Homeschooling with Five in a Row: A New Coat for Anna

By 6:00 AM

After over a year of "rowing," I have finally come to my senses and have started to row for two weeks instead of our previous week long learning extravaganza.  I am not sure why I never did this sooner!  It isn't a 'new' concept, several others on the FIAR Forums spread their learning over 2, 3, or even 4 weeks!  But this much I do know...  It surely has helped me not feel so rushed in to trying to "cram" every. single. idea into one week.  It has helped me to relax when organizing our rows.  It has just taken a load of self-induced pressure off of myself.  Thank goodness for my light bulb moment!  So for the last two weeks, we've been "rowing" A New Coat for Anna outside of phonics/ reading, math, and whatever else I decide we should do!

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A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert is a beautiful story of a mother's love and sacrifice to get her daughter a new coat.  From the cover and first illustration in the book, readers become aware that their town recently went through a time of war.  A war just ended and the stores have remained empty.  Anna's mother comes up with an idea to trade her valuables for items needed to make Anna a new coat.  In the story we visit the sheep farmer, a spinner, a weaver, and the tailor-- all the people involved in making Anna's new coat.

Social Studies:
Germany-- The book didn't give a specific location of the story, but because the mention of "war" we decided to focus our Geography lesson on Germany and added the flag of Germany to our garland.  We also labeled several other countries we have talked about in the past.

Barter/ Trade- we did several "Do this for me, and I'll give you...." this week  ; )  We also read a version of Jack & the Beanstalk, which then led us into a conversation of the Grimm Brothers, who are from Germany, and Fairy Tales!

Going into our second week of rowing this book, Amanda Bennett's Passport Germany Unit Study was on sale, so I decided to purchase it on a whim.  It is jam-packed with resources!!  There is a ton of information in the unit study, but one thing it had us do was to translate some words and we did so using Google Translation; T LOVED typing in all sorts of words!
Language Arts:
Sequencing-- "How to Make a Coat" booklet.  We had no more red construction paper, so a yellow coat had to do!  I printed clip art of a sheep, spinning wheel, cooking pot, weaving pattern, and a tailor and had T put it in the correct order.  We also did the 'Memory & Comprehension' lesson from the manual, but I will spare you the Q & A-- it's quite long!
Inches-- we made fingerprint 'inchworms' then T used his ruler to measure them.  
We also pulled out our Inchimals and measured several things around the room and built a few towers!

Counting by 3's-- this was an added math lesson after we had read the book several times and it mentions the tailor hung her new coat with 6 buttons, 3 on each side, in the window.  So we grabbed some buttons and went to 36!
Weaving-- I found several activities that involved the art of weaving online and T made the final decision of what one he would like to follow.  He used the weaving loom tutorial from HomeSpun Threads.  He did really well at this task!  In the end, we decided to put his final product in Little Sis's doll house as a rug!  
I put out some materials for Little Sis to try her hand at paper weaving.  She stuck a strip in one of the slots and walked off  ; )
Yarn Prints- Just grab some yarn and wrap it around a block or tupperware container, like we did.  Secure with tape, dip it into paint, and press onto your paper.
Sheep-- we read a non-fiction book about Sheeps, the book "Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep" and then T had his own "Shearing" fun in the bathtub!!    
What?!  You've never seen a green-skinned sheep before?!
Natural Dyes-- Anna and her mother picked Ligonberries to make the deep red color for her new coat.  We tried our hand at making natural dyes with Spinach, berries, and carnation flowers.  
I thought we'd try dying our own yarn by using the ice cube effect.... 
Project FAIL!
We had fun nonetheless!!  You can see a bit of purple and brown (also used some frozen coffee cubes), but the rest of the would've been colors washed out!  Sad!  A couple of things were the probable cause for this: 1. I used cotton instead of the suggested wool & 2. I only soaked the yarn in vinegar and I should have done salt, too.
And now this tangled up "ball" of yarn is in the closet.  I tried to untangle it, but my patience ran out!  I obviously should have chosen the "Hand Wash/ Wool" setting when washing it.  Oh well!

Our next FIAR post will be for "Three Names."  See you soon!!

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