Homeschool Fall Break, Day 2: Birds

Our second day of fall break we had beautiful weather. It was breezy and warm, sunny most of the day. I’d planned to drive the hour to the zoo because my son keeps begging to go, but we were tired from our adventures yesterday and I was feeling wiped out from this cold that I have.

So, we stayed closer to home and assembled and hung our new wren house…

I trust the wrens, titmice, and chickadees will find the stickers appealing this spring.

and we cleaned, filled, and hung our new bird feeders.

The gray squirrels ate the bird feeders we had last year, so I bought two new ones—including one behemoth that’s supposed to be 100% squirrel-proof—and put out ample (weevil-infested) food for the rodents so maybe we can save the feeders. My son enjoyed dumping the bird seed on the ground rather than in the bird feeder, but we eventually got them both filled.

These tasks, a quick trip to the library, a final (we think) play time with the water table, and prepping and eating meals took up the entire day. I finished out the day by falling asleep with my son before 7:30 (then waking up at 9pm to brush my teeth and post to the blog).

As a side note, I’m trying something new with my kids. Before we engage in an activity that traditionally ends with me angry and frustrated at the actions of my heathen children (like going into public places or eating meals), I tell them my expectations. I try to use positive statements (“I expect that you will stay next to me, remain standing, use walking feet, and speak in indoor voices.” or “I expect that you will sit at your place while you eat your dinner and ask before you leave the table.”) but I usually have to specify a “not” expectation, too (“I expect that you will not tackle your sister in the middle of the library.”). The kids are surprisingly receptive to the expectations. I’d been using it sporadically for grocery trips, but yesterday as we got out of the car at the orchard, my daughter asked, “Mommy, do you have any expectations for us?” So, I decided to use the technique more often. It takes a little more forward-planning to come up with clear expectations and a little more work to remind my children of those expectations (and to provide consequences for not meeting them, if necessary), but it seems to give us more pleasant outings that involve less clenched-teeth near-yelling on my part.

5 Replies to “Homeschool Fall Break, Day 2: Birds”

  1. It really works, doesn’t it? The stating of expectations. We need to stick to it more than we have been doing, but it’s unbelievable what positive effect it has. Thanks for reminding me.


    1. I’ll send your thanks along to my daughter since she’s the one who reminded me. 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Lori.


  2. This is something that I really need to work on…letting the kids know what is expected of them. It is just like anything I suppose, if I just take a the extra time and effort in advance to let my kids know what I expect of them it will save a lot of headache. Thank you for sharing this….something I really need to hear.


    1. Thank you for the comment, Angie. It’s something I forget about, too. As time goes by, more and more I get the sense that all I’m doing is relearning the same lessons over and over again. I suppose it’s a comfort that I already know what I need to know, but it’s frustrating that I don’t always access this knowledge.


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