Friday, March 17, 2017

Five in a Row: Warm as Wool

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When going through the Five in a Row units, admittedly, Warm as Wool is not one that I would have initially jumped at the chance to row.  However, I was looking at a master list of FIAR books by date and geographical location, and realized that a book set in the early 1800's in Ohio would tie in perfectly with a group field trip to a history museum dedicated to the founding of Ohio and early pioneers!  Our group would also be offered a special class that would tie in, and I knew I could tweak our Revolutionary War study to make the timeline work for us.  You can't get more serendipitous!

Beautiful Feet follows the Revolutionary War with a one week study of the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark, before it moves into a lot of time on Abraham Lincoln, so I knew this would also be a good row to bulk up that general time period.

The book is about the Ward family - mom, dad, and three young children - who travel from Connecticut to Ohio.  Betsy Ward spends the cold, harsh winter dreaming of buying sheep so she can have warm wool to keep her children warm.

Social Studies
I always try to start with geography, so we can review it throughout the week.  We printed a US map and traced their journey as described in the Prologue.

Of course, we placed our story disk on Ohio, where the story took place.

Covered/Conestoga wagons, Pioneers, Westward Migration 
Our field trip was part of a homeschool group field trip.  The museum is dedicated to the founding of our area, which just happens be part of the northwest territory that was explored after the Revolutionary War and preserves the history of westward migration and area pioneers.  We had three classes and a self-guided tour before/afterwards.

More specifically, one of the classes that had been scheduled for our group was Transportation: how to fill a Conestoga wagon!  Considering the general time period and this class fit so well with the book, I couldn't resist!  We learned the difference in the Conestoga wagon and the Prairie Schooner.  The Conestoga was a massive, curved (she described it as a smile) wagon used primarily in the early 1800's.  The curved ends would have kept things in the wagon in the more mountainous regions.  These were not the same wagons used in the westward migration, however.  Prairie Schooners were the smaller, "box" shaped wagons, often converted farm wagons.  Conestoga's were too heavy for the prairies and would get stuck in the dirt/mud, but smaller wagons would be able to travel the longer distances.

The museum had a conestoga wagon on display, and I believe she said its as the earliest known one in the state.  They knew quite a bit of the history of the particular family that had traveled to Ohio from Pennsylvania with it.  We learned how it was made, the things that might fill the wagon when a family traveled, and the tools they used on the journey.  We learned that everyone walked, because there was no room to ride in these wagons.  Father might stand on the side on a board, and really young children would be carried, and they averaged 12-15 miles per day.  Everyone had jobs, and she did a great job of describing the jobs in relation to the girls/boys by age.  A 7 year old boy might walk behind the wagon and grease the wheels with tar, while a 10 year old boy might try to hunt rabbit for stew.

After we walked around the wagon and looked at everything the family might have taken with them and where everything was located, they were given cards for a memory game.  There was a taped off section on the floor, the size of the wagon, and each child had to go to the spot on the wagon where their item was located.

How fitting, one of the boys got a spinning wheel!  There was one on display in this room too.

Beautiful Feet doesn't really cover Westward Migration and the mid-late 1800's in-depth at this point (there is a separate course on Westward Migration) so we used this row and the covered-wagon connection to just glimpse into that time period.

You Wouldn't Want to be an American Pioneer! by Jacqueline Morley


Language Arts

We went through the book looking for similes, and tried to listen for them in other books we read.  We also completed this Simile Self Portrait.

Prologue, Author's Notes, Book Jackets
We discussed these elements throughout the week.  Emory insisted that I read the Prologue with every reading.  I think he really felt like it was part of the story.

Additional Literature
Dandelions by Eve Bunting
Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson
Going West by Jan Van Leeuwen

The books were relevant to the themes of traveling by wagon or "starting over" in a new place.


Imagination and Facial Expressions
After discussing the lesson, we used a cartooning book from the library and a Blank Face printout to make our own facial expressions.

We read about sheep in a non-fiction book about farm animals, watched some sheep sheering videos on YouTube and did a notebooking page.

Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates
This is a great living book that ties in well.  I used it as a lunchtime read-aloud for the kids.

Math - The math lesson was fairly simple, relating to the flock of sheep, basic addiction and subtraction.  We just did it orally during one of the readings.  Nothing fancy.

Overall, it was a simple, but fun and engaging row.  After this row we took a school-break, then returned to Beautiful Feet for the short unit on Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark.  From there it goes into Abraham Lincoln.  You'll see some tweaking of that as we also study the Civil War with Five in a Row.

Eleanor is starting to join in more for some of the activities, so I think she's really ready to dive into Before Five in a Row at her level, and I can't wait to start fresh with it!

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  1. I love it when that happens! I can be so uninspired one minute and excited the next when a book clicks with what we are studying or it can be tied in as you have done. What a great row!

    Will you be using Beautiful Feet next year as well?

    1. Yes, it's great when something like that happens to make everything so much easier on me and fun for them!

      I think we might row Volume 4 and do the Beautiful Feet Geography through Literature guide next year. Then maybe we'll do the history of science and move into their history rotation. I just don't know yet!

    2. I have BF Geography planned for this coming year, so I'll be excited to see how you like it if you do!