Impromptu Nature Study — Wood Ducks

We’re on vacation! Yeah! That’s why not a lot is getting posted on my blog, but we’ve had some really nice learning opportunities while on vacation. We always do. Maybe it’s because we’re more relaxed, so we notice when the learning opportunities just pop up. Anyway, my husband discovered that one of the parks here had a family of Wood Ducks in it. I’d never seen them before and neither had the kids, so we were very excited to go see them.

Wood Ducks are one of the most amazing birds. If you’ve ever seen any video about them, you already know how fascinating they are. They build their nests in hollows of trees and then their ducklings have to jump out of the tree and walk/waddle sometimes up to a mile to where the water is. That can be a very dangerous trek for the little ducks, but they’re not extinct, so it must work. We were already interested in these birds from seeing them on the outstanding Life of Birds video series narrated by David Attenborough. (Not a Creationist series.) Now we got to see them in real life in their natural habitat.

Here is picture of the kids and me at the park:

Family at Drake Park

A picture of one of these absolutely beautiful birds:

Wood Duck Close-up

JD Boy said after we were done watching them, that he wishes he could always do nature study. Me too!

Zippy drew a picture of the Wood Duck to add to her nature journal. Here it is:

Wood Duck Drawing Close-up

Pocahontas & John Smith Lapbook

These lapbooks were simple, but they were especially fun because the children came up with what they wanted in them themselves. I, of course, had to help, but I let them design them and choose everything themselves. We just searched in Google images for most of the clipart and we had fun. (Unless noted artwork was from Google images.)

The books that we read on the subject were This Is Our Country, Pocahontas by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire, What If You’d Been at Jamestown? and The Double Life of Pocahontas by Jean Fritz.

Here is the cover of John Deere Boy’s (age 5) lapbook. It is a picture that he colored out of the Pocahontas coloring book by Dover Publications.

The inside:

His map: (from

Jamestown book cover: (from US History Little Books: Famous Places)

The inside of his Jamestown book is a photo of him holding the 3-D model that he made of Jamestown. (From Homeschool in the Woods. I can’t promise that link will always work as it was for the Jamestown anniversary.)

All of the rest of his mini-books were accordion style. Here is the one on John Smith. (The pictures in this were taken from the Pocahontas coloring book by Dover Publications.)

His book on Chief Powhatan:

His book on the Powhatan Indians:

Last but not least, is his book on Pocahontas. It is long. (I hope it fits on the screen.) He found several pictures to put in it. He carefully put them all in chronological order.

This is a drawing that he did on the back of his lapbook. It is a whole story, so it doesn’t mean so much if you can’t hear him explain it. Zippy says that he draws like he tells stories. You’d just have to hear him tell you the story of what is going on in this picture. He’s only five, but he’s a consummate story teller. It is the story of Pocahontas saving John Smith’s life.

If you’d like to see his whole set on Flickr! click here.
Now for my 8-year old’s: I wanted to make sure that she had some copywork in hers, so she designed it knowing that prerequisite. If you’d rather see the set on Flickr! click here.

Her cover: (She drew the pictures herself of Pocahontas rescuing John Smith.)

  Her lapbook layed open:

Her shaped book on the starving time. (Sorry it is hard to read those glitter pens that she likes so much. It says, "When Jamestown was starving, Pocahontas brought food and corn. She saved them from starving to death." )

Her book about John Smith: (The cover and the piece pasted on the inside were from the History Pockets, Colonial America.)

Her map showing where Jamestown is located:

Her Jamestown book (from US History Little Books: Famous Places) and her note on the bottom explaining why she put beads all over her lapbook.

Inside of the Jamestown book with picture of her holding the craft she made from Homeschool in the Woods.

Her book on "Pocahontas, the Indian Princess": (The inside picture is from the Pocahontas coloring book by Dover Publications.)

Her book about Pocahontas’ wedding: (Picture on the inside is again from the Pocahontas coloring book by Dover Publications.)

Thanks for looking!

Early Christian Church Lapbook

Another lapbook! This one corresponded with our children’s Bible class on the life of Paul and Peter after Jesus’ ascension to heaven. The lessons we studied  were from My Bible First and they were the Year C, quarter 2 lessons of the My Bible Says set. And once again many of the booklets are from Homeschool in the Woods from her New Testament Activity Pak.

This time I’ll do Zippy’s first, since I’ve been doing her’s last normally.

We made her cover out of clipart from

You wil notice that we didn’t fold the lapbook the usual shutter fold style. That was because we wanted to get this extension about the armor of God to fit in this lapbook. And this was the only way I could figure out how to make it work. Here is the inside:

The armor of God is made from two pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock taped together at the back. As you can see from the previous photo, the armor is all removable. It is attached by velcro. I just took her picture and printed it out and she cut that out for the face. This was from the Homeschool in the Woods New Testament Activity Pak.


Next is postcards from Paul, with a different postcard summarizing each of the letters that he wrote. This is also from Homeschool in the Woods.

This is a mini coloring book that I put together on the events of Paul’s conversion. This is another minibook that my long necked stapler came in very handy for.  I got the pictures on the inside from  searching on Google. Now I can’t find the source. They were a free download though.

I made this one too. It is for Peter’s Ladder found in 2 Peter 1:5-7 I just took the ladder from Microsoft clipart and layered two of the ladders on top of each other to produce the right amount of rungs and then typed the words in so the children could color them. Then we folded it accordion style.

Then we spent awhile tracing Paul’s routes. This one took awhile to do. It also came from Homeschool in the Woods. It is an accordion style mini book.

This is the cover with it closed.

This is what it looks like opened up.

Here is a close-up of one of the maps. (You can see more of them on the set on flickr.)

A Bible verse that she copied down just to fill up some empty space:

A matchbook about Peter’s vision about the unclean animals with a verse copied inside explaining what the vision was about. (This is the first minibook I ever created on my own, so I was excited about that.)

You can see a few more pictures of Zippy’s lapbook by clicking here.

Now here’s Mr. John Deere Boy’s lapbook. He didn’t join with us for all the same studies so it’s not quite as full. Some things that look the same as hers, I’m not showing here, but if you’d like to see every detail of his lapbook you can by clicking here.

His cover is a picture of Paul’s shipwreck when he was a prisoner on his way to Rome. We got the picture for free from

Here is the inside.

His armor of God:

His mailbox that contains the postcards from Paul:

His one minibook that he made different from his sister. It is on the verse in James 3:5 about controling the tongue. We modified this from the book Easy Make & Learn Human Body.

He pasted in a quote on the subject from the an old religious youth magazine: Youth’s Instructor, 7/26/08.

His Peter’s Ladder extended:

You can see all of our lapbooks here.


Well, I’ve been looking at some other blogs and I found a  write-up on one of them about keeping your children safe. So, I’ve tried to remove all of my children’s names from my blog as well as our last name. I hope I succeeded. I definitely want to keep my children safe. I’d be horrified if something happened to them. Can’t even imagine it! Anyway, since this is a blog open for public viewing, even though I don’t have tons of people visiting my blog everyday, I decided better safe-than-sorry.

So from now on my children are by order of their age referred to as Zippy, JDboy (short for John Deere Boy), and G’tums (until he grows out of that and can pick one for himself.)

And if you notice that I missed anything, I would appreciate your bringing it to my attention. Since pretty much everybody who sees my blog, knows my family, I’m sure that you too would hate to see my children endangered.

Moore Formula

We have chosen to homeschool using the Moore Formula. It just makes so much sense. I decided to blog about it today.

It was developed by Dr. Raymond Moore, who The Old Schoolhouse magazine referred to as the grandfather of homeschooling.

It is so much more than Charlotte Mason, unit studies or Ruth Beechick, but includes all of those. The Moore Formula is very simple. It is: 1) Study from a few minutes to several hours a day, depending on the child’s maturity. 2) Manual work at least as much as study. 3) Home and/or community service an hour or so a day. This is why I like it so much, it includes everything in life as school, because developing our children into well-rounded adults takes more than good unit studies or the best living books, it takes more than good scholastics and plenty of nature study, though I think all of those things are important. It also involves learning to work and learning to serve others and learning to serve God supremely.

Here are some websites of interest about the Moore Formula.
Dr. Raymond Moore’s obituary:
Moore Academy:
The Moore Formula
And my two favorite books by Dr. Moore: Better Late Than Early and The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook. Many other books for homeschoolers are also available at

Dr. Moore in his books talks about unit studies, good living books, the importance of nature study, Bible study and all of the other aspects of scholastics, but he melts it down to the fact that scholastics isn’t everything. And I agree!

Explorers Lapbook

This is the most detailed lapbook that we have done so far. (So get ready for lots of pictures.) The kids were very proud of these lapbooks. It took us several weeks to do these as we read and learned about the explorers.

Here is a list of books that we enjoyed on this subject: Around the World in a Hundred Years, The Usborne Book of Explorers, Eyewitness Books Explorer, Exploration and Conquest by Betsy MaestroWhen Clay SingsIn My Mother’s House, Who Were the First North Americans?. And of course we continued reading This Country of Ours. Also there was a lot of interesting information that we read from the Time Travelers New World Explorers CD by Amy Pak. I really can’t say enough good about her products. They are outstanding. This is not an exhaustive list of what we read, but it’s all I can remember.

We learned about so many explorers in this unit. I was amazed at how well the kids remembered what we studied. I really think that lapbooking helps especially my daughter remember what we are studying. She is a very hands-on learner.

Here are the lapbooks. The first one is JD Boy’s (age 5). JD Boy’s lapbook components are about half from  Explorers of North America History Pockets and half from Time Travelers New World Explorers.

JD Boy’s cover:


His painting of the sea:
His Pirate: (Clothing attaches to pirate with velcro.)

His Explorer Profiles:
Backs of Explorer profiles:

Inside of lapbook with extension up:

His treasure chest:
His navigation tools:
His sea monster pop-up :
His timeline:

To see more detailed pictures of JD Boy’s lapbook, click here.

Whew! That was already a lot of pictures, but there’s more. Here is Zippy’s (age 8) lapbook. It is all from Time Travelers New World Explorers with a few adaptions. They enjoyed being able to do different lapbooks this time. Some things were the same, but they were mostly different. Before, even though they’ve each made their own, they had mostly the same things in them. So it was fun to have two different finished products.

Zippy’s Cover: (We can hardly get it closed.)

Her Timeline:

Her maps: (Each explorer had his own overlay made out of overhead projector sheets. This was the thickest part of her lapbook and was a lot of work.)

Inside with extension opened to display explorer profiles: (The timeline and the maps are tucked into the red pocket.)
Inside of one explorer profile:

Zippy’s Sea Monster pop-up:

To see more pictures of Zippy’s lapbook, click here.

One other fun thing we did with this unit study was to make Inca masks. This idea came from Time Travelers New World Explorers. These were really fun, but took half of a day to make.  They are made out of papier-mâché. We taped down string and aluminum foil to make the shapes on the mask, then the papier-mâché, then once the masks were dry, the kids spray painted them.

Here are the pictures:

JD Boy’s:


What a fun project! (And, by the way, my daughter took those pictures of my hands in that gooey stuff. I couldn’t stay out of it!)

Columbus Lapbook

More lapbooks! This is the first lapbook that we did for our "official school year". The previous ones we did during our summer vacation.

We are enjoying learning about the beginning of America and we started reading about none other than Christopher Columbus. Some of the books that we enjoyed were: A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus, Animals Christopher Columbus Saw, Columbus by Ingri & Edgar D’Aulaire and You Wouldn’t Want to Sail With Christopher Columbus. We are also reading through a book entitled This Country of Ours by Henrietta Marshall. This covers the discoveries of Leif Eriksson to the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. It is a reprint of a 1917 book and you can find several different reprints of it if you search for it on Google. You can even get it free in an ebook format. We were also fortunate enough to find it in an audiobook format so we often listen to it playing while we are working on our lapbooks. This is really our core book, and we get the others to supplement what we are reading in this one. Some of the above mentioned books we found at our library. Some were unfortunately reserved for the forseeable future (Obviously they are good ones.) so we purchased them.

Now for the lapbooks. The first one is JDboy’s (age 5);

His cover:
Two shots of the inside:
A couple of close ups:

Her cover:

Inside of lapbook:
Closeups of minibooks:

Too see more closeups of Zippy’s minibooks in her Christopher Columbus lapbook, click here.

We got the components for this lapbook from New World Explorers Time Travelor series by Amy Pak and from History Pockets: Explorers of North America. (History Pockets are also in ebook format.) By the way, I love both of these resources. They have very nice illustrations and make great components for lapbooks. I made the minibook on the knots myself. (If I knew how to post pdf’s on my blog, I would, but I’m kind of new to this whole blogging thing and I can’t figure it out. If somebody tells me how, I’ll put it up. I don’t even know how to post it in, so if I figure it out, I’ll do it and put a link.)