Homeschooling: How We Added Birdwatching to Homeschool Science

This past week, I tried to be a little flexible with some side projects that weren’t within our regular curriculum.  Once I have a plan, it is sometimes hard for me to break from it, but I also realize that taking advantage of current situations can also be beneficial for my 5th grader.

We have a bird feeder outside our dining room window, and this year, we have had quite the crowd of visitors.  My hubby and I love to watch the birds, and my teen is always teasing us that we are showing our age!  However, last week we had a new and fascinating visitor:

This cutie is the Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, and it was the first time that we had ever seen one. It was male, but we also saw a female flying around close by.  The male was having a wonderful time selecting the large seeds from the feeder and taking them to this spot to break the seed for the inside. (I had to take a photo carefully at the window, and since we have tinted screens, I wasn’t sure if this photo would turn out!)

Josh, our 5th grader, loved checking out these new visitors too. After this experience, I grabbed a composition book and had him look up facts about this bird and do a drawing of it:
We keep a bird guide (specifically for our area of Texas) by the window, so we can do quick identifications. I found the best website for looking up specifics for birds is Audubon.
Audubon also has a new kid-specific website called “Audubon Adventures” with activities and Teacher Guides that could be useful in your homeschool. There is also a link from this kid-friendly page to the online bird identification guide at Audubon’s main site.    
In our current science curriculum, we are doing Earth Science and Weather, so birdwatching isn’t really in that category.  However, it was a fun break from the norm, and my son wants to do more. (Plus it gives him a chance to draw!)  It was indeed a great lesson for me as well: be flexible and spontaneous with learning.  

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