to unfold, we see older sister Audrey struggling with anger towards her sister, Reese struggling to understand and forgive herself, and a father trying to help them understand each other through his own forgiving love.  The Prodigal Son is a Biblical parable often mirrored in literature and media, so the story line is fairly predictable, but there were still a few plot surprises here and there.  In the end though, we see a father's compassion and forgiveness teach his children about unconditional love.  Just like God's love.

The movie is rated PG for mild thematic elements and smoking.  While Reese is off living her life, she witnesses some illegal actions, and it is assumed that she is living with a man, but there are no indecent scenes.  There is no foul language, wardrobes are modest and there aren't any innuendos or other objectionable content.  It's not something that would interest my elementary boys, but I would let them watch it.  It's clean, family-friendly entertainment.  I'd say teens and adults, and likely some pre-teens, are the audience to enjoy the movie the most.

In addition to the movie, crew members had the option to receive the book Love Was Near, written by Sandra Martin, that is intended to be read afterwards.  It is targeted at girls ages 12+ and shows kind of a "behind the scenes" look at Reese and her thoughts about this chapter in her life.  You can also find a downloadable study guide to use in small groups.

About Mapelle Films
Trust Fund is the creative fruits of husband and wife team Issac Alongi and Sandra Martin.  Issac Alongi is a cinematographer and producer.  He has over 20 years of experience in feature films, television, documentaries and more.  He has worked with major networks like National Geographic, ABC, and the History Channel.  His work on a series of historical films won him two Emmys.  Sandra Martin is a writer, director and producer, and has authored three books.  Her experience spans film production, film edition, post-production and marketing.

Mapelle Films

Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pre-K Plans 2017

I can't believe my little girl will be in Pre-K (Year 0) this year!  Eleanor is four years old and a bit more precocious than my big kids.  She will still be 4 when the year starts, so my only intention with her is to continue to expose her to good books, encourage a love of learning, and let her develop her skills as her interests and developmental needs dictate.  She is the child that asks, begs, pleads and demands to do school like her big brothers.  We do need some structure, so I'm carving out a spot in the mornings to fill her love tank and her imagination through gentle learning opportunities.

Additionally, I have Eloise, who will turn 3 about halfway through the year.  My hope is that she will want to join in and get her little love tank full first thing too.  If not, that is okay too, and we will adjust as we go, but she is always welcome to participate.  

Before Five in a Row
This will be our primary "curriculum" for the year. It covers quality literature, but also gives us the opportunity to explore early literacy, introductory science, math concepts, art, and more. It's such a gentle and lovely introduction to the world, and although she has done a row here and there, my plan is to (hopefully) row them all this year. If not, I'll just roll some over into her K year. I am fully aware that Before is not meant to be "rowed" in the same sense as FIAR, but we just do what works for us, one book at a time. We actually still have 16 books we haven't done yet, and she probably doesn't remember the earliest rows, so we're basically starting fresh!

I have been slowly collecting the books, and now own all except two out of print books, and I hope to grab those last two by the end of the year.  I am hoping to go through them all, so I'm kind of starting over, but doing the few easiest ones early on--Yellow Ball, My Blue Boat, Goodnight Moon all come to mind--since Eloise will probably want to sit with us, but can still have a short attention span for books sometimes.  Then we'll do others based on seasons and interests.  There are a few that are lengthier, and I'll probably save those for the end of the year to give Eloise time to mature and be able to sit through them.

The Real Mother Goose Coloring Book
Eleanor loves to color, so when I saw this coloring book, I just knew it would be a fun go-along for my favorite nursery rhyme book.  There are 30 coloring pages, so an average of one page a week will last us all year!

(I think we'll do this with the fairy tale coloring book for Kindergarten!)

Art Appreciation
I have had these I Spy . . . Art books for years, and they're great for this age.  One or two pages a week is great for beginning art appreciation and attention to detail.  There are several in this series, and we've picked up some from the library before too.

I know you can see several little workbooks in the first picture, so let me explain.  This child loves them.  I'm not going to lie.  I keep them available because I simply cannot give her all the "school" that she wants some days.  Developmentally appropriate workbooks are not parent-intensive and often satiate her desire for more.  I actually keep a variety of them available, more than what's in the picture, so that she has different "subjects" to allow her to explore different things as she's interested.  I listed these last though, because they're completely unnecessary, but are an easy go-to in a pinch.  

Finally . . . 
We do a lot of family style subjects during meals and snacks, and she's often present for their poetry, art, Bible, literature and more, just absorbing everything like a little sponge.  (I'll be sharing more specifics on these subjects later.)  She will return to Cubbies, continue in her Preschool Sunday School class, go to co-op (Before Five in a Row and Gym), and she's interested in taking dance.  So there are lots of opportunities for her to learn and grow outside of the home too.

All of these resources are just that - only resources.  They are meant to be used in an informal, exploratory way.  She has access to these learning aids with my guidance, but first and foremost, we want her to have tons of free time to play, explore, imagine and create on her own terms!  

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wonders of the World {Homeschool Review Crew}

When summer rolls around we typically take time off from a full traditional school schedule, but as a believer in lifelong learning and reducing "summer loss," we always carry a light summer load.  A little math review, some literature and a fun project or two usually carry us through the summer.  This year, one of our fun projects came from Home School in the Woods.  They generously offered crew members the opportunity to review a multitude of their products from different history lines, and my boys chose Wonders of the World.

Wonders of the World is part of the Lap-Paks series, which also includes:

  • U.S. Elections
  • 20th Century in America
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Knights
Hands-On History Lap-Pak: Wonders of the WorldWonders of the World includes 23 projects to explore Ancient Wonders, Medieval Wonders, Modern Wonders and Natural Wonders.  They concede that the list is subjective and other sources may include wonders that they did not include, but they tried to choose their final list based on interest factor and reputable sources.  They list several books and a few websites for further research and reading, if you choose.

How Does it Work?
My first thought was "This is complicated."  It's available as a CD or digital download, and we received the download.  Once downloaded, there were file extractions and tons of files.  However, once I started reading, it started to quickly come together and wasn't actually complicated at all.  I tend to buy physical copies though, so people who are used to downloading their curriculum are probably more familiar with this process.  There was still a lot of back and forth to print the appropriate files for each project on the appropriate type of paper (you need colored and white copy paper, as well as colored and white card stock), so I highly recommend either printing it all ahead of time, or at the very least, a week or two at time.  I can't be doing this "in the moment" because it's time consuming.  The Project Directions do give clear instructions for what to print and how to complete the project, but I would have also liked one consolidated Master Print List that said "print these pages on white paper, then print these pages on colored paper, etc" so that I could make that back-and-forth work the way my mind and printer work.  All the pages are labeled with the project name though, so it would still be easy to sort once printed.

Once I had assembled a few projects worth of printed material (x2) we got to work.  There is a Timeline to assemble, and a booklet for all of the factual information.  I usually read the information out loud while they work on the projects.  There's also an audio version, which we used occasionally, and might be particularly useful for students working independently if they need help with pronunciations.  The "work" is very interactive--there is usually some sort of coloring, cutting, pasting/taping, sometimes writing, so occasionally I'll help with assembly, but it's pretty straightforward.  Each finished project is interactive - pockets to hold Wonders, flaps to lift, and more.  It gives the student a reason to go back and look at the project and information again!

 My 7 year old's Ancient Wonders project.  
I don't quite remember what his doodles represented.  

The Lap-Pak is intended for grades 3-8, and my boys are 7 and 10 years old.  I found the textual information to be attainable and interesting for both of them.  I loved that the text always distinguished between facts and traditional stories that have been passed down, and gave different possibilities when historians are unclear on the history or purpose of something.  I also appreciated that the text was substantial, without being too long.  It was just enough information to satisfy introductory interest, but still presented all the information in a narrative way, not as a boring list of facts, and frequently the boys were encouraged to seek more information.

One other thing we did to bring the Wonders to life was to look up images online (or theoretical renditions) and look up the Wonder on Google Earth, and the kids loved this additional visual aspect. However, the artwork for the projects and the time is beautiful and realistic on its own.

Timeline figures

Although these mini projects are designed to be part of a larger Lap-Pak, they will work just as well affixed to card stock which is hole punched and put into a notebook.  That was what my boys requested to do, because we're counting this as part of our history studies for the upcoming year, and we're going to put each project in with the appropriate history timeframe in our notebooks.  It'll be great review when these Wonders are mentioned again in historical context.

Final Thoughts
Our history curriculum is primarily literature based, and includes no additional activities.  These projects give them something to do to break up the monotony of read--narrate.  I believe it would also supplement a geography program well.  I also have Great Empires, and now that both boys are older and will get something new out of it, I plan to incorporate it again this year, along with a few of the Wonders of the World projects, into our World History course.  If your children are visual and hands-on learners, there is likely something for you!  This is a very diverse curriculum, and can be used to introduce, review or supplement any core history program.  For many families, especially with students on the younger end of the recommended range, these studies could be the basis for a full unit, especially if you use the additional suggested books and videos to enrich the material.

More From Home School in the Woods
Home School in the Woods offers many visual and hands-on history lines for students to enjoy.
Other products that are being reviewed by crew members include products from the Time Traveler's American History Studies and Activity-Paks line, as well as the Timeline Trio.  Since the crew is reviewing such a diverse set of materials, I highly suggest you check out their reviews and Home School in the Woods to see the variety of hands-on projects they offer.  Wonders of the World is mostly paper-based, but many of their products include instructions for games, recipes and other hands-on activities.

Homeschool in the Woods also offers a new A La Carte option, if you're wanting to try them out, or just do a project or two from their different studies to go along with another curriculum.  They are hoping to add more projects in the future, but in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal, you can currently download this project for FREE with the code alacarte.

Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
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©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Learning about Birds, Simply Charlotte Mason

My second child loves the outdoors.  Plants, bugs, animals, rocks . . . he's a little scientist in the making.  He says he wants to be a zoologist when he grows up.  Recently, he couldn't get enough of our bird guide, so I asked  if he'd like to do a bird study.  I was met with an overwhelming YES!

This post contains affiliate links.

I quickly went to Simply Charlotte Mason and ordered the digital version of Learning About Birds with Thornton Burgess.

Resources Needed 
The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess
Blacky the Crow by Thornton Burgess
Local bird guide
Sketchbook or Coloring Book
Emory chose a sketchbook because he likes drawing the birds from the field guide.
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock is optional
All About Birds (my addition)
Various living books about birds  (my addition)

For the field guide, we have two different kinds.  The Folding Pocket Guide has birds in groupings--Perching Birds, Waterbirds & Seashore Birds, Birds of Prey, and Doves, Woodpeckers, etc.  This makes it easy for quick reference.

The Birds of . . . Field Guide series goes more in-depth, with more information and larger pictures of each bird.  We like this book for the coursework, because it usually answers any questions he has after the reading.

We also use the All About Birds website, because it's a great place to look at photographs and listen to bird calls.  (There's an app too.  I take my phone with us outside for quick reference too.)

This is a very simple program to implement.  It's laid out with weekly lesson plans, which divide up the readings into a reasonable amount each week.  Accompanying each reading are instructions for narration and the sketchbook or coloring book, but he loves drawing the birds.

There are a few other activities that can be done throughout the course, especially for older students, but we're not currently doing most of those.  We do spend some time trying to identify birds while we're outside though.

No other books are specifically recommended to use along with the course, but since we have a few living books related to birds, I do read them along with the study when we get to to the appropriate place, and he's read some during his silent reading by choice.

Overall, the guide is nice, especially if you're new to CM methods.  It helps with scheduling, simple ideas for enhancing a living book (without turning it into a full blown unit study) and includes exam questions.  It is well put together.  I don't think we could use this as our primary science curriculum for an entire year, because we just need a tad more variety.  However!  It is an excellent resource to use as nature lore or to enhance nature study, or in our chase - as an "extra" for the nature loving kid in your life!

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