I am so far behind in posting on our Five in a Row books, but I am now attempting to catch up! Last September I spent two weeks rowing a wonderful book from Volume 1 called “Who Owns The Sun?” with my youngest three.
(Please note: This post contains lessons from the Five in a Row Volume 1 Manual as well as activities inspired by other homeschool moms and myself.)
Here is what Amazon’s description says about “Who Owns The Sun?” by Stacy Chbosky:
“Having learned from the father he admires so much that the world is filled with things too special for any one person to own, a boy is upset to hear that he and his father are owned by the men in the big house where they work.”
We spent two weeks on this book (which for us is typically 8 days total, as we don’t usually school on Fridays). We started out by reading the book and placing our story disk on the map. The book does not tell us where the story takes place, so we decided to place the story disk in between Mississippi and Alabama because we know that those were states where slaves would’ve lived.
We talked about what Slavery and the Civil War were all about. It was mostly a review for the boys since we had done Follow the Drinking Gourd last year.
This year, mostly for the boys, I’ve been choosing a chapter book to read aloud to them to go along with each of our FIAR books. For this one I chose to read the My America Series set of 3 books about a runaway slave boy named Corey. These are written Diary-style and the boys really enjoy them. We read about 10-15 pages each afternoon.
Another Social Studies lesson we covered from the manual was about Family Relationships. We talked about the relationship between the son and father in this story, how the boy admires and is greatly devoted to his father. He believes everything his father says and is so proud of him. Then when he finds out that his father is actually owned by another man, he is crushed. We talked about how there are some things in life that we just can’t control.
For Language, we practiced list-making. We made a list of all the things the boys asks his father about in the story, all the things that are “too wonderful to be owned” as well as all the qualities of the boys father. We also went over a few new vocabulary words and talked about what Question marks are and why we use them.
For Art, we talked about the illustrator of this book who is also the author. This book was written and illustrated by a 14 year old girl and the kids thought that was fascinating.
We also talked about Subject and Symbolism. Her paintings were simple, but she used very strong colors and they are simply beautiful. Then we talked about Light and Shadows. We looked through the book and found all the sources of light and looked at the way the illustrator painted the shadows of different things.
The last Art lesson we went over was on Color, since the colors are so brilliant. We chose one picture to try and copy with watercolors and they turned out very colorful!
At the end of our first week, we attended Historic Brattonsville, a local plantation from the 1700s-1800s. We actually have a membership there and attend many of their special events. They were doing an event called “By the Sweat of our Brows” which focused on the life of slaves. We had a great time and learned so much!
We learned about cooking and children’s games.
We saw lots of animals.
We saw different kinds of slave cabins. We learned that the slaves who worked in the fields lived in different types of cabins than the ones who worked in the house or kitchen.
The boys tried their hand at blacksmithing.
We also got to see a real cotton gin actually being used. That was enthralling for all of us, especially myself and Jason. Having learned about the cotton gin in school growing up, neither of us had ever seen one in person being used. The kids were also able to bring home a piece of cotton as well as seeing the difference after the cotton came out of the machine.
We brought a picnic lunch and made a day of it. We’re so blessed to have this wonderful place close by that we can enjoy and learn from!
For Science, we learned about Simple Machines, like a Lever and a Wedge and how they work. The father in the story uses both of these and we looked at the pictures to find them. We looked at a book about simple machines.
We also learned about our 5 senses. In the story, the boys asks his father about flowers, rain, sun and things like that so we talked about how we use our senses to explore the world around us.
The last Science lesson was on Memory and Nutrition. The boy brings his father a good lunch to where he was working in the field. We checked to see if he brought food from each of the food groups. We also looked at a book about the food groups and talked about how important it is to eat from each group and what foods belong to each one.
For Bible, we learned about how we are all made in the image of God and no one can own our soul. Also, we talked about how there was slavery in the bible.
We ended our study with making a recipe from our Five in a Row Cookbook for Biscuits. We had them with butter and they were delicious!
That finished up our two weeks with Who Owns The Sun? It was a very good study for us and I was amazed at how well everything went. We were able to do just about everything I had planned for us, which hardly ever happens!