Today we wrapped up the second part of our life cycle study by completing our Ff Frog unit.
We both learned several new things about frogs this week. Probably the most basic thing we learned is how to tell the difference between a frog and a toad. Frogs lay their eggs in masses and have smooth, slimy skin; toads lay their eggs in chains and have dry, bumpy skin. We looked through a Ranger Rick magazine and found some pictures of frogs that were almost too beautiful to be true! (I can't believe I just said that about frogs!) The colors on these frogs were amazing: yellows, reds, blues—and they had gorgeous patterns on their skin, to boot! When we read the article, however, we discovered that they are poisonous. Who knew there were poisonous frogs out there?! Hannah also learned that frogs are amphibians because they live part of their life in the water and part of their life on land, that they are cold-blooded, that they drink water through their skin rather than with their mouths, and that they hibernate underground during the winter.
We looked at the life cycle of frogs, but Hannah already had some experience with this. When we went to North Carolina two years ago, we accidentally turned off our swimming pool pump before we left. When we arrived home two and a half weeks later, we found a swimming pool full of greenish-blackish water and tons of tadpoles! Hannah wanted to keep the tadpoles and let them turn into frogs; Mom and Dad wanted to shock the heck out of the pool and make it swimmable again. Mom and Dad won. (Even a homeschool family has its limits.)
Here is a picture Hannah drew of a frog's life cycle.
It starts at the bottom with the egg mass, then moves clockwise to a single egg whose yolk has begun to divide, then to a tadpole, then to a tadpole with legs and a shortened tail, and finally to a frog. Then the whole cycle repeats itself.
One of Hannah's projects this week was to make a frog out of Play-Doh. I gave her the assignment, then I left her alone to sculpt while I tried to tackle some chores. Her finished creation was completely different from what I had envisioned in my mind, and I loved it! I had expected to see a frog—you know, his body, his feet, his head—but what I found instead was a frog face with his tongue sticking out catching a bug. Cute!
Another project was to write a Frog Facts book. As usual, I wrote while Hannah dictated. Then she went back and gave a half-hearted effort to add illustrations. I think next time I'll at least encourage her to use a little color!
(Just in case that last sentence threw you for a loop, a frog actually uses its eyes to push food down into its stomach.)
We had a neat little experience on Tuesday. Hannah and Camille were outside playing with a friend, and they all came running inside to tell me they wanted to show me something. When I went outside to see what it was, I saw a hole in our flower bed with a frog down at the bottom of it. Sounds like a God wink to me!
Our special words to remember this week were "I use my tongue wisely."
We discussed how the tongue is used to help us talk and even tried to say a few words while holding our tongues. (Very tough, by the way!) Then we read several passages that describe how to be wise when we speak. My favorite was James 3:9-10: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."
It's so easy for me to think about how our special words each week can be used to train them. ("Hannah, did you just speak rudely to your sister? Remember, 'I will use my tongue wisely.'") But I am seeing how God is using these lessons just as much for me. ("Jennifer, did you really just ...stoop to arguing with a 5-year-old? ...complain about something at church? ...answer back with a sarcastic remark? ...say something that was less than edifying to a fellow believer? Remember, 'I will use my tongue wisely.'")
So thankful God trains children of all ages,