Sunday, September 17, 2017


The first country we tackled in Europe was Russia, one of the few countries that is actually on two continents!  I find this so interesting.  We used our Galloping the Globe guide (as we do with every World Geography lesson) to keep us on track.
We had already previously studied Russia a bit when we rowed our Five in a Row (FIAR) book from Volume 1, Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Scheffrin-Falk.  That post can be found at  Here are a few pictures from that post.

We had sewn this sweet, little Matryoshka doll together ...
 ... created a picture featuring Russia's signature onion domes ...
... and made and snacked on delicious Russian teacakes!  (These were so delicious.)

Day 1 - Russia (General Geography, Native Animals and Plants)

For this study of Russia, we started by stamping our travel trunk and coloring the country on our Europe map in our binder.  (We color each country a different color as we study it.)  And I just love this travel trunk idea.  I can't wait to see it all filled up!
We then started working on our our two country reports (something we do for every country we delve into), using Usborne's Flags Sticker Book to fill in the space for Russia's flag.
Here is a picture of our completed sheets after the week.  (We learn about and add a bit each day.)
We read about this vast country on pages 78-79 of DK's Children's World Atlas ...
 ... and looked at the icon maps on pages 7 and 10-11 of this Usborne Lift-the-flap Picture Atlas.
I mean, how great is this book??  Maggie loves it.
We then read and colored the "Russia" map from Dover's Around the World Coloring Book by Winky Adams.  (These are great and we add each map to our binder when we're done.)
Next, we completed glossary pages for "crater" and "tundra" (I love seeing her pictures) ...
... before studying the animals native to Russia.  We read pages 74-75 of Usborne World of Animals, noting the brown bears we had learned about before.
We then reread Another Celebrated Dancing Bear ...
... before putting together the brown bear mask from this Wild Animals 3D masks activity book.
(These are so easy to put together and look so realistic!)
To wrap up Day 1, we cracked open our Top Secret Adventures' envelope for Russia ("Case #07042: The Menace in Moscow") and got to work!
These may just be her favorite part of World Geography.  She LOVES earning her country key chains for cracking these cases!  And I love how thorough they are.

Day 2 - Russia (Famous People and Landmarks)

For our second day studying Russia, we focused on the famous people and landmarks of that country.  To start, we learned about Catherine the Great, Peter the Great, and Yuri Gagarin (the first man in space, what Russia calls a "cosmonaut").  We also reviewed what we knew of Peter Tchaikovsky, who we studied with Another Celerated Dancing Bear.  While we read about these people, we listened to Tchaikovsky's works on YouTube at (below).
All of these people were added to our country reports.

After that, we read about Moscow and St. Petersburg in this Pocket Books: Cities of the World (pages 90-91) ...
 ... and about St. Basil's Cathedral on pages 23-26 of Buildings, Bridges, and Landmarks: A Complete History.
 We then read about "Mount Elbrus" on page 50 and Lake Baikal on page 92 of this Pocket Books: Natural Wonders book.
All of these places were added to our country reports and Maggie decided she would complete her project for presenting at our co-op on Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake in the world and home to the world's only freshwater seal, the Nerpa seal (also called the "Baikal seal").  We wrapped up Day 2 by doing some more work on her Top Secret Adventures' case.

Day 3 - Russia (Culture, Project Prep)

Our study of Russia was shorter than some of our other country studies for two reasons.  For one, we had studied it prior.  Two, we had our family vacation planned this week, so we had to fit a lot into three days.  On Day 3, we studied Russia's culture, as well as put together our presentation for co-op.  To start, we read pages 30-31 of Children Just Like Me ... 
... and A Visit to Russia and Ukraine by Mary Packard.
We then read pages 148-149 of Window on the World and prayed for the Russian people.
 We read about Russian food on pages 58-60 of Eat Your Way Around the World and updated our country reports.  (Maggie was repulsed when she read about borscht, appalled that anyone would ever make a soup out of beets.)
We enjoyed the Russian dolls my mom gave to Maggie ...
... and then dressed the Russian paper doll using this Dover Anastasia from Russia: Sticker Paper Doll sticker book.  (These are so sweet.)
We then completed our Top Secret Adventures' case for Russia and Maggie earned her next key chain.  Just look at that grin!
She can't wait to fill her ring up!
Finally, it was time to complete her presentation on Lake Baikal.  Here she is drawing a picture of the lake with the Nerpa seal sunbathing alongside it, on the front of her project sheets.
Lake Baikal is the eighth largest lake in the world.  We took those eight lakes, researched their depths, and created a bar graph so we could compare and contrast visually.
Here is the front of her project sheets ...
 ... and the inside.  This activity was fun!  (These, too, went into her binder after our co-op.)
We then read a couple of Russian stories -- "Baba Yaga, the Witch" out of Usborne's Stories From Around the World book ...
... and "The Cosmonaut" on pages 43-49 of an old literature text I have called Children Everywhere (copyright 1981).

We then completed our country reports and added them to our binder.

Day 4 - Russia Co-op

We went to a friend's house for our Russia co-op.  Here Mags is presenting her project to the other children.  (The other projects included reports on the Trans-Siberian Railway and St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.)
My friend taught the children about the importance of turnips in Russia and why this crop does well in this cold country.
We then read a fun Russian story together, A Little Story About a Big Turnip, retold by Tatiana Zunshine and illustrated by Evgeny Antonenkov.
So, of course, we had turnips with lunch, along with Beef Stroganoff (so good) ...
... mashed potatoes, and salad Olivier.
Yum!  My friend did a great job!
We love co-op days!
For dessert, we were served rasberry kissel!
And Maggie learned how to play chess at co-op, a Russian favorite!
It was another great country study!
Next up?  We head to the United Kingdom with a little mini-unit on Scotland!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Introduction to the Animals of Day Six

We are so excited to officially be studying Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day by Jeannie Fulbright!  Maggie has not stopped talking about starting this text all summer, so it was a relief to finally start after Labor Day.  (Our new school years always begin the day after each Labor Day.)  Not only were we excited because all of the previous four science books we've studied by Fulbright were amazing, but because Maggie is a huge animal lover, and this text would round out our study of zoology, having already completed the Zoology 1 and 2 books.  (For a complete listing of all of my posts about our Apologia science studies, please visit

The first lesson in this book is entitled, "Introduction to the Animals of Day Six."
This references the sixth day of creation, when God created the animals that roam on land (see Genesis 1:24-25, posted below).  Zoology 3 focuses on those animals.
We always purchase the notebooking journals to accompany the texts, and we have never regretted it.  When complete, they are like scrapbooks of our learning journey through the course, and Maggie takes them out often to look through them and reminisce on all the fun we had.  This is the last year that we will be using the "junior" version of these journals.  (We will purchase the regular ones in the future.)
We started Day 1 of Lesson 1 reading pages 1-6 in the text.  In those pages, we learned about the kinds (vocabulary words are in bold) of animals that God created on the sixth day, differentiating them from those flying and swimming animals of the fifth day.  This includes wild animals (which we'll study first in this course), livestock (like ungulates, animals with hooves), and creatures that move along the ground (like reptiles, amphibians, arthropods, and worm-like creatures).  We also read about camouflage, natural selection, predators and prey, and how God intended for animals to live among us before sin entered the world (as well as how they will one day live among us when all is righted again).

She then colored the first two pages for this lesson in her notebooking journal (pages 12-13).
For Day 2 of this lesson, we continued reading in the text about animal careers (zoologists, veterinarians, zookeepers, animal behaviorists, animal educators, wildlife rehabilitators, animal trainers, breeders, and more), habituation, and zoonotic diseases (pages 6-11).

We recorded what we were learning in our notebooking journal.  (Pictured below are pages 14-15 of the same.)  I always have thematic stickers on hand for her journals, something we both love to use to add more color to her pages.  I find the best ones in the scrapbooking aisles of craft stores (Michael's, Hobby Lobby, etc.).  Look for sales and stock up!
After we talked about predators, I found a fun video on Facebook from National Geographic (also found on YouTube at, below) that shows two common predators (one that typically preys on land and another that typically preys in water) that battle it out.  Who wins and ends with a big meal?  Watch the video to find out!  Maggie loved it.
Next, we watched the "Zookeeper -- Inside Job" video on YouTube at (below).
After watching, I had her fill out a video review sheet (made on my computer) and we added it to her notebooking journal.  (I keep this saved on my computer and only change out the clipart on the bottom to make it applicable to the video she will watch next.)
I glued it over page 16 in the journal (since she is not challenged by print copywork) and she completed the cursive on the opposite page (17).
On Day 3 of this lesson, we read pages 11-12 of the text, learning how we would map the animals we learn about throughout this course, as well as keep a list of animal tracks, then read an article out of Highlights magazine called "Champion Giraffes" (April 2016, pages 24-25), about a zookeeper who cares for giraffes.
I loved that both of these zookeeper extras (the video and article) highlighted women in this career.
I found some fun, free, printable sheets for role playing at that allowed Mags to role play, pretending to be a zookeeper with a set of tasks to complete.  There was also a veterinary services sheet I knew she would love.  (The picture below belongs to that site.)
I printed both out and set her to the task of filling them out, as if she was a zookeeper.  (She loved this.)
Her completed sheets (which explained the care of an injured penguin) were added to her journal.
(We attached them to page 19 atop the suggestions for deeper learning and opposite the "Zoology Vocabulary Story" on page 18.)
During a visit with my parents over the course of this lesson, we visited the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, Mississippi.  While there, we stopped in their gift shop and found some goodies about animal tracks.  The paper on the left is a freebie put out by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ...
 ... and the foldout guide on the right is Animal Tracks (a Pocket Naturalist Guide).  It is heavily laminated so should last a long time.  It can be purchased online from Amazon for less than $8 (at, among other places.
 Here are a few foldout pages from the guide ...
 ... though there are more not pictured.  We can't wait to use it for this course!
It was time for an experiment!  On Day 4 of this lesson, we set out to complete the "Camouflaged Animals" experiment outlined in the text (pages 12-14).  It was so clever, I couldn't wait.  Here, Mags is separating and grouping colors from a bag of M&Ms.  These would be her "prey" and she is their "predator."
 Once separated, she counted the number in each group.  (A table to keep track of it is on the "Scientific Speculation Sheet" on page 23 of the junior notebooking journal.)
 Once counted, we learned that the smallest group was the yellow group, with 12 individuals.  We then eliminated M&Ms from every other group so that every group had only 12 members in each (totaling 72 M&Ms in all).
 It was time to set up our "habitat" for our "prey."  Using squares of orange, brown, and yellow construction paper, we crumpled up paper balls and added them to a large, plastic bin.  (Do you see where this is going?)
 We then sprinkled in our 72 M&Ms around the "habitat" and I set a timer for 2 minutes.  (This was after Maggie made a hypothesis on her sheet as to what this experiment would show.  She hypothesized that she would find more blue and yellow M&Ms than she would orange, brown, red, and green.  It was a good guess.)
 Here she is, hunting her prey!
 When the timer went off, she had found 8 yellow and 7 blue, and only 1 red, 5 green, 5 orange, and 6 brown.  Her hypothesis was correct!  For her conclusion, she wrote, "I conclude that the M&Ms best suited for this environment are the ones that match the colors of the environment, like the green and orange."  Great job, Mags!  We then went on to read in the text more about natural selection.  Below is her completed "Scientific Speculation Sheet."  (Can you believe I had M&Ms stickers, too, in my stash?)
From there, we read about another animal career (an animal chiropractor) on pages 18-21 of Spider magazine's April 2015 issue.  The article is called "Animal Cracker" and Mags was fascinated.
She wrote about both of the articles we read on page 22 of her journal ("My Zoology Projects").  We added applicable stickers to that, too.
We then read a bit more about camouflage on pages 28-29, 64, and 99 of Usborne World of Animals by Susanna Davidson and Mike Unwin (featuring the chameleon, snowshoe hare, zebra, leaf-tailed gecko, Arctic fox, and stoat).
We then read Why Do Tigers Have Stripes? (another Usborne book), also by Mike Unwin.  (I supplement every subject with Usborne.  They are fantastic books.)
After our reading, we watched a great video about camouflaged animals on YouTube at (below).  This was recommended by Jeannie Fulbright and Maggie really enjoyed it, especially the octopus near the end.
Another recommendation by Jeannie was this fun camouflage craft found at, using oil pastels on paper to hide a paper chameleon.  (The following two images belong to the owner of that site.)  She has a cute poem on her site, too, about chameleons and their ability to camouflage, to read beforehand.
We decided to give this craft a try for an addition to our journal.  Maggie chose reds and oranges for hers.
 For the chameleon, I copied a "chameleon template" from a Google search onto white cardstock and cut it out.
Here is Mags, coloring the chameleon. 
 Once added to the background sheet, he practically disappears!
It turned out so well!
 Sneaky chameleon!  We stapled this into the journal, too.  (Our journals get gloriously thick over the progression of each science course.  We love it!)
I decided that since Maggie is getting older, she could handle some review questions (I didn't use the word "test" there, you notice) at the end of each lesson, so I purchased the review sheets from CurrClick at  They were inexpensive ($2.99 for the whole text) and the questions were great.  I really think I'm going to like these.  
Maggie completed the two sheets with none wrong (she really soaks in these science texts) and we adhered them to page 20 of our journal (opposite the "Zoology Minibook" on page 21).
Can we just pause for a moment to reflect on how awesome these minibooks are from the journals??
After securing all the pages in Lesson 1 of our journal, it was a wrap.  What a great start to Zoology 3!  Maggie is unbelievably excited, especially since I have told her to anticipate some really great field trips for this course.  (Just wait until you see the field trip I planned to end Lesson 2, "Carnivorous Mammals."  It's going to be wild!)  Check back with us soon!  Until then, happy studying!