Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tweet and See: April 2011

We've created QUITE a bird sanctuary here! Driving down our dirt road lined with evergreens, you can often see SWARMS of birds flying around our house.  And their different sounds fill the air and mix with the Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs that are out now.

We had TONS of Dark-eyed Juncos, both male and female, visiting our feeders this month. Our trees, lawn and driveway would be scattered with them! 
Dark-eyed Junco - Photo Credit
A pair of mallards, swimming in from our flooded backyard from next door, visiting almost daily to eat seed and corn fallen to the ground from the squirrels and birds. We found it interesting that one would crane it's neck, watching, while the other ate, and then they would switch.

We were VERY excited to see female Red-winged Blackbirds flying around and eating from the feeders. And there are BABIES! The fledglings are just a little bigger than the Juncos, with striped heads and brown-and-white bodies.
Female Red-winged Blackbird - Photo Credit NJM 2010
Male Red-winged Blackbird - Photo Credit Jim Fenton
We're now up to 5 Mourning Doves. Oftentimes we can see them roosting on the branches of our crab apple or cherry trees near the feeders, fluffed in the chill. I believe there are 4 females and 1 male.
Mourning Dove - Photo Credit
We've been hearing woodpeckers, but haven't seen any to identify. 

We had 2 male purple finches visit the feeders at the end of the month. Their bright red color is easy to see in the dark green evergreens.
Male Purple Finch - Photo Credit by
April 2011
Red-winged Blackbird
Northern Cardinal
Mourning Dove
Dark-eyed Junco
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Rusty Blackbird*
Common Eider*+
Pine Siskin* 
American Crow*+ 
Purple Finch*
America Robin
Donald and Daisy Mallard Visiting Our Feeders
Master List
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Black-capped Chickadee 
Common Eider+
American Crow+
Pileated Woodpecker+
Bald Eagle+
Blue Jay
Common Redpoll
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Mourning Dove
American Crow+
Wild Turkey
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Tufted Titmouse
Gray Jay
Canada Goose+
Great Blue Heron+
Herring Gull+
American Goldfinch
American Robin
Ruffed Grouse

*denotes new species this month
+denotes saw in an area NOT in our backyard

What My Child is Reading: Aprl 23-30

J is continuing to read the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. This week he finished up Flag of Exile, Honor Among Enemies and In Enemy Hands. Honor Harrington is a captain of a spaceship who wants to defeat the People Republic of Haven. Great Sci-Fi books for teens to adults!

C was excited to find another Wimpy Kid book at the library to borrow, The Ugly Truth, and DEVOURED it in a day. And then she returned to Indian Summer by Ella Gilman Conger - a historical fiction book about a young Iroquois-white girl living in northern Maine - and The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson. This is a sweet story about a homeless Parisian man who is determined to find a better home for a mother and her children who live under a bridge near the Seine River.

S continues to work on his Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read readers Sam and the Mitt, Ann's Hat and Pop Fox, and Learning Language Arts Through Literature 3 Big Hats.

For Read Aloud books, I borrowed classical and award-winning literature from the library.

What did your child read this week? Share your GREAT books by linking up to What My Child is Reading blog hop! Click on the sidebar button!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up: Days 158-161 And the Countdown Begins!

And the countdown begins! 14 more days of FORMAL learning before SUMMER VACATION! We DO enjoy school (most days), but getting outside and experiencing Maine's best weather months are something we ALWAYS look forward to after a cold, snowy winter followed by a wet, muddy spring.
Our Easter Egg Tree
Over the weekend we celebrated Easter (of course). The Easter Bunny brought JUMBO sand pails and snorkle sets for each child. (They'll be carrying their own things to the beach this season! LOL) We dyed eggs, read books about Easter holy days and Easter egg trees (which inspired the kids to make their own Easter egg tree using our indoor Ficus), and made paper bag bunny puppets. And had a nice BBQ dinner. 
S and C with their Dyed and Decorated Eggs
Mr and Mrs Smiley Face Eggs
Over the week we continued to work on completing our curriculum for the year. It isn't easy! We would rather be outside, exploring wooded trails, riding bikes, climbing playground structures, getting soaked and muddy in the brook - Laundry! ((sighs)) - and reading in the hammock under the trees...Oh, wait! We DO that now! LOL  Fortunately as the kids finish something, they double up on something else and they're getting closer and closer to getting things completed.
J Wearing his Snorkle Set
J's List
  • Literature Study: Animal Farm
  • Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
  • Apologia General Science
  • Jumpstart Typing
C List
  • All About Spelling Level 2
  • Handwriting Without Tears Cursive
  • Daily Grams Grade 3
  • Saxon Math 54
  • Apologia Zoology III
S List
  • Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read
  • Handwriting Without Tears Letters and Numbers for Me
  • Houghton Mifflin Math 1
  • Lakeshore Science File Folder Games Grades 1-2
S Doing Listening Therapy and Playing a Lakeshore Science File Folder Game
Our warmest day of the year thus far arrived on Wednesday - 70 degrees! What a perfect evening for J and A to see a baseball game in the city! And for C, S and I to pick up a pizza and have supper outside! We watched a Rusty Blackbird watch US and the Chickadees and Red-winged Blackbirds fly around with the Spring Peepers doing their "music" in the backyard.

We made a QUICK trip to the island at the end of the week. For my broken tooth. Again. ((sighs)) Never break a tooth!
Yahtzee Competition: J 4 Wins / Mom 2 Wins
Activities this week
Occupational Therapy
Boy Scouts
Portland Seadogs game

I'm linking up to Forever, For Always, No Matter What, Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Tiggerific Tuesday, and Hip Homeschool Hop. Join up (by clicking on the sidebar buttons) and share your week!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Save the Frogs Day!

Our backyard is a vernal pool, sometimes flooded, sometimes dry, but always full of wildlife. Birds, salamanders and LOTS OF FROGS populate the area. Our days are filled with sounds of bird caws and tweets, and our evenings are filled with the peeper's bird-like calls and the Wood frog's croaks. We would miss our evenings filled with frog "music"!  So, pass this along - Save the Frogs Day! Learn about frogs native to your area and help protect their environment!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up: Days 152-157 A Different Kind of Week

Maine's public-schooled kids were on April vacation this week, and although we don't follow public school vacations, it was a different kind of week for us. 
S REALLY Wanted a Bird
C had an eye doctor appointment on Monday and J had one on Thursday. And J needed glasses. He picked out 2 nice pairs and will get them sometime late next week or early the following.
How Did That Happen? Wrapped up in the Hammock!
S had "Astronaut Training" at OT on Tuesday and then we drove to LL Bean for some shopping. We picked out some snazzy new water bottles for our walks in the woods and got J a new mess kit for all the Boy Scout camping he does.
Our Snazzy New Water Bottles
J had a Red Cross Babysitting course at the Rec Center on Tuesday and Thursday. He learned about CPR, first aid and what a responsible babysitter does and doesn't do while caring for kids. I paid for this course in exchange for 30 hours of FREE babysitting! LOL
J Reading in the Hammock
J's friend T stayed overnight Tuesday and Wednesday. (They're the only boys taking the babysitting class.) They stayed up until 11:00pm watching History Channel's America: The Story of Us videos, studied for their course, played basketball and boardgames, and conquered Risk II on the computer.
J, S and J's Friend T playing Survive!
C had basketball day camp Thursday through Friday. She had a blast playing ball, hanging out with new and old friends, but did it tucker her out! She's ALREADY asking about NEXT year!
Foul Shot! (Missed the Focus Though!)
And inbetween classes, therapy, appointments, and camp, we did some learning activities!

    • C completed pages 75-76 in Handwriting Without Tears Cursive, Saxon 54 supplemental practice 76, Daily Grams Days 68-69, AAS Lesson 14 /er/, and Apologia Zoo III Ticks and Mites

      Look! A Crocus Popped up!
       I'm linking up to Forever, For Always, No Matter What, Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Hip Homeschool Hop, and Triggerific Tuesday blog hops. Want to see what other families are up too? Check them out!

        What My Child is Reading: April 17-23

        J finished reading Animal Farm by George Orwell this week for his Literature Study and On Basilisk Station by David Weber, starting book #2 in the series called The Honor of the Queen.
          C is REALLY enjoying the Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney series! When she ran out of those books, she read Indian Summer by Ella Conger. Indian Summer is about a young Iroquis-White girl in growing up in Northern Maine during the 1930s. It's a great historical fiction read! (Yes, I read it too! LOL)
         For mealtime and on-the-road reading:
        S read Ann's Hat, Sam and the Mitt and Pop Fox from Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read, and 3 Big Hats from Learning Language Arts Through Literature: Blue.

         And for Bedtime Reading, I read these books to C and S: 
         What did your kids read this week? Link up to What My Child is Reading to share with other homeschoolers and to get ideas for other GREAT books!

        Saturday, April 16, 2011

        What my Child is Reading: April 10-16

        J continued reading Animal Farm by George Orwell this week for his Literature Study and for pleasure he read On Basilisk Station by David Weber and the historical photo book New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers. (J greatly enjoys historical books!)

        C SO enjoyed our Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne read aloud time that she wanted to reread the book on her own this week and then she started The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

        S is moving right along in his Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read books! He read Ann's Hat and Sam and the Mitt. And continued to work on his Bob Books Dot and Mit and LLATL Blue 3 Big Hats. (I'm having difficulties finding VERY early beginning readers for S, so if you have a suggestion please let me know in comments. Thanks!)

        For mealtime and on-the-road reading:
        And for Bedtime Reading, I read these books to C and S:
         What did your kids read this week? Link up to What My Child is Reading to share with other homeschoolers and to get ideas for other GREAT books!