Flying, Farming, and Felix

sis book

Yet another splendid Peter Sis book – this one, “The Pilot and the Little Prince”,  about Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of “The Little Prince”.  Besides the enthralling illustrations, there is much to fascinate in this book.  For example:

  • We learned that de Saint-Exupery’s primary focus, was not writing, but flying.  While reading about his remarkable flying adventures we came across a seemingly small fact that changed the direction of our studies last night: we learned that early French airplanes had no communication system, so they always flew with a cage of carrier pigeons. If a plane had to make an emergency landing who-knows-where, the pigeons could be released with an SOS message! OBVIOUSLY my son and I had to do an outside study of carrier pigeons. These birds are SERIOUSLY interesting!

pigeon

  • Of course, we need to get “The Little Prince” into our book line-up.  In researching “The Little Prince” we uncovered a heated controversy over various translations (the book was originally written in French).  Readers seem to be outraged over the current translation and show staunch loyalty to the translation by Katherine Wood. My, my, my.  Something new to investigate.

The Farm Unit – we have been learning about tractors, the true farm multi-tasker, and we welcomed a new vocab word: TILTH.  Meaning cultivated soil; soil that has been plowed and harrowed and is ready for planting.  We like this word.  We give it an A+.

book report

We write book reports – this was our first go at writing a book report, and heaven knows what took us so long venture into this activity.  We reviewed “Hatchet” and “A Young Reader’s Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.   I made it easy:  I wrote out a basic book report with about a dozen fill-in-the-blanks (as in, “This book report is about _____________, and it is a ___________ story.”).  My son filled in the blanks and then I read the reports out loud. Most satisfactory. My son really liked doing this. I think this puts a final stamp on finishing a book, so we will be doing this again.

You would think I could get this in focus, but...no.

You would think I could get this in focus, but…no.

Le Fictitious Local Diner’s story problem – Last night we pretended that the diner needed to prepare 20 dozen Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies to sell during intermission of the spring band concert at the local elementary school. We used the unbeatable recipe on the back of the chocolate chip package to work out the amounts of ingredients needed.

Our music focus for last night – listening to some of the music Felix Mendelssohn wrote for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

  • “The Overture” – Shakespeare wrote the play in the 1590’s and Mendelssohn wrote his overture (which is just so grand and descriptive) in 1826, at the age of SEVENTEEN!!!

  • “The Wedding March” – Years later, in 1842, Mendelssohn wrote a few other pieces for the play, most noteworthy is the glorious wedding march (which served three weddings at once – the Duke of Athens/Queen of the Amazons, Hermia/Lysander, and Helena/Demetrius) (and several million weddings ever since).

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH

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