FIAR – The Rag Coat

The past two weeks – well, the whole month of December, really – have been so busy!  I took the liberty of not planning anything for this week and have been catching up on homeschool posts, taking pictures off my camera and other things (like laundry).  The kiddos are playing with their new toys and I’m having to make decisions on which items to keep – both old and new.  It’s so hard to keep things simple and uncluttered around here, but I’m trying!

The Rag Coat is a sweet story that immediately made me think of Dolly Parton’s song, Coat of Many Colors – which we actually listened to during the week.  Minna is a little girl whose family can’t afford to buy her a coat, so the woman in her community piece together their rags to make a special patchwork coat.  The children at her school make fun of her but soon learn that all those rags hold special meaning.

Geography/History/Social Studies
We’ve already had a couple stories set in the Appalachian mountains, and although it’s fun to learn about new places, it can be equally as fulfilling building on top of previous knowledge.

We went over the Appalachian states, coloring them in on a map.  Then we talked about the simpler way of life in the past – woodstoves, log cabins, riding by horse and carriage, attending a one-room schoolhouse, etc.

Since we have our own coats – numerous ones, in fact – we took the opportunity to talk about both being financially blessed and having the opportunity to help those less-fortunate.  I had the kiddos tell me how they could help others; their most common response is “share my toys.” *grin*

At the schoolhouse, the students have “Sharing Day,” which is like modern day Show-and-Tell.  We had our own version of Sharing Day during which the kiddos excitedly showed off something of theirs and told me why it was special.  Gwen chose her llama that she got at Deerfield Fair; Josiah chose his Daddy’s old Peter Rabbit toy.

Language Arts
We touched on a number of vocabulary words from the story and Gwen did an excellent job of recalling Minna’s Father’s words of wisdom.

Fine Arts
Probably the biggest hit for the kiddos was making their own rag coats using some of my fabric scraps.  They got to pick the scraps, cut them into smaller pieces and paste them onto a coat picture.

In the story, Minna’s coat included the colors that her father loved, colors of Autumn, so we talked about the Fall palette.  Since she amuses herself by making a cloth doll, I found simple instructions for a handkerchief doll – which Gwen loves!  She plays with it and sleeps with it all the time.

Since Minna’s patchwork coat included many different shapes, I had the kiddos color Christmas shape pictures.  They also colored a quilt patterns coloring picture, cut out the squares and re-created the quilt in their own pattern.

Minna’s father works in the coal mines and early on in the story dies from the “miner’s cough,” and though the story doesn’t go into depth on the topic, I used the opportunity to touch on the subject.  We read some online facts, looked at some pictures and made delicious coal cookies.

Joseph’s coat of many colors was the perfect Bible story pairing for this week.  In addition to Bible the kids continue with their AWANA workbooks; Gwen seems to enjoy working on her memory verses and is surprisingly good at it.

In other news, Gwen has learned how to spell her entire name!

For a while now she could write G-W-E-N, but the other day she kept asking which letters came after the “N,” proceeding to write it over and over.  She has since covered numerous sheets of paper with her entire name, along with her evolving stick figure people.  It’s adorable!

Go-Along Books
The Quilt Story
The Patchwork Quilt
Christy: Christmastime at Cutter Gap
In Coal Country

Homeschool Share’s Rag Coat resources
Aussie Pumpkin Patch’s Rag Coat lapbook
Crayola’s Quilt Pattern’s coloring page
Handkerchief doll instructions
Kids & Energy info about coal
Imagine Childhood’s coal cookies (I made a healthier variation)

*For more inspiration see my FIAR Pinterest board.