Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

Lazy Days and Whales


We love days off.  After spending so much of the week sending Daddy off to work – some days for 12 hours – it’s a welcome change in the energy of our home to have him back with us.  The kids are a little bit more even keeled, we get to see Daddy when he’s more awake, and I get to spend more time with my husband before midnight.

Some of our “weekends” are spent running around like crazy because we save up so many of our errands and special trips for when Daddy can go with us.  Other times, like today, we spend time at home just the five of us.  We sleep in later and wear our pajamas into the afternoon.  All five of us pile on to our king size bed – though sometimes everyone wants their own pillows and blankets making space a bit of an issue.

Today, after watching the Neelys on Food Network and some lunch, we headed to the library to pick up my most recent batch of books that I’m previewing books for our science curriculum next year.  Since we’re covering ancient history (the beginning until the Aztecs), I thought it would be appropriate to cover the same time period for science.  This will be our first pass through this time period so we’ll be focusing on an introduction with broad brush strokes to create a solid foundation.  We’ll start with a bang and head into our solar system before heading back to the beginnings of our planet.  I haven’t decided just yet whether I’ll put together our own unit study on evolution or if we’ll go with the one from Intellego Unit Studies.  My own education left much to be desired in the area of evolution so I’m leaning towards the one from Intellego.

Charlie’s Playhouse has a fantastic annotated book list on their website that I’m working my way through before Intellego’s unit on evolution is ready.  Regardless of whether or not I go with the Intellego Unit Study, I know that we’ll want to supplement with a few picture books that we can read together.  I’ve reviewed several of them so far (thank goodness for the library!) and have been pleased with what I’ve seen.

Did you know that modern whales still have vestigial legs and pelvic girdles?  This is just one of the things we learned today while reading Faith McNulty’s “How Whales Walked Into the Sea.”  I’m sad to say that it’s out of print, but there are some used copies available on Amazon’s website.  There have been some changes to the early family tree of whales (whereas the book traces their lineage back to the Mesonychids, the data points to a slightly different branch of that part of the tree) the basic premise (and general lineage) remains the same.  Wikipedia actually has a pretty decent entry on this including pictures if you’re so inclined (with another good discussion over here, a video from the BBC here, and a timeline here).

The easy flowing text of McNulty’s book combined with the fantastic illustrations meant this book was an easy read that kept the attention of our 3- and 6-year-old.  If you can get your hands on a copy it’s well worth it even if more recent fossil discoveries have made some sections of the book less accurate – it would be a great opportunity to talk about the phylogenetic tree.

Our kids are pretty young at this point so the fact that more discoveries will likely be made between now and their high school graduation means we’ll use this book more for what it’s best suited – the basics.


2 thoughts on “Lazy Days and Whales

  1. I like lazy days and pj’s