Tuesday, September 25, 2012

birds of a feather (a TOS review)


Birds of a Feather cover



We have thoroughly enjoyed our Birds of a Feather Once A Week Unit Study ($15.95) by Homeschool Legacy.




Once A Week Unit Studies are designed specifically for homeschooling families.  The goal is to keep the lessons light on the prep side and heavy on the fun-learning side.  And as the name implies, to set aside just one day a week to learn together.



**bonus** If you have a Boy Scout or American Heritage Girl these studies help them work towards special badges!



Birds of a Feather (for grades 2-12) is a 4 week science related unit study filled with hands on activities, devotional ideas, library book suggestions, field trip tips and more…all focused on bringing out your inner Ornithologist and celebrating God’s amazing Creation!



Because I had a PDF version, the very first thing I did was upload the file to my DropBox account.  I do that with all PDF files that I use.  This allows me to easily read through all the lesson plans and organize my thoughts.  That’s a freebie hint because your version would be a printed version!  I know the website says there is no prep required, but that would really depend on your definition of prep.  I wouldn’t consider it totally prep free.  BUT the lessons plans are highly structured and well laid out.  So while I didn’t consider it prep-less…the prep was VERY easy.  That gets a big smile from this homeschool mommy!



Week One explores Bird Basics and Your Backyard Habitat

Week Two focuses on Bird Identification

Week Three is all about Ornithology

and the unit closes out with everybody’s favorite…

Birds of Prey



I was able to quickly decide which activities we could/would do and which we could save for another time.  The beauty of the program is that there are SO many activities and ideas to choose from.  Some activities we did include visiting our local nature preserve, Sachuest Point.  They’ve just refurbed their indoor hands on center and it was awesome!  My littlest especially enjoyed the rubber, touchable birdie poo.  In love  We also created our very first nature journals.  It so happened there was a free nature journal download at the same time – hence the super cute covers for our journals.








I was also able to quickly read through the lesson plans and choose and/or find books and dvds to request from our local library.  I have a budding Ornithologist in the house so we already have several bird handbooks.  I would definitely recommend pre-requesting the books/cds/dvds so you have them on hand as you’re moving through the study.







The first week we really spent observing our backyard birds in general.  A quick trip to Walmart and we set up our birdie feeding center.  We made sure to use a variety of seeds so we could keep track of the different birds that were attracted by the different feeds.  Of course, our neighborhood squirrel was the first to spy the loot!  But this morning we were all excited to see a Cardinal in all his ruby glory out there!  He’s a sunflower seed guy.



1-2011-05-15 need to organize


We learned more about bird identification and James Audubon.  Love the book The Boy Who Drew Birds which we borrowed from the library.  One really neat activity is to use a bird call cd to distinguish between the different bird songs.  Who knew you could find such a thing at the library?!  You can also find some great videos on YouTube.  We used a parts of the bird printable to label and paste into our nature journals.  Because my kiddos found the idea of drawing birds intimidating (perfectionist much?) I printed (think: Google images and Pinterest) out the step by step guide below for help.  I’ve been a big fan of tracing paper since I was little!  And it came in handy for having them trace, color and paste the birds we saw in our backyard to add to their journals.




Some other activities include looking more closely inside the bones of birds (plan to eat chicken for dinner) and using a magnifying glass to study the parts of a feather.  Magnifying glasses make everything more fun!


My kids also happen to think poo is pretty funny stuff.  The idea of dissecting owl poo pellets is on our must do list!  I’m hoping a teacher friend or my zoo volunteer friend can hook me up with some pellets for free…but there are actually several places online that you can order little kits.  Who knew!


 I really love everything about Birds of a Feather.  It’s loaded with so much great stuff and wonderful lesson plan guides.  I would definitely recommend this unit study for other homeschool families who’d like to learn more about birds!


Homeschool Legacy offers more than just Birds of Feather, by the way.  Be sure to browse their other products – I know I will!







**This is my little space to disclaim that I was given a PDF copy of Birds of a Feather Once a Week Unit Study in exchange for my honest review shared on my blog.  All opinions expressed are my honest own.  I hope that you enjoyed and found my review at least a smidge helpful.  Because my voice is just one, I highly encourage you to read what my fellow TOS Crew friends thought about this product.**

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