Monday, June 06, 2011

A Pair of Red Clogs

After spring break we were ready to start a new Five in a Row book, A Pair of Red Clogs.  This is a wonderful tale--a grandmother tells a story from her childhood in Japan when she received a new pair of clogs and what happened to them. 
We started with a discussion about weather forecasting and what instruments scientists use to forecast weather.  I dug out a mercury thermometer so K could actually see how the mercury rises and falls with temperature change.  We went outside to look at our anemometer and I briefly explained the air pressure and humidity displays on our home weather station.  We began keeping a record of the temperature and each day she made her own prediction of whether it would be colder, warmer or the same temperature the next day.  She learned that weather prediction is not as easy as it seems!

A Pair of Red Clogs is a reminiscence.  I explained what this word means and that night at dinner, B and I provided examples of reminiscences from when we were kids.  K loved this and wanted more stories.  After awhile, curious what a six year old would remember, I asked K if she wanted to reminisce and tell us a story from when she was little.  She thought a minute, then came up with "I remember when I played on the big driveway [in Idaho], some people walked by and I didn't know if Daddy was talking to me or them."  That's my factual little girl.  The next couple nights she asked for more reminiscences and seems to have incorporated the word into her vocabulary by saying things like "I reminisce how when I ..." and then goes on to tell some memory, long ago or very recent.

We spent a day learning about Japan.  I provided pictures from Google Images (along with Youtube, such a great homeschooling resource!) of many aspects of Japanese culture. We barely scratched the surface, but K got a brief taste of Japanese clothing (kimonos, geta), homes, hairstyles, food, gardens, etc. There is also a fun website where you can see what your name looks like in Japanese.  K was intrigued by this and when I printed out all our names, she tried copying them on her own later.

To make Japanese culture come alive, K and I visited an Asian market and bought a couple of items to eat at home.  We put on "kimonos" and set out our meal, being careful to bow first. (Unfortunately, they forgot to have their hands together.)

Altogether, it was a very good book with a good message.  T's favorite part, was of course, the unique sound of the clogs: "Kara kara, koro koro."

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