So we are midweek into reading Cranberry Thanksgiving in the Five in a Row curriculum. It is fantastic! For years now I have heard about how wonderful this program is, but I could never find enough samples to really understand how it worked. For that reason it was never considered as an option in our hs. It’s really great and I’ve been taking a lot of pictures (which I never do) just so others who are thinking about using it can see how it unfolds practically during the week. I was planning on using volume 1 and one of the Beyond FIAR volumes for Big Bird. Turns out the regular volume is enough for right now. We do need to supplement a little for my oldest, but we really like what we are using for history and he does so much science without me even asking so it’s not hard at all.
Something I really enjoy is the moral and character lessons that go on all throughout each topic. Everyday science, history, reading, and history is as intense or as glossed over as me, the parent, chooses it to be. The main book points out all the wonderful issues and moral lessons that could be extracted and that are linked with the other topics. For example, when we learn about the scientific method by charting a cute little starching experiment, the kids will see the starch stiffen and wilt when dampened. In the story the man who lo0ks well put together with a starched suit (it was written in 1971 when people starched their clothes) was a welcomed guest for Thanksgiving, while the kind, but less refined man with whiskers and less nice clothing made Granny suspicious. When the man in the starched suit does the morally corrupt thing in the book he wilts just like his suit as he slumps over. What an awesome opportunity to share with kids about how we feel after we do something that nags at our conscious. It wilts us, lies wilt us. I went a little further than the book and showed the kids where Christ speaks of us being the branches and Himself as the vine. When we are not turning to His life as the source, we will wilt. That is when we make the bad choices that will make us wilt.
The man who had the whiskers was a kind man and my oldest made a connection between Mr. Whiskers and a book he is reading. I work for a company that does book fairs and Literacy for a Lifetime programs so I have a massive amount of books for work. I usually don’t let the kids break into my inventory closet, but Ben takes good care of the books and puts them back when he’s done so he has my permission. He had read through all the exciting true story chapter books in a series called Extreme Adventures. He read through the detective books and the survival books. He had avoided the books that has simple pictures on the front. Sometimes they even looked cartoon-ish. But, he was out of the exciting books and so he began a series he wouldn’t normally try. He loves the book! And so he learned that we don’t judge a book by it’s cover and explained to his brothers that Granny had done that with Mr Whiskers. It was sweet.
My favorite part of this book is reading about the traditions that Maggie and her Grandmother share each Thanksgiving. We talked about ours. We talked about how a common Thursday is turned into a special day. Not because the silver matches or the decor is perfect, but because of the people we share the day with and the acknowledgement of how blessed we truly are.
Another impressive lesson worth writing about is manners. When we have people over we want to practice manners which make friends and family comfortable in our home. This year we’ll be having my family over from Florida. We want them to feel at home, even though they’ll be away from theirs. It’s important that we make sure to have all the traditional turkey day foods. It wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving if we didn’t respect the traditions of others (which will be easy since it’s our tradition too). In preparing the menu for the special day, we talked about adding in foods that I know my mom and dad like eat in order that my parents would enjoy everything on the table. It’s more important to make others feel comfortable than it is to just think of ourselves. If it were up to me we would have a table full of kale, green beans, tofu over rice, and squash as I am on a cleanse and trying to lose a few pounds. But, it’s Thanksgiving. It’s not time for my weird diets to take precedence over our family tradition I grew up with. Chris is thankful he doesn’t have to eat tofu on T-day too. A conversation about this was inspired by the book yesterday. I think it’s a conversation that the boys will carry with them for the rest of their lives. I got to teach them about traditions and respecting that not everyone does the same thing. It’s important to accept that.
Today I have an appointment I have to go to so I’ll be taking a break from the book, but tomorrow we discover all of the language lessons that can be pulled from it. There are many and it’s only recommended we choose a few. The kids use a phonics and reading program so any LA we learn from Cranberry Thanksgiving is icing on the cake. I have some fun ideas I borrowed from other FIAR moms on Pinterest. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post the pictures of our week so far. I am not familiar with posting pics on wordpress as I tried once, but couldn’t resize them to fit. I think I have learned since then how to do it, so we’ll see.
Have a wonderful day and I hope I was able to portray Five in a Row accurately for those who are considering this curriculum.