Our second Five in a Row book of the year was The Wild Horses of Sweetbriar. It is the story of a girl living with her family as the lone (human) inhabitants on the island of Sweetbriar for a year.
A herd of horses also lives on the island, and we learned about how you can still see wild horses on the islands of Assateague and Chincoteague (what fun names to say!) in Virginia. We learned about how some of the horses are rounded up and sold, and also how these horses are able to survive and live wild.
Our other activities included:
We talked about how the story is written from the first person point of view. We also talked about what stories told in 2nd and 3rd person point of views would sound like. K searched through our childrens book collection and found examples of stories written from all three points of view. Meanwhile, T made up a first person story and dictated it to me.
We also looked at how spattering is used to show waves and snow in some of the book illustrations, and then made K and T made their own spatter pictures.
K enjoyed learning about horses by completing some lapbook pages.
"It was just a tiny house, made of shingles that the wind and sun had turned gray." We talked about how the process of weathering changes the way wood looks. There are ample examples of this in our community- we live in a land of bright sunshine, strong winds and many wooden fences that get slapped by lots of irrigation water. I took the kids and showed them some spare fence slats in our shed,
and then we looked at the fence that goes around our yard. It was easy to see the spots where it gets hit by the sprinklers. The kids were impressed by all the weathering that has happened in our yard.
Erosion was another topic of study for this unit and I wanted to show K and T how it works. We went outside to the sandbox and used a plastic horse to tell a story of how he became stranded on an island when the sea washed away land connecting to another island.
Baby M patiently watched this process. I wonder what she thinks sometimes.
Our final activity for this row was done a couple weeks later. K and T had a horse riding lesson! I found a lady very close to us who gives lessons and she was willing to give the kids a one-time lesson. They loved it.
First she showed them how to brush a horse. I was kind of gritting my teeth as first T dropped his brush under the horse's hooves and then K gave the horse a hug on the hindquarters. But Missy, the world's gentlest horse, barely flicked an ear.
K was the first to have a turn to mount the horse and take a ride.
The instructor was kind, talking about kinds of horses, horse safety, etc., as she led the horse around and around the ring.
I thought it was cute how at first, T watched intently, waiting for his turn.
But then he soon got tired of waiting.
He was thrilled when it was his turn.
I was glad that B was able to come along. He has a good way with animals and helped K and T know what to do when as they interacted with Missy. Ever the helpful gentleman, he also repaired one of the fence posts before we left.
Meanwhile, since it was a windy day with blowing dust, M and I watched from the car. Something else for a baby to wonder about.
This was a fun adventure for the kids. Now K seems to have caught some of the horse-love that so many girls her age have. It would be fun to take more lessons when the weather gets nice again.
This was a fun book to row and I'm glad we got to do these activities!