Friday, January 21, 2011

First Flight - Video Review

My mom works in a small shop in Tacoma, Wa, called Chirp & Co. When we visited at Thanksgiving, the boys did all kinds of cool home school stuff. They made their own walking sticks, helped with stocking and customers, painted their own birdhouses, etc. There were actually several more workshops upcoming that we would have loved to attend, but alas, the vacation ended and we were pulled back to "real" life back in Maryland.

BUT one of the last things Mom gave me to pack and take home was a lovely little video sold in her shop called First Flight: A Mother Hummingbird's Story by Noriko and Don Carroll. We didn't get around to watching it until just this past Tuesday. What was just a 45-minute video for me, turned into an impromptu science and art lesson that lasted several days! First, here is a brief synopsis from the back of the video box:

This enchanting and remarkably detailed nature film reveals the tireless efforts of the mother, who the Carrolls call Honey. As she furbishes her tiny nest with delicate spider webs and soft plant fibers to prepare for arrival of her eggs, the Carrolls record her every move. Stunning close-up photography brings you into the nest as the hatchlings emerge from their shells.... The Carroll team spent three years documenting Honey's life on HD video for this remarkable production. Informative narration by the authors and an inspiring soundtrack... help round out this story that is both educational and delightfully entertaining. First Flight is appropriate for all ages.

As I said, this turned into a science and art experience that lasted several days! First the boys each drew a picture of the hummingbird, its nest and whatever else struck them from the video. This is the one made by Smeagol.

Here is Bruiser's picture

And Bruiser followed this up by going to his bed and fashioning his stuffed animals into a bird's nest in which to sleep. It was rather clever really and I was totally impressed by both. This went on for two days.

Here he is, ready for bed (he has shorts on), tucked into his "nest" - incredibly, he slept there most of the night!

The third day, Maestro wrote up a page about hummingbirds. First he took 30 minutes to write a draft in which he wrote:
This is my report on humming birds. The humming bird is one of the smallest birds ever! They eat sweet necter from vairious flowers pollonating them in the process. Their eggs are no bigger than a coffee bean! Their wings beat 50 - 70 times a minute! They are also the only birds that can hover without landing. A humming bird can twist its wings like no other bird can.
He has a few things he plans to change in his rewrite, but I'm completely impressed by the fact that he is going through the motions of a draft writing, then editing, then a rewrite and expansion to what he wrote before.

We also are taking time to look at who wrote the music from the video and where it comes from. They used quite an eclectic mix, but most frequently we heard sounds of Mexico, appropriate since their hummingbirds migrated to Mexico each year.

So the video is a great video for a home schooling family to have on the shelf - it is short, colorful and enjoyable for all. It is also a great testament to the fact that, given enough leeway, a good home schooling lesson can come from all kinds of unexpected places!

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