Friday, October 10, 2014

Birds of a Feather Unit Study {Review}

Have you been wanting to include a study of birds in your homeschool lessons this year? I have just the thing for you to introduce birds and bird-watching to your students!

I am delighted to introduce you to Sharon Gibson and her company, Homeschool Legacy. Sharon has written some wonderful unit studies, including the one I have had the opportunity to review: Birds Of A Feather (retail value $17.95). It is designed for use with children in grades 2-12. I have used this study with my two younger girls, ages 8 and 9. 

Sharon has designed her unit studies to be used in once a week lessons. In other words, you can take one day, let's say Tuesdays for example, and do the entire week's unit in your homeschool session that day. The lessons are also flexible enough to be broken down into small, once a day lessons, several times per week, which is how I have used them.  Since we already had our days planned out, I just plugged this unit in to our day and it worked very well for us. 

Here is how the unit study is laid out:

Week 1: Birds Basics and Your Backyard Habitat

Week 2: Bird Identification

Week 3: Ornithology

Week 4: Birds of Prey

Now, I'll start off by saying that my children have been nature lovers since they were wee things, and I have tried to nurture that love by giving them experiences to learn and explore. We have taken hikes, gone on nature walks, had bird feeders in our garden, participated in The Great Backyard Bird Count, and while living in Canada, we would go to certain hiking trails to feed the birds from our hands. The Black-Capped Chickadees and the White-Breasted Nuthatches, especially, would flock to peck from the seeds in our hands. One of our friends even had a skittish Northern Cardinal land on her hand for all of half a second! Those experiences are so special and some of our favourite memories. 

(Feeding the birds in Ontario.)

 (One of the first things we did after moving into this house was to put up a bird feeder!)

(And we have had so many lovely visitors pass through our backyard, including this Indigo Bunting. We had never seen one before, so he was an extra-special guest.)

I love this unit study because it incorporates many subjects and can be used with all ages. Sharon has done such a great job of including not only the scientific aspects of birds, but also literature, Bible, history, geography, arts and crafts, life skills and field trip suggestions. I love seeing the read-aloud and movie suggestions Sharon included and was delighted to find a couple of new-to-us books and movies, including these:

Here are some of the activities we enjoyed while studying Birds Of A Feather:

1. We already had a birdbath and a bird feeder in our garden, so we decided to make a simple version of a bird feeder to place around the yard. We used toilet paper rolls, peanut butter and of course, bird seed. Then we placed them in the bushes outside and waited for the local birds to find these special treats.

(Sorry for the blurry photo. Mr. C wouldn't hold still for the photo session.)

2. I had introduced nature journals to my older children years ago, but this was something new and exciting for my younger children. They have had such fun going out into the yard to see what treasures they could find for their books.

 (We started their journals with our state bird, the Northern Cardinal.)

(We've been adding leaves, bark, feathers, acorns, and whatever else we can find. They are going to enjoy these journals for a long time!)

3. We have enjoyed studying John James Audubon. His book Birds of America has produced hours of pleasure, not only for the little girls but also for the entire family. 

(This book is the largest book we've ever seen. When I went to the library to pick it up, the librarian said I would need a crane to get it out to my car. LOL!)

4. We've had some great discussions, i.e. "How would our lives be different if Benjamin Franklin had had his way and the turkey was our national bird instead of the Bald Eagle?".

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time with Birds Of A Feather and recommend it highly for anyone wanting to add a fun and thorough unit study on birds to their homeschool lessons! We look forward to working through some of Sharon's other unit studies.

Here is a list of additional unit studies offered by Homeschool Legacy:

Forest For The Trees
Horsing Around
Weather On The Move
Christmas Comes To America
Knights And Nobles
Native America
Early Settlers In America
Revolutionary Ideas
We The People: Getting To Know The Constitution
Lewis And Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea
Westward Ho: Part 1
Westward Ho: Part 2

Each of these studies also includes badge requirements if your students are in American Heritage Girls or Boy Scouts of America. What a neat way to accomplish your schoolwork and your badge requirements all at the same time!

Blessings and love. xo

Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase with my links, I make a small commission. Thank you!!!

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