November 2019 – Latin America and Birds

This month we learned all about birds. Our library had a Grow a Reader kit on birds and I found several other great books on the topic. Sparrow Jack is based on a true story about a man who brought sparrows to North America to help with an inchworm problem. Raven is an origin story from the Pacific Northwest about how the sun came to be in the sky.

A Little Chicken is about a chicken who’s afraid of everything, but must be brave in order to avoid a catastrophe – great story for kids who are looking to build more courage. Telephone was a funny story about birds relaying messages down a telephone line. The girls and I played telephone together which resulted in a lot of hilarious miscommunications.

I would highly recommend most of the books and movies pictured below. Hawk, I am Your Brother was a little unsettling, but a good message that wild animals should be left alone. Ping was also a little strange about a duck who avoids being spanked by its owner so he wanders off and gets lost and then resorts to being spanked again so he can rejoin his family. We don’t spank so the girls found it a little disturbing that the duck was spanked.

We made hatching chicks out of paper and feathers, painted with feathers, completed a bird puzzle, and made bird feeders out of rice cakes, almond butter, and sunflower seeds.

I sent the girls outside to find walnut shells for making a nest scene on a piece of wood and they came back in seconds later with an actual nest! We had a few days of strong winds and this little nest must have been blown from a tree. We were able to look through Birds Make Nests and make guesses about what type of bird made this nest.

Then we went back out to find walnut shells. We only found one so we used pine cones for the other nests. This was a more involved craft than we’ve been doing lately, but I’ll be incorporating more things like this because it was a lot of fun to create something a little more permanent feeling.

Our library had a STEAM story and craft time about leaves and fall this month. The girls had a great time making leaf rubbings, gluing tissue paper leaves on a tree picture, and making trees out of paper lunch bags.

One of the pumpkin seeds they planted during last month’s STEAM activity is going strong! Hopefully we can keep it alive until spring and get it in the ground.

Here are some of the books we read this month about Fall and Thanksgiving (with a couple random topics thrown in there):

In addition to the bird Grow a Reader kit, we also checked out ones on manners and reading. The parent books in both of these kits, Discipline Without Damage and Tinkerlab , were so wonderful I ended up ordering my own copies of them. Both kits were fun for the girls and inspired us to do some out-of-the-box writing activities including sidewalk chalk and putting paint in a ziploc to write on.

We read Sulwe and Princess Me which were two books with the same message about loving yourself for who you are, but presented from different angles.

Instead of one specific country this month, we focused on Latin America and South America. The book we’ve been following, Give Your Child the World, clumps Mexico and everything south of Mexico together as Latin America. From what I’ve looked up, this designation isn’t as clear cut. I had already chosen a smorgasbord of books before realizing this so we went with it. It took about six weeks to cover all the books and movies we checked out. I don’t know that we’ll do it like this again, but it did give the girls a pretty in-depth introduction that we can expand on later by diving into specific countries to study within this region.

Adi Sorts with Variables is a STEAM book that introduces kids to coding and variables in an easy-to-understand way with a practical story. For some reason I included that, along with Winn-Dixie in our Latin American book pictures 🙂

Lost Treasures of the Maya is a series from NatGeo on the new Disney+ app. If you’re looking for an amazing homeschool resource for a decent price, I highly recommend Disney+. In our first couple weeks of using it, we watched several documentaries, a couple NatGeo shows, and of course a plethora of Disney movies.

All of the books below were enjoyable reads. Mimi’s favorite was Abuelita, which was a story a child is telling about their grandmother and how she gets ready for work every morning. Adi’s favorite was The Little Book of Sloth which is filled with a bunch of pictures of sloths. The picture at the bottom of this section is her face as she flipped through this one.

The girls watched Rio for the bird unit which tied into our Latin America studies perfectly. They created Carnival masks out of feathers and spangles. Mimi was attempting to create a genuine disguise and utilized a lot of feathers in her plan!

I brought out my sewing machine and the girls learned some basic sewing skills. We made doll skirts, dresses, pillows, and blankets. This was something they really enjoyed!

The girls are getting more confident in the kitchen, helping me with hot chocolate below. We checked out ZooLights and loved the new lights our local zoo put up this year. On Black Friday, I found an awesome map of the USA that’s huge and has pictures of different things the states are known for. The girls had fun putting it together and seeing a giant visual of the places we’ve traveled.

We explored a park that’s only a five minute walk from our house. There aren’t any play structures, it’s just a small forest with one single trail cutting through it. Even though it’s small, once you’re on the trail, it’s like you’re out in the woods and it’s easy to forget you’re right by a road and city, unless you see a house or building in the distance between the trees. We’ve visited this little park a few times now and will utilize this as an easy-to-access place to view the changing of the seasons. Just in the last few weeks, it has transformed dramatically as the leaves began falling.

The girls also got to climb up into their Grammy’s tree with help from their uncle. I’d love it if they learned to climb trees by themselves, but all the trees around us are trimmed in ways that make them impossible to climb unless you know how to scale the trunk.

Lastly, we learned about meteors and comets in anticipation of a meteor shower. We knew based on our location that there would be little chance we’d see any so we bundled up and went star-gazing instead.

Stay tuned for a unit on snow and ice next month!

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