Friday, May 15, 2015

Homeschool Legacy ~ Birds of a Feather

I had the privilege of reviewing Birds of a Feather by Homeschool Legacy. Birds of a Feather is a four week, once a week, unit study. The study is biblically based. This study meets the requirements to earn the Boy Scouts Bird Study Merit Badge as well as the American Heritage Girl Friends Badge. Homeschool Legacy sets out to provide biblically centered educational material, while integrating creative, hands-on activities.

Sampling a curriculum helps to see if it is a good fit for your child. Here is a Sample of Birds of a Feather.
Birds of a Feather Table of Contents:
  1. Bird Basics And Your Backyard Habitat
  2. Bird Identification
  3. Ornithology
  4. Birds of Prey
If you are not familiar with unit studies and how they work your questions can be answered by simply clicking on one of the three question links below.
  1. What is a unit study?
  2. Why unit studies?
  3. Why once a week?
There is a suggested, "How to Schedule Your Unit Study Time," to use as a guide. We opted to be more flexible and spontaneous with our unit study time.

I absolutely loved the suggested books throughout the study. The books range from preschool age through high school level. There are suggested movies to watch for a "family movie night". Throughout the study there are helpful online resources that are listed. Step- by-step instructions for the unit study, provide minimal work for the parent. 

Some of the books recommended for this unit study are:

  • "Whose Chick Are You" 
  • "Make Way For Duckling"
  • "The Story About Ping"
  • "Are You My Mother"

I really liked the "Family Devotional" sections.

One of my favorite bible verses, Luke 12:22-24, talks about birds: 

And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and thebody more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!"

Just one of the amazing finds to be found in Spring. 

Words And Their Meanings
My daughters learned some new vocabulary such as ornithology, ornithologist, and chalazae.

Sayings and Phrases
  • "Don’t get your tail feathers ruffled." 
  • "She eats like a bird."
  • "He’s as crazy as a loon."
I had lots of laughs as my kiddos described what they thought these sayings meant. We had discussions about sayings and phrases and how they make no sense on their own. Their meanings come from metaphors and customs and not from literal definitions. 

We had fun looking up other English idioms and found many that had to do with birds such as:
  • "A little bird told me."
  • "Kill two birds with one stone."
  • "Mad as a wet hen."
  • "The early bird catches the worm."
  • "Birds eye view."
  • "A little bird told me."
  • "Wise as an owl."
  • "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
Feathers, Feathers, Feathers
A feather has three main parts:
  • Shaft - runs down the center of the feather 
  • Barbs – the long, soft, flat strands of the feather attached to the shaft
  • Downy feathers - at the base of the feather, closest to the body, provide warmth and insulation to the bird 
We found a wonderful site called The Feather Atlas, that helps identify bird feathers. We took a nature walk to a nearby lake and searched for bird feathers. We found some amazing feather patterns.

Observation Journal 
When we set out to chronicle our observations in our notebook, Birds of a Feather, provided a long list of questions to answer. 

Here are some helpful things to ask yourself:

•What is its shape? Is it plump or slender?
•What is its wing shape? Is it pointed or rounded?

•What are its feet like?
•What is its color or color patterns?
•How does it fly? Does it fly straight, hover, soar, or undulate?

Making a Bird Feeder
Grandpa and Megan making a recycled material bird feeder. 

There are so many amazing videos on the internet that can be utilized to help learn about birds. YouTube is a great resource for videos. My kiddos spend time watching a lot of the FREE amazing bird videos online. 

Here is a video on hummingbirds.

Here is an amazing video on birds feathers.

I have kiddos that absolutely love all things nature, especially animals, bird, and creepy crawlers. We browsed through some of our bird books. One of my favorite books that we used during this study was a book that chronicles 250 birds and their songs. 

Observing Nature
My daughter spent the better part of an afternoon observing birds with binoculars. She saw a cardinal, a bluejay, a sparrow, a robin, and many other birds. We live in an area with lots of big trees. Because it is spring, birds are everywhere. 

Family Movie Nights
We had two family movie nights and watched, Fly Away Home and March of the Penguins.

John James Audubon

 Audubon's Birds of America is an artistic treasure of prints. We talked about which ones were our favorites. Several of my kiddos decided to try their hand at drawing their own bird. We researched John James Audubon to learn more about this incredible illustrator, painter and scientist. His extraordinary four volume, Birds of America, was published in London in 1827. 

The Little Bird
Once I saw a little bird 
Come hop, hop, hop;

So I cried, “Little bird,

Will you stop, stop, stop?” 

And was going to the window 

To say “How do you do?” 

But he shook his little tail, 

And far away he flew. 
~Mother Goose~
My Overall Thoughts
I really enjoying Birds of a Feather, as did my children. We had so much fun learning about birds through this unit study. I would recommend Homeschool Legacy to fellow homeschoolers and educators. 

Check out all of the other wonderful unit studies that Homeschool Legacy
has to offer. 

To read more reviews click HERE

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