We have been following Amblesideonline’s year zero booklist. Yet here and there, I take a family led direction, all while still using Charlotte Mason methods. My family and I love to come to this gorgeous floral garden, walk the trails and feed the ducks.
We have been coming here for nearly two years. The gardens offer a park off in the woods, a pond, and a couple of walking trails. Once I notice an interest to learn spark from my children then I feel led to guide that curiosity. Both of my children love to feed the ducks, so I’ve turned this into a Mallard Duck Nature Study.
Feeding Mallard Ducks
Very often we come and see people feeding the ducks bread but this is actually bad for them. Bread products have a low nutritional content and if continuously consumed can harm their growth. This became part of our lesson, they both learned what ducks can’t eat. They also learned what they can eat.
- “Cracked corn
- Wheat, barley or similar grains
- Oats (uncooked; rolled or quick)
- Rice (cooked or uncooked)
- Milo seed
- Birdseed (any type or mix)
- Grapes (cut in half or quartered if very large)
- Nut hearts or pieces (any type but without salt, coatings or flavoring)
- Frozen peas or corn (defrosted, no need to cook)
Earthworms (fishing bait or dug from the garden)
- Mealworms (fresh or dried)
- Chopped lettuce or other greens or salad mixes
- Vegetable trimmings or peels (chopped into small pieces)”
This list was obtained from The Spruce.
For the sake of convenience, I buy a 10 lb bag of wild bird seed. We bring it each time we go to the gardens and feed the ducks. My oldest has become a bit imaginative in this adventure, treating her friends to some homemade birdseed soup.
The interactive learning has taught both my children some positive unintended character traits: How to be gentle, soft, and kind. Approaching a mallard duck in such a way, that they will feed right from your hands. For my two year old son, this has been an opportunity to teach patience, and for my daughter to further develop it. We use the phrase, patience is waiting with a happy heart. They now know, that they have to get down low, sort of creep in, and wait patiently for the ducks to come to them.
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My oldest’s favorite Duck book is John Philip Duck, which is about a little boy from Memphis who finds an orphaned baby duck. After pleading with his parents, he is able to keep and raise the baby duck. He has to figure out a way to keep the duck hidden, and cared for at the hotel he and his family work at. Since this is an Averie favorite, I will be purchasing it from Amazon for our home library. If your interested, it is available on Amazon with free shipping for prime members.
(Click on the titles to watch a reading)
- Ryker’s favorite is The Little Duck By Judy Dunn.
- I like Ducks Don’t Get Wet by Augusta Goldin.
- We also read Make Way For Ducklings By Robert McClosky.
I really liked Ducks Don’t Get Wet for the science lesson that it contained. However, Ducks! By Gail Gibbins had beautiful illustrations, discussed preening, various types of ducks, the anatomy of ducks, the two types of groups ducks are divided in, migration, homing behavior, and ducklings. We do teach a young earth theory, if you do too, it’s important to note that the back page contains a old earth fact but it can easily be omitted.
Recitation and Copywork
(Click on four ducks on a pond to receive your free printable)
Four Ducks On A Pond is a poem that I used to compliment the lesson. I do get tired of lugging tons of books everywhere, so I turned it into a printable that can be used for either recitation or copy work. Copywork is new territory for us, so right now she is simply writing the title. I read the poem and she recites it back.
(Click grey link below)
This family led lesson has been a lot of fun. I am considering trees and leaves as our next direction to take. I’ll be including more printables and recording more living book read out louds on Holistic homeschooler’s You Tube channel.
Do you have any requests?