Category: Media

Photos, videos and audio

Birds: Week Three

I’m writing out ahead of time what our plan is for the week and then I will be posting photos, here and on my Instagram, as we progress! This week we will be learning about the birds we could see in our backyard – so feel free to swap these out with the birds for your area. I found our list simply by searching “Colorado Most Common Birds” and found this page.

** Reminder: We will still be doing our core subjects (math, writing, reading) and then filling the rest of our time exploring this topic.

All Week



Hawk, Eagle & Owl





❤ Tara

Birds: Week Two

Unit Study: Birds - Week Two | www.oliverandtara.com

I’m writing out ahead of time what our plan is for the week and then I will be posting photos, here and on my Instagram, as we progress! Week one was so much fun and we can’t wait to get into learning all about the parts of a bird!

Supply list here.

** Reminder: We will still be doing our core subjects (math, writing, reading) and then filling the rest of our time exploring this topic.

All Week







❤ Tara

Birds: Week One

Unit Study: Birds Week One | www.oliverandtara.com

I’m writing out ahead of time what our plan is for the week and then I will be posting photos, here and on my Instagram, as we progress! We are excited and prepped for our week and can’t wait to dive in.

** Reminder: We will still be doing our core subjects (math, writing, reading) and then filling the rest of our time exploring this topic.

A printable supply list for all the crafts can be found here.

All Week



Eggs



Bird Food




❤ Tara

Birds: Hymn

Each month we learn a new hymn. We listen to it for the whole month, talk about the verses regularly and hopefully have it memorized by the end of the month! We often play it in the car as we drive places during the day, or over our Google Home when we are around the house. I typically follow AmblesideOnline for our music selections. But with this month being a unit study for us, I went in search of a hymn that was fitting.

There are a plethora of hymns related to birds. Some very well known, and others more obscure. I wanted on the kids would recognize throughout their life, so I went with common.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

The Story

Written by Civilla Martin in 1904 when visiting an ill bed-ridden friend. That friend held onto Matthew 10:29-31 during her illness. It inspired Civilla, a poet and wife of an evangelist, and by the end of the day the poem was completed. It was then sent off to the well known composer of the day, Charles Gabriel. And the rest is history!

Lyrics

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.


❤ Tara

Birds: Folk

Unit Study: Birds - folk song of the month | www.oliverandtara.com
Unit Study: Birds - Folk song of the month! | www.oliverandtara.com

Another “riches” we include in our monthly rhythm are folk songs. We practice and learn a new one for a month and then add the song to our Spotify playlist. This gives us an ever growing list of songs we can sing together in the car, on hikes, etc.

Why a folk song?

Oh my word, there are so very many reasons to include folk songs in with your other riches. For one, it is a huge part of our cultural heritage here in America. The lyrics often address parts of our history and the music style itself is fading away. Children love singing folk songs. They often have an upbeat yet simple tune to follow along with while you sing. And some of the lyrics are just plane nonsensical and amusing!

Simply put, they infuse beauty, fun, history and culture into your learning space.

Folk songs with birds

As soon as I picked this month’s theme, I knew I would have an abundance of folk songs to pick from about birds. However, I have learned in the past that you MUST pre-screen your folk songs. Or risk traumatizing your more sensitive kids. (oops!)

This month I picked a simple folk song with a beautiful tune and a great way to talk about all the birds they are learning this month. You can add in any bird you like to this simple song and sing as you work, play and go about your daily rhythm. I often hear the kids singing folk songs as they do other tasks and it always makes me so happy.

Little Bird, Little Bird (Elizabeth Mitchell)

Little bird, little bird
Fly through my window
Little bird, little bird
Fly through my window
Little bird, little bird
Fly through my window
Find molasses candy

Through my window
My sugar lump
Fly through my window
My sugar lump
Find molasses candy

Who knows a bird?
Me! Chickadee!
What's a chickadee say?
ChchchchchchChickadee, chickadee

Fly through my window
Chickadee, chickadee
Fly through my window
Chickadee, chickadee
Fly through my window
Find molasses candy

Through my window
My sugar lump
Fly through my window
My sugar lump
And find molasses candy

Who knows another bird?
Me! Jaybird!
What does a jaybird say?
Jayjayjayjayjayjay

Jaybird, jaybird
Fly through my window
Jaybird, jaybird
Fly through my window
Jaybird, jaybird
Fly through my window
Find molasses candy

Through my window
My sugar lump
Fly through my window
My sugar lump
Find molasses candy

Who knows one more bird?
I do! A whip-poor-will
What does a whip-poor-will say?

Whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will
Fly through my window
Whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will
Fly through my window
Whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will
Fly through my window
Find molasses candy

Through my window
My sugar lump
Fly through my window
My sugar lump
Find molasses candy


❤ Tara

Birds: Classical Music

We typically study one composer at time when we explore classical music throughout the school year. We really learn all about the composer and get a feel for their music so we can identify it when we hear it in another context.

This month we are doing it a bit different. We are instead exploring a variety of composers who have created works around birds! Some actually have bird sounds, others use instruments to imitate birds. Overall it gives us great music to listen to and talk about

When to Listen

We don’t have an assigned day or time to listen to music. We typically play our classical music in the background while we do other things. Some suggestions are during:

  • Meals
  • Art/Handicrafts
  • Bible Reading
  • Read Alouds
  • Quiet Time
  • Game time

What We’re Listening To…

  • The Lark Ascending, Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Inspired by the 1881 poem of the same name, this piece was first performed in 1920. A 16 minute song, it was created for a solo violin with an orchestra.
  • The Birds, Ottorino Respighi
    This suite is for a small orchestra and while written in 1926, it is based on music from the 17th and 18th century. The goal of the music was to recreate bird songs and movement. It includes The Dove, The Hen, The Nightingale and The Cuckoo.
  • Cantus Articus, Einojuhani Rautavaara
    This Finnish composer created this composition in 1972. It includes taped recordings of birds from the Finland and the Arctic Circle with the music including shore larks and swans.
  • Bird Concerto with Pianosong, Jonathan Harvey
    Written in 2001 for a solo piano with 7 person ensemble. Harvey listened to 40 birds, including indigo buntings and golden crown sparrows, then slowed down their songs and began turning them into musical notes.
  • Le Merle noir, Olivier Messiaen
    Written in 1952, it is a chamber work from French flute and piano. He had a lifelong interest in birdsong and this piece was his earliest work incorporating stylized birdsong.
  • Le Réveil des oiseaux, Olivier Messiaen
    This whole piece was build from birdsong and is known as a dawn chorus.
  • Epode, Olivier Messiaen
    This work is scored for 18 violins, all playing a different birdsong.

Listen With Us


❤ Tara

Learning on the Road: Playlists

The kids and I spend a lot of time on the road. We love to go on adventures. We have museum memberships, a grew t botanical garden, a lovely zoo, hiking galore and friends all over the state. We could easily waste that time in the car. Or we could make that time count!

One way we learn on the go is by using Spotify Playlists. Our curriculum has the children learning folk songs, singing hymns and completing composer studies.

Making playlists means it’s a quick click to start our “school” as soon as we get in the car in the morning!

Some of our playlists have become favorites and are asked for all day long – especially our folk songs! And I just love hearing them humming a song we’ve learned.

We follow Ambleside Online for our composer studies while picking some of our own music selections for Folk Songs and Hymns.

Click here to read about my Folk Song dilemma.

Feel free to take a peek at some of our playlists!

What do you listen to in the car?

♥ Tara

A Folksong Dilemma

Pip and Liv’s curriculum has them learning a new hymn and folksong every month. I make a Spotify playlist out of their songs and we keep building it over the year. We’ve learned “Cockles and Mussels” and “Green Grass Grows All Around” before switching to Christmas music for November and December.

But I continue to run into a dilemma. The amount of folksongs around the topic of death. “Cockles and Mussels” caught me off guard. It was recommended by their curriculum so, in a complete mom fail moment, I didn’t pre-listen.

Trust me.

I have not made that mistake again. But every month I am having to search for our own songs, as the curriculum list continues to discuss death! For example…

October: Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotten (1905)

When I’m dead and in my grave,
No more good times here I crave,
Place the stones at my head and feet,
Tell them all that I’ve gone to sleep.
Freight train, freight train, run so fast,
Freight train, freight train, run so fast,
Please don’t tell what train I’m on,
So they won’t know what route I’ve gone.

When I die, Lord, bury me deep,
Way down on old Chestnut street
Then I can hear old Number Nine
As she comes rolling by.
Freight train, freight train, run so fast,
Freight train, freight train, run so fast,
Please don’t tell what train I’m on,
So they won’t know what route I’ve gone.

Err… ummm… Pass.

January: Minstrel Boy

The minstrel boy to the war is gone
In the ranks of death you’ll find him
His father’s sword he hath girded on
And his wild harp slung behind him
“Land of Song!” cried the warrior bard
“Tho’ all the world betrays thee
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard
One faithful harp shall praise thee!”

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman’s chains
Could not bring that proud soul under
The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again
For he tore its chords asunder
And said “No chains shall sully thee
Thou soul of love and brav’ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!

Seriously. No. Let’s skip ahead to February?

February: Walk That Lonesome Valley by Mississippi John Hurt (1924)

You got to walk, that lonesome valley.
Well, you got to walk it for yourself.
Ain’t nobody here, can walk it for you.
You got to walk that valley for yourself.

My mother had to walk that lonesome valley.
Well, she had to walk it for herself.
Cause nobody here could walk it for her.
Yeah she had to walk that valley for herself.

Oh yes, you got to walk that lonesome valley.
Well, you got to walk it for yourself.
Cause nobody here can walk it for you.
You got walk that valley for yourself.

My father had to walk that lonesome valley.
He had to walk it for his-self.
Cause nobody here could walk it for him.
He had to walk it for his-self.

Oh, Jesus had to walk that lonesome valley.
He had to walk it for his-self.
Cause nobody here could walk it for him.
He had to walk that valley for his-self.

Oh yes you got to walk that lonesome valley.
Well, you got to walk it for yourself.
Yes nobody here can walk it for you.
You got to walk that valley for yourself.

Oh my word. I. Just. Can’t.

So we’ll be learning An Acre of Land for January. I can explain that one clearly!

I am totally open to Folksong recommendations… without macabre themes, please!

 Tara

Reading Together: Why, What and What is Next?

Reading aloud is important in our home. I have vivid memories of my mom reading aloud to me as a child. She would come into my room in the evening and we’d curl up together reading Madeline L’Engle books such as A Wrinkle in Time. I have read to my own children since they were babies and in the past 2 years we’ve made the switch to chapter books. Pip and Liv love listening to chapter books, whether audiobooks in the car or physical books I’ve found on family member’s shelves or in lovely used bookstores. I recently posted our first audiobook series for 2019 on my social media and was flooded with questions. So I’ve decided to answer some of them below!

Why Do You Read Aloud?

Research has shown us, time and time again, that reading is vital to child development. Reading aloud to a child exposes them to diverse vocabulary, develops imagination and teaches listening skills. And it helps develop lifelong readers! Even once your child has begun to read, it is important to keep reading aloud with them by selecting books beyond their reading level but tied to their interests. By reading to Pip and Liv, we are modeling reading for enjoyment while demonstrating how to read. Left to right, top to bottom, inflection, character voices and emotions like suspense, surprise and sadness!

What Books Do You Pick?

There are so many book lists out there. Some put out by libraries, authors, bloggers and more. The Read Aloud Revival has recently received a lot of press and I very much appreciate her exposing parents to the idea of reading to their children. While I have some hesitations with her book list, it is a fantastic place to start for many families.

There are some specific things I look for when selecting chapter books to read with our children. While it is hard to simplify it, here are the first three things I look into…

  1. Not Twaddle: Twaddle is “trivial or foolish speech or writings”. We look for books that teach character, written with “literary power” and expect intelligence from our children. A great explanation of this can be found here.
  2. Simple Drawings: Ask my poor husband, I will spend hours in a used book store flipping through multiple copies of the same book. I’ll request different versions of the same book through the library system and return most of them to the cart without ever checking them out. I don’t want a book that provides brightly colored pictures to my children. This takes away from their imagination’s job! I love a book with simple pen drawings in black and white. Enough to help them if they’ve never seen the story’s topic, but which leaves out most of the image for their minds to fill in.
  3. Engaging: There is a good chance that, if the story bores me, it will also bore my children. I look for books that we all find interesting. Not only does this keep my children loving our read aloud times, but it makes me more prone to pick the book up and excitedly start the next chapter.

What Did You Read in 2018?

We had so much fun reading chapter books in 2018. Many we were gifted by my husband’s aunts and some came from his grandma. They were older book with that wonderful “book smell” and simple line drawings. Here is a list of the ones we completed before the stroke of midnight last night:

2018 Reading List for Pip and Liv

  1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  2. Stuart Little by E.B. White
  3. The Francis Collection by Russell Hoban
  4. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
  5. Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  6. The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
  7. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus
  8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  9. The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum

What Are You Reading in 2019?

Pip and I talked about a new reading goal for 2019. We had set our goal for 10 in 2018 and just missed it. Failure is ok in our house, we actually celebrate it! We love learning from our failures and talking about them openly. Despite our shortcoming this year, we decided to aim a little higher for 2019. We are going to try for 12 books this coming year! We are wrapping up a few from last year still while making a “wish list” for 2019. There are more than 12 books on the list because, well.. we like options!

2019 Reading List for Pip and Liv

  1. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White (started in 2018!)
  2. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
    1. Mary Poppins Comes Back
    2. Mary Poppins Opens the Door
    3. Mary Poppins in the Park
    4. Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane
    5. Mary Poppins and the House Next Door
  3. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  4. Burgess Animal Stories by Thornton Burgess (started 2018, a huge series!)
  5. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  6. My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  7. Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  8. Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum
    1. We plan to continue through this series – there are 14 Oz stories by Baum, another 26 put out by other authors and even more “related works”
  9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S, Lewis

Let us know if you are reading these too – my children love to talk books with their friends!

Tara

Gaming: Koala Capers

My mom stumbled upon this game on Zulily a few months ago. She thought it looked perfect for Pip. Sure enough! He loves it!

Caption reads:

A lot of people ask how I adapt and play games with Pip (who turns three in January). This is a sneak peak of a game we just opened today called “Koala Capers”. The game called for rolling two dice, a pattern one and an article of clothing one. There is a “lose your cards” option on the clothing die – a pair of underwear. *giggle* Because Pip knows the names of articles of clothing, doesn’t understand “losing” cards, and isn’t quite to following two step descriptor directions yet… We just used the pattern die! We take turns rolling the die and finding a Koala that has our pattern on any article of clothing. He’s getting really good at naming the pattern types (zip zag, polka dots, etc) and finding them amongst all the cards set out before him! We’ve played it twice already and he’s right now asking to play it again!

We typically play this game up to 3 mornings a week. We all get ready together in the morning (mommy, daddy and Pip), so we keep this game in the bedroom to play when waiting for a turn in the bathroom or for everyone to be finished!

A lot of people ask how I adapt and play games with Pip (who turns three in January). This is a sneak peak of a game we just opened today called "Koala Capers". The game called for rolling two dice, a pattern one and an article of clothing one. There is a "lose your cards" option on the clothing die – a pair of underwear. *giggle* Because Pip knows the names of articles of clothing, doesn't understand "losing" cards, and isn't quite to following two step descriptor directions yet… We just used the pattern die! We take turns rolling the die and finding a Koala that has our pattern on any article of clothing. He's getting really good at naming the pattern types (zip zag, polka dots, etc) and finding them amongst all the cards set out before him! We've played it twice already and he's right now asking to play it again! #homeschool #slpmom

A video posted by Tara Nicole (@speechykeenslp) on

-Tara

Link to the game on Amazon