Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nature Study ~ The Horse {Autumn Series}

We skipped ahead to the 3rd assignment in our Autumn Series Nature Study {the horse} because we had an opportunity to observe a number of horses up close at our recent field trip to the county fair.

We also had the opportunity to witness one horse getting new shoes…

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And many other horses in their stalls.

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When we got home, we spent a little time talking about how horses compare with other mammals, namely dogs.  As the kiddos and I compared these two mammals, I filled out the venn diagram printable {included in the ebook} 

I then had ds8 and dd6 sketch a picture of a horse on their horse notebooking pages {also provided in the ebook}.  I found a “how to draw a horse” page in our Sing! Play! Create! book…I left it on the table to help dd6 draw her horse. 

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I placed these pages along with our venn diagram into page protectors and filed everything in our family nature study notebook.

This Nature Study ebook has made my goal of getting nature study back into our homeschool so much easier to accomplish :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hike to the Falls

We live about 15 minutes from a state park that has a number of hiking trails.  One of our favorite trails leads to a waterfall area.  Since the trail is mostly tree-covered, it remains fairly cool even on hotter days. 

We’ve had hotter than normal weather…but it was supposed to cool down a bit yesterday {to the mid-80s}.   We figured it was a perfect day to take our kiddos to explore this trail...


Every walk begins with the search for the perfect walking stick.

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And you must climb every rock that you find alongside the trail.

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When we reached the falls {which were not very big due to the lack of rain in our area}, the two older kiddos and dh hiked to the top of a large section of rocks…

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while ds3 and I remained back at the bottom of the falls area.  Ds3 is emerging from his “I don’t want my picture taken” phase into a “take my picture please mommy {cheesy grin}” phase :)

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Ds8 hopped his way back down the rocks {while his mama looked on, praying that he didn’t miss one}.

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Here are some random pictures from our hike…

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I may have even gotten a picture for this year’s Christmas card…

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Note ~ Remember to bring a bag next time…to hold all the acorns ds3 collects :)


Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ planners, field trips and apples {oh my!}

This year I’ve been trying to give ds8 {3rd grade} a bit more responsibility  when it comes to completing his school work.  Up ‘til now we’ve been using a  tweaked version of the workbox system, mostly as an easy way for ds8 and dd6 to find the schoolwork that they need to do each day. 

But I wanted something more for ds8…I absolutely love my Well-Planned Day Planner and I remembered that they have a Well-Grounded Middle Schooler planner {for grades 4-8}…after researching this planner a bit more, I thought it would be perfect for ds8. 

middleschool planner

And wouldn’t you know it, but the very day I decided to order the planner, I received an email stating that all planners from The Home Educating Family had free shipping for one week…I placed my order and we received the planner in the mail two days later.  This past weekend, while filling out my planner, I also filled out ds8’s planner.

There are still a number of subjects that ds8 cannot do independently {due to the nature of the curriculum}.  For instance, both his grammar curriculum {First Language Lessons 3} and his writing curriculum {Writing With Ease 2} require parent involvement.  I still include these assignments in his planner along with subjects he can complete independently, that way he can see all of the work that he needs to complete for each day.


Ds8 is a box-checker {like his mama} and I think he secretly enjoys this new addition to his school day.

In science we began studying Mercury…the planet closest to the sun.   This week we spent most of our science time reading about Mercury from our textbook, Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  After I read aloud from our text, I had the kiddos {mostly ds8} narrate the information they learned.  Ds8 is still talking about Mercury’s long days {equivalent to about 59 earth days} and short years {equivalent to 88 earth days}.  

We also completed three of our current read alouds this week.  We were listening to Ginger Pye on an audio cd that we borrowed from the library, and I was reading The Family Under the Bridge to the kiddos every night before bed.  I was also reading Catching Their Talk in a Box {our missionary read-aloud} during our morning circle time.  So next week we’ll begin at least two new read-alouds, any maybe begin listening to a third book on audio cd.

On Wednesday we enjoyed our first field trip of the school year…a visit to our county fair.  We spent the morning weaving our way through cow barns and horse stalls.  We witnessed sheep shearers at work and a farrier giving a horse a new set of shoes.  I wrote a lot more about our fun at the fair in this post.

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I had planned on working on our second assignment from our Autumn Nature Study ebook {geese and ducks}, but our field trip to the fair provided us with the opportunity to observe some horses up close…so I chose to skip ahead and have us complete our third nature study assignment {horses}. 

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Today we spent most of the day at my in-laws’ house canning applesauce…we came home with 13 quarts of yummy applesauce for our pantry.   We also brought home nine quarts of canned green beans, courtesy of my in-laws ~ Grandma’s beans are my kiddos’ favorites :)


And don’t worry, we also fit the rest of our schoolwork into this busy week…Bible, spelling, reading, writing, math, geography, history… :)

This post is being linked to Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Schleich ~ A Review

My kiddos absolutely love playing with animal figures.  We have a couple of containers full of various figures that get dumped onto our floor quite frequently.  So they were beyond excited when a box of Schleich figures was delivered to our doorstep.

schleich logo

About Schleich

Schleich manufactures “animal figures and imaginative playworlds” that are distributed to over fifty countries around the world.  Schleich products are also sold in a number of toy shops, I’ve even seen Schleich figures on the shelves of my local Toys “R” Us and Target stores.

The Schleich Playing & Collecting 2010 catalog that was included with our package features over 500 figures.  The figures are divided into three different collections ~ The World of History, The World of Nature, and The World of Fantasy.

Our Experience

Our package contained eight individually wrapped animal figures from The World of Nature collection. 

100_6962Within minutes of me giving the okay for my kiddos to open the packages, the Schleich animal figures were out of their bags and set up on the floor.


The first thing that I noticed about these figures was their size.  The largest figure that we received, the Okapi, is about 4-1/2 inches tall!  The Donkey, the Dartmoor Pony, the Gnu, and the Przewalskis Horse are all 3 inches tall.  We also received some smaller figures, the Gnu Calf {2-inches}, the Asian Elephant Calf {2-inches}, and the Swabian Hall Piglet Eating {1-inch}. 


I was also very impressed with the detailed features of all of the figures, even down to the indent in tip of the Asian Elephant Calf’s trunk.  And these figures are heavy for their size and very sturdy.  I have no worries that my kiddos will unintentionally break one of the figure’s ears off :)

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While I was checking out the Schleich website for my review, I was stunned to find that Schleich provides some really cool factual information for each of its figures {at least for the ones I received}, including its zoological name and habitat.  If you click on the the names of the figures that I listed above, you will be taken to the Schleich link for each animal.  I am pretty sure that you will be impressed :)

Please be aware that the factual information provided by Schleich may contain references to evolution and old earth beliefs…you will probably want to review the information before you allow your child{ren} to access the information independently.

My Thoughts

Our Schleich figures are perfect for keeping little hands busy while I read aloud to the kiddos.  These figures are also excellent resources for teaching about these individual animals.  Pair the figures with the factual information that the Schleich website provides about each figure and you have the start to an amazing animal study, complete with hands-on manipulatives!

And to be honest, these Schleich figures are just plain fun :)


The figures that I received for review were from Schleich’s World of Nature collection {farm life and wild life}.  Schleich also manufactures two other collections, The World of History {prehistoric animals, knights, and American Indians} and The World of Fantasy {Bayala~ A Schleich fantasy world and the Smurfs}.

If you are interested in purchasing any Schleich figures, check out the store  locator link provided on their website in order to find a Schleich retailer near you.  This link also provides information about online retailers that sell Schleich products.  Prices for the Scheich figures vary depending upon the figure and the retailer.

post bannerClick here to read more reviews about Schleich products by my fellow crewmates.

I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review of our experience with this product.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Field Trip ~ The county fair

We made our annual trek to our county fair today…can anybody say field trip :) 

100_7121We spent most of our time visiting the animals…from a huge steer and a little donkey…

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to an emu and a baby goat and its mama.

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We always enjoy visiting the birthing center and checking out all the animal babies that have been born at the fair.


This mama pig had a bunch of baby piggies fighting over her at feeding time…but one little piggy decided to wander instead…too much competition, I guess.


The birthing center also featured a new baby calf, and a couple pregnant cows and heifers...  {We learned that a heifer is a female that has not been pregnant before and a cow is a female that has already given birth at least once…I never knew that before.}

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We also got to see a new baby lamb…all these babies have been born while their mamas were at the fair {it began on Friday}.

100_7130 We also got to see some sheep shearing in progress {my ds3 thought this was very cool} and more sheep, goats and cows than you can shake a stick at :)

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Last year we forgot to visit the horse barn…we made sure to stop by this year.

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And we got there just in time to witness a horse getting a new set of shoes put on…

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The kiddos were worried that this hurt the horse, I assured them that this was not painful for the horse…

100_7157There was a huge tractor display near the horse barn…a little boys’ {and girls’}paradise…

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Ds8 tried out a bunch of tractors too, but sometimes it’s just not possible to get pics of all three kiddos when they’re running in three different directions, so I gotta stick with the younger ones :)

Next stop was the poultry and bunny barn…I tell ya, that was one noisy place!

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The kiddos were particularly impressed with the incubator display…one incubator had new baby chicks in it.  The other contained eggs that were hatching…as we watched! 

100_7158Our final stop before heading out was the households building…where all of the food and art entries are judged and displayed.  My kiddos always enjoy checking out other children’s fair entries.  Ds8 borrowed the camera for a few minutes and captured a few of his favorites on film {the digital kind}.

We had a great day visiting our local fair…the weather was beautiful and the animals were plentiful.  My kiddos can’t wait for our next field trip!


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