Sarah, Plain and Tall (BYFIAR)

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Popstar is completing Volumes 2 and 3 of Beyond Five in a Row for this school year. Her first book from Volume 1 was Sarah, Plain and Tall. She started it back in August and finished up in September. This is such a wonderful book and there were so many fun activities that go along with it!


(Please note: This post contains lessons from the Beyond Five in a Row Volume 2 Manual as well as ideas added by myself and inspired by other homeschool moms.)


Here is what the Amazon description says about Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan :

“This beloved Newbery Medal–winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan’s chapter book series about the Witting family.

Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna’s point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa’s advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay?

This children’s literature classic is perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books, historical fiction, and timeless stories using rich and beautiful language. Sarah, Plain and Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.”

In our time spent on this book, we covered a lot of subjects: History & Geography, Science, Language Arts, Fine Arts, Issues of Human Relationships and Bible.

Much of the History/Geography focus is on the North Atlantic Seacoast and Mid-West Prairie regions. Sarah lived by the sea and moved to the prairie and so we learned a little about both and compared the two different areas. As recommended by the manual, we created a notebook for each region and periodically added to it as we came to items in the book from each area.



One of the Science lessons was on types of rocks. We read the lesson about the different kinds of rocks and used this book to learn more. We also looked at some samples of rocks that we had.





Another Science lesson was on babies and human development. I had been given this pamphlet when I was pregnant for the first time and for some reason had kept it all these years. I knew it would be a good resource one day! This little book goes through the development of a baby from month to month in the womb.



Some other Science lessons were on different sea and prairie animals and plants, windbreaks and seashells. We used these books to explore shells a little:

One day we also visited our local museum, The Museum of York County to explore their Naturalist Center where the kids can look at all kinds of samples/specimens from nature. It was a lot of fun and we are very blessed to have this place, it has been priceless in our homeschool studies.


We also learned about Sand Dunes. We took out some sand that we had collected from the beach last summer and looked at a few grains of it in our microscope.


One other Science lesson was on “Squalls”. We learned about what they are, a sudden violent gust of wind. It was so neat how it worked out that the very same week Hurricane Irma was coming through our area and our weather forecast actually said “Squalls” in it. We never ever have that in our forecast, so it was pretty neat how the timing worked out!


For Fine Arts there was a lesson was about colors of the sea. We used some oil pastels and drew a picture using only colors that you would see in the ocean: blue, gray and green.



Another Fine Arts lesson was on the bird, the Killdeer. We looked up a picture of this bird and practiced drawing it.


For Language Arts, we learned how to write an introduction. Sarah first meets the family through letter writing and so we practiced writing a letter introducing ourselves to someone we haven’t met before. Several lessons were also about Symbolism in singing since the family talks about singing throughout the book. For Language we also talked about what the Newberry Medal is and why this book received that medal.

The Issues of Human Relationships lessons we covered included memories, wanting to be liked, character traits of people, grieving and making others smile.

We used the Beyond Five in a Row Christian Character and Bible Study Supplement and covered many good Bible lessons like: God always knows what’s best for us, God tells us about himself all through the bible, God is our heavenly father who yearns to see us and cares even when we are lost just to name a few. The Bible lessons in this supplement are wonderful.

For each chapter there are Writing and Discussion Questions. Before we began, I took the time to type these out and put them in her folder. So she would work on those on her own each day. These were great for reading comprehension.


We ended our study with Sarah, Plain and Tall by cooking the meal from the Five in a Row Cookbook. The recipes were for Beef Stew and Herbed Biscuits, it was delicious!






Then we watched the Hallmark Channel movie of the book. This movie was very well done and was a great way to end our study of Sarah, Plain and Tall.


Many blessings,


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2 thoughts on “Sarah, Plain and Tall (BYFIAR)

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