Five in a Row- World Geography and Apple Pie


This year my youngest is in kindergarten. And for whatever reason, kindergarten is the only year that I feel sad about homeschooling at times. My own memories of public school K are really great, and I wonder sometimes if kindy at home could possibly be as *fun* as kindy with other kids.

Of course the essentials (learning to read, write, and form a strong foundation with numbers) are much better suited to one-on-one teaching. But, with two older siblings to teach, it’s easy to short change the youngest when it comes to non-essentials. So this year I drew a line in the sand and determined that standard K play is going to be an essential part of our school day. 

This is partly why we decided on a World Geography/Zoology year (instead of heading into Year 2 of our history cycle). There is so much hands-on fun that goes along with it. Cooking and crafts and games from all over the world! Also, I scheduled 1-2 picture books for each of the 34 countries we are studying, so DD5 (and the older siblings who unashamedly still love picture books) will get to know the world through quality, engaging literature (and I will get lots of snuggle on the couch moments- my favorite). 

I chose several titles based on Five in a Row selections, and eventually decided to purchase FIAR Vol. 1 guide to “supplement” our studies. Well, this supplement turned out to be one of the highlights of our week, for both the kids and myself. 


We read Marjorie Priceman’s “How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.” It fit perfectly with our study this week- an overview of the continents, oceans, and biomes. It’s a cute story about a girl who wants to make an apple pie, but the market is closed, so she decides to travel around the world to get the freshest possible ingredients (Semolina wheat from Italy, Cinnamon from Sri Lanka, etc). 

I was a bit leery about reading the same picture book every day, but my kids loved it! Every time I pulled the book out, I’d hear, “Yes, we get to read it again!” And they would quickly gather around with excitement- So far, so good. 

I knew that there were way too many activities than we could get to, but the great thing about FIAR is you can do as much or as little as you like. We only were able to do 1 activity a day, but each one was really fun and meaningful. Here’s what we did:



Using our globe to follow along with the story


Apple addition and subtraction


Collecting ocean water…


… And discovering the salt left after it evaporates!


And of course- baking an apple pie!


It was really yummy :-)

I’m really impressed with how fun FIAR was for all 3 of my kiddos. And I’m also confident that DD5 is going to have a really fun Kindy year at home :-) . 


Curriculum for 2013-2014

ImageImageImageAlthough it goes against my Charlotte Mason and Classical roots, we’ve decided to focus on World Geography, Cultures, Missions, and Zoology this year (similar to My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures or Winter Promise Children Around the Word).

But why spend a whole year on World Geography? Isn’t it best if a child learns geography in the context of history? And aren’t you afraid to waste of precious history-learning time? These are all questions I asked myself time and time again when I was planning. I was so torn! I love the typical Charlotte Mason history cycle (and history in general) and we had a blast last year with Ancients. We had no real “reason” to switch the course. But for some reason, World Geography kept coming back to me. For our family, being globally minded, culturally accepting, and geographically literate is extremely important. With how quickly my kids learned their states and capitals, I knew they would retain a lot if we made world geography a focus. My youngest will be in Kindergarten this year, and I wanted to make it a really fun year for her. Also, my son has been BEGGING to do an in-depth zoology study, which will seemingly go hand in hand with geography.

Considering all that, the better question for our family was why NOT study geography? I came to the conclusion that there is no set formula or method to follow as a home educator- even a Charlotte Mason home educator. Charlotte Mason education is about method and practice more than it is about a history sequence or set curricula.

Of course, we are still using lots of living books. DD9 will read The Good Master, Robinson Crusoe, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Trumpet of the Swan, The Jungle Book, The Wind in the Willows, Teresa of Calcutta, Rachel Saint, and Lillian Trasher (as well as lots of other free reading suggestions). DS7 will read A Question of Yams, The Story of Dr. Dolittle, and as many Thorton Burgess books as he can get through. And for DD5, we will be using picture books (including many Five in a Row selections) based on country. I will read aloud from Missionary Stories with the Millers, Just So Stories, Burgess Seashore Book, and Pagoo.

Also, we have a whole host of other fun resources that I will review more in depth as we go along. And even though it interrupts my beloved history cycle, I know this year will be full of loving to learn, which is what education is really about.