This is the 2nd of a three part review of 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.
For this review I am reviewing 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 week 3.
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 3:
- We enjoyed a “Four Senses Wetland Walk” from the study, where we kept our noses, eyes, ears open and felt various wetland plants and animals with our hands.
- We learned a ton about snails and created our own snail habitat after collecting snails from a local wetland
- We visited a local pond and explored the surrounding areas, including: the trees, the plants, any sounds and smells, what we could see from the grassy bank, the temperature of the water, any insects we could find, among other things!
- We studied various types of wetland plants.
- We discussed and Notebooked the difference between Submergent, Emergent, and Floater plants and found them in nature.
- We watched a turtle “basking in the sun” and identified it as a Painted Turtle.
- We found several water snakes and watched them in their habitat.
- We read more of One Small Square: Swamp
- We enjoyed many stories from Among the Pond People by Clara D. Pierson (LOVE this book!)
|A day out at a local pond…|
|Finding loads of snails!|
|Creating an appropriate snail habitat for our friends and feeding them cucumber slices and apple!|
Wetlands Observation page – learning about different kinds of wetland plants.
|Looking at Turtles (still using and LOVING Draw Write Now!)|
Learning about the benefits of wetlands, different plants, and one of the most common wetland birds in our area – the Red-winged Blackbird.