Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening {FI♥AR}

~Bo is 5 years old!~

This is a great book to gently ease into any Five in a Row learning adventure because the lessons are short and meant to be used during a Review Week. Plus, winter is upon us and we just got a bunch of snow! The last time I rowed this, I was waiting for Bo to be born and here I am rowing it with him. 

by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer 
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake. 
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.

We focused on art, poetry, the animals beautifully illustrated in the book, and winter time.

Art History: The One Horse Open Sleigh 

Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bobtail ring’
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight!

The classic "Jingle Bells" song about the joys of riding a sleigh ties in wonderfully with this book and the joyful illustrations of the narrator as he delights in keeping his "promise."

He gives his harness bells a shake 
To ask if there is some mistake...

In the winter in New England in pre-automobile days, it was common to adorn horses’ harnesses with straps of bells as a way to avoid collisions at blind intersections, since a horse-drawn sleigh in snow makes almost no noise. The rhythm of the tune mimics that of a trotting horse’s bells.

The word "jingle" in the title is an imperative verb. An imperative verb gives a command, so the subject is an implied "you." You jingle the bells. You jingle the bells to signal that you are coming through the woods to avoid collision.

The song was originally entitled "The One Horse Open Sleigh" and while it is synonymous with the Christmas holiday, it was originally written as a Thanksgiving song.

We learned that sleigh bells are in the percussion family of instruments and I gave Bo a bag of small jingle bells to play with. The first thing he did was divide them with Eliana and then he counted his bells by 2s and played a marble game with them. (I have plans to make a rag banner with them later). Then he strung them on a string to play with.

Stopping By Woods Rag Banner

I saw this fabric and thought it would be perfect with the horse drawn sleigh, winter trees and animals, and the farmhouse in the distance for our quilt square for Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.

We looped the fabric and burlap around jute cord and then added white twinkle lights, bells, and pinecones. Elli helped me with the bells and Bo put on all the pinecones.

Thanks to Chasing Slow for the inspiration! 

Seasons: Winter

My little horse must think it queer 
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

"The darkest evening of the year" is the first day of Winter, which was December 21st.  We talked about seasons and length of days and explained that the days will start to be longer after the 21st by pointing out that sunset will be a little later each day.

Winter began today and ends March 18, 2016. Sunset was at 4:29 today. Sunset tomorrow will be at 4:30 pm.

We covered Seasons with Sonlight P 4/5 Berenstain Bears Book of Nature and I reviewed the order of the seasons with Bo.


Acrostic Poem - SNOW by Bo


List Poem - Winter by Bo

Big chunks of snow
Playing with snow
Having a snowball fight
Slide on the sled
Slide down the hill
Dig holes in the snow
Make a snowman
Feels good
Cold, but I love it

Art: Watercolor Resist

Eliana and Bo watercolored their Winter list poem. 

Caring for Wild Animals
The woods are lovely, dark and deep 
But I have promises to keep...

After reading the story, I asked Bo what promise was he fulfilling? (He is feeding the animals in the woods).  I explained that food in the winter is scarce for animals. This did not stand out to me the first time we rowed this book, but it did this time.

Animal Poem

I had Bo choose an animal from the book to write a poem about. He chose the farm dog at the end of the book.

My Animal Poem
by Boaz

I am a dog. 
I can chase.
I can dig, 
I feel frisky. 
I smell bad. 
I love to sit. 
I eat. 
I am a dog. 

Animal Tracks

Animal Tracks Filer Folder Game

Track Packs

For our Blessed Assurance study, we are working on putting together a Track Pack for studying animal tracks:

  • 6" plastic or wood ruler for measuring tracks
  • tape measure to measure strides
  • tweezers, to work closely and place small signs in container
  • notebook and pencil, to record findings
  • flashlight, for dark or night tracking
  • popsicle stick painted red on one end, to easily find a track and return to it
  • scotch tape, to tape a hair sample in notebook
  • magnifying glass, to closely observe
  • plastic sandwich bag, to collect signs
We have not had a chance to get out in the woods to look for tracks, but I hope to soon. 

The Red Fox

Winter Watercolor Cardinal

(I drew the cardinal for Bo to watercolor.) 

FI♥AR Recipe: Recipe for a cold winter night.

Bo loves lasagna, so we had Lasagna Soup in french bread bowls for his birthday dinner and for our row.

Our FI♥AR Treat: Peppermint Snowflake Sugar Cookies

These are so yummy! I used Chasing Slow's Sugar cookies all year long and her easy icing too and added one drop of Young Living peppermint essential oil. Eliana held me accountable and wouldn't let me eat one, but as soon as she went outside to play I snuck one! and then another one.

Winter Preparedness

This was a fun winter/preparedness activity that we did for school this week. We made pinecone fire starters with wax and Evergreen Essence.

To make, we used 2 boxes of parafin household wax and about a half a bottle of Evergreen Essence essential oil. I wrapped cotton household string around each pincone for a wick and then dipped - dip - cool - dip - cool - dip - cool until they are coated well. I didn't like Evergreen Essence out of the bottle, but the basket of fire starters has been on the shelf behind me for a couple days and they smell very nice! They smell really good when they burn too. 

They also make great hand warmers for emergency use - place in a #10 metal can and store in car during winter travel. 

One little pinecone burned for quite a while, but they have to be extinguished outside the car in the snow when they finish burning.

I still have a few Before Five in a Row books to row with Bo, but I'm hoping to start planning a few FIAR books soon. This row gave me a good idea of what Bo is ready for (and what he's not), so that will help with my planning. Also to consider - Bo does not want to do school alone, so I will incorporate activities for Eliana, which will be fun.

And with all the snow we got this week, the kids had fun playing the snow, making snow angels, making a snowman, and sledding.

Update on Bo:

Bo just turned 5. I wrote a post documenting what I love about Bo, his life at 5, and a few interview questions. His birthday was full of Playmobil knights, a really simple castle cake that was sieged and destroyed, and lots and lots of playtime.

We are on Week 15 in Sonlight Core P 4/5. Bo loves the DEL books (Developing the Early Learner). We do all our reading at bedtime.

Bo loves his math lessons, but I stopped having him do the copywork and we have been working on correct formation of his numbers using homemade handwriting pages that I am making using Getty & Dubay Fontware. When he is confident in his number writing, we'll switch back to the copywork. He's made much improvement in a short time, so it won't take long. Having him trace the numbers is helping with number reversals, too. He has to think hard about which way they go when he writes them though.

He also finished part 2 of All About Reading Pre-reading - lowercase letters. I wanted him to take a little break before starting sounds, but he has been asking me almost daily to start (we were into a pretty good routine with it). I said when he turns 5, so we will start next week. I will make handwriting pages for each letter to work on correct formation of letters.

Teaching Bo to read a few words has helped with his speech therapy. For example, to help him with /d and /g sounds, I wrote the word "dog" on the board and we practiced reading the sounds. Then he can look at the word (and later see the word in his mind) to help him remember the sounds. He couldn't say /g for so long that he automatically says /d instead. He CAN say the /g sound now though! So, it is just a matter of reprogramming. The /g and /k sounds have been the only two sounds he's been behind on the last 6 months. He's on target for all other sounds and he is ready to graduate speech therapy, but we are going to take a month break first. If I notice any relapse, I will get him in. On the other hand, if he does well after a month, he will graduate. Yay!

Bo is already asking us to spell words for him and writes words all the time, so it will be an exciting year in our homeschool teaching him to read. 


  1. What a fun week! I love reading about Bo's progress. My Silas is 5 and 1/2, and he is behind Bo in AAR {learned lowercase h this week} and speech. We are working with a private speech therapist {who attends our church!} to begin lessons with him soon. We "rowed" our first book this week, Jesse Bear! I posted about it on my blog, although my pictures aren't as beautiful as yours, nor did we do as many activities. :-)

  2. Again, more inspiration from you! I love reading your posts. You seem like such a neat Mom. I will be planning some rows this week coming up for my son. I am also doing Sonlight P4/5 with him (we are only on Unit 4). I did not buy the DEL books though. He still isn't a big fan of seatwork (he lasts about 10 min or so). Wondering if he might like those though since Bo likes them so much. Does he tend to like seatwork? Do you have him complete a page or two or as much as he wants? His cardinal watercolor pic is very nice! And those sugar cookies look delicious! Love that you sneaked one(that would be me too:).

    I got the Evergreen Essence as well and lately I've been diffusing it with Orange, Cinnamon, and Peppermint since it was too strong by itself. Thank you for these updates!

  3. This looks so lovely! I can't believe how big your kiddos are getting! Lovely poems and the watercolors are so beautiful. We loved rowing this book and I think we will revisit it for poetry this week! :)

  4. Wow! You did so much :) Love the cardinal watercolor! Your banner turned out lovely with the bells, lights and pinecones. I'm glad you got to sneak a taste of the sugar cookies..ha! I enjoy them plain without the frosting, myself.

    I will be visiting this row as early as next week. I have a winter theme plan in my head and it's a matter of trying to execute it all and pull it together.

    ((hugs dear friend))

  5. Oh and I love the preparedness pinecones, too! We travel a lot of mountain passess and I always fret over the "what-ifs" of being stuck in the freezing cold.

  6. I'm loving having the chance to see you row this again! It's one of my personal favorites from FIAR. I am, however, finding it a little traumatic that Bo is now 5! :)

  7. I love reading your posts and seeing all of the wonderful activities. Lovely!

  8. What a fun row! As always so inspirational. Missing your posts! Hope youre enjoying your winter season soon spring will come. Many blessings Michelle! You are amazing!! Shalom from Israel, Julia