Life has been busy and I am just now catching up on some blogging that had been intended for the summer! Homeschool can be like that.
We like to homeschool all year round, but there’s something about summer that insists on a little more relaxation and downtime. This year, we decided to ease up on several subjects, and to focus on math and reading. It also seemed like an ideal time to row one of our Five in a Row books just for fun.
We decided on the book from the curriculum Five in a Row, Lentil, by Robert McCloskey. Lentil was McCloskey’s first book, written in 1939. We decided to read it right before July the 4th for it’s slightly patriotic aspect. This book is about a boy named Lentil who desperately wanted to be able to sing. When he found that he could not, he instead bought a harmonica and learned to play it, using his gift to bless the entire town.
Social Studies – Geography
The story of Lentil takes place in the fictional town of Alto, Ohio. Clark and Luci were able to find Ohio on our world map, along with it’s capital, Columbus. We compared this to where we live in Texas and decided it would be a very long drive.
“My Place in the World” Craft
In order to help plant the picture in their minds, we made a quick and simple craft, identifying “our place in this world.”
Finding and using ever-increasing circle sizes, we traced six different circles, representing Me, My Home, My City, My State, My Country, and My Planet. We could have added a few more increments in there but decided to keep it simple.
We then cut out each circle, and fastened each circle together with a fastener. Then on the first circle, they each wrote their name and drew a simple self-portrait. On the second circle, representing My Home, we learned and wrote our address. Clark and Luci drew something that represented their city on the third circle, My Home. They love the town library, so Luci drew shelves of books and Clark drew the elevator that takes us to the kids’ section. The fourth circle represented My State, so they traced a puzzle piece of the state of Texas, identifying our city with a star. Next circle is My Country and they decided to draw a picture of the American flag. Finally, on the last circle, My Planet, the children drew a picture of Earth.
We had, I thought, learned our address, but had not retained the information. This little project finally did the trick. I had then look for our house number and then go find the street name (literally across the street from us). Once they knew this, they were able to complete our address easily with the city we lived in and our state. Finally!
Social Studies – History
Since this book was originally written in 1939, the illustrations reflect that time period. As we read through the book, we were able to identify how many things have changed. We were even able to identify a steam shovel, that we’d read about in another of Robert McCloskey’s books, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel.
We deliberately read Lentil over the week of the 4th of July so that we could incorporate in some fun patriotic learning and activities. We sang the “Star Spangled Banner” every morning and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. As homeschoolers, we have not always incorporated these into our morning routine, so it was important to me that we set time aside to learn them well.
While reading, I had the children point out the flag each time they saw it. Then, while driving about town on an errand, I had the children once again point out the flags. It became a contest between our town and Alto – and we won. I may have driven around a little to be sure we won.
We learned about the symbolism of the American flag, along with flag etiquette. We finished off the day with a 4th of July celebration and fireworks!
Science – Taste Buds
Luci’s big question after reading Lentil was: “Why did the lemon make their mouths pucker up?” So, we decided to explore a little human anatomy and the science of taste. You can read more about our Testing the Tongue Mapping Theory HERE.
Clark and Luci were delighted with the illustrations in this book. They found the exaggerated expressions on the characters’ faces hilarious. Since we love drawing, we decided to make our own characters faces.
We chose 4 different feelings – happy, sad, disgusted and surprised. Looking at the characters in the book, we noticed how a person moves their mouth, their eyes and their eyebrows with each expression. Both Clark and Luci love to draw, and are incredible at portraying expression, but they have not often included eyebrows on their characters. Now they have another tool to play with in creating expressions!
We really enjoyed this book, and the opportunity to dig a little deeper, and to develop a stronger interest in sound and music. I’m hoping Clark and Luci will continue to develop this interest and perhaps want to learn an instrument in the near future.