Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Salamander Room FIAR Unit Study

Back with our Five in a Row Studies!

This past week we rowed The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

"A boy finds a salamander in the woods and imagines the many things he can do to turn his room into a perfect salamander home. Together, Anne Mazer and Steve Johnson have created a woodland paradise that any salamander would love to share with a child." Amazon.

At the begining of the week, we went down to a creek in our village, to catch some Frog Eggs. Since We don't have any salamanders that we could study in person this was our next best resource!

A ziplock bag, a strainer and 2 willing collectors... we were set!

                                                       Frog eggs..... pretty cool huh?

                                                                                                             Photo credit- googleonline

                            But first we had to figure out what was going to go in our Frog Habitat:
                                                                We did some list making.....

                                                                           KT's List

We collected plants from the creek for food when they hatch and are tadpoles.
We also had to go back for some more water after about 2 weeks and more plants. Those little tadpoles ate all the plants!

The kinders are already very familiar with the life cycles that of a frog and of a caterpillar, and differant habitats. 

I printed this online and laminated it and placed it on our tadpole tank. They enjoy seeing the stages and compare their little tadpole friends daily...

Yield to frogs- sign on the main road to my village
Here is our Frog Habitat. It sits in the corner in our living room, where we can all easily check on it, but it's away from direct sunlight. We are using Pets in a Jar for reference. We really love this book! We used it for our Caterpillar/butterfly study last spring.

 We had 8 eggs and only 5 have survived. They grow quickly!

Another Little Creature that we find plenty of are Lizards. JT prepared a habitat for this little guy a few weeks ago:

He did it all by himself and did such a great job. Food, water, hiding spots... I was impressed!
Bible Lesson:
A righteous man regards the life of his animal,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Proverbs 12:10


We spent some time reading extra books we had on amphibians, and reptiles, lifecycles etc... They learned about cold blooded and warm blooded creatures.
A great book to go along with this study was the Magic School Bus Hops Home.

 ART: We made our own Salamanders from Clay.

ART: Kt also learned how to draw frogs and I taught her how to make 3-D letters. She loved it!

We made our lapbooks, and printed off some fun pages from homeschoolshare! I love this website! It's a favorite for resources. =)

This was also our first lesson on Vertebrates and Invertebrates.

Our Tadpoles are 3 weeks old now... I hope to post full grown "froggies" soon!
The more we study science, I am truly amazed at our God!

Math Fun :

Games we played to go along with the Frog fum!:

Resources for our study:

The Learning never ends!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lessons from our pets

We love animals.
 My family had many pets while I was growing up.. (dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, geese, ducks, rabbits, turtles) . I wanted our children to also grow up having pets in their lives too!
 I mean, who wouldn't want a furry creature to greet every morning?

Not animal person? KEEP Reading!!

There are SO many great benefits for children in owning a pet. If you google this topic you would find many articles telling you all about it! Here's a good one: Benefits of pet's for children

I would however, like to take a moment to share about the Pets in our Family, and the benefits we have seen in our own children of having God's creatures in our home.

In the last few months we have lost 2 of our 4 pets.

Two Summers ago my husband was deployed; and during that time we got ourselves a rabbit (our only pet at that time) .

The kids were so excited! We were ready for the adventure! We had just studied Peter rabbit.. and well he looked just like that little guy!
His name was Bun Buns... He was our house rabbit. =)

Bun buns to me was a bit of a bummer... he was always scared, and had alot of "quirks." after one year I felt like it was time to give him up..he was alot of work for not much in return. The kids could never hold him, without him freaking out.. just not the kind of "house "rabbit you would have hoped for... But we kept him... we were fond of him.

Then a few months later, Came Super Hammy the Hamster. We were not planning on getting him. But someone gave him to us for Free! The kids again... were excited! Now we had 2 rodents to care for.. while daddy was away.. Hammy was hilarious. Very friendly and even won 3rd place in a pet contest for Best Pet trick. We loved him.

After this came along a new Rabbit.. A beautiful and very friendly Rabbit.. named Rootbeer. He was also free.. we saw him at a yard sale. He was an outside rabbit, but loved kids.. So he came home with us.

By this time my friends were calling me Mrs. Doolittle! =)
I thought that perhaps we were going to let Bun Buns go as he was stressed out often. And just keep the other Rabbit and Hamster. But the kids loved him so much, so he stayed..

2 Rabbits, Hamster &.....

Last spring we were in Korea visiting my husband.. we would visit the animal shelter daily to help volunteer and take care of the animals. This was my husbands weekend fun..
We met many adorable animals... The kids wanted to keep all of them.. We were NOT getting a dog. I just couldnt' take on that responsibility with almost a year left as a single mama...

And then we met Brinkley.
This was THE
Dog we had always dreamed of. We fell in love with him, and Adopted him.  We just had to figure out how to get him from Korea back to Germany. =)
Brinkley stayed with my husband for a few months and flew back with him in the Fall...

Days after he arrived in Germany.. he caught our rabbit outdoors... on accident. They were somehow loose and he was playing "catch." He did not hurt Bun Bun's that would could tell.  We took him to the Vet, the vet said he was perfectly fine.. But he later died that night. It was to much stress for him.  It was awful. We had a funeral and burried our little furry friend. 

 So, we knew we had to say goodbye to Rootbeer the rabbit as well for fear of that happening again...

Then a few weeks ago, Our totally awesome Hamster passed away in his sleep.
We had another funeral, burried him next to bun buns under the front Tree...

*Responsibility- each kinder has jobs... when the fun of having a new pet wears off... and they no longer are as excited to "care" for them... They had to continue with their responsbility of feeding and caring. They thought of them while we were out and about, they remembered when we needed more food. They cleaned their cages.. They took ownership.

* Appreciation for God's creatures- They learned to appreciate even  the smallest animals and the  blessing of them in our lives. We would laugh at things they do, marvel at their abilities,  and give lots of hugs! Keep in mind rodents do not give back emotionally... you care for them with almost no return on your investment..this was a good lesson for the kinders.

* Bonding- my son could not bond with animals. He was always afraid, or just couldn't relate perhaps just didn't "Care." For my daughter it came naturally.. He never spent more than a second petting an animal. So it made me really want to have animals to help him bond, and connect with them. By talking and pointing out funny things, amazing things, and showing him how to bond, with hugging the dog here and there, petting him and talking to him, even putting silly clothes on him. We pointed out other animals out and about and talked about how cute they were, etc..  within months he was able to relate on his own, and now has an amazing bond with our Dog...

*Empathy- when our pets passed away, this was an amazing learning lesson for them. They cried. We all cried. They drew pictures to remember them. They made a cross from sticks for the burial site, We held a funeral and shared our favorite memories. We said goodbye. This was a wonderful learning experience , although sad... for our kinders They learned about death, in a gentle way.

*Science:  Habitats. We took the time to research (favorite foods, abilities, etc) about the animals we had.. We did a lapbook study on rabbits... we would spend  hours watching them "be"

*Social development: With our pets, our children were able to comfortably share and talk about their pets without being nervous when friend came to visit, or at the acadmic fair, or at the pet show... they totally opened up in situations where they normally would have been extremely shy. It was amazing for me to see.
*Excercise: Having the dog, it makes us get out each day and move! We go for long walks in the woods, play fetch.. run with the soccer ball.. and it's a great way to keep us moving each day.

Owning pets is not always easy. There are days... days we moan to take the dog out, days we want to do a last minute trip and can't get a sitter... but the benifits far outweight the negatives- for us.

 For now, it's just the Brinkley and us... well and some tadpoles .. =)
He does school with us.....

Enjoys reading time... with us on the couch...

And while we loved having these great creatures among us, we will have to stick with God's smaller creatures:  butterflies, caterpillars, tadpoles and backyard lizards till our Dog can learn to behave with smaller animals.

Not a Pet person? Can't have pets due to allergies or current life situations? It's okay!!
There are other ways to encourage a love for God's creatures without "owning" a pet.

I always say to our friends who aren't "Pet People": consider pet sitting for folks on Holiday,visit the animal shelter and volunteer to bathe, walk and feed the animals etc. Visit your neighbors pet often, Take horse lessons, Feed the ducks at a local pond , help out at a local farm, go to the zoo often and observe, preferably with a petting zoo to allow your kids time to connect with God's creatures!

                     Consider the thought of having a furry friend ..... they are a great blessing!
Do you have Pets? What are some lessons your children have learned through them?

****UPDATE: Since this post we have adopted:
2 Rabbits & 2 Guinna Pigs! Our rabbits just had babies, and we were blessed with watching the miracle of baby animals, and how they grow!

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