Thursday, February 18, 2016

Warm as Wool

A new post is LONGGGGG overdue (sorry), so I will start with one of my favorite subjects, our FIAR (Five in a Row) studies!

Our most recent row was Warm as Wool by Scott Russell Sanders.  It is a lovely book, and with the colder weather, it was a perfect read since it is about a pioneer woman named Betsy Ward who struggles to clothe her shivering children.  I highly recommend this sweet story.
I always add extra books to our rows, so here is the stack I put together that went best with Warm as Wool!  We read Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails by Verla Kay (a great read!) ...
... The Pioneers by Marie and Douglas Gorsline ...
... Wagon Train: A Family Goes West in 1865 by Courtni C. Wright ...
... The Wild West in American History: Pioneers by Leonard J. Matthews (sorry the image is microscopic) ...
... Don't Know Much About: The Pioneers by Kenneth C. Davis ...
... Daily Life in a Covered Wagon by Paul Erickson (this one has AMAZING photos) ...
... and Picture That! The Trail West by Ellen Galford.
After our reading, we completed the "What Would I Take?" booklet we found at (from
 We then set it aside for the lapbook we planned to make for this row.
Next, we talked about the journey the Wards took, from Connecticut to Ohio, crossing into Lake Erie.  We colored our story disk for this book and placed it on Lake Erie.
Using the same site that we got the covered wagon foldable from (see above), we also printed lapbook elements about "The Great Lakes" ...
 ... and "Where on the Map" the Wards traveled.
Once our mapping work was done, we had a little fun with this Dover Pioneer Life: Sticker Picture book by Marty Noble, which provides stickers for you to place on two cabin scenes.
I really thought she'd be a little more selective; I had no idea she was going to add every sticker!
Then, we completed the "Life in a Log Cabin" lapbook printable.
We decided to make a little log cabin like the one we saw at, so we bought some skill sticks (those things are so awesome) and got right to work!
Here, Mags is adding the roof!
All done and it looked so good!  We even added little details to match the story!
Here is Betsy and Josiah Ward, in front of their cabin.
This is the "deerskin" door covering on their cabin (brown craft foam).
Maggie chose three sheep to sit in the pen, two rams and one ewe (just like in the story).  She said this tree next to the pen is the poisonweed that killed the sheep before there were just three.  Clever girl.
Their horse!
We added little felt curtains to represent window coverings Betsy might have made from the sheep's wool.
Maggie even insisted on a wood pile for their fires.
This was so much fun!
It was time for a covered wagon!  We found a fantastic set of instructions for making a covered wagon at  (Please go to that site for the instructions as I didn't post them here.)  In this picture, Maggie is tracing the bottom of the glue bottle onto black cardboard for our wagon's wheels.
We helped our wagon pieces stay upright while the glue dried with these handy clips from Dollar Tree.  (I buy packages and packages of these clips whenever I think of it.  They are great!)
For our wagon's cover, we did something a little different than the paper one suggested on the site.  We used a piece of cardstock, cut into a long rectangle (to give the cover the rounded shape it needed), and a rectangular strip of one of my husband's old white t-shirts (cut larger than the cardstock) and hot glued them together.
Then, we hot glued that to the frame.
It turned out great!
I seriously love this wagon!
Mags does, too!
Then, I surprised her with little miniatures I had been storing away for this very row!  (I got most of these at Michael's when I had coupons.)  She loves this little lantern! 
She placed them in the wagon for Betsy and Josiah.
 HOW cute is this?!
Our two skill sticks projects!
Later, we dug into another great book from Dover, American Pioneer Family Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney.
She loved these!
She loved using our skill sticks wagon with her new paper people!
For dinner one night, we decided to have a "pioneer meal."  We read about hardtack in one of the many books we read so saltines made it to the menu ...
... as did bacon since they had salted pork (which was easy to store for long wagon journeys).
We also made cornbread (here it is with the bacon, ready to bake) ...
... and had beans and tea.  (She said she was glad there was no "snake steak!")
It was Maggie-approved!
We noted that Josiah played banjo in the story so we found this YouTube video of a nine-year-old boy playing one to hear the sounds a banjo makes.
We also completed the "Sheep Math" printable that we got from the same site we grabbed the other great lapbook elements for this book (see above).
To learn more about sheep, we read Farm Animals: Sheep by Sharon Dalgleish.
We also watched this great sheep shearing video from YouTube.
And why not enjoy a little sheep-shaped chocolate snack while we study these woolly creatures?
After our snack,we found a cute little sheep craft to do at, using bubble wrap and white paint for the sheep's wool.
 Once the paint dried, we added legs, a face, googly eyes, and a bow to show it's loved.
 How cute!
For our final activity, we put all of our work together in our lapbook.
 It looks great, Mags!
 We love lapbooks!
So that was our latest row!  Stay tuned for a couple more posts over this weekend!


  1. I loooove this post! Your fabulous projects make me want to run out and get Skill Sticks right NOW. :-) This makes me miss FIAR. A lot. We are using Sonlight this year, adding in a few books and projects as we see fit. We have loved it, we are really enjoying the books, and it has been a necessary help to our schedule as we have juggled many family commitments this year with our aging parents. It is "open and go", which has been great. However, I do miss the wonderful FIAR titles and the endless projects and sweet hours together making lap books. I am just in the beginning stages of twirling around ideas for how to structure next year, which will be third grade for us. I am encouraged to work some rows back into our schedule. Just curious.....will you continue on with FIAR as well? It sure seems that Maggie still enjoys it a ton, and you certainly have crazy talent for coming up with great ideas for the books. Have you ever looked at BFIAR? I don't know anyone personally who has used it. Glad to see you have not given up the blogging. I always enjoy your posts. Happy almost springtime to you!

    1. Brooke, it is always so good to hear from you! Yes, we plan on continuing with FIAR. We will do Volume 4 next year and BFIAR after that. I already have the books for it! Maggie loves it so much, as do I, so I plan on squeezing everything out of it that we can! This year, we will finish up the first three volumes (there are still titles from Vol. 1 we have to hit!) and it is bitter sweet. I really have loved this curriculum so much. I plan on keeping all of my FIAR materials, too, just in case Mags decides to homeschool her own! Then, she won't have to scramble to gather all the books like I did! Happy almost spring to you, too!

  2. Hi there! I wanted to let you know I LOVE your blog! This is my first year homeschooling my oldest son for kindergarten. Your blog is such an inspiration. It looks like Maggie is learning so much and having so much fun. I also love the part on Apologia and Mystery of History as I've read about them, but didn't get a good feel for them without seeing it in action. At what grade did you start Apologia and Mystery of History? Also, if you don't mind me asking, do you use a certain curriculum for math or language arts. I'd love to know.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! We LOVE both Apologia and MOH (Mystery of History)! We started both in second grade (she is now in fourth) and we started very slowly because we just enjoyed it so much but are now picking up speed and covering one lesson a week in Apologia (they recommend one lesson every two weeks) and one lesson a day in MOH. We sped up because these are her two favorite subjects(I credit that to these great curriculums) and she is just wanting more, more, more. For math, I use Singapore Standards Edition (it is the one that is NOT Common Core, so it is more expensive) and I use Abeka for Language Arts (spelling and grammar). For literature, we do FIAR and real chapter books. Happy homeschooling to you!

    2. Thank you so much! Like I said we are just in Kindergarten, but we are using Singapore Math as well. We are only doing phonics with The Reading Lesson aside from the literature covered in FIAR right now, so I was not sure what to do for next year. I have never even looked at Abeka for language arts really, so I'll have a look. Thank you for your recommendations. Sorry I signed in as anonymous, I just couldn't remember my info for my google account and I had a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 1 year old wanting mommy to hurry up and be done on the computer.



      I feel I am going to have lots of question for you as time goes along because you are such an inspiration.

    3. You're welcome! And thank you for the sweet words! Ask away!