Blueberries for Sal
This week we “rowed” Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. In my opinion, if you can only do one book from from Before Five in a Row, this is the one to pick. There are so many wonderful discussions and activities that can flow out of this story! I’ve been holding off on it until the right time of year, and it seemed like a good complement to our Bible lesson introducing the Fruit of the Spirit, which just happened to coincide with the beginning of berry-picking season around here. This was one book that had really made an impression on Ian when we first went through all the Before Five in a Row stories back when he was two. He’s requested it several times since, so when he saw me bringing out our little tin pails, he was really excited about this week.
After reading through the story on Monday, I broke out several types of blueberries for our afternoon snack: fresh, frozen, dried (chewy, like raisins), and freeze-dried (crunchy, like cereal). They loved making them go “kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!” in their pails before they ate them. I had them try all four kinds, but Ian’s favorites were the frozen ones and the dried, while Elijah preferred the dried and freeze-dried. Only Mama kept going back to the fresh ones. We enjoyed snacking on blueberries every day this week!
Blueberry pancakes are a regular occurence in our family, so to do something special we made blueberry muffins from a boxed mix, which included canned blueberries. I saved the juice when we drained them and the boys made blueberry paintings before drinking the rest of the “paint.” (They really enjoyed this activity, and it was less messy than I had anticipated. Still, I think next time I might try thickening up the paint with some corn starch, though then it wouldn’t be so tasty to clean up.)
For Ian’s “workbook,” I printed out several of the pages from Homeschool Creations‘ printable pack. I also printed and laminated the math activity. (I was impressed with how well Ian did equations in his head. I think it’s because of the Inchimals we’ve been using to explore the concept of addition.) I even found some worksheets for older kids that I printed to save in my file since I know we’ll be doing this book again in years to come.
As I said before, this book lends itself to lots of fun conversations. We talked about canning (I’m going to have to learn more about it for the next time we row), bears storing up food for hibernation, and the dangers of meeting a bear (especially a mama and baby) and wandering off alone in the wilderness. We also read One Morning in Maine, another favorite by Robert McCloskey. It features Sal when she’s a little older and loses her first tooth. Right away Ian asked, “Hey! Is that ‘Little Sal’ in this book?” Ian’s not quite to the tooth-losing stage, so he was quite intrigued by the story. I read it several times with him, though it was a bit long for Elijah. By the time we row Blueberries for Sal with Arianna, Ian should have lost a tooth or two and I’m sure Elijah will love this book too.
To finish off our week, we went out in our backyard and picked berries in our tin pails. No blueberries, but we are blessed to have an abundance of blackberries at hand! We’ll go picking once or twice a week for the next month or so and then make jelly to give as gifts and hopefully last us through the year!