Sunday, January 15, 2017

Rowing Peter Rabbit {FIAR}

Continuing to catch up on the latest Five in a Row adventures at our is our recent row of Peter Rabbit....this is such a classic story and I was happy to be able to share it again with Rose. I have always gotten a kick out of Beatrix Potter's gentle humor and never tire of reading her, so this was great fun for both of us. We have a large volume of Beatrix Potter tales, so I chose to use that, rather than a single copy of the book.

Here's what we did!

*Social Studies*

  • We discussed trust in relationships ~ specifically the relationship between Peter and his mother where sadly, not much trust is going on!
  • We discussed what made Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail "good little bunnies" and how Peter was different. We also discussed the rules Mrs. Rabbit had set for her children (staying out of Mr. Mc Gregor's garden) and what her reasons were for doing so. 
  • We found England on our globe and looked for the details in the story that are especially English, with the help of our FIAR manual.

*Language Arts*
  • We reviewed onomatopoeia - Mr. McGregor's hoe scritch-scratches in the dirt.
  • As suggested in the manual, we re-read the passage about the white cat watching the goldfish ~ because it contains excellent descriptive language!

  • We reviewed the vocabulary words from the manual.


  • I shared the notes on naturalists in the FIAR manual with Rose - we learned a lot about how Beatrix Potter got so good at drawing animals ~ she spent a lot of time observing them and actually cared for many of the animals she drew in her stories. She really knew her subjects!
  • As a go-along we read The Country Artist: A Story About Beatrix Potter ~ I would recommend this for kids around Rose's age (8) or older, due to the level of the text. We read it over a week and enjoyed it. But some parts of it were a bit sad, since Beatrix lived quite a lonely life as a child. It was wonderful to see how she made her dreams a reality, though. 

  • We briefly discussed the medium used in the illustrations (watercolor).

I love the illustrations in this story!


  • As suggested in the manual, we discussed what "days to maturity" means for seeds. Then, she made a little pencil drawing of vegetables. I also defined "fortnight" for her.


  • I had her make a list of everything Mr. McGregor grew in his garden, then we looked through the text and illustrations for anything we missed ~ he grew an impressive variety!
  • We briefly talked about fear, and what happens when Peter becomes overwhelmed by it ~ he has trouble thinking and focusing on what to do next. The manual links this to another FIAR story that discusses fear, Storm in the Night, so I reminded her of that row. 

*More Fun*

  • To wrap up this row, we made the recipes in the FIAR cookbook ~ vegetable soup, currant buns, and blackberry bread pudding. They all came out awesome and I will make them again! Here is Rose, hard at work on the dough for the currant buns..

And posing with the finished product...the recipe made a ton of currant buns and we actually froze several of them for a later date (note: they freeze well). 

Okay, that's it for this next FIAR post will be on Miss Rumphius.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Rowing Three Names {FIAR}

I have several Five in a Row adventures, or "rows", to catch you all up on...starting with our row of Three Names, a book about a dog with three names (actually four, as you'll find if you read this story). We loved this book, but I must admit this was much more of a "talking row" than a "doing" row...hence the relative lack of pictures!

Here's what we did!
*Social Studies*

  • This story takes place on the prairie, so I reminded her of Little House on the Prairie, which we read last year, and which reminds me that we never watched this - maybe a good winter project? Then, she drew a pictures of the prairie ~ hers has lots of horses, naturally. 

  • We discussed one-room schoolhouses and what it might have been like to learn in one, then we made baked potatoes and ate them for lunch, like the children in the story ~ only we baked ours in the electric oven;).

*Language Arts*

  • As suggested in the manual, we discussed what makes an interesting title ~ this story definitely has one!
  • We went over some of the unfamiliar vocabulary in the story and learned what words like "slough" and "aggie" mean, among others.
  • This story has lots of similes ....the nights were crisp like apples.....and we went through and found them, with the help of our trusty manual.
  • We discussed what hyperbole means and how it is used as a literary device - it's an exaggeration used for emphasis, like when your grandfather tells you he had to walk six miles to school uphill both ways!
  • As suggested in the manual, we re-read the wonderful description of the barn. Then Rose got out one of her favorite horse books and we reviewed some of the different types of horses - she loved this, especially since she took riding lessons herself through the summer and fall. 

  • The illustrations in this book contain many examples of shadows, so we looked through and identified where the light would have been coming from based on the shadows. Examples:

  •  We looked at this picture of the road to see how the illustrator makes it look as though the road goes right back into the picture, eventually disappearing ~ the lines of the road narrow, and the fence posts are taller in front, getting shorter in back. 

  • We talked about fiddles, then we listened to one ~ can you believe the girl playing is only nine!?

  • Grandfather occasionally walked to school ~ a 3 mile journey ~ so, as suggested in the manual, I taught Rose how many feet are in a mile. Then, we figured out how many feet he walked total. 

  • We talked about wind shears and tornadoes, both of which occur on the prairie. We also discussed what it means to be fraternal twins, like two of the children in the story. 
  • We are told that great-grandfather gets his water from a well, so I explained to her that our water also comes from a well. We also discussed the purpose of a root cellar - we actually see one in action a couple of times a month, when we pick up our winter farm share.
I had definitely planned to do a bit more with this book; we never got around to baking sugar cookies or looking for shadows outdoors, among other things, but this was still a very enjoyable row! 

Next up, I'll have our row of Peter Rabbit

Monday, January 9, 2017

52 Books in 52 Weeks (but not quite)

This past year, I tried to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I just managed to do this in 2015, and you can see that reading list here. This year, not so much, though I did get to 42 books. Now I'm all set to start a new year and hopefully actually make that 52 this year. 

Here are the books I read in 2016 ~

Book #1...If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie 

Book #2...Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Book #3...The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Book #4....In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Book #5...The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton


Book #6....Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

Book #7....Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala


Book #8....Up in the Air by Walter Kirn


Book #9....Curtain by Agatha Christie

Book #10....The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Book #11...Remembered Death by Agatha Christie (out of print)

Book #12...The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

Book #13...The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Gilman

Book #14...Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Book #15...How to Write a Novel by Melanie Summers


Book #16...The Double Bind by Christopher Bohjalian

Book #17...Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

Book #18...The End of Everything by Megan Abbott


Book #19...The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Book #20... The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida

Book #21....No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy


Book #22...Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Book #23...Fellside by M.R. Carey


Book #24...The Returned by Jason Mott


Book #25... The Hiding Place by David Bell

Book #26....Luckiest Girl Alive  by Jessica Knoll


Book #27...Girl at War by Sara Novic


Book #28... The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry


Book #29...The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware


Book #30...The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Book #31...The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Book #32...A Day at the Beach by Geoffrey Wolff


Book #33...The Call of the Wild by Jack London


Book #34...The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Book #35...The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Book #36....The Girls by Emma Cline

Book  #37.....House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Book #38.....The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister

Book #39...The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Book #40...Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book #41...A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


Book #42...Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday Musings

For the week of January 2nd...Happy New Year!

A few plans for the week

Mostly we're focusing on getting back into our normal groove this week, but not until Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday will be busy with Dad off of work, the kids' grandfather visiting, practices, and several appointments. Then, hopefully Wednesday, we'll start easing back into the swing of things. We will have our Twelfth Night celebration Friday to officially wrap up our Christmas season, and Rose has her very first gymnastics meet next weekend. 

Some homeschool notes

I'm looking forward to getting back to things, though I'm not sure the kids are! We need to start prepping for the National Mythology Exam, and I want to finish up Kidnapped ~ hopefully we can all still follow the story! Rose and I will be starting her next FIAR book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. I still have some older FIAR adventures to post about, too. 

Out of doors

We got the kids a slack line for Christmas and they have been getting a lot of use out of it. I have even tried it myself a few times, though I am nowhere near as good as they are at it. I need to start walking again now that the holidays are past - we have had quite a relaxing week around here, and I have spent far too much time sitting. It's time to start getting at least 10,000 steps a day again. 

In the kitchen

We made a big spread for New Year's Eve and had a lot of fun eating it while watching movies -The Force Awakens and a Hallmark Christmas movie. I made a ladyfinger trifle for dessert. I love trifles; they are so darn fancy looking but really not much work. I really should make them more than once a year. 

Watching, reading, crafting

I am working on a snowglobe cross-stitch project; I have been following the patterns posted on Country Living each month and have quite the collection by now. I'll have to photograph it soon! Besides Christmas movies, we went to see Rogue One and watched several episodes of Chopped, the kids' new favorite show. Without the kids, we watched Woman in Gold and started Grantchester Season 2. I had to officially give up on completing 52 books in 52 weeks; I made it to 42 though! I will have a post up soon about 2016's reading. Right now I am reading All Things Cease to Appear, which is good, but perhaps a bit too riveting for before bed reading!

A few recent photos

our outdoor tree after a snowfall

New Year's Eve balloon pop - one balloon each hour

our little fake tree on the sunporch

Happy 2017!

Have a wonderful week, and I'll see you here again soon!