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Story Time: Horton Hears a Who

Dr. Seuss Day is coming, Dr. Seuss Day is coming!

Story Time: Horton Hears a Who for Dr. Seuss Day

March 2, once known as Theodore Geisel’s birthday, has become the day that we educators, librarians, and book lovers celebrate the author’s great works.  In fact, we’ve taken over the entire month of March.  If you’re looking forward to doing some Seuss-y activities with your littles, look no further.  I. Am. So. Excited.

Horton Hears a Who is one of my favorite-ist Seuss books.  I love Horton’s pertinacity, his absolute insistence upon caring for creatures he can’t even see.  If my life’s theme is Have Courage and Be Kind, then Horton kinda has to be my hero, because he is both of those things incarnate.  And there are lots of activities can your littles enjoy along with this book.
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Let Their Grandparents Help

Mom & Dad Snowbird

This picture of my parents was taken yesterday.

But KT, you’re thinking, I thought you were from Indiana.

I am.  But my awesome parents are snowbirds.  Which means they skip winter now and run off to Florida.  Leaving me in the snow.  Checking their mail periodically.  In the snow.

But that’s not what this post is about.  Haha, you know I get sidetracked, but that time I did it Immediately.  Because look at all the sunshine in that pic.  Did I mention it’s snowing in Indiana?

Anyhoo, I am truly grateful for my parents.  Not just for what they’ve done for me, but for what they do for my kids.  When you homeschool, you often lean on that whole ‘it takes a village’ mentality, right?  Grandparents are the perfect people to turn to when you want to broaden your littles’ education beyond your own scope.

My parents teach my kids without even realizing they’re doing it.  Or maybe they do, but the Littles don’t.  My dad loves to work with wood, and each of my boys has built something with him over the years.  My mom loves to play board games with them, and if you don’t know how I feel about board games as an educational tool, this must be your first time here.  Welcome.

For instance, my dad is overflowing with business acumen.  Me?  Not so much.  A couple days ago, Middle completely melted my heart.  He was talking about his future video game design company, and all the things he’s going to have to do, and he said, “And I’ll have to sit down and talk to Grandad so he can advise me on the business side of things.”  I told him his Grandad was the perfect person to steer him on that course.  Middle wants to study business alongside all the techie stuff he’ll need in high school, so I imagine he’ll be having plenty of conferences with Grandad.

My mama has worked in law most of her life.  She knows the legal ins and outs of just about everything.  Littlest is very interested in law and every career that could be had in the field.  Mama is a font of information about that stuff.  She’ll be his person where that is concerned.

My parents are also really good about having the boys help them around their farm.  They have a different take on farming than we do, and they grow different things.  The Littles learn different techniques and ideas by helping them out.  My mama grows a mean flower garden, too.  Her thumb is so green it glows.  I love knowing the littles are learning from her, seeing how she does it, understanding the Feeling that goes into good growing.

My parents are very involved in local politics, and that gives the littles the opportunity to hear about and see how that works, which helps them better understand politics on a larger scale.

I think I could list the benefits of having these amazing people as grandparents forever.

Utilizing your own parents to supplement your littles’ educations is a brilliant way to give your kids even more.  It’s like having tutors who are the funnest people your littles know.  Everybody is good at something, so even if your it’s just that your dad is a good storyteller, have him tell your littles stories about his life, the important historical events he remembers, where he was when he heard about JFK’s assassination, his take on the Vietnam War, where he stood in the Civil Rights debate and why, how he felt when the Berlin Wall fell.  Me, I remember the exact spot I was in when I heard about Stevie Ray Vaughn’s and Kurt Cobain’s deaths, but I’m just not sure that’s as relevant.

As homeschoolers, we sometimes become hyper-aware that we can’t do everything ourselves.  So make sure you give your littles’ grandparents opportunities to provide teachable moments, too.  Your littles will appreciate it.

Mama, Daddy, I love you.  Thanks for always being there.  Thanks for joining us on this journey and providing all you do for these kids who love you to the moon and back.

Lovely readers, Happy Valentine’s Day.  You’re all my Valentines because you make it possible for me to do what I do.  I appreciate you.

Love wins,

KT

 

 

Counting Blue Birds

Okay, so this isn’t only about counting blue birds.  It’s about counting all birds.

great backyard bird count

It’s the Great Backyard Bird Count, y’all!!

The Littles and I participate in this awesome study every year.  It’s a perfect way to kick off the year’s nature study program, and even now that they’re middle schoolers, we still do nature study.  Nature study is a great introduction to biology, geology, meteorology, astronomy, etymology… you get it.  But the main reason we do nature study is so the littles get a good grasp on ecology and the importance of leaving the smallest carbon footprint they can.

Counting the birds that come to our feeders for the weekend helps us remember the importance of allowing our flying friends the room to have their lives.  We live surrounded by forest, so we can look out the window and see nests in the trees, and a myriad number of birds flitting about every day.  We keep our feeders filled all winter so the winter birds don’t have to search too hard for food, and we keep them filled in summer just to have the chance to watch them.  I have a true fascination for bird feeders.  I can’t walk past them in any store without stopping to dream about which one I’ll buy next.  When we first moved to the farm, I spent hours watching out the big back windows for any kind of bird I could see.  It was so bad that my beautiful husband bought me a pair of binoculars so I could see them better.  He’s amazing like that.

If you go to the website, you’ll find a downloadable pdf with instructions on how to take part and a downloadable poster announcing the count.  I realize that as homeschoolers we might not feel the need to print out a poster, but it always gets my Littles in the spirit of things to see it hanging on the classroom wall for the weekend.  There’s also a data form for youBirds of Indiana to fill out in order to enter your findings, and a bird list and guide to recognizing birds.  As the teacher, all you have to do is print stuff out and you’re ready to go.

We have several bird books on hand, but our favorite is the Birds of Indiana Field Guide by Stan Tekiela.  The birds are separated by color and the pages are color-coded, so it’s easy and quick to find the bird you’re looking for.  The photos in it are clear and gorgeous, and it’s full of information about each bird, including migration patterns, diet, and nesting habits.  And, awesomely, if you go to Tekiela’s Amazon page, you can find a similar field guide for your state!  Yeah yeah.

The cool thing about this bird count is that you can count birds anywhere:  your backyard, the park, on your way to the grocery store.  This free count is connected to the Cornell Lab bird count I posted about a couple weeks ago and co-hosted by the National Audubon Society.  They recommend you spend at least 15 minutes on just one of the days of the Count, watching birds and counting the types you see and how many of each.  Then you simply create an online account at the webite and enter your data.  The account is free, and you can use the supplied data form to keep track.

If you want to do a further bird study with your littles, here’s a free download for researching just about anything and everything to do with birds.

bird report

If you don’t have a bird feeder at home, making one is easy.  A Pine Cone Feeder is as easy as smearing peanut butter over a pine cone, pouring seed onto a piece of wax paper, then rolling the peanut butter-covered pine cone in the seed.  Tie string or ribbon around the top of the cone, and hang it from the nearest tree.

pine cone bird feeder

An Orange Cup Feeder is simple, too.  You just halve an orange, scoop out the fruit and drop it into a bowl.  Then mix the fruit with about 1/2 cup of peanut butter and a cup of birdseed.  Spoon the mixture back into the halved peel, poke a kabob stick near the top of either side of the orange (gives the birds a perch), tie a string to either end of the stick, and boom.  Bird feeder.  If oranges every last long enough in our house to start to turn, they automatically become feeders.

 

 

 

Birding is so much fun!

Birding is so much fun!

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count.  Hopefully your littles will have as much fun as these amazing, wonderful goofballs.

Love wins,

KT

 

 

10 Rocking Advantages of Reading Aloud (for of All Ages)

10 Rocking advantages of reading aloud (for kids of all ages)

Do you read aloud in your classroom?  If you do, chances are you know many of the benefits.  If you don’t, maybe hearing the benefits will convince you to do so.

Whenever mamas new to homeschooling write me asking how to get started, one of the first things I tell them is to read aloud with their littles every day.  Even many public school teachers do it.  Why?  It is one of the best things you can do for a child.  It is a class in and of itself, and your littles are learning much more than you think.  They are not just being entertained.  It is not just a waste of time.  And it’s not just for elementary-aged kids.

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