Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Pair of Red Clogs with Five in a Row

A couple of months ago, I asked the boys what they wanted to learn about.  Elliott came to me a few days later and said he wanted to study Geography!  He said he wanted to learn about countries, bodies of water, the flags, how people live, and on and on and on he went.  He's always shown an interest in geography, so I wasn't surprised, and this made me glad I chose Five in a Row, because it naturally weaves so much geography and culture into the lessons!

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His first specific request was Japan, but we didn't own any of the books used in FIAR, and our library was a little lacking, so I went ahead and ordered some books we needed.  We started with A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno, which worked out well, because the predominate science theme we chose to study was weather.  Elliott has always been a weather channel kid, so he really loved this area of focus.

This story is about a grandmother reminiscing, telling us a story from her childhood, about her beautiful pair of red clogs, and the trouble she goes through to try to deceive her mother into buying a new pair when she ruins them playing the weather game.

We "rowed" this book on and off for about two weeks.  We don't row every day anyway, plus we had appointments and co-op and even a couple of sick days.  We didn't get to art at all, but the rest of what I set aside was geography/culture, since it can be applied to Grandfather's Journey soon enough.

Language Arts

The story starts out with a grandmother reminiscing about an event from her childhood, so we discussed this type of storytelling.  I asked the kids to tell me a story about something from their past.  Elliott told me about the time he was helping daddy paint the house and he got stung by a wasp and I took care of him.  Emory told me about our trip to LEGOLAND and talked about his favorite ride, the Chima ride.

Elliott did the A Pair of Red Clogs copywork from Homeschool Share, and the weather words from a free Weather Unit from

Letter Recognition
Emory completed this letter Uu alphabet maze and practiced the Uu sound as he followed the maze. We chose it because it was somewhat weather related.

Social Studies

Geography & World Cultures- Japan

Of course we placed our story disk.

One of the activities in the Sparks book was to research about a child in another country and some facts about their country, so it was good timing, as we read about a Japanese boy named Daisuke and a little about Japan.

Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World

We also colored Japan's flag and learned about kimonos.

We used this Your Name in Japanese translation website to find our names in Japanese, and Elliott of course wanted to practice writing his name.



Human Relationships
We took the lesson in the manual a bit further by using our our We Choose Virtues review materials and further explored honesty.  I did one of the activities that involved embellishing stories and having the kids pick out the true and false information.  We did this on the same day as the reminiscing activity, so I did my own reminiscing and told stories about when I was a child for this activity.  The boys really enjoyed this.

We talked about different reasons people might lie--to get out of trouble, to get someone else in trouble, to make themselves "cool" to other people, and listed various scenarios.  We discussed why it is inappropriate in each situation to tell a lie, and how honesty is always a virtue we should display.

Elliott has to make his Kid look like the one on the card.

Emory, of course, likes to be a bit more creative.

Weather & Nature Study
I find weather to be a more unique approach to nature study, as most of the time we think of studying plants, birds and insects.  Observing weather formally isn't something we do often, it just happens naturally.  The lesson plan from the FIAR manual gives an introduction to weather and an interesting weather observation activity, and we did chart the weather for 10 days, using a simple chart from the free Weather Unit from  We had a wide range of weather over the 10 days we charted (no snow, but everything else) so it was interesting.  Elliott really liked this activity and asked for another weather chart.  I'll probably find him a more detailed chart for future use.

Of course we had to play the same weather game that Mako and her friends played!  We learned that it wasn't always an accurate prediction!

We did some extras too.  We used our account (my review) to study weather.  Elliott specifically asked for the program.  You can view a sample of the weather unit here, but he did the online portion independently over about three days.  We also read and completed some activities from this Inventor's Handbook: Weather but we didn't get as far into as we'd hoped.  We'll probably continue this separately from our FIAR studies.

One day we read The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane by Joann Cole.  It actually covered a little bit of everything from the water cycle, thunder, lightening and more.  I had a lot of other weather-related books in our book basket, but our sick days got in the way.  Another day, another time!

We did watch The Magic School Bus episode The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm, as Emory enjoys this series.

For Fun
One night we watched the movie My Neighbor Totoro since it is a famous Japanese animated film.  I was looking for movies set in Japan, but most of what I could find for children was anime.  This one was recommended on a family website, and while it was whimsical and mostly age-appropriate, none of us really loved it.

Since we spent close to two school weeks on Japan, I asked the boys if they wanted to continue Japan with Grandfather's Journey or move on to something else, as Elliott did recently mention airplanes.  They decided they wanted to do more Japan and then move on, so Grandfather's Journey it is!

This post is linked up to the Five in a Row Blogroll and Link-Up and My Week in Review.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

If You Were Me and Lived In . . . {review}

One of our new favorite children's book series is called If You Were Me and Lived In . . .  and each book showcases a boy and girl in another country.  Actually, you may recognize this series from a previous review.  Yes, we loved Norway, France, South Korea and Mexico so much that I bought Kenya.  We loved them all so much that when I was asked to review another title, I jumped at the chance.  To my delight, we received three new titles to review!

If You Were Me and Lived In... (review)

We were excited to read the installments of Australia, Russia and Portugal.  The books are written by Carole P. Roman, a former social studies teacher.  They all follow the same format, but each one is specific to its country and culture.  There are a boy and girl who tell you about popular children's names, toys, food and landmarks, or what you might call your mom and dad if you spoke their language.  The familiarity of each new book makes them great for children who appreciate predictability, but each one is of course unique.

The books are engaging and informational, and I like that they give a look at not just the differences in childhood in other cultures, but the similarities as well.  I think recognizing and appreciating unique differences is very important, but I also believe that helping children see similarities and common characteristics in others is what helps build tolerance and understanding of each other.  Each title shows children that kids around the world are still the same, no matter what their skin tone or native tongue.  They still like to play the same sports and playground games and play with the same toys, and that's something most kids can relate to.

What do we think?
The kids adore these books!  Elliott is very interested in geography, but I think I've said that before.  He loves finding the countries on the map and looking up neighboring countries.  Every time we read a new book in the series, Emory proclaimed that he wanted to visit there!

The individual titles are a great addition to any country unit study, and the whole series is a great resource for a world geography or world cultures study.  We will continue to reread the books as they fit into our geography studies, and I will gladly continue to add new titles to our collection.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

A conversation with the 5 year old

One night Emory comes up to me and asks a random question.  

Hey Momma, did you marry daddy?


Did you kiss him?


Did you kiss him at your wedding?



Well you don't have to kiss anybody.

Did you like it?

Well I am married to daddy.


Of course I relay this conversation to the Husband, and he asks Emory about it.

Emory, I heard you asked mommy if she kissed me at our wedding.

*nose curls up*  Yeah.

And you were grossed out?

*grimaces*  Yeah.

You're grossed out that people kiss?

That you guys kissed.

So I walked over to Husband and gave him a kiss.

*hand over mouth and gagging*  BLEEECCCH!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.