In the first half of May we continued on in our Five in a Row studies with the book Andy and the Circus. This is an out of print book, and it tells the tale of a boy who hopes to go see the circus. It is a looong book-- I could not seem to read it aloud in less than 25 minutes. But the kids did not seem to mind, or notice, really. T, especially, enjoyed the antics of a boy hoping to get a job to earn enough money to see the circus, but who kind heartedly stops to help everyone who asks favors of him on his way.
Some activities were:
~ We discussed inventions from the Industrial Age that are pictured in the story. We learned how iceboxes worked and talked about how tractors would make life easier for farmers than plows.
~ We looked at lots of library books about idioms. Each child picked out his or her favorite idiom. We talked about the meanings, then the kids illustrated them.
K's favorite: A picture is worth a thousand words.
T's favorite: The apple of my eye.
~ Discussed balance. We weighed pennies on a balance scale, looked for balance in famous artwork and in architecture, and talked about how in many parts of the world, people balance heavy loads on their heads to carry them from place to place.
Of course, K and T then had to try seeing how much they could balance, as well as try to walk and balance something on their heads.
~ Learned about frogs. Homeschoolshare.com has a very detailed lapbook to complete. K enjoyed making many of the minit books, T was proud of his frog life cycle one. Another fun activity was watching this Youtube video about frog calls. I loved the enthusiasm of the young herpetologist who made this video as well as many others.
Of course, one of our favorite activities for this book was to go to a real circus! In another FIAR serendipity, I made my plans to cover Andy and the Circus in the coming week; then the next morning, I opened the newspaper and saw that the circus was in town! We actually went to the circus just before rowing the book, and it was a surprise to the kids that we went. They had not been to the circus before (except K did once, when she was too small to remember), and so it was an experience they enjoyed, but I think they didn't quite know what to make of it at first.
Later on, it was fun for the kids to tell their Grandpa about seeing the circus, and he shared how he saw the circus workers set up the big tent when they came to town one year. He said they all stood in a big circle with big mallets and took turns swinging them to drive in the tent stakes. It sounded very impressive to watch and I was glad he got to share that story with them.
As a family, we also enjoyed watching Dumbo one night. When the song Baby Mine came on, I had to look away because it was making me cry. I looked over at the kids-- K was watching very intently and T was blinking back big tears, too. And baby M looking at me, wondering when I was going to give her her next bite of babyfood.
This was a fun book to row, and I'm glad we had the opportunity to, as it is a difficult book book to obtain. One other thing-- ever since we rowed this book, Grandpa B has been called Gramps, after the grandfather in the story. I'm glad he doesn't seem to mind.