Folllow the Drinking Gourd {FIAR}

via Five in a Row {FIAR}

This is a great book that talks of slavery and the underground railroad, with a family wishing (of course) to stay together.  They flee under cover of darkness, following the Drinking Gourd - or Big Dipper - north to safety.  To freedom.  To a life brand new.

It was a great starting point to gently introduce a horrid topic to young children.


Fleeing slavery, sheltering the runaways, etc .... it all took great courage.
We focused this week on courage, using Kids of Integrity.

Our memory verse was, "Don't be afraid, for I am with you", Isaiah 41:10. 

Seeds of Courage is a great way to memorize bible verses - for the kids and the parents!  Plus, as an added bonus, when you purchase a CD they give you 2.  One to keep, one to give away.

We watched VeggieTales: Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen, a great tale about courage!

Hubbard's Cupboard has great (and free) printable character traits.  They are set to tunes, and we sing them every day.

Language Arts:

preschool tie-in:  We used Hubbard Cupboards F is for Follow, which worked out beautifully to match up with our row, Follow the Drinking Gourd.

Emma loves worksheet type learning.  She begs for more.  So more we do!  We did F is for Fairy with Fairy Printables at 1+1+1=1 as well as the "Ff" related printouts from Raising Rockstars (1+1+1=1).

New on our iPad this week was ABC Farm, which she loved as well. (there are more by this company, and she loves all the ones we have so far.  She chooses one or more of these games daily!)  Each letter is clickable and takes you to related words, like S is for stable, B is for barn, and so on.  Each word (like stable below) has several picture examples that you swipe left or right, and has little video extras where you watch a clip, or do a puzzle, or "paint" to reveal something more.  This game offers so much! 

Currently, as I type up this post, it's being offered for FREE in the iTunes app store!

F is for Farm:
I love to have plenty of books to tie in the FIAR book of the week.  From our library we took home:

This week I had a hard time reading the books to the kids, so daddy took over.  A few pages in to Henry's Freedom Box, and I was done - all choked up.

We learned all about the "drinking gourd", learning it's more common name - The Big Dipper!
If you go out away into the country, you can see amazing things in the night sky.  (we live in a city and can't see this many stars, but when in rural MI, the wow factor is there!)

One night, back home in Ontario where the stars aren't so visible, I did spy "the drinking gourd" and asked Connor to look up and tell me what he sees.  He looked up, gasped, and I was beaming to myself , so proud he found it so soon ... when he says, "I see Darth Vader's face!!".   .... another time then.  lol.

We did a simpler version of this starlight flashlight, though it didn't turn out as well because all we had was a camping torch type flashlight.

We looked at the pictures in Constellations: A Glow-in-the-Dark Guide to the Night Sky, by Chris Sasaki.  We read Our Stars by Anne Rockwell.
With My Body (Science Books) we added skeleton to our body cutout.  Emma's foot temporarily became her hand, until I caught it and corrected her us (I claim lack of sleep due to a sick baby!).  lol.


Over at PreKinders you can print off pattern block shapes to use.  We chose fish (F is for fish).

Emma also chose to play with her Winnie the Pooh math cards.  On the front you match word to number to group, then on the back is a little puzzle.  She also wanted to line them up numerically.

Connor begrudgingly did workbook stuff, focusing on place values.

We took a page from School Time Snippets book and did watercolor constellations.

Connor's masterpiece:
Emma's masterpiece:
Connor (6) was done quickly.  Emma (3) took awhile and a whole lot of counseling to get her paper painted into a "night sky".  She wanted to do her own thing.  We both had different expectations and we both walked away feeling aggravated.  In the end I apologized to her and told her she could paint again and this time it was her choice.  Relief washed over her and she says, "yes mom!  It's Emma's choice!" and then went on to paint I think 4 different papers.  :)

Field Trip:

We ended the week with another field trip.
I never gave Ontario much thought, living here, that (duh!) there's got to be plenty of historic sites to see!  Not until reading The Unplugged Family's beautiful post on visiting the Griffin House.
Living in Ontario, it's quite easy to find plenty of places to go, being that the slaves mostly escaped to here. .... however, most places closed for the season just the previous week.  If only I had thought of it all earlier and adjusted our schedule!
We ended up travelling to an exhibit, Follow the North Star, in a museum.
We got to the museum just in time to see a ship coming in.

It was rainy and cool, so we went back inside pretty quick.  Inside we noticed a compass painted on the floor, pointing North.  Connor excitedly pointed it out.
Downstairs we found the exhibit for the Underground Railroad, and much more unrelated things.  The kids had a blast-  mostly with the sports science exhibits.

We drove around town and found the church  rumored to be attended by Harriet Truman and then we drove by the Victoria Lawn Cemetery where Reverend Anthony Burns is honored(we might have gotten out and showed the kids, but it was raining)
We had gotten a brochure at the museum about other places around Ontario of the Underground Railroad.  On it was the Niagara Historical Museum.  Since we were close we decided to spontaneously drive over.  Mostly because it was raining and also because all the historical sites like cabins were closed for the season.
We got there near closing time, but they were so accommodating and understanding.  Connor was given a clipboard with a bingo game on it, which is just brilliant in my opinion.  What a way to keep a young one engaged!

Again, same as the last museum, the Underground Railroad part was small and underwhelming, but we had a fantastic time here seeing all the other exhibits.
There was an interactive bridge:

and you could try on soldier jackets!

How fun is that!?  A kind worker came over and offered Emma to try on a lady's hat that she was bringing to her office to save for the Christmas parade, but Emma was only interested in the soldier hat.  lol.
We've been to Niagara Falls several times, so we didn't stop to get out (rain rain go away!).  However, we did drive by.  :)

Other Resources:
Follow the Drinking Gourd song we listened to
Scholastic has amazing resources and activities
Linking up at:
Delightful Learning 
 The Homeschool Village

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