We have so much to discover all around us. We are lucky to have a creekside nature trail in our neighborhood that leads to a lake, and we have some forest around us too, so we get to see wildlife regularly. We had to come to a complete stop in the road on the way home from the grocery store the other day as a wild turkey took her time walking across the road in front of us (and stepped right into the creek!) We pulled over, rolled the window down, and listened to her warbling and splashing her feet in the water. The kids all drew her in their nature journals that night, and they all told me to start keeping my camera in the car. We see beavers everywhere, almost every day, and during certain times of the year, we see deer near our yard. It is so fun to walk right out into the backyard with nature journals in hand and easily find something interesting to study.
A good, kid-friendly book on backyard nature was recently added to our shelves:
One Small Square: Backyard is packed full of facts, information, and activities. For a small picture book- style book, it is really a thorough backyard field guide, covering everything from fungi and bacteria to seeds and plants, rocks, insects, and birds and mammals. Now we are ready to see what else we can find when we step outside.
Our microbe biosphere has continued to remain undisturbed and has shown some more changes. The black top layer has gotten much thicker and chunky. The second photo is a truer representation of the color of the dirt--it started out red like clay, and it has now taken on a yellowish/tan color. There seem to be more black spots throughout and some cracks or fissures throughout the dirt. If you look closely just under the lid of the jar and to the right, there is some bright yellowish/orange growth on the surface of the water that goes almost entirely around the surface (at lease 3/4 around the jar.) When you shine a light directly on it, it almost takes on a neon color, and it looks like it has tiny fine threads flowing in it, like spider-webs. The level of the water appears higher, and I'm concerned that it will reach the lid.
It's Educator's week at Barnes & Noble. I love Educator's week, especially when it involves shopping at Barnes & Noble! Did you know that home-educators can get the same discounts at Barnes & Noble as employed-outside-the-home-educators? During Educator's week, the discount is 25% off everything. They also have a table set up with resources to accompany book studies, and I picked up a cool Fly Guy poster and two resource booklets to accompany The 39 Clues. I was good, and only spent $23--here's what I got:
The Lighthouse Family series of books by Chynthia Rylant are wonderful for emergent readers to read on their own, but they also make great read-alouds. These beautifully written books explore unlikely friendships on an island with a lighthouse kept by Pandora the cat. She, along with Seabold the dog, are foster parents to three young mice. They all have encounters with different animal friends, including a whale, a cormorant, an eagle, and more. There are two other books in the series which we have not gotten to yet. My favorite thing about these books is how Cynthia Rylant incorporates nature into the stories. After reading about the different animals and ocean and forest wonders, we have pulled out our field guides and Handbook ofNature Study to explore them further. These books will definetely be read again and again in our house.