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I thought I’d take a bit of time today to tell you a bit about my oldest son (he is 12). Over the past years he has taken a real interest in birds…everything birds! We used to have only a couple of bird field guides…well, now we have a whole collection…
My son reads the field guides like they are novels and has stored up so much bird knowledge that it amazes me! He is constantly spouting off bird facts like they are common knowledge…what kind of birds winter here and which ones migrate south, what each kind of bird eats, whether they like ground feeders or hanging feeders, what kind of nests they build, etc. Even as I tuck him in bed at night, he has just a bit more “bird” information he wants to share with me before he can go to sleep! His mind is FULL of bird stuff. I tell him he is my walking bird encyclopedia!
Well, a few weeks ago I was brainstorming how I could somehow include that passion for birds in his homeschool studies. I felt that it would not only be fun for him, but would give him an outlet for all that information. Since I LOVE notebooks (using notebooks to hold and organize information on specific topics), I decided to encourage him to create a bird notebook. I printed out a list of some ideas of things he could include in his notebook: information pages on specific birds, migration maps, instructions on making a bird feeder, information on feeding birds, recipes for making suet and other bird feed, etc. He has been LOVING it! I have him work at least 15 minutes on his bird notebook during our homeschool day, but he ends up working on it much longer…just because it is fun and he enjoys learning about birds. Here is a picture of his notebook…
I printed out some different style pages from my Learning Portfolio ebook for him to use…and he is loving filling those pages with information and putting them in his notebook. This has been a wonderful way for my son to dump all that bird knowledge he has been reading. No longer does he have to try to remember it all…he can write it down in his bird notebook. Besides all he is learning about birds, he is working on his penmanship and language arts skills through copying information from the field guides, learning geography as he studies where all the birds can be found, and most importantly developing a love of learning.
We had ordered a few more bird books through Amazon recently and received one yesterday that he just LOVES! He was jumping up and down as he ran to the house with it…and almost didn’t put it down all evening! It is so much fun watching him love learning. I think as I take the time encourage him and give him the tools he needs to learn, that I will see this “love for learning” spill over into other areas as well.
What about you? Do any of your children have an area of interest that you could encourage? If so, get a 3-ring binder, some divider tabs, and some notebook paper (or grab some of my notebooking and journaling ebooks) and turn them loose! My middle son (he is 7) is taking an interest in cowboys. I told him that he has to get to reading better so he can read all the cowboy books at the library and start his own cowboy notebook. So…his reward for completing all his reading lessons is that he gets to pick out a brand new cowboy book to buy for his studies. He is so excited!
Before I close, I just want to encourage you to include your children’s interests in your day…set them free to learn.
If you are looking for some helpful resources for notebooking, you can check out these ebooks that I offer on my site: