Rewild Your Life Challenge! Animal Watching Review! @mackidsbooks #outdoorschool #homeschool #bookworm @odddotbooks @jenpharrdavis @marykaycarson @jenswanbooks #mglit

Hi Everyone! This month I have a challenge to take on. Using a set of books called Outdoor School (pictured below), my family have attempted these challenges. I loved reading Animal Watching. Each chapter has a couple of pages of info, such as becoming an active observer, scouting for wildlife, how to be a birder, spot birds by silhouette & shape, etc. After the quick easy and interesting informative read, there’s a page or two that teaches you how to apply what you learned in the real world which is labeled Try It. Then there’s the Track It page “where you can answer specific questions, write down details, and record the critters you’ve spotted.” There are areas where you can write down date of activities and check mark that you did it. This interactive learning gives kids the chance to stay alert because they are expected to do what they just read! There are 5 parts to this book: what is animal watching, birds, mammals, amphibians & reptiles, and fish. I like that there are different pages dedicated to different animals so readers can take notes when they spot them in the wild.

Each book is 448 pages long. I was planning to do a few chapters from each book one week at a time but plans and reality don’t work out well. (Somehow I got Staph infection on my finger so I was hurting a lot and for weeks. It got better at first but then it got worse. I finally visited the doctor but they didn’t know what it was even with two sets of eyes (1 doc & 1 nurse practitioner) so I went into ER. Thank goodness the infection didn’t get into my bones yet. Sounds really scary. I’m now taking pills and recovering). So in this post, I will mainly focus on Animal Watching book because I’m currently reading it for the month of April. I will do separate posts for other books. My kids and I sit on our picnic blanket as many mornings as we can (rain) to watch for birds. I think my 20 months old daughter loves it a lot. From the book, I think the bird in the picture below is an American Robin. I loved learning a lot about birds. One thing I did remember seeing was the birds poking themselves into their tails but I didn’t know it’s part of preening/grooming.

My bird house in my backyard one time has 3 blue birds’ eggs! I didn’t look them up so I didn’t know which bird that was. The bush on my front yard once has a birds’ nest. There was a mom bird in it. I think she was expecting to give birth soon so I tried to stay away from that bush. But one day I went out and saw bird feathers everywhere by the bush as if there was an attack. I felt bad.

We took a walk and spotted 2 bird’s nest on one tall tree. See below.

Animals tracking! These squirrels really do make a lot of holes!

Animal Watching taught me about eyeshine. I just learned of the vocabulary. Definitely interesting to know the difference between tree squirrels and ground squirrels. I will look for them next time I go out for a walk! The terms page are helpful. The back of the book can act as a ruler which was awesome. This book is color-coded too so you can find your section quickly. Highly recommend this series to everyone!

Due to the challenge, I am attempting to check off as many on the Rewild Your Life list as I can. These rocks were collected by my son. I totally forgot to collect some for myself. But in my next post on that book, I will have more rocks to post.

Our family recently have had the opportunity to visit Callaway Gardens. We walked through the Azaleas trail and halfway through other trails I forgot to note the names. There were some small trails to the butterfly garden where they planted Hibiscus on both sides. I don’t have a picture of the trail because they were just sprouting leaves, no flowers yet.

The Hydrangeas tree reminded me of the bush I have in front of my house but didn’t know the name of it until now. I learned of the Petunias flower from my local plant nursery where I go to prepare a spring garden in my backyard.

We walked a lot at Callaway Gardens. We attended Birds of Prey show and learned about Falcon, Barn Owl (pictured below), and one other bird I forgot the name. The birds fly over the audience’s heads from the front to the back and again. It was fun. We were advised not to put our hands up over our heads because they will think it’s foods!

We have attempted on learning the directions by shadow using a compass. I haven’t read about shadow in the books yet so I don’t know how to tell the directions without a compass.

I used to love watching Nature on PBS when I was younger. But now there are just a lot to do. I will try to make time this weekend to sit down with my kids for a show.

See you on my next post!

Buy it here for free shipping: Book Depository or Macmillan’s website 

About the Authors:

Jennifer Pharr Davis is a hiker, author, speaker, and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year who has covered over 14,000 miles of long distance trails on six different continents. In 2011, Jennifer covered the 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail in forty-six days, eleven hours, and twenty minutes, maintaining a remarkable average of forty-seven miles per day. By doing this, she claimed the overall (male or female) fastest known time on the “A.T.” and became the first woman to set the mark. Jennifer has also backpacked over 700 miles in her 2nd and 3rd Trimesters of Pregnancy, walked across the state of North Carolina while nursing her son, and set foot on a trail in all 50 states with her daughter.

Jennifer has authored books and written articles for the New York Times, Outside magazine, Backpacker, and Trail Runner. She is also a professional professional speaker and the founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company, a guiding service that strives “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable” for hikers of all ages, genders, and ability levels. She is also a former board member for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and an ambassador for the American Hiking Society. Jennifer lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband Brew and their daughter Charley and son Gus. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website and book pictures obtained from Edelweiss).

Mary Kay Carson is the author of more than fifty nonfiction books for young people. Her book Alexander Graham Bell for Kids received a 2019 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books. She’s written six titles in HMH’s acclaimed Scientists in the Field series, including Park Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard and The Bat Scientists, an ALA’s 2011 Notable Children’s Books for Middle Readers. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her photographer husband Tom Uhlman in a century-old house surrounded by urban greenspace, deer, hawks, woodchucks, and songbirds. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).

Jennifer Swanson is the award-winning author of over 35 children’s books, including Brain Games, Super Gear, Astronaut-Aquanaut, and Save the Crash-test Dummies. A self-professed science geek, she started a science club in her garage when she was 7 years old. When not researching cool STEM stuff or writing about it, you can find her walking along the beach with her husband and her dogs, looking for shells. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).

Haley Blevins

(I need to grab some info from the publisher’s).

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***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Macmillan Publishers for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.



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