Homeschooling

Duck Day! 2018 Edition

The Ducks Are Flying Back

It’s just plain reassuring that someone wants to live in North Dakota, as all the birds and ducks are flying back.

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Look closely.  Two Canada Geese.  The geese are always the first to fly back.  I guess they’re faster than the ducks.

Last year in April, the children and I drove around and identified different ducks and water birds.  Because we had so much fun doing that and listening to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, we decided to do it again.  We call it our Duck Day.  Man, it’s great to be homeschooled and out in wild.

This year we saw mallards, shovelers, coots, and hooded mergansers.

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See the shovelers?  I don’t either.  That’s because they flew away before I could take the photo.  But, if you look closely, you can see the blue heron we scared away on the left.

We also saw swarms of black birds.  They reminded me of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book – the one wherein Pa’s corn is decimated by black clouds of these things.  Farmers up here also lament them, as they greatly diminish fields of sunflowers.

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This particular flock stopped all the traffic on the highway, which was just me.

For fun, I’ll post last year’s duck day results too because I have a lovely rant about Prokofiev.  See below.

Duck Day! 2017 Edition

A week or so ago, when the weather was terrible, I had had enough of school.  So that day was Duck Day.  Duck Day consisted of me driving around the county and drinking coffee, while the children identified local ducks – mostly mallards, blue-winged teals, shovelers, coots, and wood ducks.

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Wood Duck.  Not my photo, however.  This is by Richard Bartz, Munich.

To top that excitement off, we listened to Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf from Maestro’s Classics because in it, a wolf eats a duck.  (That’s the best part of the story, by the way.)

Maestro’s Classics: Peter and the Wolf

Are you familiar with Maestro’s Classics for children?  While I’ve not listened to them all, I do enjoy them.  In addition to teaching a few elements of music theory and history, they help develop an ear for instruments.

To get to my point, however, I must summarize Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf for those of you unfamiliar with it.

It kicks off with Peter sneaking outside his garden walls to explore the prohibited meadow.  His grandfather, however, catches him, scolds him, and drags him back and locks the garden door because there are mean, nasty wolves out there.  Well, impetuous Peter just climbs the wall and hops on a tree branch, only to look down upon the meadow and see a big, bad wolf!  But Peter is prepared, for he lets down his rope and catches the wolf, much to the chagrin of the coming hunters who had intended to shoot it.  Peter is then rewarded with a great procession for his efforts, wherein he leads his wolf through the streets to a zoo, where the wolf is allowed to live.

And now for a little rant.

Well, this ending ticked me right off.  They rewarded Peter for his disobedience?  I’d have him fall off the tree branch and be eaten by the big, bad wolf.  Then, I’d have the hunters shoot the damn wolf.*

This ending got me thinking, I bet Prokofiev is an atheist.  Only an atheist would get the story that messed up.  And yes, sure enough, he was.

But even though is doesn’t end rightly, I still like this musical production for the reasons I stated above.  And my children got it anyway.  I asked my little 4-year-old what Peter’s consequence should have been for disobeying his grandfather, and she said, “He should be sent to bed for two days without lunch.”

*Yes, I said shoot the damn wolf.  Everyone knows that from time immemorial a wolf symbolizes evil.  And evil is to be damned, not put away in a zoo.