Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Josh wanted me to share a picture of the full garden not just a close up. Enjoy. Posted by Hello

Josh planted a bird garden, that is a flower garden to entice the birds into our yard. Not that they need much more enticement than the seed he has been leaving out for them everyday lol. Posted by Hello He has been reading the book Birds in your Backyard by Robert J. Dolezal to get an idea of the kinds of flowers he wanted. Great book! So, yesterday morning with book in hand off we went to Home Depot to browse amongst the flowers. He ended up with Evergreen Candytuft, Lanal Cherry Red Verbena, mix of Celosia plumosa, Gazania, Marigold Safari Tangerine, Festuca Glauca, and Buddleia dividii (Butterfly Bush). He also planted seeds of Columbines and Purple Coneflowers. He and his dad are going to build a bird house and bird feeder to add to the garden. The other day at the used bookstore we found another bird book (notice a theme here lol) for him that he has been buried in ever since. It is called All The Birds of North America and is an American Bird Conservancy Field Guide. It seems confusing to me the way it is based upon feeding behaviors and field recognizable features but Josh is not having a problem at all in using it. He especially likes that they show both genders of the bird and also the juveniles. We are noticing a difference between books using drawings versus actual photographs. Going through the various books we now have I have been going back and forth on whether or not one bird that keeps visiting is a house finch or a hepatic tanager. Being new at this identification stuff I don't have complete confidence yet but am pretty sure it is a tanager. Very pretty too! From marine biologist to ornithologist Josh is changing and growing each day. :)

in celebration of John Audubon's birthday yesterday... Posted by Hello

friday freewrite - a different view Posted by Hello

It was an unconventional day of studies for us last Friday as the pictures bear witness. Not only did we "study" on a bed but for Friday Freewrite, A Different View, from Julie Bogart's Brave Writer's Lifestyle, Josh chose to write from under the small table in my bedroom. Here's his writing to go along with this picture:

I feel like I am under a tent. Almost like I am taking shelter from the rain. I can't see as much of my surroundings. It makes you feel imprisoned although safe. It's cramped. I can see a crack in the wall and the shape of the stucco. The birds are singing but I can not see them. It's like my eyes are not meant to see but for my ears to hear the sweet song.

just in case the first picture didn't convince you  Posted by Hello

picture proof that schooling does not have to take place at a desk or table... Posted by Hello

and also that mom needs practice at taking these pictures lol. We had a lazy day last Friday and decided that the best place to do some of our studies was on mom and dad's bed with the patio door open listening to the birds. Not a bad way to spend the morning :)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

a couple of new links

are on the side bar. These are two great astronomy sites. They both have email newsletters they send also. We have used alot of things from these two web sites for our space and astronomy studies.

a great quote

in honor of John Muir (1838-1914) naturalist and conservationist. whose birthday is also celebrated today:

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike."

Josh and I are headed up to our neighborhood park to enjoy the mountain views of Sheep Mountain Range, Iron Mountain Range, and the Spring Mountain Range. All of these ranges contain various mountain peaks that are so beautiful one can't help but catch their breath at the sight of them.

May you receive the beauty your body and soul need today.

ok so moms who are teachers too CAN be wrong

Well it is NOT Audubon's birthday today. That is next Tuesday on the 26th. Looks like we will be holding off on our bird preserve field trip. It IS Elizabeth II, Queen of England's birthday today. Don't think we'll be going to England to celebrate that one though lol.

speaking of learning any time of the day or week

as I said in an earlier post. Last night as I was laying in my bed working on my idea for a children's story book Josh came in and plopped on the bed.

"What ya doin'?"
"Working on my story idea."
Silent pause.
"Maybe I should write a book."
"That sounds like a great idea."
Silence again as he runs in to get his new journal which is blank with possibilities.
Plop back on the bed.
"I'm going to write a kid's detective book!"
Silence once again as he fills page after page of ideas including a title, the characters' names and personalities, the setting and the plot. He then began the book with his first paragraph of dialogue.

And so mom and son, writers yet undiscovered, toil away in lands of their own making.
Note: English class this day took place at 8 pm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

a top ten list

In honor of a book Josh just finished reading and thought was GREAT I give you this list of the top ten books we have read this last week or so:

10. Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
9. Children's Night Sky Atlas - Robin Scagell
8. Walt Whitman, Words for America - Barbara Kerley
7. Walt Whitman: Poetry for Young People - Walt Whitman
6. In Flanders Fields - Norman Jorgansen and Brian Harrison-Lever
5. Into the Deep Forest with Henry David Thoreau - Jim Murphy
4. Search for the Golden Moon Bear - Sy Montgomery
3. Kid Caramel - Ghost Ranch The Legend of Mad Jake - Dwayne J. Ferguson
2. Mysterious Caravan Hardy Boys #18 - Franklin W. Dixon

and the number one book Josh read and laughed through on his own this week but shared with his mother and was the inspiration for this post was...... (drum roll sound here).......

1. The Top 10 Ways to Ruin The First Day of 5th Grade - Ken Derby

Bird Viewing Preserve - Henderson, NV Posted by Hello

This is one of the pictures we took on our visit. The bird in the picture is an American Coot. It was really interesting to see birds in water when we live here in the desert lol.

catching up

Henry David Thoreau once explained his philosophy of schooling as such... "students should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end."

And so we have been taking this great man's advice. Last week was a little crazy as Josh's big sister came over for a visit and dinner and then ended up getting very sick and staying with us for a few days to recover. No it was not my cooking lol but unfortunately she caught a bad virus. Josh spent alot of time out in our backyard with his new bird friends. He is set on eventually getting them to eat out of his hand. He has been obsessed with this ever since I told him the story of how Thoreau was able to feed numerous different animals including birds right out of his hand when he was living at Walden Pond. At the end of the week we made a visit to the Bird Viewing Preserve out in Henderson, NV. We had a great time and it was amazing to see so many differnt birds especially the waterbirds and waders. It soon became apparent that Josh is wayyy better at identifying birds than I am. lol We are looking forward to going back. Maybe tomorrow to celebrate John Audubon's birthday. What better way :)

This past Saturday Josh, his dad and I went to a presentation at Red Rock Canyon put on by the Las Vegas Astronomical Society. It was really well done and a fun time. We saw a slide show presentation on Saturn and the Cassini mission and then went outside to use telescopes that numerous volunteers from the society had brought and set up for viewing. We were able to see Saturn and its rings and Jupiter along with other stars and such. What generosity of these people to share of their time, knowledge, and EXPENSIVE telescopes. Some of these were HUGE! It was fun and easier to see the stars without as much light pollution from the strip as we get in our neighborhood. We were excited to be able to see the constellation of Orion. We are looking forward to going on a full moon hike up at Red Rock (this is just one of the many fantastic programs they put on up there) on Sunday. We are also signed up for a "clean up the canyon program" next Tuesday which will be our way of celebrating Earth Day which is this Friday.

This week has been a little crazy again with getting Josh's older brother's passport for his trip to Germany this summer and his oldest sister's Honors Convocation Ceremony today at UNLV and his other older sister getting ready for dance shows at her high school. We are trying to fill in as best we can. That's the beauty of homeschooling. We can learn ANY time of the day or week.

announcing the opening of a new art studio

Art Studio of Joshua Wright Posted by Hello

This is Josh's "art studio" that we created. It is really half of his closet. Thank goodness for big closets lol. He's been having a great time painting his master pieces here.