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!

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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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