An Introduction To . . .

12/29/2009
"He SPEAKS; He HEARS what he said; He DOES what he heard; He SEES what he did!"

The Madsen Method, a method of instruction based on how our forefathers were taught and on 1915 literacy standards, is:
“ a complete, fully scripted, evidence-based, field-tested, non-consumable, penmanship, spelling, grammar, composition and reading, use-it-with-all-students curriculum based on systematic and explicit phonics taught via neurological response instruction.”
There are currently 3 parts to the Madsen Method Curriculum with Part Four coming out in September 2011. The Madsen Method is not a graded curriculum, however, used in a graded classroom, the parts would be for:
  • Part One: Grades K-1
  • Part Two: Grades 2-3
  • Part Three: Grades 4-6 1/2
  • Part Four: Grades 6 1/2 - 8
From my understanding, an 8th grade education in 1915, would be equivalent to a 12 grade education today, so with all four levels you would be able to completely educate your child in all English language arts subjects in 6-8 years with a program that teaches true literacy.

As a member of the Crew, we received Part One of the Madsen Method for review. With a home educators discount, the price for Part One is $219.95. Without the discount, the price is $299.95.

So far we have completed Part One, Section One (of 5 Sections).

The 9 lessons in this section taught us:
  • how to go to the "learning position"
  • what the "Back Up System of Learning" is and what the four neurological responses involved in learning are
  • how to position our writing arm and wrist when writing
  • how to position a sheet of paper for writing
  • how to position and hold a pencil when writing
  • that writing is simply pulling and pushing a pencil
  • the work of the non-writing hand
  • the importance of the pencil holder
Section 1 concluded with a summary and review, a test, filling out report cards and bar graphs and more.

Here is a video of Dylan leading us in a review of how to hold and position a pencil. (Keep in mind, this was just a review and he may have left out some parts ~ like letting an edge of yellow paint show at the tip of his finger).



(I had 4 other videos to share, but I cannot get them to upload because the files are too large. I will video tape future lessons with a camera that has lower resolution so the files are smaller).

My thoughts so far:

I can see the benefits of the "Say and Do" process of learning. Basically, when you "say," you "hear," and when you "do," you "see." Using all the members of your neurological "TEAM" helps you to remember what you learn.

The teacher's manual is fully scripted, and there are tutorials, text boxes, side notes, formulas, photo illustrations, and cloud notes to help guide you along the way. It did seem confusing at first, but I often learn best by just doing (in this case, saying and doing as I was told exactly what to say to my students), so I jumped right in.

Since I am learning to teach my children at the same time I am teaching them, with the Madsen Method, it was important to read and be prepared for "class." And for class, I mean we had to bring down the student desks from upstairs to use in our classroom (dining room) as the "proper learning position" required the child to be sitting at the correct height to the desk and have his back against the chair. I sat at the bench at the table and after the first few lessons, my back was sore from sitting correctly. Which just goes to show that I do not normally maintain proper posture when I sit.

I found that my oldest boys were not very cooperative, until I gave them zeros on the first day's Behavioral Performance Bar Graph. For this first section, I graded them on cooperation, attitude and "non-script talking." I admit, the last part was even hard for me.

We also filled out a daily academic bar graph that was color coded for introduction, practice, review and tests. At the top of each bar is a spot to put the student's percentage and there are only two options ~ o% or 100%. In other words, we don't move on until we get 100%.

I realize the importance of beginning at the very beginning, but it feels a bit slow to me right now. It took us 2 weeks (about 9 school days) to complete the first 9 lessons, spending a total of about 6 hours in student instruction which averaged out to be about 40 minutes a day/lesson, however; some lessons took longer than others. This does not include the time it took me to read the introduction and prepare for each lesson.

Because of this, I have decided that I can not put all English subjects on hold for this review. So, we plan to commit the time necessary to complete one lesson a day, 4 days a week, and we will continue on with our subjects for this year as planned. I do feel that the Madsen Method is very promising, but because I am using this with 4th, 5th and 8th grade students and we have a lot of catch up to do, we cannot afford to do away with our basic plan this year, even if it means we have to relearn some things (like how to hold our pencil!). I am also considering this for Malachi when he turns 5 or is ready for Kindergarten.

They say it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks and I can see how that will be the case with the Madsen Method. My youngest, who is 9, is able to memorize long sentences of dictation more effectively and genuinely seems more adaptable to this curriculum than the older children. The MM requires that the children repeat back to me and do exactly what I say and do. Some of the sentences are hard and we are not used to this. The children cannot recite in unison and one child will confuse another and they will forget what they are saying. However, I can already see that they are making progress and I am amazed at what they are able to remember with this method.

As a side note, for this first section, I was determined to make it through on my own to see how well we were able to follow the instructions, but we are encouraged to call in anytime for a consultation. Mr. and Mrs. Madsen (Sharon and Joe) make themselves available by a toll free phone call or email and are always willing to help.

I have committed to teaching Part One of the Madsen Method over the course of this school year as a program of this magnitude can not be grasped or fully understood in the typical 6 week review period. I hope to update as we go along since this will be a longer review period. This has been update #1.

I received Part One of the Madsen Method for the purpose of this review. No further compensation was received and I offer my honest opinion. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Kinderbach


As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I had the opportunity to review KinderBach Piano for Young Children. We first heard about Kinderbach earlier this year and tried the first two weeks lessons for free as a part of our preschool lesson on the letter K. Mali worked through the lessons in one sitting and really enjoyed the activities. He learned about highs and lows, what a note is and just had fun playing with the keys. So we were excited to have the opportunity to review the whole program.

During our time with Kinderbach, we sang, used rhythm instruments, danced and more. The use of gross and fine motor movements kept my youngest two (ages 2 and 4) active and having fun. Optional worksheets added another dimension.

KinderBach offers 240 online video lessons, 60 weeks of music training. Learning is gradual and child-paced so you can go as slow or as quick as your child needs.

Mali, my 4 year old, got the most out of the program and learned a little about note reading, rhythm, singing, vocabulary and more through fun characters, such as Dodi:


He did need my help to navigate through the lessons at first and I had to print activity pages for him and explain directions for some activities. I found that he was more interested when I was directly involved. But, I did not have to be present the whole time for him to use the program.

Upon completion of the program, your child will: (according to the website)
  • Know all the notes on the piano by location and letter name
  • Be familiar with the grand staff,
  • Read some individual notes on staff and all notes by pattern on staff,
  • Understand and read rhythms from eighth to whole notes,
  • Have improved listening skills so that he/she can interpret rhythms, intervals and patterns heard.
  • Play familiar melodies,
  • Play hands together or separately,
  • Have a working music vocabulary,
  • Understand basic composition methods
Some supplies are needed for this program:
  1. Piano/Keyboard
  2. Computer - for viewing web video lessons and/or printing activity pages
  3. Hi Speed Internet or a DVD player
  4. CD player (optional)
  5. Craft materials - Scissors, printer paper, crayons, markers, craft paper, glue etc...
You can see the sample Lessons and try out the free lessons to see if this would be something that might work for your young child. Price:
  • $7.99 a month - Billed in a 1-time annual payment of $95.88 (Save 60%) or
  • $19.99 monthly subscription - Billed monthly for a year (12 separate payments)
You can also purchase individual dvds by level for $40.45 a level. Each level comes with an activity package that includes:
  • 1 engaging live action and animation DVD (3 hours of video)
  • PDF activity book on CD (with parent guide) - pages to complete with the DVD lessons
  • 1 audio CD with performance & demonstration tracks - literally piano 'karaoke' so your child can play along with the band!
The bonus part is that the whole family can use the membership. But, I personally would prefer to have the DVD version because I have 2 small children that could grow into this. While my 4 year old wasn't quite ready for this and was only interested if I was engaging him, I do feel that this is a great program for teaching young children piano, especially since private piano lessons can cost much more and no prior knowledge is needed by the parent.

You can see other Crew member reviews to see what they think of Kinderbach, or click on the banner below to visit the Crew blog.


I received this product for free in exchange for my review as a member of the Crew. No further compensation was received and I offer my honest opinion. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

U is for Underground

~Mali is 4 years 10 months~

Since we are learning about earthworms, and earthworms live underground, I thought we should study about what else lived underground for the letter U. We also learned a little more about habitat and explored the microhabitat of life underground and under a stone.

We read the book, Life Under A Stone, by Janet Halfmann. This book examines the nature and behavior of the many small creatures that live in dark, cool dampness under stones, from millipedes to earthworms.

A few critters that live under a stone:
  • The wood louse (roly poly)
  • Millipedes
  • Centipedes
  • Earthworms
  • Ants
  • Jumping Bristle Tail
  • Stone Fly (under stones in rivers)
Or under an old rotting log like this one I found this summer.


U is for the Underground coloring page from the Nature Coloring Book ~ a supplement for the N is for Nature: An Environmental Alphabet Book. These are beautiful illustrated and quality coloring pages!

Talking about all the critters while Mali glues.

U is for Underground
Delightful Links:

After the Flood, The Tower of Babel

12/28/2009
Here is what we have been up to for Biblical History: Readings:
  • Chronological Bible: Genesis 9, 10,11
  • Adam to Messiah: "After the Flood," "The Tower of Babel," Beginning of Nations
  • The Victor Journey Through The Bible: Tower of Babel (p. 18-19)
  • Genesis: Finding Our Roots: Unit 5 "The Book of Shem"
  • Adam and His Kin: Ch. 12: "Starting Up the New World," Chapter 13: "Trouble at Ararat,"Chapter 14: "Land of the Two Rivers," and Chapter 15: "The Tower of Babel, " Chapter 16: "Aftermath."
  • The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History: Discussion questions
  • The"Tower of Babel" issue of Answers Magazine
  • Life in the Great Ice Age
Audio:
  • True Tales: "The Table of Nations" (13:00) "The Origin of 'Races'" (15:04), "The Dispersion After Babel" Interview with Bodie Hodge (14:20).
  • What in the World: Descendants of Noah (10:59), Sources & Evidences (10:36), Oldest Cities (12:00)
Links:
Highlights: After the Flood waters settled, there were . . .
‘Billions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth.’
I love this song and it is a great way to teach kids the effect that the flood had on the earth and why we have billions of dead things, buried in rock layers all over the earth! Chapter 9
  • Yhvh-God blessed Noah and told him to be fruitful and multiple and fill the earth
  • Yhvh establishes His covenant with Noah and his descendants, never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth
  • Rainbow - the sign of the covenant
  • Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard
  • Noah became drunk and was naked in his tent, Canaan is cursed because Ham uncovered his father's nakedness
  • Noah lived 350 years after the flood (950 years total)
Discussion: We read Carl and Julie Parker's article and discussed that Noah may have taken the vines with him on the ark to plant afterwards and that it would have taken several years (5) before the grapes could be harvested for pressing to make wine. I love what Carl and Julie Parker say about the lesson to be learned about Noah's sons covering him:
Noah’s youngest son Ham found his father laying naked inside his tent, quite drunk from the wine. “Ham, the father of Canaan, ‘saw’ his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside” (Genesis 9:22). The word saw is ra’ah (Strong’s #7200) in Hebrew, which means to look, see and understand. The lesson of this story in Scripture is that we are to “cover” (forgive) each other’s “sins”/blunders, not expose them.
Chapter 10
  • the descendants of Noah
  • separated into their lands/nations according to their languages
  • Cush begat Nimrod (mighty hunter before the Lord)
  • the cities of Babel and Ninevah are built by Nimrod (Nimrod rebelled against Yhvh and His ways)
Recorded in the above Scripture reference is the list of recorded generations and lines of descent within their nations that filled the earth after the flood. Chaper 11
  • There was one language one speech on the earth
  • Man came to the plain in Shinar and dwelt there
  • Under the rule of Nimrod, they said let us build ourselves a city whose tower is in the heavens and make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered over the earth (rebellion to Yhvh's command to fill the earth)
  • Yhvh saw their plans and disobedience
  • Yhvh scattered them over the face of the earth and confused their language
  • It came to be called Babel because there Yhvh confused their language (originally Babel meant "Gate to God")
Babel comes from two words: “gate” (bab) and “god” (el), which means “gate to heaven” or “gate of god.” It came to mean confusion or “babble” because of what Genesis 11:1–9 says happened there. In Genesis 11 we see the extent of evil has intensified upon the earth once again. YHVH kept His word not to flood the earth again. Instead He caused great confusion among the populace by changing their language so that the nations could not function in a single language again. The various languages they spoke were thereafter just babble to those listening that spoke in a different tongue. With this, YHVH scattered them over the earth.
Stick Figuring with Grapevine's OT Overview Discussion:
  • When did it happen? 100-130 years after the flood (during Peleg's life ~ Peleg is 4 generations after Noah).
  • Why the tower? control, pride,
  • What did they take with them at the dispersion? History of the Flood, legends of linguistic division.
Remnants of Noah and his descendants can be found all around the world in the names of modern people groups and places. The Table of Nations:
  • Geographical evidence that Gen 11 and 12 are true: throughout the ToN (Table of Nations), every one of their names are found in the records of the early surrounding nations
  • That Noah's descendants Ham, Shem and Japeth and of the people that came from them that 99% of the names are documented in outside sources throughout the Middle East and in Europe {in other words our descendants go back to Noah!}
  • the ToN, is a very ancient document - how did they know all these names - they had to travel around the world! (remember the tower of babel - scattered)
  • Ancient pagan cultures can trace through their king list all the way back to Ham Shem and Japeth
  • Genesis - chinese language and chinese pictographs reveal that the chinese character that means boat ~ that part of it was for the character for vessel, 8, person (vessel carrying 8 people) ~ Noah's Ark! Other biblically relevant characters in chinese language include ~ to create - dust/mud - mouth - movement - able to walk. (the Lord god formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into him and he became a living being (a grown man able to walk) and the chinese character for woman means "to want, necessity, important, late in the day," which describes the creation of Eve (Havah) perfectly. :-)
People tend to marry people with similar features and that is how races developed as they only used a part of the gene pool available. {Answers book}
We are not different races of men, rather we are just different families or people groups because we are all related (one blood) Acts 17:26There are 7,000 languages today. 78 family groups left Babel and there are a max of 94 language families out there, so it is possible that each language family came from Babel (and in fact many languages are a combination of two languages, such as English is German and Latin ~ anglo-saxon) Languages changed rather quickly before the invention of Gutenburg's printing press and then stabilized after the printing press. For further discussion, we used Natan Lawerence's study guide and compared Nimrod and his rebellion (from the faith of his fathers) with that of the Man of Sin (2 Thess 2:1–12) in the end times and compared the formation of Babylon and the building of the Tower of Babel and the end-time one-world system called Babylon the Great (Rev 18). We discussed how history repeats itself and how man, incited by Satan, the arch-rebel, has been continually in rebellion against Yhvh-God and his purposes. Ancient Civilizations highlights:
  • where it began{ in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the plain of Shinar}
  • what archaeology is {ancient + study}
  • what an oop artifact is {out of place}
  • that an oop is not as reliable as the bible itself as it does not tell the whole story
Coil pots, stone tablets, stone oil lamps, fossils are all ancient artifacts from this time period.
The Great Ice Age
  • Ice age 500 years after the flood is the peak of the ice age - people could have traveled on land bridges during this time
  • What Happened to the Dinosaurs? {after the flood, the climate changed drastically so that there was not enough vegetation to support them. Because of all the water on the earth, polar ice caps formed and then the ice age came and the dinosaurs lost their lush habitat with plenty of food and warmth. Job lived during a time not to long after the dinosaurs and describes them, so we know that some lived during this time and possibly into the Middle Ages from stories that we can read, such as Sir George and the Dragon and Beowulf, and drawings were found from Ancient Babylon, and even modern day stories such as the 1977 Japanese find of a plesiosaur confirm that dinosaurs (dragons) were on the Ark!}
We are finishing up the book, The Great Ice Age, and although there is so much more that we I want to do with this time period (think dinosaurs and ice age stuff with the little ones!), we are moving on to learn about the ancient city of Ur and why Abraham was called out of that city.

The Winter Journal | Throwback Thursday

12/27/2009
Wintertime.
There are times when nature wants to be alone, and this is one of them. ~ Marcia Bowden Nature for the Very Young

Still, wintertime is a good time to begin learning about nature because there is less activity than in other seasons. This is a good time to hone observational skills in children as they learn to look past the barrenness of a cold, wintry white scene and focus in on the shapes of trees, the patterns of animal tracks in the snow, the dried remains of last summer's plants, and winter color


 On Winter Observations
No matter where you live, whether there is a dramatic change in temperature or more subtle changes from other seasons, winter is the time of basic regeneration in nature. - Claire Walker Leslie Keeping a Nature Journal



On Keeping a Seasonal Journal
'The changing seasons' is perhaps the most obvious themes conducive to keeping an ongoing nature journal. The advantage of keeping a nature journal through a full year is that you can bear witness to how much, in fact, the outdoors changes and unfolds, month by month through a full cycle -- and then begins again, with the same pattern but different details. - Claire Leslie Walker Keeping a Nature Journal


With winter upon us, the surface of the pond and rivers are frozen over, but if we look carefully we can see water warning us to stay away as it runs underneath the ice and snow. 

Perhaps nature does want to be alone this time of year?

Originally Published in 2009 | I hope this inspires you to venture out into the cold! If not, find a window and look out! 

Worship Guitar

12/24/2009
Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class is a unique series of DVD based guitar lessons designed for individual or group lessons. I was blessed to received Volume One to review for the Crew. The DVD includes:
  • Introduction
  • Parts of the guitar
  • Tuning the guitar
  • Lessons 1-7
  • Practice Sessions
Each lesson includes step by step instructions that are appropriate for the beginner to the intermediate player. In volume one you can learn seven songs, a dozen chords, and several strumming and finger-picking patterns. The worship songs included:
  1. He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
  2. My All in All
  3. More Precious Than Silver
  4. Take My Life
  5. Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
  6. This Is the Day
  7. I Love You, Lord
The DVD comes with a companion instructional book that offers the lessons in print for a quick and easy reference and is designed to supplement the DVD lessons. See the first lesson for free. This video is the intructional lesson. In the practice session, it goes step by step at a slower pace. Price: $29.95 for each level, includes a book and DVD. The 4 level set sells for $99.80 (DVDs only) or $119.80 for the DVDs and levels 1-4 books and includes:
  • the complete set of JW Worship Guitar Class Volumes
  • 'Tips, Tricks & Exercises for Great Guitar Technique'
  • 'Hymn eBook'
  • '200+ Chord Charts and Pictures
  • 'Chord Charts with Pictures for 5 Major Keys + How to use this Guide Book.' ($40 Value)
Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class also offers a one year 100% money back guarantee. Other products include Worship Guitar for Kids, Praise Violin, and more. I am thrilled with this program and think this is an excellent way to learn to play the guitar. I have been wanting to play for years and am excited to have lessons that are so clear, concise and easy enough that my 9 year old is able to learn along with me. The hardest part for me has been toughening up my fingers that hold the chords. I can only practice for 10 minutes at a time right now, although sometimes I cheat and wear Band-Aids so I can learn to switch from one chord to the next, which is the second hardest part for me. I think this program would be perfect for beginning a family worship time and I recommend this for anyone who is wanting to learn to play the guitar and worship Yhvh Elohim (the Lord our God) at the same time. You can see other Crew member reviews to see what they think of Worship Guitar. Some crew mates will also be reviewing Worship Guitar for Kids.
I received this product for free in exchange for my review as a member of the Crew. No further compensation was received and I offer my honest opinion.

Peg Board Organizing {System}

12/22/2009

Do you ever have so many things you want to do, but don't know where to start?

Organizing my work space seemed like a good place to start. I saw this peg board organizing system at my mother-in-law's house and knew when I saw it, that this would help me get organized so I can get started on the projects I want to do.

So, I set out to Home Depot and picked up a 4'x8' sheet piece of 1/4" pegboard. I had them cut it for me into the sizes that I wanted (24" x 32") for a total of 6 boards. Then I headed to the hardware department to pick up the peg board hooks. They offer these in a kit or in individual packages. (I actually prefer the hooks that I have since found at K-Mart better, and Walmart also carries them). Then I picked some dry wall anchors, screws and extra spacers. Spacers allow space for the peg hooks to hang behind the board. We used 4 spacers behind each board.

I have 3 stations on this wall: one for office and school supplies, one for sewing and craft supplies, and one for hardware and tools.

For small items, I hole punched the top of clear plastic bags designed to hold scrapbooking supplies and placed the items inside. When I ran out of those, I used sandwich bags until I found a pack of various sized clear bags that I got from the dollar store.

On the opposite side of the room, I added a miscellaneous peg board for clip boards, plastic sheet protectors, laminating sheets, etc. I have since almost filled up this board.

I also set up another table on this side of the room for scrap booking and added a scrapbooking peg board.

I opted for a cork board above the computer desk for simplicity and flexibility. I mostly pin bills up or notes for my husband or the kids (since this is the computer that he and the children use).

It was easy with the help of a drill, drill bit, screw bit and my 13 year old son. He did all the drilling and I helped him hold and level the boards.

Then came the fun part ~ cleaning out all the drawers and boxes that stored supplies, filling the peg boards up and organizing it all. I am amazed at all the stuff I found that had been hiding in drawers and craft bins. I found stuff that I had forgot I had because I stuck it in a drawer. Now, I feel like I have my own little craft store. I also can tell when someone uses a pair of scissors and does not return them, because I am always walking by it and notice an empty spot.

This is a small spot in the house that gets used a lot, so it can get messy quickly. Having the peg board system has helped us find things when we need them and that can be very helpful when you are trying to work on a project!

Update: The peg board gets just as messy!

Instant Challenge #6 Solutions

12/21/2009

This week's challenge: Invent Aircraft

Challenge: Your TASK is to create an aircraft that will stay airborne for as long as possible.

Time: You will have up to 5 minutes to use your IMAGINATION to create your aircraft. Your team will then have up to 1 minute to launch your aircraft for score.

Set Up: On one end of the room is a taped line. Behind the line is a table with materials you may use to build your aircraft. There is also a stool behind the taped line from which you may launch your aircraft.


Materials:
  • 1 Sheet of Paper
  • 1 Toothpick
  • 5 Straws
  • 5 Mailing Labels
  • 1 Envelope
  • 3 Pipe Cleaners
  • The stool may NOT be damaged or altered in any way.

Scoring: You will receive:

A. 3 points for each second your aircraft is in the air beyond the taped line.
B. Up to 30 points for how creatively you use the materials.
C. Up to 20 points for how well your team works together.

During our last challenge, I had the oldest 2 work together since they were having the hardest time getting along. I was happy with the results, so I tried having all three work together this time.

We got off to a shaky start and that cost them some points. They did not agree on what to make so the two oldest started off by making their own thing.

Then half way through, Nathan saw what Jordan was doing, ditched his idea and ripped it apart to help Jordan. (They needed more mailing labels and straws).


They all worked together to finish what they were hoping would grab air and float to the ground and stay airborne for a bit.


They added pipe cleaners to keep the chute from collapsing.


Now for the launch:

They stood on top of the stool and reasoned that the tallest person would give them the best score because they could launch it higher in the air.

But they all had to give it a try.

1.5 seconds = 4.5 points
2.0 seconds = 6 points
And the final time was 2.5 seconds for 7.5 points.
It started off great, but then flipped over and fell quickly.

I gave them 15 out of 30 points for creativity, 15 out of 20 points for teamwork (they recovered well) and 7.5 points for how long it stayed airborne for a total of 37.5 points.
I'm curious to see who was up for a challenge this week! With all my issues this week, we almost didn't make the challenge. I just wasn't up to it. Thankfully, I have others that are holding me accountable because this really is good for creative problem solving practice!
*Sorry - I accidentally deleted the photos!

E is for Earl the Earthworm

12/20/2009

Earl the Earthworm

~Mali is 4 years 10 months~

For our alphabet fun with the letter E, Mali and I read Earl The Earthworm Digs for His Life.



From Green Sugar Press,
"In this 32-page book geared toward children aged five to nine, Earl takes us deep into his world. From buzzing bees, working ants, tall prairie grass and an amazing tree, Earl explores his surroundings in a quest to answer the question: What is it I do? After near total exhaustion, rain starts to fall and Earl begins to dig. Why does he dig? Nobody knows for sure, but if you ask Earl, he’ll tell you his gut told him to."
We learned some neat facts about earthworms and then we made an earthworm composting bin.

Earthworm Composting

First, we layered organic material, such as dry leaves . . .


coffee grounds and egg shells in a 5 gallon bucket.


And then added more black and white newspaper cut into thin strips.



We learned that earthworms breathe through their skin and need moisture to breathe. So, we sprayed the newspaper with water to moisten it.



Introducing Earl to his new home





An earthworm's body is made up of many tiny segments. Each segment has tiny bristles that help it move. I was happy that Mali remembered this from last summer.

Mali didn't mind handling the worms.

An earthworm has both male and female parts, but it takes two worms to do the worm dance. We read that it can take 2-3 weeks for baby earthworms to hatch.

In their new home.

Earthworm Food

potato peelings
carrots
lettuce
cabbage
celery
apple peelings
banana peels
cornmeal
oatmeal
eggshells
coffee grounds
tea bags
newspaper

Egg shells and sweet potato peelings.

E is for Earthworm

Earthworm Experiment:

Do worms prefer light or dark? Mali thought that they would like dark better because they live in the dark soil. To find out, we put a piece of black paper over half of the compost bin. After a few days, Mali checked and found most of the earthworms under the dark paper.
I had Mali draw a picture of his obervations and then narrate his conclusion to me. He said:
"The worms digged through the dirt and went under the black paper. Worms like dark."
You can see his drawing of the earthworm peeking out from under the black paper in the the picture below.
Mali's scrapbook pages.

Earthworm Enemies:

Hedgehogs
Moles
Birds-Robins, Blackbirds and Thrushes
Shrew
Little boys when they go fishing

Digging for potatoes led to finding our stash of earthworms this fall. Whenever we went fishing, we put the extra worms in the garden boxes.

Earthworm Tunneling

The earthworm tunnels under our potato bed.

An earthworm worm pushes through the soil creating tunnels that aerate and loosen the soil. This helps rainwater to run underground and water the roots of plants and trees.

Earthworm Movement


A worm’s uses it's bristles to help him move. The worm digs them into the soil-- using them like little anchors. He anchors himself as he scrunches up his body and then pointing in the direction he wants to go, he stretches out his body and uses his strong muscles to push through the soil.

We also learned some earthworm vocabulary, such as: burrow, cocoon, castings, bristle, saddle, and setae.

Earthworm castings make rich organic composting material that is ideal for gardening and we always have plenty of earthworm food around here. We are looking forward to seeing if our worms reproduce and how long it takes to make compost.

UPDATE! Read about our earthworm babies:

My hope was that our earthworms would reproduce to make more worms - enough to process our organic waste. And we have babies!


Here is another picture so you can see how small they are compared to the adult worms.


I took these several weeks ago, so I am anxious to see if they have grown. Because they are so small, I don't want to disturb them until they get a little bigger (plus, I read that they don't like to be disturbed). On a warm day, we will take them outside to get a better look and see how many we have now. (We began with 24).

Aren't they so small and cute? (Well, earthworm cute, anyways.) *Ü*

Up Next: U is for Underground

Delightful Earthworm Links:

 
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