Friday, August 25, 2017

August Learning Notes: Week 4

Monday all the country was abuzz about the total solar eclipse. So after we did some bookwork in the morning and I did a religion lesson with Teresa about the creation of Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden, the oldest three and I went outside to view the eclipse. I had purchased ISO certified eclipse-viewing glasses, but I did not tell the younger three about it since I could not be sure they would keep their glasses on when trying to view it. I also figured with another one in 7 years, that one they would be older to remember better. So the three oldest and I watched the eclipse. I thought it was beautiful and Cecilia especially thought it was very neat. I tried to get a few photographs.
 Afterwards, the oldest three and I read through the fourth chapter of Matthew and the temptations of Christ and the calling of the first four disciples. Then we read a chapter in Twelve Bright Trumpets about a medieval boy getting an apprenticeship with a Florentine artist. We also began reading Helen Walker Homan's Saint Anthony and the Christ Child. The girls have also gotten very interested in birdwatching. I bought a book of Wisconsin birds and they began spending a lot of time outside looking for birds, photographing birds that came to our feeder and then trying to identify them.
On Tuesday we read about Marco Polo and Kublai Khan in Story of the World and then about Marco Polo in Famous Men of the Middle Ages and Famous Figures from Medieval Times. Then we read Alexander Zelenyj's Marco Polo: Overland to China.
 Wednesday we did about an hour worth of bookwork before heading to another mom's house for a lesson in crocheting. The older three practiced and learned how to do more than chain while I supervised the younger three. After we got home, we read the first half of the 3rd Zoology lesson about birds' feathers. We learned about the parts of the feather and the different kinds of feathers on a birds wing. I pulled out some feathers I bought and with a magnifying glass the girls could see the barbules.

Each got a copy of the prints above. We then talked about preening and molting and how the birds take care of their feathers and which feathers are used to fly and which are used to protect the flying feathers. Then we went outside with umbrellas to run with them open behind us to feel how they slowed us down against the wind, just as a bird's wing when flat open slows the bird to land gently.
Thursday we finished the 3rd lesson in Zoology about other types of feathers, such as down feathers and iridescent feathers. We also did a small experiment using vegetable oil on some feathers and comparing how oiled feathers repelled water unlike feathers without oil. We learned how birds preen and move oil from glands at the base of their own feather down the feather with their beak to make their feathers waterproof and help insulate themselves from cold water as well as keep afloat.
Friday, after a bit of bookwork, we played a game of Multiplication Bingo and then went bird watching at Scout Lake. We saw a Downy Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwing, and a Herring Gull.
Brigid calls the white seedling balls "Wishes". 
 Before we left, a female mallard paid us a visit up close. We even got to see her preen her feathers!
 And on the way to the parking lot we met a cicada.
Then we went to adoration to visit Jesus for a bit. After a brief lunch we went to a park playdate.
 It was a long week. I think the kids will need a break soon as much as I will. I think we are all ready for Fall too. We've had trouble this week with wasps and yellow jackets in the back yard. I took out a Mud Dauber that wouldn't leave the kids alone and then in one afternoon took out 2 paper wasps and 14 yellow jackets all hovering on the grass around the patio and the swingset. There must be a few species nesting nearby but I'm so done with the lot of them. We need a good long and very cold winter to knock some of these bugs down a few pegs.
We also did a little experiment with some eggs laid on our volleyball net.
 They hatched into the tiniest black caterpillars I've ever seen. Not surprisingly, they didn't last long, but my research suggests they were probably some kind of moth.

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