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Albert {FI♥AR}

My heart is most definitely into unit studies! ♥

It was fun to tie Birds of a Feather unit study in with our Bigger Hearts study of John Audubon: Young Naturalist, and then to follow it up with a Five in a Row Unit Study of Albert was wonderful! We continued our study of birds, explored blackberries, made a fabulous Spring Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette, investigated apartment living, and more! 

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We started with a continuation of our study on birds - this time focusing on Nesting, and then we followed the Volume 4 manual for our row. 

Science: Nesting, Tomatoes, Vining Plants, Berries

Then one sunny day, Albert stuck his hand out the window, and the next thing he knew, a twig appeared in it. Albert looked aournd in surprise. A cardinal flew by and dropped in another twig. . . Albert watched dumbfounded, as his now cupped hand filled to the brim. 
The cardinals fluttered and fussed and poked and pulled. They heaped grasses into the center of the twigs. Finally the female shaped the nest to fit her breast and settled in." ~Albert

We learned in Flying Creatures - and this was a surprise to us - that nests are not bird homes.
"Usually a bird will use its nest only to raise its young. It's not where a bird lives year round. Once a baby bird is grown, it doesn't return to its nest, and once a bird is done raising all of it's young for a season, it usually does not need the nest any longer. It only sleeps in the nest when it is incubating eggs..." 

We also learned that birds will often sleep in a hole (but not in a nest), in a forest tree that is thick with leaves, on the ground under a bush, or in a thick bush to roost for the night.

We also learned that while most bird nests once abandoned will probably not be used again, it is against the law to keep a bird nest. Wonder if this is why Albert lets the bird nest drop to the ground?!

We learned that a cup nest is the most common of all bird nests (the kind the cardinals built in Alberts hand) and that birds use all kinds of materials to build a nest: twigs, grass, lichen, moss, leaves and that they use all kind of materials to hold it together: mud, rotten wood, dung, spider webs, caterpillar silk, and even bird saliva.

Eggs and Chicks (an Usborne book) was a fun review of all that we've learned and a fun way to pull Bo into our study.

Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?
"Albert sat at his table and drank tomato juice and listened to the noises of the morning."

We had tomato juice and toast for breakfast. There is a recipe in the manual, but I just bought canned tomato juice. Kids had toast with butter and I had toast too (Ezekiel Sesame Sprouted) with low fat cottage cheese for an E breakfast. :)

We learned some interesting facts from the manual and also that the U.S. classified it as a vegetable for tariff reasons in the 1800s. Tomato is a "seed container" so from a botanist point of view, a tomato is a fruit.

Vining Plants

At a local greenhouse. 

We will study these in Botany, but to demonstrate this concept, we planted pole beans and I'm hoping to surprise the kids with a bean teepee they can play in after they've watched it wind up the bamboo poles!

Berries: Blackberries
"From that day on, Albert peeped and the father cardinal fed him blackberries."
We examined and dissected a blackberry.

Where do blackberries grow?

The kids remember picking wild blackberries in Oregon. 

FIAR Recipe: Spring Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette


This might be my favorite recipe from Five in a Row! (I Trim Healthy Mama-fied it by using stevia instead of honey.)

Language Arts: Write a Postcard

The plan was to write and mail a postcard - Albert writes postcards that are never mailed, and. . . we do that all the time, but we actually mailed this one! Eliana has a friend that moved into a new apartment so we tied this into apartment living...

She wrote:
We are rowing Albert and learning about apartment living. What is your favorite thing about your new apartment? It is fun? 
Eliana thinks it would be fun to live in an apartment - especially one that has a pool!

Social Studies: City Living, Apartment Living

Went downtown to look at the apartments on Main Street and to look for apartment vocabulary, like awnings, fire escapes, staircases, elevators, and more. We drove through the alleys to discover all the fire escapes and the kids were surprised that they never noticed them before as we can see them from the main road. They were also surprised that there are so many apartments above the shops downtown.

We thought Frackelton's had the coolest awning. :) 

Next up: Make a shoebox apartment with Playmobil!

Complete with a fire escape. . . 

People passing by. 

And street vendors. 

Eliana created scenes from the book (on her own). 

Albert listening to baseball games on the radio. 

They are still having fun with this.

Art: Music - Penny Whistle (Flageolet), Watercolor, Cardinal Nest Scene, Nature Journal

We made eggs with air dry clay, let them dry, and painted to put in nest to make a "nest scene."

Our Cardinal Nest Scene (A lesson from the manual). 

We included a penny whistle in our nest scene - Malachi has wanted a flageolet ever since we read John Audubon and so I bought a penny whistle for him to try to make bird songs with.

Nature Journal: Pocketful of Pinecones

We've just started reading this, but I like it so far. Now that summer is here, I'm hoping to include more nature study in our learning and play. I bought Canson Mix Media journals for the kids and might just skip ahead to Lesson 13 in Botany for a quick lesson on Nature Journaling!

There were other lessons that were learned and thoughtful discussions about the book -  like the world Albert lives in, his fear, how those fears can rob us of our joy, and how sometimes something simple like compassion can make us realize how wonderful the world is that we live in. ♥


  1. What a delightful study. The Playmobil apartment building is great. I love Pocketful of Pinecones. The next book in the series ~ Lessons from Blackberry Inn is delightful too.
    blessings, Dawn

  2. I love all the things you did with this! Thanks for the playmobil inspiration. We are going to start getting some sets! I have had that pinecone book on my Amazon wish list for years. I will have to borrow it when you are done.

  3. What fun, now I'm really looking forward to rowing it myself!

  4. Michelle! You're unit studies are absolutely amazing and so inspiring! This is a gift that God has given you! It's so evident!! Love love love to read your Unit Studies. Every time you post a new one it makes me want to move next to you. lol

  5. To see the "rows" come to life, makes me wonder if I should continue pressing on but I really want the ease this coming year (I think)...hehe! I'm still praying over finding ways to fit in variety and have the beauty of it all.

  6. Thank you all! ♥

    I definitely go through seasons where I am excited and have lots of energy to row and then I need to take a long time off! I couldn't even row all year as I had hoped (that's why I ordered Bigger Hearts). I decided that adding in a row here and there was more doable for me. ♥