Climbing Kansas Mountains {FI♥AR}

When I first considered rowing Climbing Kansas Mountains, I wasn't very inspired by the manual and I wasn't very inspired by the book. Well, I at least wasn't inspired by Kansas, where the book takes place. We drove through Kansas once and it was nothing but wide open prairie. But then we did a unit study on Sarah, Plain and Tall and I fell in love with Kansas. We learned all about Kansas, made a wildflower field guide, had a "Welcome to Kansas" party, and more. And following up with a row of Climbing Kansas Mountains seemed perfect! I have a deeper appreciation for Kansas, the prairie, and Climbing Kansas Mountains, and wish that we would have stopped the car on our way through to see it more closely.

(Photo of an Indian Paint Brush ~ a Kansas wildflower and also our state flower. Taken in the Big Horn Mountains.)

Social Studies: Kansas, State Symbols, Prairie

Day 1: Today we read about Kansas in two wonderful books: S is for Sunflower ~ A Kansas Alphabet and One Kansas Farmer ~ A Kansas Number Book. My children liked the poetic rhythm of the books and I liked that if they wanted to know more about each topic, I could read the captions on the side. We learned lots of interesting things about Kansas and the book gave us some inspiration for our row.

For state symbols, I printed Erica's Road Trip USA lesson on Kansas and all three of the younger kids colored them (even little Bo wanted to color one).

Day 2: Today we read from a variety of books on the Kanas prairie: P is for Prairie Dog ~ A Prairie Alphabet, If You're Not from the Prairie, Out on the Prairie, Bluestem Horizon: A Story of a Tallgrass Prairie, and Prairie Storms.

Language Arts: Simile and Metaphor, Good Descriptive Writing

Day 3: We did the lessons straight from the manual.

We also had fun reading Well, I Never! because of the expression "when pigs fly" from the book.

Science: Organic Farming, The Grain of Wheat, Wheat to Flour to Bread

More books! We read Bread! Life on a Wheat Farm and Bread Comes to Life. . .

Ground some wheat to make flour. . .

And made chewing gum by chewing kernels of wheat.

After lots of chewing, we finally had a piece of wheat gum!

And with the flour we ground, we made a loaf of crusty no-knead bread.

Math: Acres, Grain Measurements

How many grains of wheat in a bushel? in an acre?

To find out, Malachi counted how many grains of wheat are in a tablespoon:

  • 1 tablespoon = 580 grains of wheat

  • 1 cup = 9,280 (16 T)

  • 1 quart = 37, 120 (4 cups)

  • 1 bushel = 1,187,840 (32 quarts)

  • 1 acre = 118,784,000 (100 bushels)

(We used a calculator!)

Art: Symbolism

Lesson from the manual.

Our FI♥AR Recipe: Kansas Farm Burgers

1 Kansas farmer in a field of amber grain.

Looking after cattle, he checks the sky for rain.

You have a piece of bread; you have a piece of meat.

One Kansas farmer grows a lot of what you eat. ~ One Kansas Farmer: A Kansas Number Book

Our Kansas Farm Burger:

  • wheat bun

  • lettuce

  • tomatoes

  • pickles

  • cheese

  • 100% beef

We decorated with sunflowers (the Kansas state flower).

FI♥AR Quilt

Eliana and I first picked out this fabric because it reminded her of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

But, then I found this fabric with a grain elevator and a wheat farm.

I'm participating in a FIAR Quilt Swap and super excited! It's taken me years to find fabrics to match each book we've rowed, and I am missing many. The only thing I'm not sure about is that I have enjoyed personally picking out each fabric with Malachi and/or Eliana, so each fabric print has a special meaning to us, based on how we rowed the book. I'm still excited because I'm sure we will be able to make many connections to each book anyways. The only thing I can't decide is whether I will make the quilts for the kids, or for me! :)

Climbing Kansas Mountains is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 3.

We are rowing Amber on the Mountain next.

Fix It! Grammar {Review}

Fix It! Grammar Review
I've been using and really enjoying a grammar program from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). It is easy to use and teach, takes only 15 minutes a day, and teaches grammar in the context of a story!
Fix It! Grammar Review

What is it?!

  • Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood [Book 2] (Teacher Manual) ($19)

    • soft cover, spiral bound

    • 33 weeks of daily passages

    • 132 vocabulary words

    • reproducible student pages

    • teacher's notes

    • Grammar Glossary

    • comes with a free download of Fix-It Student Book 2 e-book, Mastery Learning e-audio, and "But. . .But. . . But. . . What About Grammar?" e-audio.

  • Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood [Book 2] (Student Book) ($15)

    • This is a printed, soft cover, and spiral bound student book. It is only required if you do not want to print and bind your own student book!

Grades: Designed for 3rd grade and up.

How does it work? 

Each week we explore new grammar concepts and review the previous week's concepts. We then locate and fix errors in four short passages. We talk about how the grammar applies to the new passage, and then we rewrite the corrected passage into a separate notebook. (We used a 33 cent notebook).

How we used it: 

I printed 2 student books and had them bound so I could use this with three of my children in grades 4, 9, and 10. With my older boys, we completed 1 weeks worth of lessons in 2 days. In this way, they could complete a book per semester. This was a very doable pace, they liked the exercises, and it was a wonderful review and application of grammar concepts.

I used the printed student book with Malachi, grade 4, and it has been slightly challenging, but very doable! He uses the program as intended, completing one week in 4 days.

After I go over new grammar concepts, he can follow the cues at the top of the page to walk him through how to fix and mark each passage. First, he looks up the vocabulary word (the word in bold print) and writes the definition. Then he goes through the passage and marks whether it needs to be indented, marks the letters that need capitalized, adds end marks, and marks the articles, nouns, etc. that are listed.

Then, he rewrites the passage in a separate notebook.

He uses the grammar cards to help him remember each concept.

When he is done, we review his work together.

Both the Fix It! Grammar Teacher's Manual and the Student Book contain a Grammar Glossary.

The Grammar Glossary contains:

  • Parts of Speech

  • Sentences, Clauses, and Phrases

  • Punctuation

  • Additional Rules and Concepts

  • Stylistic Techniques

The Glossary defines all of the terms, but I actually prefer using the everyday terms like "who-which" instead of "adjectival clause."

  • grammar and editing skills are taught in context

  • the lessons result in a handwritten copy of a story

  • grammar is learned incrementally

  • makes grammar friendly (and not super technical) by using layman's terms

My Thoughts:

I like it!

I like that it is clearly laid out, easy to teach, and takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. It really only takes me a few minutes to teach, and then I can let him work independently until he needs my help or finishes. Then we go over the lesson together.

I love having the answers in the teacher's guide and refer to it often. I like that it models proper grammar within a story by first teaching a grammar rule and then applying it to the daily passage. Grammar has more meaning this way! I also like that it reviews grammar concepts and that my student can use the grammar cards to help him during his lessons.

Malachi says:

  • It's fun.

  • You can have your own copy of the story.

  • It's challenging.

  • I like it.
Fix It! Grammar Review
There are six books in the series, and a Placement Test is available to determine which book your student should start in.

The books in the series include:

To learn more, you can watch this Webinar.

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September {Weeks 2 & 3}


Two weeks of delightful, but simple learning filled with good food, My Big Green Pocketbook, leaf rubbings in math class, Bo drawing the most adorable pictures of people, getting into a routine with our preschool morning board, having quiet times, gathering eggs, counting, enjoying our learning space, doing grammar, reading, writing, and math, reviewing Mathtacular and Fix-It Grammar, putting together my All About Reading Level 4 binder, playing soccer, climbing trees, spelling with tiles, coloring, homework, silliness, and gorgeous fall weather!

The weather is just too beautiful to do too much school, so we are just plugging away at the very basics. I'm wanting to take some time off of school and enjoy the weather, not stress about getting school done before soccer, get prepared for the fall Holy Days, pack, and get some things done around the house while the kids rake up piles of leaves and enjoy being outside in the fresh autumn air. Sounds lovely to me!
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