FIAR – Down Down the Mountain

Even though our book schedule got a tad messed up because I forgot to request this book at the library, it came at a good time because we ended up going to Deerfield Fair at the end of the week, which coincided nicely with the story.

Geography/History/Social Studies
The story takes place in the Appalachian mountains, which actually covers a number of states from Georgia to Pennsylvania.  When I read that the author grew up in North Carolina, I figured that would be our focus state.  Gwen located NC on the map and colored it in, then did a few little corresponding activities in a United States workbook my mom picked up called 50 Great States.  Josiah colored a NC coloring picture that shows the state bird, flower and other tidbits of interest.  

We talked about a number of different elements in the story including mountain life, wild animals, log cabins, growing your own food and being self-sustaining, sharing with others, small towns, general stores and the county fair. 

Language Arts
The brother and sister in the story want “creaky-squeaky” shoes but their parents can’t afford it, so they end up growing turnips to sell in town.  We talked about onomatopoeia during our Night of the Moonjellies week, so it wasn’t a new concept –  but it’s still a big word!  We read an onomatopoeia song  a few times, doing motions for the words, which the kids loved.  We read through the story and Gwen had to tell me if she recognized any other sound words. 

Fine Arts
The illustrator used two colors – blue and brown – for the pictures.  They look like simple sketches, and the kiddos used oil pastels to make their own pictures.  Gwen picked a picture of the family’s garden to draw. 


Two of the animals mentioned in the story are night birds, owls and whipporwills.  We talked about what it means to be nocturnal and did a number of the activities from an Owl Tot Pack.  We each made our own cute toilet paper tube owl – even Daddy!    


Since much of the story revolves around planting seeds, gardening and harvesting I planned on using some of the garden printables from our W is for Water week, but we just didn’t get around to it.  We did read a few books, talked about plants and what parts of them we eat, and made sure to look for the turnips at Deerfield Fair.

We camped at Deerfield Fair in NH for the weekend, a family tradition.  We left Friday, and even though I brought a bunch of homeschool activities, we were busy most of the time.  I was really disappointed at first that it was grey and rainy the entire time, but it meant smaller crowds, which was nice.  

We did read some of the books we brought and the kiddos played with Lincoln Logs and built cabins for their cars and dolls.  Since the two children in the story enter their last turnip in the county fair, we scouted the 4H buildings for the vegetable displays and asked the kids if they could find the turnips.  One of the reasons we like Deerfield – aside from the fact that Phil grew up going with his family – is that it remains in large part an agricultural fair.

I hoped to get turnips at the store but couldn’t find any – which seemed to make Phil happy because he wasn’t looking forward to eating them!  I’m sure they would taste great roasted with carrots and potatoes.

Down Down the Mountain printables from Homeschool Share
Onomatopoeia song printable from Welcome to Room 36
Owl Tot Pack from Our Little Monkeys

Go-Along Books
The Carrot Seed
The General Store, by Racheal Field
The Vegetables We Eat, by Gail Gibbons
How a Seed Grows
Ox-Cart Man
, by Donald Hall & Barbara Cooney

*See my Five in a Row Pinterest board for more inspiration.


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