Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Endangered Animals and odd angles.

Yep – we're studying endangered animals this week. Our library trips have included bringing home books on Kiwi, Amazon Parrots, Komodo Dragons, Mountain Gorillas and other endangered animals. We are preparing for a trip to the zoo when it gets nicer out, or our next trip out to the desert of the American Southwest – where it's nice right now and we can go to the zoo in winter without worrying about snow.

We're not limited to the warmer weather animals, and last fall they got an opportunity to be exposed to the Kirtland Warbler, a small bird that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has gone to great lengths for. Makeing sure that the ecosystem is viable for the species to come back from the brink of extinction...this little bird lives in Pine Trees in the Oscoda County area (Hrm, same place that Paul Bunyon was first written about) and is a beloved bird of the region!

Getting to see an endangered animal's ecosystem is one way to bring it home to the child that this species is at risk, and reinforce the child's existing lessons. Many kids learn by doing, and an opportunity to physically be there doesn't need to just be something to worry about; “Can I afford the airfare for the trip?” Often you can find endangered species not far from home.

So what does my child become exposed to in the process of learning this? Statistics, Wildlife Conservation, Zoology, Mathmetics, History, and Art as she coalesces this all into her little first grade mind.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Groundhog Day

So tomorrow is Groundhog day. Each February second Groundhog Day is celebrated by many people across the US...

If your child is an early riser then you can turn on the TV to any network and at 7:45 a.m. a Groundhog named Phil emerges from his burrow in search of his shadow. If he sees that shadow or not, it is reported to the town leaders, who make their pronouncement of the length of the winter season and whether it is to go to the full spring equinox or if it will end six weeks earlier than the calendar states.
Based on an old story that taught folks to believe that animals could predict the length of winter, it's still held dear to this day.

So in honor of Groundhog day our homeschool curriculum includes studies of the various historical cultures and holidays around this date, as well as of course the reddish brown North American marmot, as well as studies about woodchucks, squirrels and other small wild rodent like creatures.

With this we learn about the date of Groundhhog day, the word Emerge, how to recognize the first signs of spring, the length of winter, and gain a goal for the end of winter.