Five in a Row's Grandfather's Journey Unit Study


I plead guilty.

Why you ask?

I am a "book cover judger."  Okay, yes.. I know 'judger' isn't a real word, but it makes sense to me ; )

Have you ever judged a book by it's cover?  I know that as an "adult" I should know better... but still!  Honestly, prior to checking out the manual lessons for this book, I was just not. that. enthusiastic. about rowing Grandfather's Journey-- not exactly sure why not, but I guess I just didn't find the cover all that appealing.

However, although the text is shorter and simpler than other Five In a Row selections, I have come to absolutely adore this book; in large part because my grandfather had a journey all his own to America.

Grandfather's Journey Activities

The title of the book explains the story line and by the end of the book, you can sense a great deal of admiration and love that author, Allen Say, had for his grandfather.

Homeschooling with Five in a Row

Because our weeks have been a little crazy around here... we are *new* homeowners (so exciting!)... we actually spent two weeks doing manual lessons for this book, however I only read it about 5 or 6 times and then filled in the rest of the week with books that I listed below in the widget.  I also really enjoyed reading, "Tea with Milk" also by Allen Say and "How My Parents Learned to Eat" by Ina Freidman and illustrated by Allen Say.

Social Studies:

Family Relationships: I wish I had pictures of everyone in our family spanning four generations for our Family Tree we created, but since they are buried somewhere and I don't have pictures of everyone we opted to just write names onto our tree.  I'm not sure T understood the concept, but I think it was neat to do!

And as I mentioned above, my grandfather (or shall I say Pappou) made his own journey here from Greece. I called him up to get the basics of his journey, and he was everywhere!  Using our world map we traced the journey that he made beginning in Greece and ending up on the West side of Michigan.  Bless his heart, he even remembers the ship that brought him here-- The Normandy.  Once in New York, he traveled to Minnesota and then WWII began and he traveled to Louisiana and Canada to train in the Army.  Then he went to Japan and was an Army cook during the war.  After the war, he returned to Greece to marry my grandmother and then they eventually went back to America and have since lived in Michigan.

Grandfather's Journey Activities

Geography:  My son did a 7 Continents matching activity, we reviewed the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and found the 'seahorse' shaped country of Japan on our map.
Grandfather's Journey Activities

History- WWII: I did not plan on talking about war as we made mention of it during our row of All Those Secrets of the World, however the picture in the book illustrating the wreckage from the bombs really peaked his interest, as he did not understand how that could happen.  So, using blocks and bouncy balls, we set up our own buildings and "bombed away."

Language Arts:

Similes:  We played an activity I'd like to call "Silly Similes."  We brainstormed a bunch of nouns and adjectives and wrote them on tiny slips of paper.  Then I had T draw three words-- a noun, an adjective, and another noun to use to "fill in the blanks" to create our similes.  Some of them were quite funny and other's were plain weird!  We did this activity a couple times before I had him glue them in his notebook.
Grandfather's Journey Activities


Days in a Week, Weeks in a Month:  My son is at the stage where he knows the words we use when talking about time: hours, minutes, tomorrow, days, weeks, etc.... but has yet to understand their meanings.  So this activity was kind of challenging!  We reviewed the Days of the Week and then spent a looooooong time figuring out how many days Grandfather's journey was from Japan to the New World.  The book said he "traveled for three weeks" without seeing any land.. so I tried showing him how many days were in three weeks and it was over. his. head.  Bless his heart!  We tried grouping, coloring it on a calendar, etc... and finally we stopped as we were both exhausted!

Grandfather's Journey ActivitiesGrandfather's Journey Activities


Different Land Types:  Using the book, "Landforms" (see widget below), we talked about plains, valleys, mountains, and plateaus.  Then using a dinosaur template, we labeled the different landforms.

Biology--Birds: We discussed What is a bird?, their feathers, and beaks.

Grandfather's Journey ActivitiesGrandfather's Journey Activities

 Birds are the only animals with feathers and since we know that they are waterproof, we took a few minutes to explore how feathers keep birds warm.  First, he held the bag of ice in his hands and then held the bag of ice on top of feathers and there was a distinct difference!  Good thing God gave birds feathers!

Next we talked about how birds have different types of beaks depending on the food they like/ need to eat.  For the food, I used tiny marshmallows (insects), gummy fish (fish), pieces of spaghetti (worms), sunflower seeds (seeds), and the pink chick/ pom poms (mice).  We used scissors, tweezers, spoon, and clothespin to represent the different beaks.

Check out the post at Livin' Lovin' Learnin' for more information on these activities (and a much more detailed bird unit-- it's awesome!)


Unrelated to the manual, but since we were talking about birds, my son painted with feathers for some messy fun.

Grandfather's Journey Activities

Color/ Contrast:  My son colored in a color wheel and then we used that to talk about contrasting (opposite) colors and colored our own picture trying to show how contrasting colors draw attention to certain details within illustrations.

Grandfather's Journey Activities

Origami:  This was our favorite thing to do and we have several paper animals to prove it-- and we would have more if I had taken the time to cut more paper for us to use...
Grandfather's Journey Activities

Kimono Weaving:  We did this activity after a brief discussion on Japanese culture, which touched on the Japanese native dress, the Kimono.
Grandfather's Journey Activities

Making Memories:
One day we stopped by a local Japanese grocery store!  My son picked out something to try, and of course he chose a soda!

It was quite an interesting experience since product signs and packaging were all in Japanese!

... And, we played around with chopsticks!
Grandfather's Journey Activities

This was such a fun row!  I hope you learned not to be a "book cover judger" like me!  

Delightful Learning
Next up, is a Before Five in a Row title, Blueberries for Sal.  

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