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Higgens Bend Song and Dance {FI♥AR}

During our nature walk to look for ferns, I was inspired to row a book about fish and Higgens Bend Song and Dance popped into my mind.

Eliana loved this book! She asked me to read it everyday this week. I read it with lots of energy to make it fun, but didn't feel like reading it after we finished our row and she could have listened to it one more time. :)

We picked Mississippi as the setting for Higgens Bend Song and Dance, since it seems to be set in the deep south. There is a handwritten inscription inside my copy of the book that says "Southern people are some of the best kind of people." Then we learned that in 1872, Mississippi was known as the Mudcat State,
 mud. How cool is that?! We learned this from facts about Mississippi & Interesting Mississippi news for kids.

We then went off on a blues music tangent, watched a documentary on the Great Depression and the movie O Brother Where Art Thou, as recommended in the above links. It is also set during the time of the Great Depression.

Books from the library:

We ended up watching the Huck Finn movie instead of reading the book (as I decided it is more of a high school level book). 

Malachi drew a catfish. He sketched in pencil and then outlined with watercolor pencils and lightly brushed with a wet brush to give it a watercolor effect.

We don't eat catfish because we eat a biblically clean diet, but we learned about the history of the aquaculture industry (fish farming) in Mississippi, what barbels are (catfish whiskers that are sensory organs), what broodfish are (mature fish used for breeding), what catting is (fishing for catfish), and more.

We also read in one of the books how to make stinky bait dough balls!

Our visit to the Fish Hatchery broodfish and settling ponds during our last nature study is what inspired me to want to row this book. 

The Morning Star
Oscar (the catfish) pulled on the sock - he pulled so hard, the raft began to move out of the rushes and water weeds, down that beautiful river, under the morning star... down to Higgens Bend.
We learned that Venus is sometimes called the "Morning Star" or "Evening Star" because it appears shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset.

Venus is called the Earth's Twin so we compared and contrasted Earth and Venus.

  • They are made of similar material. 
  • They are the same size.
  • They both have clouds. 
  • They both have volcanoes. 

  • Venus is hotter and Earth is cooler. 
  • Venus probably does not have water while the earth does. 
  • Earth rotates counter-clockwise and Venus rotates clockwise. 
  • Earth has a moon while Venus does not. 
  • Earth's clouds are made of water, while Venus' clouds are made of sulphuric acid.

Speaking of sock... 

Simon Henry's last attempt to catch Oscar the catfish was with a stinky sock, so I loved catching the meaning behind the quilt square I received in the Volume 4 quilt swap. So cute! 

FIAR Recipe: Potato Kelly's Potato Chowder

We talked about why we don't eat catfish (a recipe suggested in the manual) - because a catfish has skin instead of scales, and the Bible says that fish that are clean to eat have fins and scales and are indeed ideal for human health. Almost all of the creatures on the unclean list in the Bible are scavengers: they don’t hunt for their own food and instead they eat the dead and decaying matter of our environment. A catfish does that at the bottom of a pond; lobsters and shrimp do it in the ocean. A pig will eat anything. Vultures, almost by definition, are known for their scavenger habits. These animals can have devastating health effects. A Matter of Health? makes some great scientific points about discerning between the clean and unclean and God's health guidelines in the Bible if you want to learn more. 

We didn't catch any fish this week, but Nathan did! 

I'm planning to follow up with a row of The Raft to pour my little heart more into the topic of exploring small streams and fish. We'll see! We'll ease into a new school year this week and see how it goes. :) 

The Runaway Bunny {B4FI♥AR} & Oak Tree Nature Study

~Boaz is 4 years, 7 months~

Wonderful lessons to learn from The Runaway Bunny, but I especially loved the reminder that God loves us just as the mother bunny loves her bunny. We have all wandered away, each to our own way we have turned, but we have a loving Father that may have a hundred bunnies, and yet when one goes astray, he will leave the 99 behind to go seek the one that has gone astray. Love that no matter where I go, He will find me. ♥

For our row, we focused on the Science lesson from the manual. What happened to the tree? This was a great time to pull out Nature for the Very Young and do the lesson on Death and Decay. I prefer to call this lesson the Lifecycle of a Tree, as death is a natural part of the cycle of any existence.

I used As An Oak Tree Grows to help demonstrate the lifecycle of an oak tree.

We "collected" acorns (I bought them online), and we attempted to sprout them (this followed closely on the heals of The Carrot Seed wherein we focused on the beginning of plant life). Then we visited saplings, mature trees, a dying or dead tree, and rotting logs.

Bo colored the stages of an oak tree and put them in order:
  1. Acorn
  2. Sprout
  3. Sapling
  4. Mature oak
  5. Dead tree
  6. Rotting log with plants
  7. Rotting log with insects

A Log's Life was another really great go-along book that I found at our library. 

We found lots of great examples of dying trees and rotting logs at our forest property and on nature walks on the mountain. 

And it was fun to tie in Eliana's science book, One Small Square The Woods, to our study of the oak tree. 

Our acorns came with a bag of acorn tops and I used those for our math lesson - counting by tens. 

And counting by twos to 30. 

I pulled these next few activities out of Mali and Elli's lap journal from when we rowed the Runaway Bunny. (I wasn't sure I would love Five in a Row as much the second time, but I love it even more because of the memories I have of rowing with Malachi and Eliana). 

Shadow Matching

Bunny Sequencing


If you get a chance to play the "What If" game from Language and Thinking for Young Children, it's a great go-along activity! I forgot to play with Bo, but I have the book pulled out to use with him this coming school year. 

Loved this ordinal number/story sequencing activity. I made it easy at first, then harder. 

Label the Bunny

I especially loved this counting syllables activity. This ties right in with what Bo is doing with All About Reading Pre-reading

What's Different?

What sound does it start with?

We haven't started the sounds section of Pre-reading yet, but Bo still knows all of the sounds from our time with Tot School Printables. This past year, we've been focusing on capital letters and this coming year, we will focus on lowercase and sounds. 

Helping mama find her bunny...

B4FI♥AR Treat: Carrot Cake Muffins

These are the same ones we made for our row of The Carrot Seed, because the mother bunny fishes for her fishy bunny with a carrot. ♥

From Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved, these are on plan for Trim Healthy Mama, and I made the frosting with Gentle Sweet this time, added a little cream and the best orange oil you can buy (learn how to get this here), and they were sooo good! Bo ate up the whole cupcake this time and asked for more later. (Me too!)

Meet our Runaway Bunny

She keeps getting out and one morning I sat on the couch with my cup of herbal coffee and was warming up in the morning sun and there she was across the street. Again. I usually holler for Eliana to put her back (she's the best at it), but she was still sleeping so I chased her home. 

It took me awhile, but I finally got her back in and saw how she was getting out - under the fence. 

The Runaway Bunny is a Before Five in a Row selection. There are a lot of Fun Things to do with B4FIAR, but the most important thing is to cultivate a love for learning. ♥

Thank you for taking the time to share, link up, and 
visit to inspire and be inspired. 

I still have our row of Play With Me to share to get caught up on our summer learning and then I plan to get in "back-to-school" mode and share what I've planned for this coming school year. Until then... 

Seedless Vascular Plants, Nonvascular Plants & Nature Journaling

Such joy to finish a great summer of Botany and nature study!

Lessons 1-5: Botany, Seeds, Flowers, Pollination & Fruits
Lessons 6-10: Leaves, Roots, Stems, Trees & Gymnosperms

Here's how we finished up Exploring Creation with Botany with the final lessons 11-13 on Seedless Vascular Plants, Nonvascular Plants & Nature Journaling.

Seedless Vascular Plants

Check out the sporangium! 

We were so happy to bring our book learning to life and find ferns growing in a small stream on a nature walk this past week. 

Lifecycle of a Fern notebooking

Fern rubbings.  

Nonvascular Plants

Lichen growing on a tree. 


The fish settling ponds full of moss inspired us to row a book next - a simple row with a few books, a movie, good food, and hopefully a fishing trip!

Lifecycle of Moss

Moss, Lichen, Liverworts

Nature Journaling 

Malachi's nature sketch of the stream

Telling me all about his nature sketch. 

A lovely end to our Botany study. Thanks for reading!