We did our FIAR study of this book from September 5th to September 18th.
This a touching story of a Japanese man’s journey to America. It is told by the Allen Say (the grandson). His Grandfather was born in Japan and when he was a young man he came to America. He first traveled by ship across the Ocean and did not see land for three weeks, He traveled across America and saw the mountains, prairies, deserts, and cities. He met people of all races. He settled in California (the city of San Francisco) because he liked it the best. California had mountains, sun, and a seacoast which reminded him of his home in Japan.
He eventually returned to Japan to marry his childhood sweetheart and they moved together to San Francisco but then Grandfather became homesick for Japan and his family moved back to Japan. Grandfather realizes that when he is in one place he longs for the other. As grandfather grew old he longed to visit California one more time but a war broke out which prevented him from ever leaving Japan again. When the grandson (Allen Say) grows up he decides to come to America to see all the things in that his Grandfather loved and spoke of. The grandson stays in California but never forgets his homeland.
BIBLE This week I wanted a bible devotional to tie in with our FIAR studies this week. I thought of one on families but decided to do a bible devotional one on “worth.”
Our bible verse this week was:
“Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” from Matthew 10:31
which was presented in our bible devotional as:
Who we are on the inside is more important than the kinds of things we do.
Just as the Grandfather may have traveled to many places and did many things such having songbirds, what was important to him was what we carried inside his heart (his love for family). I explained to the boys that even if they do great things in life, they need to have a good heart and good character when they do these things. Who they are as people speaks more in volumes than being good at games, knowing facts and doing hobbies. I hope that the boys understand that being a good person on the inside is what’s important.
Country and Culture
We located the country of Japan on our globe. We learned about what the continents are from our book Geography from A to Z. We discussed the modes of transportation that the Grandfather took in his travels. We talked about what it feels like having to travel a long distance. We were reminded of our experience a year ago when we moved to a new place, After several months of living in our new home, the boys still missed our old home.
We learned about the culture of Japan from the book Children Just like Me:”A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World by Anabel and Barnabas Kindersley.
Modes of Transportation
In the story, the Grandfather uses many modes of Transportation to cross North America (steam train, riverboat and walking). We discussed the modes of transportation still in use today. Afterwards, we played our transportation game that I made years ago for the boys. You can read more about it and download our transportation cards and game questions by clicking HERE.
Family History and Relationships We looked at old photographs of my husband growing up, of his parents and grandparents in their youth. We shared stories about the boys’ grandparents and the places they had been. The boys were surprised at all the countries their paternal grandfather (Bill) had visited during his service in the Army and they enjoyed hearing about the different states their maternal grandfather (Pete) had been to as a youth picking crops during harvest season.
I told the boys the story of my great grandmother who was full Apache Indian and married an Englishman named William Porter who sailed to the United States from Europe. I had many native stories to share with the boys and they listen intently.
We talked about the common interests the boys have with their grandfathers. My Dad enjoyed growing up near trains as a youth. Now that we live near trains, the boys enjoy hearing the sounds of the train at night and in the early morning hours. My Husband’s Dad enjoyed the outdoors and went hiking often. The boys love the outdoors just like their grandfather.
MATH In addition to our Rod and Staff math lessons, we added some math concepts that we related to our FIAR studies. In the book, the Grandfather sails across the ocean to North America by ship. He does not see land for three weeks, To help the boys understand that length of time, we talked about the days in a week and weeks in a month. After realizing that it was 21 days before the Grandfather saw land, the boys said they could never wait that long.
Turtle, my youngest worked on Math Patterns using our Bird Pattern cards that I made last year. Turtle enjoyed following the different patterns I asked him to complete. We used our pattern blocks and math printables that were downloaded from Kelly’s Kindergarten. We used her pattern block set 2 which had a bird and owl pattern.
About Birds In the book the Grandfather while living in Japan, keeps songbirds to remind him “where he was not.” In order to learn more about birds, we used our copy of the Kingfisher First Animal encyclopedia on Birds (page 24) and in DK’s First Animal Encyclopedia on Song Birds (page 58-59). The boys enjoyed the information on the songbirds.
We learned about the different parts of a bird and the differences between the beaks of birds and about the birds that fly and those that do not fly. We used the Evan Moor Giant Science Resource book
to label the parts of a bird.
We found a link to a great printable that showed the beaks of different birds from our good friend Virginia Lee at the Rogers family blog. With the printable, the boys could see a variety of beaks from the different birds shown.
Nature Study In our Nature studies from our previous home, we were to identify some birds through their songs. We tried listening to birds around our new dwelling this week.
We know that most birds can be heard singing in the morning when there is still a cool temperature. To help us to learn
to identify the birds by ear in or area, we revisited “Birding by Ear” from About.com and used our copy of Peterson First Guides: Birds and the website Birdzilla and its Nifty Fifty State Bird guides.
The boys and I enjoyed doing Nature Studies again, It had been a long time since we did that. Hopefully, as the weather gets cooler, we can go out more for Nature Studies,
ART AND CRAFTS The boys had fun in this are during our FIAR studies. They made several crafts throughout the week.
We studied the contrast in the pictures of the book and worked on salt paintings to show the ocean and ship that the Grandfather traveled in.
The boys made puffy paint from equal parts of shaving cream and Elmer’s glue. They drew trains with white chalk on black construction paper (again showing contrast) and painted steam with the puffy paint.
Together the boys and I tried our hand at Origami but only managed to create this rabbit. Maybe in the future, we will have the skill to create other Origami animals.
The boys made Cherry Blossom trees with black construction paper and pink tri-beads (that I had left over from our Christmas crafts). We love the way the tri-breads reflected the light in the photo.
On our last day of rowing with Grandfather’s Journey, the boys made family trees. I printed off family photos and the boys cut and glued them on their family trees,
Books that we read this week
Resources used this week
Thank you for visiting our blog and reading about our Five in a Row adventure with “Grandfather’s Journey.” Next time we will be rowing the book “How to make an Apple Pie and see the World.”