Tag Archives: Animal

Basset Hounds…My daughter’s latest blog post.

My daughter researched and wrote her latest blog.  Her writing improves daily in little ways, and I’m proud of the excitement she is showing in doing research and then writing about it.  She takes notes, writes a rough draft, and then types it out onto her blog.  What a great way this has been to get her interested in writing reports for homeschooling.  I hope you will check it out and read what she learned about Basset Hounds.  Her own pet is a Basset Hound/Beagle mix, and finding out about one of the breeds of her own pet really excited her.  Here is the link to her new post…


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Why I Love Homeschooling…A Field Trip to the Zoo

Jklyn with her dad at the beginning of the zoo.

There are many reasons I love homeschooling my daughter, among them the safety issues at Public Schools from bullying and other violence aren’t an issue for my daughter.  Another is that I am wholly responsible for her education, and for helping her deal with her dyslexia.  Having been a Substitute Teacher and a Tutor, I tutored teens with learning disabilities at a Public Junior High, I was trained specifically to help them overcome their learning issues, thanks to a special program funded by one single district in Central California.  Since then I’ve not seen another Public School with a program like that.  Instead, teachers who are untrained tend to see children with learning disabilities as trouble makers, or unfocused and they often send them from the room instead of helping them.  That is what happened with my youngest daughter.

I also love homeschooling because I can teach my daughter at her exact level of

Jklyn, camara in hand, taking pictures in the Ocean exhibit.

learning.  In subjects she excels in my daughter is able to move forward.  In those she is struggling in we are able to move slower until she is proficient at them.  I am not tied to a certain curriculem or way of teaching her at all, and that gives me the freedom to introduce new ways of teaching, more hands on learning, and things like field trips to help her learn.  It makes learning less of a chore and more of an experience for her that can be fun.

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is

Jk at one of the hands on learning exhibits, learning the parts of a snakes body.

something that most parents never get to see from their child.  It is that moment that a light goes off in their head and you know they finally got it!  I’ve been blessed to see that many times with my daughter, like the moment she understood the process of multiplication.  I didn’t have trouble in learning.  I could memorize facts just from reading them, but my daughter is not the same way.  Dyslexia messes with the way a child sees words, numbers and even how they process those things, so just reading and memorizing things is hard for them.  My daughter, instead, learns from hands on

Jklyn actually reaching in and petting a shark!

memories.  She learns from using her senses of touch, smell, hearing, taste, and these all aid in helping her visual learning experience.  When she grasps a concept, she will lean her head back thoughtfully a moment, then lift it with the biggest grin upon her face punctuated by her adorable dimples.  After another moment she will excitedly tell me that she understands.  Often this is while she is dancing around saying…”I got it, Mom!  I got it!”  Then she will explain what it is that she finally understands.  It

Jklyn comparing her hand to the exhibit about snake scales. Notice she is video taping it with her camara at the same time.

becomes a celebration of learning, instead of how it is in most Public Schools where moment like these are stifled by structure in classrooms.

Whenever Jk has one of these moments we know it is time to reward her efforts with a field trip where she will learn more, or can put what she has learned to sight.  That is what we did recently by taking a Field Trip to the local Zoo.  I loved that our zoo, had hands on learning experiences for the children a long with the actual visual experience of seening animals.  Jk was able to pet a real shark, compare her own skin to the scales on the skin of a snake, and more.

Jklyn got to experience art at the zoo as well. Here she is with a wire sculpture of a bison. They had wood carvings of animals and things like this throughout the zoo.

A long the pathway she could also learn about different flowers from different environments, whether desert cactus or the daffodils that grow so prevalent in our own state.  Being able to go on field trips and offer her a variety of learning experience is one of the things that Public Schools can not offer because of budget restraints.  Where they can only take one or two local fieldtrips a year, the world is an open field trip for us whenever we want to make it one.  For instance, our next science unit will be learning about plants, berries and mushrooms.  We will be making a survival booklet on what is safe, what is poisonous, what can be eaten, and which can

Jklyn setting on a wall across from the Lemur exhibit watching the ducks swimming around the water, as the lemurs hop from their den to the trees and back again. Poor thing, this is near the end of the day and she looks tired out. She slept all the way home.

be used for medical purposes.  We’ve already put in an herb garden on our front porch and even have an Aloe Vera plant there as well.  As we learn we will be able to go mushrooming in the forests here, and maybe even pick wild berries that are edible.  We will be able to make more than one field trip to local state parks, orchards, and more.  As we go Jk will use her writing skills to take notes, the camara to take pictures, math skills to mark our trail and to measure things.  She will use geography to know where plants are more prominent for us to find.  Schooling is more than just set there read the book, answer the questions, and take a test.  For homeschoolers like Jklyn homeschool is movement, use of senses, hands on learning,

A seal surfacing from an underwater swim.

and most of all  an adventure daily.  This is why I love homeschooling my daughter.  By the way don’t worry about socialization.  She attends Homeschool Choir once a week, and during that time they also do physical education in the gym at our church.  She is involved with many of the Children’s programs at church, so she is around other children 3 to 4 days a week usually, and sometimes more since we have neighbors only a couple of blocks away who also homeschool and have 4 daughters, three of whom are close to Jklyn’s age, so she has friends to play with, walk

with and talk with when she wants to.

A tank full of unusual sea creatures. The fish swimming together in the front of the tank are "Unicorn Fish".

All that said, I also want to share pictures from our field trip.  I took over 350 pictures, but I won’t post them all here.  I will post some of them for you to enjoy and see what our field trip was like.

That bright green creature sticking out of the rocks is a Moray Eel.

A couple of the sharks that were swimming in the Touch Tank that Jklyn was able to pet.

The Penguin exhibit. It looks more like a painting of them, but they were quite real and very much alive. Jklyn had all types of stories for what some of them were doing, including one she said was doing a scene from The Titanic. The penquins were quite active and funny.

Polar Bear through the glass. He was just laying right there and the only think that let you know he was alive was the movement of his head every once in a while.

One of the markers at the zoo, letting you know about the flowers or plants grown in that area.

A big, old walrus swimming and entertaining the crowds with his antics.

A Meerkat standing and watching the people watching it. It seemed to like to have its picture taken.

One of the many lizards we saw in the Desert exhibit.

Jk involved in one of the hands on learning exhibits in the Snake exhibit.

A Giraffe family.

A rattlesnake in the Snake Exhibit. One of many snakes from around the world that we saw up close.

An Ostrich.

Another snake from the exhibit wrapped around the tree like a cocoon.

A rhino up close.

A family of Baboons who were really active on the day we were there. They were playing tag, and the babies were climbing all over the adult baboons.

One of the beautiful types of flowers we saw blooming in the Plains Exhibit.

This zebra seemed to love the limelight, and showed up and posed everytime I took a picture in the exhibit he was in. He wasn't afraid to come up close to where people were at all.

Although the fastest animal on earth, this cheetah seemed more into sunbathing rather than running.

One of the elephants at the zoo.

One of the Mallards that swam around the Lemur Exhibit, and seemed to like to walk among the legs of the flamingos.

A very playful, yet dangerous bear.

Flying foxes.

A tiger playing ball.

The tiger up close.

Last, more beautiful flowers from the African plains exhibit. I loved the color and structure of these the most.


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Handimals…A Very Cute Family Activity

A sign dispaying some of their Handimal family units.

This past Saturday, my husband and I took my daughter Jk, on a homeschool field trip to a  local zoo.  It was a great day that I will blog on later, but for this I want to blog about one of the cutest ideas I saw at the zoo.  It is called Handimals.  Basically you paint your hand and press it onto a piece of paper, or other medium for painting such as canvas, newsprint, or even fabric.  Then with permanent markers you turn that handprint into an animal of some kind.  When I saw this being done at the zoo, my mind started racing 100 miles per minute thinking of ways I could use this idea.  What I loved was that they made family units from these handprints.  They would not only have the children make a handprint, but mom, dad, and even grandparents.  I thought what a wonderful way to teach children about animals and about the family in one project.  I took pictures of their display and am posting them so you get the idea.  My daughter just finished a unit learning about the different types of animals, land, desert, artic, ocean and so on.  In each she learned even more about the animals, whether they were mammals, reptiles, birds or amphibians.  She learned about what made each animal special to their environment.  It was a wonderful way to instill in her how vast and awe-inspiring creation is, and in the same way how awesome God is to have created it down to the tiniest bit of DNA.

Usually with each subject we tackle I try to give her a fun project to work on to share what she has learned.  I want to use the idea of Handimals in a project for this portion of her Science for the year.  I thought maybe a quilt for one of her nephews with Handimals on each square.  Another thought was a family tree with each person represented by an animal.  Since she is so close to being a teenager and loves purses and other girly things, I also thought maybe a totebag or purse that she could carry.  Of course knowing my daughter it will have either a leopard, cheetah, or zebra as its main focus.

With this in mind I’m going to let you join in on my decision on what to give her to do.  Do you have an idea on how I could use these Handimals for a project that a tween would love to do?  Please leave a comment giving your idea.   For those in foreign countries, please write in English.  My German, Spanish and Portuguese are very limited, and as far as other languages, I wouldn’t have a clue as to what you are saying, and I really am interested in your ideas no matter what country you are in.  Thank you!


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My First Crocheted Agamaruni Frog

I thought I would try my hand at an Crocheted Agamaruni…freehand, my own frog creation.  This is the outcome, and as you can see it was claimed immediately by my tween.  No… that isn’t a mistake on that long red tongue.  It is a black crocheted fly.  Easy to make, with Spring Green Red Heart Yarn,  scraps of leftover yarn from other projects, and fiberfill.  I can’t wait to get on with my next Agamaruni project.   By Christmas I hope to have one for each of my Grandchildren, but with their favorite colors and animal.


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