A Review of Animals & Their Worlds: Swamp Creatures (Beginning)

I am excited to review Animals & Their Worlds: Swamp Creatures from Spirited Autumn Hope.  This is the sister site to Winter Promise, offering wonderful downloadable Charlotte Mason-inspired unit studies.

I will be doing a different kind of review for this curriculum.  I will review the beginning, middle, and end of the study, thus giving an overview of what it looks like to walk through it.  The study itself is 5 weeks long.  For this post, I’ll be reviewing weeks 1 and 2.

The studies are easily downloaded from the site, making them really accessible to home schoolers at any time throughout the year.  For Swamp Creatures, we chose to jump in during Spring because it is the perfect season to do Nature Studies in wetlands!

The layout for these studies is very easy to follow.  The format is E-book and it instantly downloads and can either be kept on the computer or printed with ease.  I do not recommend, however, just printing the entire document!  I did this the first time before I looked through the entire file and realized it was unnecessary.  (I didn’t need half the file printed as I wasn’t really using it for a very young learner!)  There is a section of Guide Pages (weekly schedules) at the Beginning which need to be printed but everything else is optional and you can pick and choose what works best for your family and children.

The other sections of the unit study include:

  • Make Your Own Animal Pages– one animal per week is studied and pages are included to add to your child’s nature journal
  • Habitats, Hollows and Homes Wetlands Journal – these are read-aloud lessons and notebooking/nature journaling pages for elementary learners
  • Burrows, Beehives and Beds Wetlands Journal – these are similar read-alouds with different notebooking and nature journaling pages for younger children 
  • Walking in Wetlands pages are narrative lessons about various aspects of Wetland life.  Topics include things like: Watersheds & Wetland Health, Everyday Creatures you Might See, Mucking About in a Bog, etc.
  • Wetlands Observation pages are more hands-on activities, experiments, nature walks and outings, and journaling ideas.  For example: Find a New Small Square, Three Factors in a Wetland,  Collect Samples from Your Wetland Small Square, Make a Map of Your Small Square, Draw a Wetland Plant, Compare Toads and Frogs, etc.  (I have photographed many of our Observation pages to include in these reviews).

The layout is a grid style schedule.  There are suggested titles to read along with the study and one required title, One Small Square: Swamp.  We enjoyed this book for the most-part, although we did have a chat about the evolutionary concepts on the first page.

Each day there are Read-Alouds, Wetlands Observations pages to complete and various things like research and activities to go along with the study.  For example, Day 1 of Week 2 we discussed “Everyday Creatures You Might See!” from our Walking in Wetlands page and then completed our Wetlands Observation Page 9 which was a grid comparing Frogs and Toads.

A Look at Week 1 and 2

Walking in Wetlands… we enjoyed several different wetlands in our first two weeks of the study.  The first was a marsh about 15 minutes from our home which is a wildlife sanctuary for various animals and birds.  It is so beautiful and a lovely example of a thriving wetland!

The second Wetland area we visited was right down the street from us at our old familiar conservation area we visit weekly (for a while it was daily!).  This is where we chose our ‘one small square’.  We visit a Vernal Pool every summer and watch it come to life with loads of frogs, tadpoles, insects, and various other creatures.  On this visit, we were surprised to see the first frog of the season!

Schedule and Required Reading:

The Weekly Schedule for Week two.

Required title: One Small Square, Swamp.

A look at our learning and our nature journal pages:

We enjoyed the first two weeks of this study!  We covered all kinds of topics related to wetlands, including:

  • How do wetlands form?
  • What can we expect to find in a wetland?
  • What different kinds of wetlands are there?
  • What makes a wetland unique?
  • What types of birds are in wetlands? (We looked at Loons, Herons, Gulls, and Geese and I blogged about our study of these birds HERE.)
  • What are the benefits of wetlands?
  • We talked about swamps and alligators. 

What makes a wetland?  We discussed how wetlands form, hydric soil, hydrophytic vegetation, and the types of animals found in a typical wetland.

Draw two types of Wetlands.

Swamp Sketch by Simon.

Swamp sketch by Audrey.

Thanks for reading, I will be posting the next part of our review of Animals & Their Worlds: Swamp Creatures from Spirited Autumn Hope next week! 

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