Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last Day of Workshop #1!

Today, we wrapped up our Guardian Workshop with the review of each guardian animal. We also learned about electric fences and how we use them here on the farm. The students learned the basics of electricity, and even made their own circuit! We talked about voltage, insulators, and conductors, and how they apply to keeping our fences in proper working order. The class helped me check the voltage of the fences using a voltage meter. Since the grass was so wet, there were many things along the fence line that were draining the charge today. The class was able to walk with me, testing the fenceline in different places, and moving wet grass and weeds out of the way to see the voltage increase. The kids also spent some time loving on the donkey and goats!   

At home, the kids came up with ideas for superheroes using our guardian animals. Today, they took the superheroes and made stories using comic strip template.  They used pictures and word bubbles to create their own comic strips. This was a great way for the younger kids to make picture stories with few words while the older children could make full comic strip stories!  In art, Ms. Nancy and the class finished up their guinea projects. They also began a mandala activity, creating a circular farm design. 
For students in the younger class, many are still learning the ropes on being in a classroom environment.  As homeschoolers, classes aren't something everyone is used to!  I am using this class to help them understand classroom boundaries and rules, and more importantly, why these rules and boundaries are needed!  As a teacher, I know that having a group of children that can hear you speak, stay safe while outdoors, and follow directions during an activity is needed to help classtime to go smoothly.  It's hard to learn anything when students around you are unable to control their bodies or volumes.  As a mom, I know that at this young age, it is developmentally appropriate to want to explore your surroundings, share your thoughts, and PLAY!  I am going to work with this younger class to help them understand the value in a little structure... while showing love and keeping my "Stress Free Zone" atmosphere!  (Because no one can learn if they are stressed out!)

It's time for a short break, and we will be back for another workshop at the end of October!  This will be the Wednesday before Halloween, so feel free to wear costumes if you'd like!

Piggy-Football!  Run that apple straight to the end zone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Livestock Guardian Dogs!

We had another beautiful sunny day in Farm Fusion class!  Today was day 3 of the Farm Guardian workshop.  The class reviewed what they learned about guineas and donkeys, and then we learned all about Livestock Guardian Dogs.  The students learned the difference between Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD's) and sheparding or herding dogs.  Both work on a farm, but they have different roles.  We talked about the different breeds of LGD's, their personalities, and their countries of origin.  Our LGD's, Han and Chewie, are Karakachan, which is a rare breed from Bulgaria.  They are only 10 months old, and are amazing protectors.  They spend their time patrolling, watching, and waiting for trouble! 

The class continued to work on their guinea projects with Ms. Nancy today.  They will be finishing them up next week as we wrap up the guardian study.  

Our group listened to a story of sheep herding LGD's in the Rocky Mountains.  We talked about the predators that the flocks face their, and how the LGD's are socialized into the herd that they will protect.  Then, we made our way outdoors to observe the dogs and to play a fun game!  The kids were all foxes, trying to sneak into the "door" of a chicken coop (hula hoop).  They had to sneak in, one by one, until they finally knock the hula hoop to the ground.  As soon as the hula hoop falls, the guardian dog is alerted, and has to try to tag as many foxes as he or she can!  We played until each and every person had a chance to be the LGD!


I was so very impressed with the writing that the students are doing at home!  Whether they are able to write it themselves, dictate to parents, copy, or write entire studies on their own, they are all working so hard at their personal best!  I love making a big deal of their hard work, and we often pause between papers to discuss the concepts they mention or the writing techniques they use.  Next week, we will be working on something special in class to incorporates all of our guardian animals!

For next week-
Instead of writing a story, I want you to come up with super hero characters for a guinea, donkey, and livestock guardian dog.  Draw and color pictures of your characters and bring them to class!  We will be doing something with them!