Monday, May 23, 2005

where has the time gone?

Wow I couldn't believe it's been so long since I last posted on here. This time of year is always hectic as I still have one daughter in high school who goes to a local public school. That's one of the perks with homeschooling, you are on your own schedule not someone else's.

Josh and I have been emeshed in birding lately. He just finished another adult book called Kingbird Highway by Kenn Kaufman. It still amazes me watching him read such books and remembering back when he was 8 and I despaired that he would ever learn to read at all. Now if I could only feel that security with his writing lol. All in good time I guess.

We have taken a few trips with the local Red Rock Audubon group and have had a great time. The people are so accepting of Josh and willing to share their expertise. We are looking forward to a trip out to the Bird Preserve to bird with a staff member on Friday. Hopefully the heat here in Las Vegas will cool down some by then lol. This weekend we took a quick camping trip up to Mt. Charleston and he had a great time checking out the birds up there that we don't usually get down here in the valley.

We are winding down our year. I have reminded him though we will still continue to review and such with math, writing, and penmanship. They may be part of just our everday living experiences or a more structured learning but no matter how we incorporate them it's important to practice and not lose these skills.

Friday, May 06, 2005

just hanging out with the birds

Yesterday after J and I got finished with our studies we decided to go out on the back patio and sit and read and "just watch the birds". J insists that he is no longer just a "birdwatcher" because now he is often on the hunt. That makes him a "birder". Whatever label you like I say. Anyway there we were hanging out and I tell you watching birds in the backyard of a suburban neighborhood in the desert of Las Vegas is down right FUN! Especially if you get to do it with one of your kids. How many 11 yr olds boys would think mom is cool enough to do this with? Well I am lucky enough to have such a kid. This can be a VERY humbling experience too. Me, adult, wise and full of knowledge, right? WRONG! He knows and can identify the birds ALOT better than I can. He has ALL this knowledge that has escaped me. VERY humbling indeed. The student becomes the teacher. In my case this happens more often than not with him. But hey that's ok. Right?!! lol

Sitting there watching I came away amazed with how much more colorful the males always seemed to be. I knew this was a general rule of thumb. Had heard it before. But to actually spend a few hours intently watching and REALLY looking at each bird it was yes, amazing! I love the reds and oranges of the male house finches and the chestnut with black of the male sparrows. Boy we humans sure did a reverse on that one didn't we. With us it's usually the females in all their finery and colors. Somehow I like the bird way better. Males deserve equal time somewhere. :)

While sitting out there I began to read the book he had taken out of the library, The Big Year A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. This is an adult book that is 248 pages long. He read it in 3 days! Said I just had to read it. I am really enjoying the writing. The author has a very humorous style which makes for enjoyable reading. The content is such that it is pretty much safe for even an 11 year old. And boy am I learning ALL about birds lol. The book is about 3 men who join in the Big Year contest of 1998 to be the person with the most identified birds sighted in just one year's time. Good stuff.

The birder has his dad and I now on the track of birds. He has been begging each of us to take him down to the wash in the park near our house. He is mad at me that I won't let him go alone but hey this is Sin City in 2005. Sorry but I am still a little over protective. Soooo he has to convince one of us to go and he tries this at least twice a day. He officially started a life list and is eagerly adding to it whenever he can. He won't even count the birds we have already seen on hikes before that are listed in our nature journals. I had to laugh at this because if it were me I'd be including everything and anything to make life easier. I guess at 11 life isn't about easy, it's about adventure lol. We are going to try and go to a Red Rock Audubon field trip tomorrow morning to an area outside of Las Vegas that we haven't been to yet. They say that there are opportunites to see migrating birds there and J is excited. Hopefully there is still room for us when I call in a little while. Boy these birders are serious minded though. We have to meet at 7 am! No sleeping in I guess. Oh well Sunday is Mother's Day and MY day. I'll make up for it then.