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Category: FIAR

The Owl Puke book has several fun ideas, an Owl Puke Card is one of them. Open and shut the owls mouth by opening up the card! Satori had to go and make colorful Mr. Day-Glo owl here. We had our own idea to add a few furry realistic feathers, otherwise one might not be able to guess what creature this was. One of the things we learned, is the tufts on the head of owls are not their ears! But feathers do play an important part of their excellent hearing.


The gaping mouth left us an idea to make our own quick fake owl pellet.


And our finished Owl Puke card, complete with owl pellet!


Not sure if you’ve noticed in the recent photos, but do you like Satori’s bang cut she gave herself the day before Thanksgiving?  Here she is in front of our new Christmas tree we have to decorate yet. Her Snowy Owl Kacy has been at her side every minute of the day.


Tonight we should be finally finishing up our read-aloud book – Poppy. Coincidentally, it features an owl. It has been very enjoyable for the whole family! Just wish Daddy could be here every night to hear the story.

I promised to go over our Owl Puke book and activity over a month ago, and here it is! We finally cracked open our  Owl Puke project today and were very impressed. The book itself is super informative, and we learned so many interesting facts about owls.  They mate for life. They can read the bottom of an eye chart from one mile away. They can hear a mouse under a foot of snow and dive down to get it. This is one of the coolest reasons I love to homeschool, I get to learn new things too!


Before we got down to the gross-out activity, we dug out Satori’s Snowy Owl, practiced moving its head 270 degrees to look around both back shoulders in one move. Hung out on and checked out Owl Calls and Photos. Finally we prepared for the event. The book kit contains this yellow sorting tray and the sterilized owl pellet. All you really need is a clean space to work and a toothpick.


Satori was very excited to “dig in”. She kept calling the skeleton a fossil, and I kept having to correct her. She said she was a real archaeologist now! I didn’t have the heart to correct her that time. Here she is with her kids rubber gloves that were too big, but she wanted to wear them anyway. In the photo below you can see part of the skull of the owl’s victim.


She separated the bones from what looked like fur and put them in the container.


The Owl Puke book really helps you figure out what all the bones are, and it was no problem putting them in the right spots! Neither Satori nor I had the patience to sort out all the tiny vertebrae though. We also thought we had two sets of legs, as we had 4 hips and 4 lower legs. The book also helped us narrow down which animal we had. In our case, we had either a small rat (or maybe a big mouse with large protruding teeth).


Also with the book’s help, we laid out our skeleton. Not a perfect job, but good enough for us and Satori’s dwindling attention span by this point! 🙂 All in all, such a fun learning activity…


We concluded the owl puke activity by watching about 20 minutes of YouTube on owls!

I’m back in full swing as Satori’s Super Homeschool Mom or Teacher. Kept my weight off that I lost while I focused on myself  the past few months. Last week with David’s encouragement, we decided to stop the unschooling-ish style we’ve followed for the past 2 months and get back on our schedule. Of course we’re way behind the schedule, but thanks to Homeschool Skedtrack, I was able to push the months we’re behind on out to Spring 2010. Love that program. We are going to try to add most weekend days, as I have high ambitions for Spring 2010 and I wanted to get some prep studies done this fall.

I got some great ideas for reading fluency, will cover later this week. Also reading up on fun ways to incorporate math, writing and more. Last week we reviewed all of RightStart Math and we’ll be moving forward now. Same with All About Spelling. Retention has been outstanding on everything.

For Artistic Pursuits, we combined Five in a Row by reading Harold and the Purple Crayon. Either someone has read this book to Satori the 3 years she was in daycare, or she remembers it from 3 years ago when I read it last. She knew everything that happened next…


FIAR added this book as a short lesson, and I’m happy, as it’s such a popular, creative, wonderful children’s book. We’ve read it twice already (we usually only do FIAR as 3-4 in a row, hehe). The FIAR manual of course made me appreciate the book even more. With our Artistic Pursuits program (art program not related to FIAR), we took a purple crayon and Satori set about drawing her adventure.


I tore off what I thought to be a super long sheet of paper off our roll and placed it on the floor for Satori to go wild. I was really hoping she’d be more creative, but she said she wasn’t as good a drawer as Harold. She had a great time anyway. 🙂


In this photo, as I’d hoped to illustrate, we get the idea behind vanishing point. The foreground shows the paper being very wide. The background shows it growing smaller. Had it gone on much longer, the lines would have converged in a tiny point. We also did some experiments of drawing perspective, drawing a book from a birds-eye view, and then from the ground.


Since we are reading Poppy (a book about a mean ole owl) and the fact that Satori started to open her owl pellets, I’ve decided to start our rowing of Owl Moon.


We shall learn about owls, moon phases, bird predators, and more.

The most exciting thing is probably our Owl Puke we examine. Owl Puke has a more agreeable name of owl pellets, which consists of a fuzzy mass of bones, hair, feathers, teeth and exoskeletons upchucked about 20 hours after a bird of prey eats. It doesn’t have to be an owl. There is actually a book I’ve ordered that contains a sterlized owl pellet, tray and chart. Once we get back from our London trip, we will dissect two more owl pellets, this time with gloves and tweezers.

Like I said, Satori opened one up already. Our cats went crazy over this new toy, before I realized they had caught on to what it was. You can see a skull and bones here, and probably feathers and/or fur. Next to it is our current read-aloud Poppy, which right in the beginning features one of the characters as an unfortunate owl pellet.



Speaking of birds of prey, Satori got very excited today when she saw a huge bird! She had me come running with my camera. It looks like a hawk.



First up, a little more about this book, which we are rowing with FIAR this week. As of last month, this book seemed to have gone out of print and was selling for $300! As of September, it is now back in stock on Amazon for $19.95, so if you want this own, and it is indeed worth it, I suggest getting it now! Or, be sure to check used book stores and such.

***I was just googling “Who Owns the Sun” and this very post is already on the first page of Google, I had published it ONE MINUTE AGO. Google rocks and they seem to love my blog. 🙂

Friday Satori replicated the glorious artwork of Who Owns the Sun? This sun image is shown on the title and on one of the first pages of the book.


We didn’t want to wait for normal watercolors to dry, so we used our new Neocolor II Artists Crayons, which are water soluble. They worked out GREAT!  We only have a small box of 15 though. I’d love a Wood Box Set of 84, or the Gift Set of 126, but $200+ is out of our budget now.



As you can see in the first photo, Satori then brushed a wet paintbrush outwords from the sun, resulting in our Who Owns the Sun sunburst!0909-arts-049

Since we are doing so much now, we are going to row a FIAR book only every 2-3 weeks, and instead of rowing the book five times in a row, we’ll do it probably just 3-4 times a row. (I guess this is what we’ve been doing all along.) To make things easier, we’re going to do them in order, starting with Volume 1. We may do Owl Moon this fall yet, that sounds like a good one.

This week we’ve started Who Owns the Sun? by Stacy Chbosky. I pointed out that this book was written and illustrated by a young girl, 14 years old.


I was a bit apprehensive covering the topic of slavery with my four year old, especially because she is so innocent about the world, not knowing anything about prejudice, segregation or slavery, but in the end, I am glad we gently introduced these topics this year.

At the end of the book, Satori murmured “That’s so sad.” But it does have a positive afterword, which lifted our spirits.


On Wednesday we picked all these books up at local libraries, it took 2 different libraries to get the books I wanted. We’ve already read 5 of them.  All the books have authors or illustrators who have won awards for their children’s books.

Who Owns the Sun? Go-along Books

  • Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine – True story of Henry Brown, a slave who mailed himself to freedom! (Caldecott Honor)
  • Almost to Freedom by Vaunda Michaeux Nelson – I knew Satori would love this book, it’s told from the perspective of a rag doll, owned by a little girl running for her life on the Underground Railroad (Coretat Scott King Illustrator Honor)
  • Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia C. MicKissack – A young girl in segregated Nashville in the 1950’s experiences segregation but is boosted up by friends on her journey to “someplace special”.
  • Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson – Young slave girl leads her family to freedom. We noticed the rich dark purple colors of the night, that lighten as they progress to freedom, until they emerge in a brilliant orange and yellow. We also read Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt (by same author) back when we rowed The Rag Coat.
  • Working Cotton by Sherley Anne Williams – A day in the life of a family of migrant cotton pickers (Caldecott Honor Book)

After our reading and math lessons, we ended up having a colorful morning!

To finish off our last FIAR book we started a month ago, we read the Clown of God again and then had fun trying to juggle with colorful scarves. This was actually pretty fun!


I had these florescent scarves from Satori’s 4 year old birthday party where we had a “disco” theme, and I wanted to have glow-in-the-dark (with the help of a black light) scarves for the dance party. They are actually juggling practice scarves! They kinda float in the air for awhile, making them excellent as tools to learn how to juggle.



Okay, so Satori didn’t learn how to juggle today, but we had so much fun giggling and throwing them up and catching them, and it was a great workout!


A month ago, we had also attended the Renaissance Fair as a field trip for Clown of God. They had juggling sticks (devil sticks), and mama had a good time demonstrating to Satori how to do them, I used to play with these 15 years ago! I did not light them on fire this time though. 🙂 These are fun for children, I should get a pair for Satori. She has since tried to juggle with pencils, hehe.

We also did lesson 3 out of Artistic Pursuits, which was free-form finger painting!



Getting really messy!