Thursday, August 07, 2014

When I Was Young in the Mountains

In late November we started a series of FIAR mountain-themed books with When I Was Young in the Mountains.  Things got hairy in December, and we didn't do any rowing at all, so the unit was not finished until we gently got back into our FIAR routine in January.  This is another book I considered not rowing, as it is an alternate selection for Down Down the Mountain.  Again, I was encouraged to row this one as well, as it does have enough activities and lessons different from Down Down that it is worth the time.  I'm glad we did!
Here are a few of our activities.
We looked for signs of old-fashioned life in the illustrations.  To make a lack of indoor plumbing come to life, we tried washing our hands in a bowl of water outside.  As it was November, we did this quickly and came inside grateful for indoor plumbing, complete with a beautiful water heater.
When we looked through the book, I also explained to the kids the purpose of outhouses, as one shows up in the illustrations.  They thought that was pretty interesting!  A few months later when we took a trip to Eastern Oregon, we saw several outhouses on long-abandoned homesteads as we drove through the beautiful ranching country of the Blue Mountains.  I think K and T pointed out every single one.
  "And that was always enough."  This book has theme of contentment running through it as the author tells about various aspects of a simple Appalachian life.  K and T each wrote/dictated stories about their lives and titled them "When I Was Young in Washington", also ending their descriptions with the "and that was always enough" phrase.  I typed out their stories into little books and they added illustrations-- some day they'll enjoy going back and rereading them.
Though there were several other activities we did, I'll just mention the one I have pictures for, which was learning about snakes.  We learned about their characteristics, the meaning of herpetology (creeping), watched videos of how snakes move and how a snake sheds its skin.  Also, I showed them pictures of the snakes that live in our area, and we talked about whether each was venomous or not.  We also watched a video of a rattlesnake shaking its rattle, just in case we were to come across one in the wild some time.  We ended this study with a trip to the pet store to observe the snakes in residence there.
Snakes give me the willies, but they're still interesting to learn about.
Stay tuned for our next mountain books-- Amber on the Mountain and Climbing Kansas Mountains!

1 comment:

Joelle said...

I love how your kids do a lot of the writing projects. I'm hoping to do better at that this year. Great idea to have them wash their hands outside! COLD! Your pet store had much better snakes than the one here!