The Finest Horse in Town (FIAR)

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The boys finished up their Five in a Row study on The Finest Horse in Town by Jacqueline Briggs Martin awhile ago. I was waiting to write this post about it because we thought we were going to be able to visit some real horses and wanted to include that. It has taken longer than we expected to work out the details for that, so I decided to go ahead with this. If we do get to visit some horses, I will post separately about it later.




(Please note: this post contains lessons from the FIAR manual AND activities that were added by me.)


We always do this book around the 4th of July, since that is when the story takes place. It’s a really fun book to do in July. The story is about the author remembering back in time that her two great aunts were shop/mercantile owners and also owned the finest horse in town. The story takes place in the early 1900’s in a small town in Maine.

This was a really fun book. We started by reading the book and placing the story disk on our map. The story takes place in Maine and so we put our disk on Maine.




For Geography, we looked at our USA Atlas book and learned a little about the state of Maine.  Then we talked about the Time Setting that the story takes place. We looked through the book to see how things looked different than they do now. This story takes place at the “turn of the century” and we talked about what that meant. For History, we learned about what the 4th of July means since in the story they celebrate with a parade. We had already studied a lot about this subject with our last book, How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA and so we didn’t spend too much time on it.

For Social Studies, we also talked about relationships. In the story there is a man who tries to steal from the two sisters and we talked about how to deal with people being dishonest. Then we talked about being grateful because the two sisters always showed people they were thankful for their help by giving them gifts. It’s really nice to be able to teach them about good character qualities along with all the history and geography lessons.

For the Language lessons, we learned about what “Reminiscing” is. In the story, the author is remembering back to when she was young and so we added that to our Choices a Write Can Make list. We also talked about how in this book, there are three different stories and we compared how they were different and alike.

For Art, we learned about watercolor paintings, which is what was used in the artwork for this book. We also went through and  noticed all the details, for example the expressions on people’s faces and things like that. Then we used our Draw Write Now book (Book #1 in the series) and practiced drawing horses.







For Math, we learned about what a century is since the book takes place at the “turn of the century” and we practiced counting by hundreds. We also learned about telling time. There are a lot of watches in the story and so this fit very well. We used our math clock and practiced for awhile.




Some of the Bible lessons we covered were on deceit, stealing, cheerfulness and responsibility.

For Science, we focused on horses. We looked up videos of horses on youtube and read a lot of books from the library about horses.




For Science we also learned about Ice Houses because in the story, they are so hot during the 4th of July parade that they end up getting some ice from the ice house and making lemonade for everyone. So we talked about what an ice house was, how they used it and we looked up some videos on youtube and saw some modern ice houses and ice harvesting. YouTube can be a great resource, if you use it carefully!

The last thing we did was to make the meal in the Five in a Row Cookbook. It is my goal this year to use that and do cooking as much as possible. My kids all love to help cook and so I’m trying really hard this year with that! We did have to change a little bit on the recipes though. For one thing, they were supposed to be cooked on the grill and it was just too hot for us to fire it up. So we ended up using bottled bbq sauce and baking the chicken! We also made corn on the cob by boiling it on the stove. The boys loved helping make the dessert recipe, the shortcakes. It turned out so yummy! The recipes were geared toward a 4th of July celebration picnic and I think it went very well! The whole family enjoyed the meal for dinner that night.


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The two weeks we spent on this book were really fun for me and the boys. They are moving onto their next Five in a Row book, Storm in the Night!




Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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